Today was a success, despite a rough start. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Friday had taken most of my energy, so by the time I got back to my current residence I was ready to fall asleep. As mundane as this fact might be, it lead to me passing out around 7pm, waking at 1am, and being in and out of sleep until Raymond came by with TJ and Matthew around 9am. You see, the week before Raymond mentioned bringing me to Roaring River (a cave nearby with an area for swimming) this weekend. We hadn’t discussed details, and I had told him to talk to Mr. Brown to schedule the outing. Mr. Brown hadn’t mentioned any complete plans and as a result, I thought I had nothing to do all day Saturday while Raymond and his family were planning to take me to Negril.
I woke to knocks at my door and Mrs. Palmer (formerly Farmer—my mistake) asking if I was going to the beach because someone was here to pick me up. *Sh!t* I’m not at my best in the mornings, especially when things don’t go according to plan, or when I’ve messed up. I rushed to dress and pack a day bag. Dump towel, extra sun block, change of clothes. Brush hair. Brush teeth. And ready! Except Raymond wanted me to have a chance to eat breakfast, so he went off somewhere to do who knows what. An hour and a half later, Mr. Brown shows up and brings me to his house to wait for everyone. Raymond is one of Mr. Brown’s sons. I had to explain to him that I had totally forgotten about the plans. Things were slightly awkward because he was under the impression that I wasn’t doing anything today and that he was taking me to Negril tomorrow. Yeah. So there was a healthy amount of confusion shared among us all.
Anyway, I waited at his house while people were gathered and snacks, etc. were prepared. Little Matthew was quite impatient, but I tried to keep him occupied by taking him out to the porch. Finally we were on our way around 1:30 or so. Many a comment was made about how it was taking all day to get somewhere only 40 minutes away.
Everyone was happy to finally make it to the beach. There’s only one free public beach left in Negril, but it wasn’t nearly as crowded as one would expect. In fact, there were barely any people on the 7 mile strip of beach. And the water was clear and warm, with a nice light breeze causing very small waves to glide toward the shore. I spent a lot of time just standing out in the water and looking out. There are few things more calming or relaxing as reveling in the beauty of this world.
I played with the kids a bit too. Four of TJ and Matt’s cousins joined us too. None of them can swim really (except the oldest), so we threw them into the water and helped them float and played other similar games with them in the water. One great thing about the beaches here is that the shallow area is always very wide giving waders—and children—more area to enjoy.
The highlight of the beach, though, was driving a water jet ski. It took me a while to get used to it, but it was great fun going at high speed with the sea breeze and the waves. Turning was pretty cool too. ha $3000 Jamaican bought me 30 minutes on the jet ski. I don’t have any cash left now, but it was totally worth it. I’ve always wanted to get on one of those things, and now I can say the first time I ever drove one was in the Caribbean.
After the beach, we drove down the beach road, which is lined with hotels and resorts. These resorts are huge, too. The nicer ones extend on either end of the road with tennis courts and every other extra you can think of. The rest don’t offer quite as much, but they still have a strip of Caribbean beach in the back, so they’re not so shabby. The people I was with have mostly all worked at the hotels at one point in time and were giving me the inside scoop. Now I know all the secrets of how to scam the hotels. ha Not that I would ever take advantage… 😉
Next we drove towards West-end Negril. This is where you’ll find the world famous Rick’s Café with the incredible sunsets and cliff diving. We watched others jump and a few people do tricks too. Then it was my turn. Now, there are several distances you can jump from. There’s the diving distance, which can’t be more than five feet. Then there are the high distances—20’, 40’, and 80’. Since I am a newbie, I chose to start with the 20 foot jump. I looked down first, and my only concern was the large rocks I could see below. Raymond assured me that they look closer than they really are because of my angle and the clarity of the water. I believed him, and soon found myself falling through the air, nose pinched, eyes tightly closed. SPLASH!! One second later I was deep in the water. My rear hurt a little, but otherwise I was feeling good. I gracefully fixed my swim suit while still in the water and up I went back to join my group. There was a woman at the bottom lying on her side with very large bruises on her legs. She had obviously had a bad fall. You have to make sure to jump completely straight like a pencil, otherwise whatever part of you hits the water wrong will feel like it hit a sidewalk rather than water. I was glad to only be hurting slightly.
By the time I joined the rest of my posse, my ears started bothering me. I’ve had chronic problems with my ears for all of my life, so I’ve come to learn how to deal with it. The problem obviously was caused by pressure issues. It took me a while, but all was well after a few trips to the bathroom and several cheeks full of air.
I took the liberty to enjoy the pool too. There’s space for sitting in the pool where you can enjoy the beautiful sunset. I only wish I could have had a few of my friends to enjoy it with me. Someday I’ll get you all to visit the island with me and we’ll have an epic time.
I mentioned to Raymond and his brother Michael that I still hadn’t tasted Jamaican rum, so after Rick’s we stopped by the grocery store. I’ve learned that Jamaicans know the best ways to save money. I would be willing to bet that no Jamaican has ever spent a penny (or equivalently, a Jamaican dollar) at Rick’s. ha We stopped at a Texaco gas station parking lot to enjoy the beverages. The guys bought a flask of over proof white rum and a flask of Smirnoff apple vodka, along with various mixers. A single sip of the rum made me cough. ha We mixed a shot with Ting (soda similar to Sprite). It did a great job of warming me up, which was welcomed now that the sun had gone down and I was still completely soaked from the swimming. My favorite drink was the vodka and Ting, though. It was so smooth and delicious. Definitely making sure I have a stash at my new home. ;P
While at the gas station a man with various crafts came by trying to sell his goods. Michael was kind enough to buy all the females something. He might have gotten something for all the kids too. I picked out a hair tie for my sis. Now I have gifts for all of my family. Check. J The man was a little crazy though. Michael offered him a drink, and that’s when he started showing his crazy really clearly. ha He spoke about American scientists and their acid rain and how it affects humans in a spiritual way. I think he just liked the attention. Yes, he was full of information he felt obligated to share with us. He was entertaining if nothing else. I have to admit, despite the fact that I’m making fun of him here, I did enjoy that I was part of a conversation with a stranger. It’s one of those things I’ve always thought would be interesting, but have been too shy or scared or something to actually follow through with. For example, I remember telling a friend of mine that while on a European trip with a couple of buddies in a bar they should have mingled with the locals. Well, it was very easy for me to dish out this advice on how to live more fully, experience the world and what it has to offer, etc., however I find it very difficult to follow my own advice. I wouldn’t say I’ve never done it, but when I do speak with strangers it’s usually because they’ve initiated the conversation.
Once the man left, I went inside and changed into dry clothes and bought the kids some little snacks. Then it was time to return to our original location. The drive back was nothing special. Children were dropped off at their respective houses. I was brought back to the Palmer’s home.
It was a good day.
EDIT: (2/14/12) My tailbone still hurts and I have a big bruise on the back of my right thigh. Ouch! I get out of chairs like an elderly person. Mr. Brown is more fit than me right now and he’s a half century older than me. ha Pray that my rear heals. It’s like Nime, France all over again (I got a sun burn on my rear while lying on the beach)! lol bum injuries ha…