Jamaica June 2009: 1 – Arrival and Runaway Bay

Here I am again, off to Jamaica. I was last here in March, 3 months ago. Normally I can only get away once a year. But this time things just worked out. I was in NYC for my high school reunion. Flights on Jet Blue were dirt cheap to JA from NYC ($89 each way). My children have relatives in NYC they don’t see as often as they’d like.  So…..the kids and I went to NYC,  spent a couple of days together, I went to my reunion and the following morning, I left for Jamaica while the kids stayed in NYC to hang out with their grandmother and other relatives.

I took my daughter to my old neighborhood in Harlem, showed her my building, gaped at the changes….bodegas to french cafes, laundromats to specialty shops. It was weird.  But enough was the same as when i lived there to give her an idea.  We all went to Chinatown to my brother’s favorite spot.  We walked along the Hudson river on the new bike path, visited old friends and family, saw a show at Lincoln Center.  It was a good time.

My high school reunion was a blast. I guess a lot of people would rather forget high school or didn’t like it or whatever, but I really did like the people I went to school with and hadn’t seen many of them for years. So I really enjoyed visiting my old school, seeing my old neighborhood in Brooklyn, and a party a classmate had at her apartment after was attended by everyone and was a great chance to catch up. We also stayed out really late, so when the alarm went off at 5AM, I was beat. But when I’m  heading to Jamaica, I can function on 2 hours’ sleep, no problem 🙂

This trip was a little different for me, I was not working and really don’t have the budget for a run-around trip, but do have a friend I wanted to spend more time with and she put together a plan.

We’d meet in Runaway Bay at a friend of hers’ villa, which she had the use of. We’d hang there for a few days then head back to Kingston, where she lives, and I’d stay with her there, then I’d head back to MoBay at my leisure. Sounded great to me.  As I recall this trip was 9 days long.

Jet Blue is amazing. I wish we had them in my city.  Really nice people at the ticket counters and on the planes, lovely new planes with personal satellite tvs and free snacks and drinks, left on time, arrived on time. All that and cheap, too.

I arrived, got through immigration and customs quickly, and I called my friend Lee.  Side note here – my Digicel phone from 2006 is alive and kicking. I’ve been topping it up every 2-3 months from home, online, and when I turned it on in Jamaica, it worked immediately, all my credit was there, it was great.

Lee was invited to hang out in Runaway Bay with our friend too so we arranged to go together.  He drove, and we had a pretty had a quiet drive – I was still very tired not having slept much on the plane. We  pulled in to the villa around noon, greeted our friends, set down bags, relaxed a little then headed out.

The villa is owned by a friend of T’s. He doesn’t use this villa very often for himself, so my friend borrows it occasionally for a break  from the city or to entertain out of town friends like me 🙂  It’s a few minutes’ walk to Breezes Runaway Bay and that is where we go to spend the afternoon, as we have been given day passes.

It’s just as I remember it from last year. I took a lot of photos then so didn’t take any this time. We had some lunch and a drink and I swam in the sea and the pool. All that took my tiredness away very effectively, as I knew they would.

We spent the afternoon there then headed back to the villa, both Lee and my friend’s husband had to return to work in their respective cities. For the next few days, it’s girls’ vacation time 🙂

Here’s our first night sunset from the villa deck:

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And the bar at the villa….not that we used it much since we had passes to an all-inclusive resort down the street, but I liked his sign.

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Of course there’s a full kitchen (and 4 bedrooms with baths, and porches, and a beach and a pool), and it was stocked. I have a basket like this in my kitchen, some of the stuff in mine is different but actually most of it is the same…I wish I had fresh scotchbonnets now!

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We got changed for the evening, I think I wore a dress and everything. This was no backpacker trip for me, it was resorts and the city so I packed accordingly.

We had a great dinner at Breezes…their food is really very good, even on the buffet. There’s always seafood and good Jamaican dishes, as well as the normal salad bar and fruit and all that.  We took our time at dinner, got caught up.   Wandered by the beach bar, the lobby bar, back to the dining room for the show.  I think it was some kind of reggae, very enjoyable. We stayed around and checked out the disco for a bit before heading back to the villa.

My friend used to work for this chain of resorts and has some friends working at this one…one hooked us up with a local driver for getting home late, and for going places during our stay.  Drummy, I think, was his name and he took us home that night.

I fell into my very comfy bed in my large air conditioned bedroom (nice sea breezes here as we are directly over the water but it is June) and slept like a baby.  Hello again, Jamaica.

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