Miserable in Jamaica: an on-site report of woe

I’m here, arrived yesterday.

Let me tell you how terrible things are.

Sitting here on the cliffside finishing my breakfast, the ocean I am looking at has too many shades of blue and turquoise to count. So frustrating.

Also, the breeze coming off the sea keeps blowing my paper napkin off the table. I had to stick it under my mug of Jamaican blue mountain coffee to keep it secure.

The sun is so bright I have to wear sunglasses most all day. Sometimes a hat too.

I have been swimming so frequently that my swimsuit hasn’t had a chance to completely dry yet. I’ll have to put it on damp in a few minutes.

I had a red stripe yesterday that was so cold it was frozen, partially. I had to let it sit for like 3 minutes until it was drinkable.

There were bones in my 3 Dives jerk chicken last night. Luckily the chicken fell off them.

If I were you I’d seriously consider canceling, I mean this is just awful.
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Well folks, my woes continue.

First, since Catcha has that sweet new pool, I had to swim in it before hitting the road and you know what? My swimsuit was so wet when I left I had to set it in the back window of my car to dry on the way to TB. Couldn’t pack it.

Then, in Black River, I missed the turn to the bridge. I had to pull into the tour boat place and ask for directions. Sure a very nice lady gave them to me, but while I was standing there I saw a bar with really cold looking Ting. I had to get one and darnit, another $100J gone. And 5 minutes of my precious time too!

On arrival in Treasure Beach things just got worse. For one, it was hot and sunny. I mean sure, I have AC in the car and my room and once i was in shade it was fine, but there are the seconds of walking to consider! I broke a sweat!

And let me tell you…my room is too big. It has a couch and like 4 chairs that I feel obligated to sit on. I am solo here, this is real work making sure they all get sat in. They all face the beach, too. Different views from each, more work taking pictures…

Also my bed is a king. Hello! I’m alone, I have to sleep diagonally and roll around, why didn’t my hosts consider this hardship and give me a twin??

Later I took a boat out to Pelican Bar with my old friend Dennis (aka Captain Dennis). The sea was so smooth we hardly bounced at all – where is the fun? No matter how fast he went, we couldn’t get a good slam-your-butt-down on the bench going. And the speed forced me to wear a hat to keep my hair from blowing in my face.

And then Floyd , with his evil smell of delicious food cooking, forced me to order a fry fish. Which in turn forced me to order a cold red stripe to go with it. Another entire $600J gone, just like that.

I could go on and on but unfortunately I have to go the beach now, apparently there is a sandy cove just around the corner from here that i am told I must try…obligations and work never end, here, I tell you!

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I’m sorry to say that my tale of misery continues.

At my hotel in Treasure Beach, I was served way too much fish and shrimp for dinner last night. I mean the plate was 12 inches wide at least. Of course I had to eat it all, or I’d offend the chef, who clearly is unused to offense, given the very high quality of the seafood meal I was served.  I felt almost uncomfortably full at the end.

To top it off, my hosts were hanging out at their little bar with friends and invited me to join them. Do you think I had room for beer? No, I did not, but I felt obligated to sit and drink some, for 3 hours in fact. But that’s me, I suffer in silence. (Though I must admit, silent I was not, given the lively company.)

Then today…after a night spent trying to fill a bed meant for 3 or 4, and another too-large meal of a tomato cheese omelet with bacon and toast and coffee and jelly and fruit and freshly squeezed OJ, I set out for a beach walk.

Out the gate and onto the sand, around the bend and past the fishing beach where I was troubled to lift my arm several times in return to greetings called out to me.  Work work work. On down the sand and through a hotel pool, back on sand…then rocks. Oh lord, coral-ey rocks. Sure there was a concrete path thoughtfully provided across, and I had shoes on, but I had to look down at my feet for that part.  It irked me so much I had to stop for a cold water at a beach bar and some shade. Oh did I mention the sun?  HOT!  SUNNY!   BRIGHT!   Out of order!

Tough as it was I bravely marched on, around another bend to a swimming cove with no waves at all. Now everyone says Treasure Beach has rough waves and undertow and all these things, and what do I get? Clean sand and calm clear water. I had to go in and then you know what? I was salty.

After a stop on down that beach for a ridiculously priced meal – callaloo fritters with dipping sauce for $150J – I headed home in shame. I’d carried too much much money and had a too-heavy pocket to deal with the whole way back. It was so exhausting I fell right to sleep  on the daybed on my veranda at Mar Blue.

When I awoke I decided I had to share my sad story with you all, so came over to Jake’s for a drink and an appetizer. I drove here, and sat a nice table, but it was quite warm.  5 minutes later a downpour began that is still, 20 minutes later, raging outside, sending a cool breeze (but no water) to my seat. I am trapped, I cannot leave, it is raining too hard.

Fortunately, a tomato-feta salad was just delivered to my table. I hope I make it through.

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My trials and tribulations continue, unfortunately.

Though I lived through the rain yesterday to another evening at Mar Blue with my hosts and some admittedly lovely people from London, a gourmet meal, fine aged rum and and ray ray ray…I found the ground outside quite full of puddles that required stepping over or through.  My sandals actually got slightly wet.

Waking this morning I found the wi-fi back on (off from the storm for an evening)…which meant I had to work for a few minutes, checking to see if I had email from desperate clients. Sure I worked in the breezeway/lounge with the sea view and coffee, but lord, it was hard.

Then I had a drive…to Mandeville to meet up with friends.  Jamaica driving and I are not strangers but it has been a couple of years since we’ve been together on a road trip and the new car with power everything is really making life tough….figuring out the power mirrors and auto-power-window thingamajig, temp control and all this while simultaneously dodging the odd pothole and minibus overtaking a truck is hard work, let me tell you. The radio blasting Bread (I would give anything I own, just to have you…back again… – really??) was just too much.

Then, coming back from Mandeville to Treasure Beach down Spur Tree Hill made my braking leg hurt. Why oh why didn’t I take the “switch to low gear” sign seriously? It would have saved my brake leg the soreness of that last 10 minutes.  Sure the views were incredible from up there but it’s not like I could really enjoy them, focused on braking as I was.

Then back, a new guest from London to chat with completely slowed down my consumption of my chilled pinot grigio. It took me about 10 minutes to finish the glass.

Jamaica is rough-rough, don’t let anyone tell you different.

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The next day I made it a point to visit Great Bay, because I always wanted to and never did.

What do I get there? A wide sandy beach, a shady place to park, friendly families out for a weekend swim, but no shops open and it’s Saturday morning!  No juice, no red wata, nothing! Why why why?  I had to drink the drink I brought with me in my cooler to stay hydrated on the beach.

Later in the day I had to drive to Negril for the week. Truth is, my dear reader, that could be a real tale of woe for me as Negril is not my favorite place to be in Jamaica, not by a long shot. But this week I’m meeting a ton of friends there, so it’s not so bad 🙂

The drive took me forever though, as I had to keep pulling off the road to take pictures of beautiful vistas and check out places along the way like Font Hill beach.  Probably took me 3 hours to get there…and that’s no thanks to Sav la Mar, a town in which I ALWAYS, EVERY TIME lose the main road. I am driving along, following traffic until I realize the narrow residential street I am on dead ends into the sea and is clearly not the south coast highway. Turn and try the next one, and sometimes one or two after that before I find it again.

Then in Negril, there is no rain. None at all. It’s hot, and I must once again go swimming.

Sigh.

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