Jamaica 2002

Basic map of this island nation. Jamaica's national flag

In 2002, Alissa & I headed to Jamaica. She'd never been to the Caribbean before, and she
was a little apprehensive about going there. I had been there briefly back in 1984, so I knew
just a little bit what to expect. We booked a room with Sandals Resorts at Dunn's River, near
Ocho Rios, in the north coast county of Middlesex, parish St Mary. We landed in the dark at Montego Bay after
what was always for me at the time a dreadful flight, back in the days when I absolutely hated to fly.

Jamaica road map of where we went in 2002

We were collected by a bus driver after clearing Customs and Immigration. We had to run a gauntlet
of baggage handlers, doling out some $20 U.S. by the time we'd walked a hundred-and-twenty feet to
the dimly-lit party wagon. We were the only passengers who hadn't stopped at the airport bar for a
take-away drink, it seemed. Not only that, we appeared to be the only sober passengers!

Northern coast of Cuba from the air
Night flight
to Jamaica
The Tree Bar at Dunns River, Jamaica
Dunns River Tree Bar,
Mr Crabby
Sea Life,
Beads & all
Stay on the
Resort, Mon...
Hello, Kids!
Writing Home,
Jamaica, 2002

Driving into the murky night, the darkened coast passed by the windows to our left.
The loud voice of a drunken woman resounded annoyingly throughout the cabin.
Her friends were equally clamorous, so much so that Alissa and I couldn't speak
to each other. We just held hands, while I stared ahead at the windshield
with great apprehension. Driving on the wrong side of the road is the right side of the road
in Jamaica. Still, even though I had learned to drive in Kentucky, it felt inherently wrong to me!

Having never been to a Sandals Resort, we were totally lost when it came to checking-in procedures.
I had not printed the correct vouchers. The staff sorted things out as we sipped complimentary champagne.
The next morning, we missed 'Orientation' ...but not breakfast, a buffet which was always dependably satisfying.
We didn't succeed in attending Orientation until our third visit to a Sandals resort.
The food, the beverages, the atmosphere: these things separate Sandals resorts from all the rest.

Hello, U.S. Male
Hello, Husband,
Jamaica, 2002
Dunn River Falls, 9/22/02
What she needs is
a good dunking!
Dunn River Falls, 9/22/02
Working our way down
Dunn River Falls
Dunn River Falls, 9/22/02
Getting in the
BIG falls!
Floating in the pool at Faye's bar...9/22/02
Monitoring the
swim-up bar

The staff at the resort suggested we stay on the resort... which, at the time, seemed like a challenge.
Thusly, we ventured off-site, and the next thing we knew, Alissa was getting a hair-style makeover.
The ladies in the off-site shacks told me they'd need so-many-dollars to finish the corn rows,
so I left my apprehensive wife to go back to the room safe, 300 feet away, to get more money.
I came back with about $50 U.S., but that wasn't enough, and they were only halfway done, so back I went
for more dollars, and finally brought enough money to essentially buy her back, replete with beaded braids on her
tiny head. We even had to buy 'Bob Marley's Coffee,' namely some moldy Blue Mountain beans, and a vast
quantity of trinkets and goods. I think we spent about $200 altogether to get out of the off-site village!

Every night, we reserved a table at the local on-site eateries, dressing for dinner. While I found this
unusual for myself, it made each dinner special. The attention to detail helped me to focus on the beauty
of my wife, and, be it intentional or accidental, made our time there together all the more exhilarating.
One evening on the beach, we watched a fire dancer; another night we simply gazed into each others' eyes
without interruption. All exciting. All of this emphasized our union, affirming that she is my soul mate.
And she danced! And what a great dancer she was!

Mind your tongue
when Faye's around!
Just before I slipped and let fly an expletive. 9/22/02
Amused at Faye's
Wooh-wooh rules
And if you get overly amorous, Faye will fix THAT! 9/22/02
Minding our manners
at Faye's bar
Reef snorkeling, Jamaica
Reef snorkeling
North coast, 2002
Alissa's hair underwater
Hair beads
aweigh, 2002

This trip started a tradition of over-doing revelry for atleast one day of our journeys together.
This day, we began on the beach, playing in the sea, then moved to the poolside bars, floating on rafts and
imbibing on rum drinks until our words became intangible. In fact, there was talk of politics, and the next thing I knew,
Faye the Bartender was exhorting me to get my inert betrothed up to our room, a task which I dutifully obeyed.
Having tucked her in, I returned to Faye's bar, and was summarily ejected. I couldn't figure out why,
until I visited Uton the Bartender in the Tree Bar, and, being unable to communicate in English,
was bid a hearty "Good Night, Sir!"

I returned to our room, and napped until sunrise on the balcony, dismayed at how I had come to
spend the night alone outdoors! "Wooh-wooh," Faye. There was a train rolling through my head that morning.

We had some great snorkeling experiences, thanks to Sandals. I had never snorkeled before,
and rest assured that if you go to a Sandals resort, you will have ample opportunity to learn how.
They provide the equipment, and the personnel who can teach you the proper techniques to experience
the reefs. Alissa is an ocean junky. Turns out that's why we went to the Caribbean.
Our disposable underwater camera rendered appalling images, second only to our lack of knowledge
with regard to taking good pictures asea. Subsequently, these two photos were the best pictures of the lot!

The 'couple' photo
Back on the
dive boat
She feels lost without her head towel
Needs one more
for the hair
Great fun, but too much like WORK!
Try the kayak.
Feel the burn!
Learning to sail a hobie cat
St. Ann's Bay
a quiet moment
Looks like Dunns River Falls, huh?
The famous Sandals
D.R.F. replica

Alissa has an innate curiosity about every place we go, be it domestic or exotic. Turns out she's an explorer.
When I told her I'd like to climb the highest peak in Jamaica, she found a guided tour which came close
to my desire: a biking tour near Blue Mountain Peak (7,402 ft). Although I couldn't climb the mountain,
this was pretty close! You can see Kingston far below to the south from the high point near St. Catherine's Peak.

I have tried to find the small roadway that we actually glided downward on this outing, and as nearly as I can
figure, we were on Jamaican roadway B-1, at Hardware Gap (5600 feet).
I asked about climbing the mountains here, but the guides discouraged it, telling me one may trespass
on farmers' land, which would possibly be a dangerous thing. So I deferred.
We brunched at Papillion's open-air cafe, then we were outfitted with safety gear for the ride down.

Hey. The bus actually had seatbelts this time!
Alissa ready for
an exciting ride!
This building was constructed in 1861
St. Mary's Parish Church
Port Maria, Jamaica
Kingston Bay from Hardware Gap, Blue Mountains
Kingston from 5600 ft,
Blue Mountains
The view of the Blue Mountains from Papillion's Cafe
Blue Mountains
from the cafe
Hi, Honey!
Handicap access:
over the side!

As we rode down the thoroughfare, the staff of Blue Mountain Bicycle Tours would halt our group
to gaze at waterfalls, flora and the occasional bestilled fauna. One staff member in particular, Robert,
took us under his wing, keeping us informed with his "fun facts" in a deep, resonant voice. True to his
heritage, he always affirmed his information with a memorable "Yea, mon."

The bus and one of the staff
Hardware Gap,
Blue Mountains.
Huckleberry Dork goes to Jamaica. Hyaww!
Snappy dresser,
yea, mon
She was hoping to
ride up the hill
Robert, who
looked after us
Ready to get started
We tried our best
to stay to the rear.
Ain't they cute?
One of the stops
along the way.
The bus, and the boss...
The motor vehicles
were always close.
I tried my best to keep up!
Alissa & Robert
having a chat
Closer than they look here
Cascades in
the distance
Put it back on, you're blinding everybody!
Blue Mountain

At the end of the bicycle ride, there was a beer-drinking contest at an out-of-the-way spring. The
contestants had to slug down a Red Stripe brew... I can't recall what first prize was, I only know I
didn't win! No matter, the greatest thing was cooling off in the clear, cold mountain water.

Stopping to see
a plantation
The lady, and the last-place contestant
Loser has to get
in the water first!
Can't touch the bottom here
Jamaican homeboy
swimming pool
'Oh, boy, that was cold!'
Loving the
mountain chill
Maestro of the Piano Bar
Carl the pianist
and his fans
Back in our hotel room...
Our room at
Dunns River
This artisan blessed our marriage with a prayer
The man who made
miniature sandals
Your move.
Posing on the
giant chessboard
Handmade footwear
We each bought
a set of these

One more day on the beach, and it was time to go home.

I remember the day Alissa undid her Jamaican hair-do. She had a rough time, and in the end, I decided that she looked
better au naturel than with the braids. She is a beautiful woman just as she am!
We bought many things on this market day, not to mention a hand-carved parrot totem pole.
We met so many local artisans that day that I can't remember their names or where they were from.
We headed home with alot of stuff.

The bashful sculptress
The marble-
carving lady
This was perhaps the most serious man around.
One of the artists
happy to sell!
Yea, mon, I can make change...
The happy
wood carver
The only thing better than GOING shopping is when shopping COMES to you.
Now she loves


All images Copyright 2002, 2008 EBBoykin, Jr
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