Jamaica 2008

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

The big difference between going to a place like Antigua and going to a place like Jamaica
is that people go to Jamaica to party, instead of to get away from it all. Still, we thought we'd
try Jamaica again, this time exploring the west side of the island. And, we thought we might try
not to over-do it this time. We were, after all, older. I didn't say we were wiser.

Where we went, 2008

I had the correct vouchers this time. Everything went as smooth as silk in a girly man's hands.
Kara, the greeter at the airport, hooked us up with a cordial and got us to the bus on time.
Septon, the porter at Sandals, refused a tip, no matter how hard I tried to break the rules.
This time there was a minor faux pas on the part of our excellent hosts: we breached an occupied room!
Obviously, the timing was inopportune. A woman screamed, a man bellowed, and the staff member
retreated, sheepishly admitting he had the wrong room. Our room was at the end of the row,
adjacent to a "high voltage" zone. Perfection!

We slept the sleep of the chaste that night, too tired from traveling for even a midnight stroll. Maturity.

Miami, Florida, waiting for the connecting flight...
Freezing-cold in
Miami. 18 Sept '08
Our room in Negril
19 Sept 08
Porch of the 'High Voltage' room!
First day in Negril
19 Sept 08
Nice shorts!
Mister Dorky
19 Sept 08
Jamerican Gothic, 2008
Tropical fun
19 Sept 08

Okay, the truth is, we went to the Karaoke bar. I sang a Beatles song, and then Ray, one of the
playmakers, sang two songs with me: "Dock of the Bay," and "Buffalo Soldier." There was much revelry,
and only then, did we sleep the sleep of the Just.

The next morning, we bought a couple of dew rags & a bikini,
and sailed the Hobie Cat twice before lunch. We then snorkeled at "The Caves," anointed by a tropical rain.
Soon it was nap time, with a meeting of the maids in our room, accidentally. Coffee, then dinner.
Newly-weds Eddy & Alicia joined us for "Bob Marley" shots, a volatile mix of grenadine, creme de menthe,
and white rum, sucked through a straw subito. This being Jamaica, we crawled back to the room early at 2 A.M.

He thinks he can win the match...
Grrr! Serious Game
19 Sept 08
You've been drinking Cleaning Products all night...
A 'Bob Marley'
19 Sept 08
The wine goes down here...
Alicia & Eddy
19 Sept 08
Alissa in Suddy's taxi
Black River safari
20 Sept 08
Shipwreck at Black River bay, Jamaica
Rusting hulk
20 Sept 08

The next morning, the strong-willed Mike and hung-over Ben, with the lovely-and-talented Stacy and Alissa,
clambered into a van, bound for the Black River safari, to see Jamaican crocodiles and God-knows-what.
The captain of the riverboat, Nicholas, may not have been a formally educated man, but he certainly knew his area.
He knew the crocs by name, their history, and he displayed his intimate knowledge of their temperament.
I didn't have an interest in getting very close to the reptiles, instead admiring them from a healthy distance.

Team Boykin photo
Black River safari
20 Sept 08
Cap'n Nick kissed 'Crazy,' the crocodile
Black River kiss
20 Sept 08
Black River Croc...
"Crazy" the croc,
20 Sept 08
Black River doldrums...
Black River vista
20 Sept 08
This croc had a descriptive name.
One last lizard
20 Sept 08

Not only did we see crocodiles that day, we visited the Ys river, and jumped into the earth-tinted cascades,
which Alissa loved, but I dreaded. We had a free-fall of more than 20 feet from the swinging rope,
into waters with an unseeable bottom. Would we be smashed to bits, or would we survive the wild drop?
I never touched bottom. The current was strong, and I was washed against exposed tree roots toward
young-and-muscular Eyon, who was stationed at the brink to prevent us from plunging over the falls. I had no doubt
that he would have prevented our demise, but my innate fear of water had me hyper-alert to the possibilities
of the perils of our 'leisure activites.' My wife is such a fun hog. She had no fear whatsoever.
Eyon steered me to the safe exit. Alissa jumped a second time, but I can't recall if I did!

Big white flower
Maybe Hibiscus,
20 Sept 08
Info for Ys Falls
Entrance sign,
20 Sept 08
Lower falls from the trail
Lower Ys Falls
20 Sept 08
Time's a-wastin'!
Forging ahead!
20 Sept 08
Nice shady photo opportunity
Loud & pretty
20 Sept 08

Don't look, kids!
Couldn't help myself
20 Sept 08
The middle falls
The thunder calls
20 Sept 08
Eyon took our picture here.
Knee-deep in thunder
20 Sept 08
The pool behind us is quite deep.
The swim-out area
20 Sept 08
Big hemp rope to swing on... well. It IS Jamaica...
A little yahoo spot
20 Sept 08

We prefaced our big jump by swinging around a little bit in the shallows
Obvious glee
20 Sept 08
The rope was too wet to climb very high.
More my speed!
20 Sept 08
She swung me around... by the shorts!
We was swangin'
20 Sept 08
Your last chance before plunging over the lower falls!
Eyon stands guard
20 Sept 08
I am SO not Tarzan!
Couldn't touch bottom!
20 Sept 08

Me not Tarzan. SHE Tarzana!
Flying Alissa
20 Sept 08
Flowers in the rain, Jamaica.
Rain at Appleton,
20 Sept 08
The rum-tasting during our tour of the Appleton Estate.
Exercise caution!
20 Sept 08
The hills around Appleton Estate.
Cockpit Country,
20 Sept, 2008
Lots of old rum here...
The Ageing House,
Appleton Estate.

Afterwards, we were treated to a fine lunch, followed by a visit to the Appleton Estate, with
a relentess 'rum tasting.' This was one of the few occasions that I am allowed to sample pure grain
liquor. Luckily, we had eaten lunch, and for dessert,
we spooned up the black, sugary sludge that's left over in the processing.

Byproduct of rum distillation
Sweet black tar
20 Sept 08
She's not afraid!
I dare ya.
20 Sept 08
Good Catch!
Frisbee Time,
21 Sept 08
We annoyed the Euro's with our 'flying disk.'
Great catch
21 Sept 08
After the supper
On the beach,
21 Sept 08

The next day was a much better morning, because we had paced ourselves the day before.
Breakfast always included bird-watching: they would swoop into the open-air dining area
and scavenge left-behinds from the momentarily-abandoned tables. Nothing like that in Wyoming!

Later, while we were playing frisbee on the beach, we accepted an offer for a "couples massage,"
something we had never done before. It was a little bit like having a maid service clean your house:
we cleaned up a bit before we went, even though we didn't need to. Even with the TLC of the massage
therapists, we couldn't help but feel a little over-privileged and awkward. In conclusion, it was
devastatingly relaxing. In fact, we had to rest up afterward. On the Hobie cat!

Formal photo around sunset
By the seaside
21 Sept, 2008
The mellow Caribbean sunset at Negril
Negril's famed dusk,
21 Sept 08
'Cockpit Country:' the western highlands of Jamaica
Jamaican highlands
22 Sept 08
The Cabarita flows out of the western highlands of Jamaica.
Cabarita River
22 Sept 08
Country living, Jamaica's western highlands
Country living,
22 Sept 08

The next day, we went on the "Mayfield River Walk." I can't recall if we approached the Mayfield from
the south, or from Lucea to the west, but at any rate, the bus was driven along a mountain road,
where a rastaman appeared briefly, furiously smoking his ganja pipe. On the bus were all
sorts of delightful tourists besides ourselves, but the most memorable was a truly ugly American.
He was in for a tough time as it turned out. Probably just a case of bad karma...

A page from my journal...
"Mr. Wonderful"
22 Sept, 2008
Mountain birds circling the wagons...
Local wildlife,
22 Sept 08
Local farmer putting on a show!
Jamaican tobacconist
22 Sept 08
The Caribbean Sea from the western highlands of Jamaica
Looking south
22 Sept 08
In a hut before the hike...
Gomer & Queenie
22 Sept 08

The "walk" itself involved hiking in the river, and included a catered lunch in conical huts.
The water was cold, clear and swift. The clear nature of the water differed greatly from our day on
the Ys River. Also, the Mayfield was much colder. More than once, Alissa & I were nearly swept away by
the stiff current. We were the lightest people on the hike, so we spent alot of energy just holding onto things!
There were three or four opportunities to jump into swirling, deep pools along the way. The most memorable
involved a tree-climb onto a makeshift diving platform and jumping into a bottomless hole. Alissa loves
disappearing beneath a foamy, rollicking waterfall. Me, not so much...

Deep pool early in the hike
Idiot glee
22 Sept, 2008
She was nearly too light for this section.
Saved by muscles,
22 Sept 08
Hypothermia setting in...
It was cold here.
22 Sept 08
Out from under the ultimate waterfall
Final cascade,
22 Sept 08
Back at Sandals Negril...
On the green,
23 Sept 08

I was so chilled by the time we ate lunch that I felt like I was back in Wyoming. The food was traditional
Jamaican fare, with an entree choice of chicken or fish. Everyone, including Mister Wonderful, was so tired
that nobody said a word. Or maybe they did... I was napping, so how would I know anyway?!

After strolling the grounds back at the resort,
we ate dinner at Sandals' Kimono's restaurant, a Caribbean version of Benihana's, always fun, always
delicious. This being Jamaica though, numerous saki bombs were dropped, which loosened the tightest
personalities at the table and made the incidental cooking fire absolutely hilarious.

Snackin' at the Snack Shack before supper...
Alissa & popcorn...
23 Sept, 2008
Dive boat, sail boat... Negril
The famous sunset
23 Sept 08
Yep. Looks pretty nice. 'Cept for that guy...
Tourist photo,
23 Sept 08
Variegated light, Negril
The dive boat
23 Sept 08
A fiery sunset for our last night in Negril...
Sol off to Mexico,
23 Sept 08

We actually "slept in" the next morning. We went to the gift shop, then we got separated, which was kind of hilarious.
I had returned to our room to get money or something, and when I came back to the shop on the other side
of the grounds, she had left already. Finding her was like the Good Ol' Days, and everytime I saw a staff member
I had become familiar with, I asked if he or she had seen a little blonde white woman go by. Eventually, we found
each other and went snorkeling off of Booby Cay Island for a short time. Turned out this was to be our last
dive for the trip. It's a private cay, so we stayed offshore, sampling its pretty reef.

The wind was perfect for sailing that day, once we were 30 feet away from the dock. It was curiously
windless next to the beach. While we were adrift in these proximal doldrums, Alissa jumped off the Hobie
into the crystal-clear water, neglecting to remove her life vest. Magically, at the unseen demarcation, the sail billowed.
She climbed aboard, and we were off! The sensation of speeding along, without the loud drone of an engine
is so fascinating to me. Back and forth we sailed, running with the wind, the easing into a beam reach, then tacking
a close reach upwind, and closing the circle time after time. An elderly couple on another Hobie capsized,
and we zoomed over to see if they were alright. They were floating in the water, huge smiles on their faces,
having the time of their lives! The Sandals staff plucked them from the water in a matter of minutes.

Click here to see several snorkeling pics from Jamaica, 2008
Snorkeling off of
Western Jamaica
Sept 08
A little out of sequence, but okay...
19 Sept 08
Stopped for a portrait
On the beach
19 Sept 08
Home tomorrow...
Last night in Negril
23 Sept 08
Not ready to go Home, I guess
"I wanna stay!!"
24 Sept 08

That evening, we joined other "Signature Guests" for a special dinner with members of the executive staff.
We shared a table with Mr. Oliver Reed, Supervisor of Security, and General Manager Mr. Jeffrey (whose
surname escapes me). Oliver noted that Negril never sleeps, unlike many other Caribbean destinations.
Afterwards, we collected our portraits and were soon enjoying live music at the Bayside hall. Although Negril
has a piano bar, like other Sandals resorts, it is unfortunately in a loud, raucous area, which makes it
very difficult to enjoy. Sadly, we didn't have a memorable sing-along experience at Negril, but obviously,
nobody comes here to sit around the piano!

We were up late, and at the last minute decided to take a short nap. The bags went outside the door at Three in
the morning. The bus left for Sangster International Airport at Four. Our jet was off the tarmac around Seven A.M.,
and we were back in Miami by 9:15 A.M. To avoid a seven-hour lay over, we grabbed a standby to Dallas, then another to Denver.
In this way, we were already driving home from Denver by the time our original homebound domestic flight
was just starting to board!

And just like that... we awakened from another tropical dream.


All images Copyright 1984, 2002, 2008 EBBoykin, Jr
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