Sunday, January 22, 2006
We arrived mid-morning. An uneventful plane ride other than it took so long to get there! I had a window seat and surprisingly it was a clear, unobscured by clouds, passage to the West Indies island of Jamaica. Flying high you have no idea where you are. I assumed Florida was below, but it could have been somewhere else. The coves and channels were busy with activity. Boats moving at the slowest pace imaginable 37,000 feet below me.
The pilot came on to announce we were about 15 minutes out (at least it sounded like he said that) and below us is the island of Cuba.
I strained to take it in. A dark brown coast line with no sign of movement...not one single boat, not one single building, no sign of any beaches. I was lost in thought as we left Cuba behind, the ocean below a fury of white caps and secluded specs of land barely visible above the dark and aqua waters.
Then we landed. Sunshine and sand and the smell of salt water. White clouds drifting lazy in a brilliant blue sky. As we disembarked, so did our clothes! We were whisked through customs and our luggage was quickly attached to a porter who would keep an eye on it while we were led into what I call, the recovery room! Sandles Inn has a beautiful reception area where you can refresh yourself by drinking the famous Red Stripe beer and slip into something much more island-like than winter-ish.
Off to the hotel, which is on the other side of the airport. A five minute drive. Joe and I came prepared with plenty of one dollar bills and the more serious fives.
Within an hour we were on the public beach right across the street from the hotel. I have been up since before the crack of dawn, and had little to eat and upon landing, several island drinks, so I was feeling ......crafty.
I figured this, if we buy something from all the street vendors at the beginning, they would leave us alone the duration of our stay! So we spread the wealth that first afternoon! I had Muril make a beautiful beach dress for me. Custom fitted. I asked her not to tell me the measurements as she quickly wrote them down. She was to return on Wednesday with the finished product.
Then Jacob, who ran the little shack on the corner of the beach. There was no way to avoid him, as the steep steps to the sand passed his tiny business. He had everything you wanted, if you wanted trinkets and trash! Island jewelry is his specialty and I am now the proud owner of several of his pieces.
Then there was the Rastafarian. I never caught his name, but he was always there. Early in the morning till late at night. We bought a beautiful walking stick from him. He makes them. Or so he says. I can't imagine when he'd find the time.
And so, my plan played out to perfection. We were now allowed to lounge around the beach without being hassled! Except from the Rastafarian, who never seemed to recognize us! Joe had to tell him every time that we already were the proud owners of his one-of-a-kind walking stick! He'd look from Joe to me and then smile and say, "I remember her!" Geez.
The sun burnt down on us as we laid on the beach and romped in the soothing waters. Then it was time to go back inside the walls of the Sandles Inn and locate the restaurants!
Welcome to Jamaica, Mon.