Sandals Resort, Montego Bay, Jamaica 2014 (in progress)

I would first like to thank the staff of Sandals Montego Bay for showing everyone there a great time. Thank you Michael for making everyone laugh and entertaining. Thanks to Hartlon for being that guy that everyone wants to fall in love with and an amazing dancer. Thank you Flip for teaching me how to windsurf and making the water more fun for me each day. Johnny B (AKA Johnny-wannabe) thanks for the laughs. Scion thank you for your awesome break-dancing and artwork, you are truly talented and kind. Jermane, great bartender. Charlene (I know I am spelling her name wrong) thanks for being great at what you do and making sure everyone is included in the fun. To everyone else at the resort I am forgetting thank you too!

So, I am basically going to go through and type down what I wrote in my journal (well, most of what I wrote down.)

Day 1; Getting through customs only took about an hour. Not too bad. Once I found my luggage there was a Sandals representative waiting for me to take my name and my luggage and already there was a private car there to take me to the resort. I got the run down of the place before being walked to my room. The first thing I did was have housekeeping come and clean it again. I am a little picky and if I pay $2,000.00 for a room for a week I expect it to be clean. They came no problem then off to the beach I went. The water was clear. So beautiful. I could see all the way to the ocean floor. Clear, blues, greens, all around me.

The resort has a bunch or places to eat. Room service, a beach restaurant, a beach grill, a pub called The Cricketeer, an Italian place I forget the name of, a French restaurant I also forget the name of, a Japanese place called Tokyo Joe’s, a breakfast buffet, a lunch buffet and you could also get a shuttle to the other two Sandals resorts for the day.

After some time on the beach I went to the pub to get some appetizers; potato wedges with cheese fondue (yum) and some calamari then walked to the restaurant on the beach for dinner. Resort food is not the best because they have to put out a high volume in such a small area but it was good. My favorite meals were the breakfast buffet and actually the room service! My knee was hurting from the flight so I had wrapped it up a lot of the day time there. I started to realize that the one thing I wanted to do which was go out of the resort to downtown Montego to see the local market was not going to happen. I could not find a person to go with and they don’t really like guests going out on their own.

Day 2: Woke up around 7:30am or so, still getting used to the time difference, and walked to the beach to look for some shells. I was able to get a few good pieces. Before getting breakfast I went back to the room and got some work emails done with the free wi-fi and headed to get breakfast around 9. After eating I did some ocean kayaking and some Hobie sailing with Flip. Flip is from Jamaica and is a sweetheart. He has worked at the resort for two years. I saw him every day I was there even if I just walked over to the water sports area just to talk.

After the sailing I went to get a water from the beach bar and was recruited to play the beach game “Dancing Chairs.” Each afternoon they have one of the entertainers go out and get people involved having some fun. Today Michael did “Dancing Chairs” where we each got a chair, we would dance around them to music, when the music stopped you would have to find a chair, except one was missing so that person without a chair was out of the game. It was a lot of fun. I met a few people playing the game that I hung out with the rest of the week there; a large party from Pittsburgh there for a wedding, a couple from Arizona and Marisa and Curtis from Wyoming whom I ended up spending the rest of the afternoon with. I took Marisa to meet Flip and to get on the Hobie Sail. When we were out of the Hobie with Flip, Johnny B came flying past us and I called him “Johnny Wannabe” and I guess the name stuck because the next day I heard people calling him Johnny Wannabe! I ended up day drinking and going shopping at the resort store. Spent a lot of money on bathing suits, dresses and cigars. Lots of cigars.

After that I took a nap, and had dinner at the Italian restaurant.

Each night they have a different activity in the arena area. Tonight was a battle of the sexes with music. They would play a clip of a song and whoever ran out there and gave the correct artist to the song would get a point. Men versus women. If you ran out with the wrong name they would pour a shot in your mouth! I did not run out there but I watched and helped and had a blast. After the game was their main event and that evening it was a talent show with guests and staff. Mostly staff though because the guests were shy or drunk. Michael was in the show in a skit of the Olympics where the Jamaican won the 500 meter dash and of course he played the Jamaican. Scion did some break-dancing and some other stuff happened. I was drinking these things called “Whiskey Smashes” which were not a great idea because they had a lot of sugar in them which means I was going to be hungover. But I did not care, I was having fun. After the talent show there was a dance party. I danced all over the place, went back to my room and got sick. Yay.

Day 3; I was supposed to learn how to wind surf at 9:30am and i was really hurting from the whiskey last night so I walked over to the water sport area and lucky for me it was too windy to surf. So I made my appoint with Flip to tomorrow and went to have breakfast. Hartlon joined me for breakfast. We sat and talked and had a nice time. It is cool they have the staff come and sit with you and eat with you and make sure you are having a good time at all times. Hartlon was of a special breed though ha. He told me I should go sit on the beach even though I was so hungover and I did. He came and found me on the beach, sat with me and talked with me some more asking me all kinds of random questions about myself and just entertaining. After he had to go I went back to the room to take a nap before the glass bottom boat at 2.

I got up around 1 and went to the boat…turns out they do not go out at 2. They go out at 9:30 and 11! Way to go Carolyn! So I went back to the room and ordered room service. I had an amazing club sandwich. It was hot ham, a fried egg, and cheese on three pieces of bread. So good. Anything with a fried egg on it is good. As a matter of fact I’m going to pause here and make a sandwich and continue to write more later.

Okay, It’s later. So after I had my lunch I met Marisa and Curtis on the beach. Marisa and I had decided to take the long walk to the other side of the resort to this swim up pool bar we had heard of. It was really nice at that pool. Like a secret garden. It was quiet and not crowded and very relaxed and chill. They had two play makers from the resort walk down there do have the same games going on at the other end of the resort happen at that pool so it was very private fun game of battle of the sexes name that slogan! We ended up getting a prize for participating; a leather (maybe cheap pleather) necklace with sandals on the end and tied off with Jamaican colored beads. On the way back to find her husband I spotted this little crab running across the beach. At first I didn’t think it was real because it was almost see-through and had these big bug eyes and just comic looking. I thought someone had a string attached to it or it was a remote control thing someone was playing with the tourists but I was wrong. It was a real live crab! I got some cool pictures of it.

After dinner that night was reggae night. We had battle of the sexes trivia that night and the men won. Not fair. They totally cheated. They had Peter Lloyd come and play the history of reggae for us as the music entertainment. He is an amazing artist and it was a blast singing along to the songs we knew and dancing. Hartlon had the night off but he came and danced with me that night trying to impress me with his Jamaican-ness ha. Charlene had the most amazing anchor necklace I have seen I wanted to ask her if I could buy it from her because it matched the shirt I was wearing. Scion came and found me and showed me this drawing of a hummingbird on the beach he had been working on since the day before. He is a great artist himself. Danced the night away then went to sleep for my big wind surfing lesson in the morning!

Day 4; Woke up and had an amazing breakfast with fresh pineapple, a egg sandwich, cream of wheat and Blue Mountain coffee. Off I head to the sport shop to meet Flip and I’m very excited and pretty scared lol. I had asked them so send a photographer out to take some pictures of me trying to surf for my photo album. Wind surfing is HARD! You get on this little surfboard and have to bend down and pull this heavy sail out of the ocean water and pull it up to you and then you have to twist it around, along with your body turning on this surf board, and try not to fall off. Yeah it sounds easy but with wind and a heavy sail and only your arms and legs its hard. After about thirty failed attempts I got it. I was very proud. Flip took a couple videos for me with my waterproof camera (see sweetheart) and the photographer got a couple good shots. I wanted to keep surfing but the winds were picking up so I had to get off and go do something else.

Oh yeah so the photographer. These resorts have people walking around all day taking pictures and getting your room number for your photos because its mostly couples and weddings and what-nots so since I wasn’t in either of those groups I didn;t have any pictures taken of me so last night before the dancing I had one of the people take a couple pictures of me and Hartlon and that is why I had called one to take pictures of me surfing. I also have a photo-shoot tonight at 5:15.

Marish and Curtis were on the beach when I got done surfing and I had lunch/second breakfast with them and then I went on the glass-bottomed boat finally. I guess they do not see a lot of reef sharks out there so when we saw two just chillin in the coral it was a bog deal.

After that I had some down time and was emailing my mom talking about one of the “Swim With the Dolphin” excursions you could go on. I wanted to go but it was expensive. My mom kept telling me she would pay for it and I had to have the experience. It’s a once in a lifetime thing blah blah (my mom is great for that by the way, not too many moms would give their grow-up daughter money to swim with dolphins) so I ended up signing up for the trip and turns out that since I was a special concierge member I got a free upgrade so it was like $30 cheaper than I had thought.

Went to eat again on the beach a early dinner and Hartlon came and sat with me. This kid has been finding me a lot. But again it is very nice to have some company. Tonight is the White Party. Lovers Night. Blah. So I had dinner on the beach with Hartlon and went to get ready for my photo-shoot.

I swear they give you these “complimentary” photo shoots just to take amazing pictures of you so you spend a gazillion dollars on the pictures. Luckily i was not on my honeymoon so I forced myself to stand ground and only buy ten photos. Which ended up costing over a hundred dollars but hey, I have some pretty awesome photos! Ha.

So after the photo-shoot I did not dress white to the white party. Typical me. I wore my Jamaican dress. Sat and watched the show then went off the resort to Margaritaville. Let me tell you, Margaritaville in Jamaica on a Saturday night in Jamaica is NOTHING like what any American would think. No Jimmy Buffett! It was all rap and Jamaican Dance Hall music and the best time I had the whole trip! I danced and danced until my legs were on fire. It was so much fun and so amazing watching the locals dance to their music. I couldn’t believe the moves those guys had, It is true what they say “Jamaicans are born dancing.” This place was three stories and an ocean of crazy fun. .They have a water slide from the third floor into the ocean and some blow-up platforms in the middle of the ocean to play/chill on. But that was just for the day time people. Night was where it was at. I had an amazing time and am so happy I had the guts to leave the resort and venture out. I also had an escort I trusted so that made it easy and fun.

Day 5 (I think;) It was Mother’s Day so at breakfast, before my dolphin adventure, I had a couple take a picture of me with a sigh saying “Happy Mother’s Day MOM, I love you From Jamaica” and sent some pictures and emailed with my mom because I am a thoughtful daughter and love my mom…and she paid for my dolphin adventure ­čÖé I do love you mom and you know it.┬áI’m taking another writing break.┬áSo I get on the bus to go to Dolphin Cove or something like that and the tour guides son Jayden was with us. The cutest little kid ever. I talked to him the whole hour ride there and back! Once there I found out it was only $20 extra to do the Dunn’s River Waterfall climb so sign me up! Climbing the river was awesome. I got a video of the trip and it was totally cool. They walked us up the river and along the way were different parts we could jump in and different spots for pictures. It was great and we had really amazing guides. The Dolphins, man, that was sweet too! They had the dolphins swim up to us and we would put our hands out to pet them. They had the dolphins do that a couple times; once so we could feel their belly and once so we could feel their sides and top. Then we each got to go out in the middle of the water and the dolphins would come up and kiss us and we would kiss the dolphins for pictures. It was pretty cool. Then for the swimming with them part. The first swim was us having one dolphin come up on each side of us and we would grab a hold of their dorsal fin and they would swim us around in a circle. The big show was when we would lay flat in the water with our feet flat like we were standing and one dolphin would put it’s nose on each of our feet and shoot us up into the air like we were literally riding dolphins! Of course I bought the video of that!

Between the river and the dolphins there were other activities to take up some time. There was a shark show with Reef Sharks, some parrots and birds to play with, a stingray petting thing and some stores along the way. I bought a bracelet with a matching necklace so I could give my buddy Flip the necklace as a “Thank you” for him being my water sports guide the whole week. I got back to the resort with just enough time to get food to my room, eat dinner, go to the show that night and go out of the resort to have a little more fun.

Day 6; Departure day. Very sad indeed. I had so much fun with the people staying at the resort and the people working there. I packed my bags and left them outside the door for them to pick up at about 10:00am. We had to take the 1pm bus to the airport. I walked around looking for Hartlon because he said he would have breakfast with me and found him eating breakfast with another couple. After he was done eating he came and sat with me while I finished my breakfast. After my amazing last meal at Sandals Montego Bay Hartlon and I went to the covered beach hut and sat and talked about my trip and how much fun I had and how sad I was to be leaving. We exchanged emails and phone numbers so we could keep in contact. He is a sweet young Jamaican boy. So nice to sit and talk with me before I had to go.

When I was leaving I ran into Michael in their little work room and got his number and watched him make the little sandal necklace for me. I am glad I got his info because we have all been talking since I have been home. It has been about 4 weeks now since I got home and I still talk to Michael at least once a day. Great people down there and I cannot wait to go back!

Irie!