Although being at Ohare at 6am was not ideal and there was a 45 minute delay for take-off, the flight went well. Just before landing there was a stunning view of the island from the window which was extremely exciting. After waiting in line for customs and immigration, we had a little more waiting to do for the van so we hung out outside the airport for a while. This was a nice chance to rest and take in a bit of Jamaica. Once the van came, the ride to the resort was gorgeous and we were finally able to experience a bit of what we have been learning about in class on our way to the resort.
We spent the first few days of the trip at the Jewel resort were absolutely amazing. Besides the free food, drinks and activities, the hotel staff was incredible. It was great to be able to talk with real Jamaicans and engage in conversation with such friendly people. While talking with some others from the group, it often came up how confident the Jamaican people are and how envious of that we are (all thought we showed no shame during karaoke). They are so free and comfortable with themselves which is something that is rarely seen in America, where everything seems to be a contest over something and the opinions of other people determines many of our actions.
The first day I was lucky enough to be able to go kayaking which is something that I have never done before. We kayaked out to in front of a local beach right next to our resort which was packed with people and vendors in huts that they had made themselves. After kayaking, an extremely generous (and attractive, if I may add) gentleman took a few of the people from our group out snorkeling. We saw quite a few little fish, but my favorite part by far was getting to know Calvin and learning about Jamaica from someone who has lived here his whole life. After seeing the bottom of the ocean from the surface while snorkeling, I was ready to go down and take it all in at eye-level. Another fabulous man took me out scuba diving (with the help of his boat captain, Stumpy) and we were able to see some of the most beautiful things I have ever seen in my life. While feeding the fish some bread I got hit an awful lot by big grey fish who had no sense of personal space and bit by a cute little bright blue fish. I loved every minute of it. I also got to see two sting rays and hold a sea cucumber. It was wonderful. During the day I played some volleyball with a few others from the group which helped is make a new friend, Alton, who told us a lot about himself and his life in Jamaica.
After all the excitement in the ocean and a much needed shower, we went to a nice five- course Italian restaurant in the hotel lobby which was excellent. We headed over to a talent show which showcased hotel staff and guests… The staff were much more interesting. If I hadn’t already known that music was a big thing in Jamaica, I definitely would have learned it in class; therefore, music was a big part of the talent show. Even people who did not have great voices sang simply because they loved to sing. It was amazing. And the dances, wow. After the talent show we headed to karaoke, which we rocked. It is safe to say that we are all going to become famous Jamaican musicians pretty soon. We then shifted the party (literally, all the other guests followed us around because we started the fun everywhere we went as a group) to the disco. We got our groove on until it was time to give in to the exhaustion of a long, thrilling day.
This morning I got to go sailing and speak with another Jamaican who had very interesting things to say. It is wonderful how even though the hotel staff has to deal with stupid Americans all the time that they still enjoy talking with us every so often and don’t mind our questioning.after sailing and packing up, a few of us strolled down to the local beach were we got great insight into Jamaican life. Although it was only 50 feet away, it was a whole other world from the resort. Unfortunately, our time at Jewel Runaway Bay had to come to an end and we left way sooner than I would have liked (any time would have been too soon though).
The drive over to Great Huts was log, bumpy, windy, a bit scary but still beautiful. Not only were the mountains and beaches gorgeous, somehow to lifestyle witnessed when driving through down town areas was beautiful as well. Everyone just always seems so laid back and even though we may not understand strange costumes dancing in front of our car, somehow it was accepted here because it is important to someone. The “oneness” that Bob Marley sings about was definitely present. One arriving at the hits (alive, thank Selassie) I wandered down to the beach where I met an amazing Rasta who promised me that Rastafari is here so I never need to worry about anything. The view from Boston Bay was absolutely breath-taking. After wandering, we were able to go to a local bar. My new favorite hobby is playing dominos in bars. Our dinner at the huts was lovely and we had great music and dancing for entertainment and then were taught to do Jamaican dances and, per sual, started a bit of a party. It was an overall good night.
I’m not really sure how to end this or if I even did it right… Blogging is awkward. But I hope that this does a bit of justice explaining how amazing this trip has been so far in the short few days we have been here. I am beyond excited to experience more and as much as possible of this amazing culture. That’s all for now folks. Amen…?
Posted on December 31st, 2012 by leaschilke10
Filed under: Jamaica