The best time to be on the beach in Negril this time of year is 5pm. The tropical thuderstorms have passed over and the sun has resurrected itself for an awesome sunset. The sand is wet, the breeze has died down, and most of the tourists have given up on the weather with a nap in their room. The aqua Caribbean water winks at you in the sun, pleading with you to wade on in, and the reggae music in the background reinforces the vacation karma. A one-armed rasta serenades you: "Don't worry about a thing, coz every little thing's gonna be alright," he crooons for his $5 tip, as you stare out onto paradise. It's almost impossible not to fall in love with this country and it's people.
Tonight, as repeat guests, we were given a special meal at the resort's most exclusive restaurant and had the opportunity to mingle with other fans of Jamaica as well as the Couples staff. I was lucky enough to be seated next to Allison, the entertainment manager, who I chatted with about children (which b0th of us have a reverance for), Sex and the City (which she'd seen and was disappointed in), and the dfference between Eurpoean and American tourists. Europeans, she said, were much more likely to rent a car and want to mingle with the locals, exploring on their own the 'real' Jamaica, whereas Americans were more likely to stay in resort and only go on the planned excursions. This made sense to me since my immediate instinct upon visiting a place is to talk to the locals and find out where they like to go for entertainment. Sure, I like the luxury resort to lay down my head, but during the day I enjoy seeing the world through the eyes of another human being, someone who experiences this life day-in, day-out.