I know - it's been more than a week since I got home and I'm still not done talking about vacation. In my defense, after I stopped my travel reportage for my Belize trip a few years ago, mid-stream, I received a lot of comments from friends crying foul. So this time I am determined to finish up. (Although I haven't exactly received much feedback on the other two posts, so maybe I'm talking to thin air...)
In the previous two posts I talked about the challenges, as well as joys, of traveling with an infant. However, it wasn't all about Ms. Daisy. Granted, mostly, but not all.
Since we had Nan and Grandad with us on our trip, we requested adjoining rooms so that we would have the flexibility to go somewhere and hang out whenever Daisy went down for naps. This meant that, after we put her down at night, we could tip our hat to Mum and Dad next door and head out for a moonlit walk on the beach. This was something we would do before turning in at night when we had visited Negril as a couple and so it was one thing we could hold onto from our previous trips.
The waves are so light in Bloody Bay (the stretch of beach our hotel, present and past, was located on) that you don't really hear the sea until you're right next to it. Even then it is a gentle lapping versus the crashing and rushing most of us are used to on the Pacific or Atlantic coasts. So, at night the beach is pretty quiet, well patrolled by the security guards of the side-by-side resorts, and absent the guests who are mostly being entertained further back within the hotel somewhere.
Despite there being five resorts stretched out around the large bay, there are very few electric lights - just a couple near the guard stations and a few that peek through the palm trees from the resorts themselves. This leaves most of the beach glowing a gray blue with merely the light of the moon. Up above you can see what must be every star in the sky twinkling back at you. On our last night it was a full moon, which was so bright that the palm trees cast shadows on the beach. I wish I was better with my camera settings and had brought my tripod with me as it really was something I would love to have captured.
Sitting on a beach lounger with nobody else around, sand in our toes, and only the sound of the sea licking at the beach, we would talk about our vacations past and present; about how cool it was to share our favorite place in the world (to date) with our daughter and how we looked forward to educating her in the school of life through our future travels. Sometimes we wouldn't say anything at all, just enjoying one another's company and taking in the moment. It's times like this that make me so happy that I married my best friend. It's not like we never argue, disagree or get on one another's nerves (because we do) but, on the whole, we are in-synch, on the same page, and enjoy many of the same things. Those things matter when you travel and they give you moments like we had on our last night sitting in the shadow of a palm tree, cast by a bright blue moon.
Then there was the evening we were sitting on the beach and listening to the live reggae coming from the resort stage. In vacations past we would be perched right in front of the stage, cocktail in hand, getting up to dance once in a while. This year, not so. Entertainment didn't really kick-in until 9:30pm and by then Daisy was crispy-creamed, even with the benefit of the two hour time difference. For a while we were ok with straining to hear the familiar songs from afar and then I heard a familiar bass line from "Welcome to Jamrock" by Damian Marley. It wasn't that big in the U.S. but it sure was in Jamaica. The first year we came to Jamaica, in December of 2005 for New Year and right after we got engaged, they played Welcome to Jamrock at the huge New Year party. Literally every Jamaican in the house - no matter what they were doing, cooking, serving drinks, waiting on tables - dropped what they were doing, rushed the stage and started getting down. And of course, they can all dance. (Why is that!?) Although we'd never heard that song before, they lifted us up with their enthusiasm. It was a very cool sight and we never forgot that song. So, when I heard the familiar bassline, I grabbed hubby's hand and pulled him off the beach so we could hear better.
We didn't want to go too far from the room and so we found ourselves standing on the pathway from our room block, arms wrapped around one another, bopping up and down to the song. Nobody else was around; it was our own private party. Man, I love Jamaica.
We also couldn't end our vacation without a visit to the legendary Rick's Cafe, at the tip of the island - a fifteen minute taxi ride from our resort. Although we saw folks there with babies, having been there before, we knew it was going to be too loud and too busy to be able to coral Daisy there, so we used it as the perfect opportunity to participate in date night.
Me and Hubby @ Rick's.
Rick's is one of those places that is famous for being famous, somewhat, but it doesn't dent the experience any. Perched on the edge of a cliff with uninterrupted views out over the Carribbean and to the horizon, people mainly go to Rick's for sunset. For the two hours prior to sunset and then about thirty minutes thereafter, it's the hottest ticket in Jamaica. As their website says, the crowd runs the gamut from Rastas to Rolexes, making it a great people-watching spot.
Hubby watching the sun set.
There is also a spot for cliff-diving (from tame to absolutely freaking crazy in height) and once every thirty minutes or so some nutty Jamaican dudes show off for tips by diving from a teeny branch of a thirty foot tree, directly into the rocky abyss below.
Here is the lowest spot from which you could dive. On the upper left, where you see the cliff disappear off the shot, is the highest spot. People line up to leap off there, although we saw some folks chicken-out at the last minute. The Jamaican hanging from the tree is above that spot. So yeah, he really is nuts.
Finally, as if all that weren't enough, there is a stage with live music every night. Usually it's the in-house reggae band but on this particular night it was an infamous local female steel drum band that, quite frankly ROCKED.
You can see video of the group in action here - I was having trouble embedding the html in the blog for some reason.
Rick's was the perfect ending to our vacation. On a week that had been all about our daughter, we got to spend some time just being a couple again.
All of that and we still got back to the resort in time for dinner and a bath with Daisy. Perfect!