"To strive, to seek, to find and not to yield"
- Alfred Lord Tennyson, 1833

"live deep and suck out all the marrow of life"
- Henry David Thoreau, 1845

"Some guys, they just give up living
And start dying little by little, piece by piece
Some guys come home from work and wash up,
And go racin' in the streets."
- Bruce Springsteen, 1977

"...to the heart, there's no time for you to waste.
You won't find your precious answers now
by staying in one place."
- Frank Turner, 2009

"The best things in life aren't things.
They're living and breathing."
- Michael Franti , 2011

"I owned every second that this world could give,
I saw so many places, the things that I did"
- Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic, 2014

All written content and photos by Rob Fulfer unless otherwise indicated.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Happy New Year, Mon!

We took a quick trip down to Jamaica to celebrate New Year's.  While this trip had been planned for a while, it was up in the air if we would actually go until the last minute due to the ongoing medical condition of Ashlee's mom, Evelyn.  But, with improved progress in her health and an understanding and blessing by Evelyn herself, we decided to go.  This trip had a couple of "firsts" for us.  It would be the first time we would be staying in an "all-inclusive" resort and it's the first time we had bought a package deal (i.e. flight, ground transportation and lodging) from a travel company.  Our usual modus operandi is finding cheap airfare and building a trip around it ourselves, but we got a decent package rate and wanted to try an all-inclusive resort at least once in our lives.

Saturday, December 29, 2012 - We drove down to Atlanta to catch our direct flight into Montego Bay.  While we enjoy the convenience of flying out of Nashville, we always check Atlanta and a lot of times their airfares are much lower to certain destinations.  This was the same with the package deal we bought which was a much better overall rate out of Atlanta than out of Nashville.

The descent into Montego Bay was breath-taking.
Our resort, the Riu ClubHotel, was just outside of Negril, Jamaica, on the far west tip of the island.  The hour-and-a-half ride from the Montego Bay Airport was a bit long, but at least it hugged the coastline for most  of the way providing us with some nice views here and there.  Jamaica is an extremely poor country which is evident fairly quickly.   However, the roadsides and small towns we passed were fairly clean and tidy.  This was not case, for example, in Belize which we visited a few years ago on a cruise where not only was the country poor, but the residents there didn't seem to care about upkeep or trash removal.

This was the view from our room at the resort looking out on Bloody Bay.  One interesting thing about Jamaica, at least here, were the number of hardwood trees near the beaches instead of just palm trees.  Yes, that's a bar on the beach.  It opens at 10 AM every day..just FYI.  Until then we had a stocked fridge and bar in our room...just sayin'.
Sunday, December 30, 2012 - A great day to just hang out by the pool.

This was our favorite of the two pools at the resort.  Probably because that's a swim-up bar under the patio on the right and the bartender there makes a great White Russian and another  delicious "secret" concoction of his own called "The Green Dragon."

Not top-shelf, but a big shelf.  The bars, bar service and drink selections were the best part of the resort.

Monday, December 31, 2012 - It was just another lazy day for us around the resort today before we loaded up in a van to our one and only planned excursion of the trip:  a swim in Bioluminescence Bay.  This was an amazing experience.  The moonless but clear sky made it perfect for this endeavor.  We honestly can't say we have seen more stars in the sky than we did tonight.  And they seemed so much closer than at home.  The bioluminescence experience was surreal.  Every movement in the water left a glowing trail behind it. Unfortunately, we were not able to capture any of it on film.  We did find the link below to a National Geographic feature about a similar area in Puerto Rico.  A hint of the amazing stars we saw comes at :55 and the swimming experience is at 1:55 if you don't want to watch the whole thing (although it's all very interesting).


The only downside to the bioluminescence excursion was that it was on the other side of Montego Bay, meaning we had an almost two-hour ride to get there and then another back for only a one-hour experience.  The views as above were sometimes nice, but fleeting, and overall the transportation endeavor almost cancelled out the actual experience itself.
New Year's Eve back at the resort was a bit of a let-down.  They had a terrible band playing, unimpressive food and no fireworks.  What the??  We decided to see 2013 come in on our patio with a bottle of champagne and a (legal here) Cuban cigar (our first one and it was pretty smooth). 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013 - Happy New Year!  On our last day at the resort and the first day of the new year, we decided we just had to go so see a little more of the island. We made arrangements with a cabbie to take us into the town of Negril and drop us off at Rick's Cafe, a famous bar on the cliffs there overlooking the ocean which is supposed to be a good place to watch the sun set.

The famous diving alcove at Rick's Cafe with the Negril Point Lighthouse in the background.
A panoramic sunset view of Rick's Cafe from the balcony above the main bar.

What can you say.  Jamaica's pretty nice.  Yeah, mon!

Wednesday, January 2, 2012:  Heading Home

We said goodbye to tranquil  Bloody Bay this morning and headed back to the airport for our early afternoon flight.

Jamaica's worth coming back to someday if we have the chance.  It's a beautiful, diverse place.

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