Archives – December, 2006

Negril was great! Christmastime was fantastic!

I didn’t know what to expect this trip. I was so busy at work I barely had time to plan things out, so I just went.

Air Jamaica cancelled our flight 14 hours before we were to take off. We were told to come to Philadelphia International Airport and they would bus us up to Newark Airport for a 1:45PM flight. I was upset, but didn’t want it to ruin the trip so without another option we did as we were told.

Luckily Jason and Megan (my travel partners) got to the airport early and worked a deal with someone from AJ to put us on the 9:40AM US Airways flight from Philadelphia. It wasn’t as good as not being cancelled in the first place, but we made it to Montego Bay by about 1:30PM.

I was feeling pretty good. I figured we’d meet up with Clive and be on the road by 2:30PM, but it was not to be. The line at imigration stopped several turns down that long hallway and it took over an hour to get through. 

Then customs was another nightmare! Being close to Christmas, many Jamaicans were returning home for the holidays, and when Jamaicans come back home they bring SERIOUS baggage, and most of it has to be declared. Normally this wouldn’t be as issue, we just go through the “Nothing to Declare” line and shoot right through.

BUT Jason bought a fancy bottle of Jack Daniels as a Christmas present for his dad back in Philadelphia, and he had to declare it. Megan and I waited for a while but decided to go in the “Nothing to Declare” line, and let Jason wait in the huge non-moving line behind literal mountains of Jamaican luggage.

We decompressed at the Margaritaville bar and waited almost an hour for Jason. Clive was right at the door when we emerged. It was great to see him, we were so late he thought we forgot about him and got another ride. It was nearly 4:30PM before we hit the road to Negril, and the sun was setting as we drove up the cliffs.

My friends stayed at XTabi. I’d never been on the “Garden” side of Xtabi before, thier room was nice and roomy, it’s balcony overlooking a lush landscape. After they were settled I headed down to Blue Cave Castle and Santo welcomed me and showed me into Deluxe 1, the same room I stayed in back in April.

I didn’t really think how cool it would be to have the same room, I just liked it last time and saw it was open when I booked, but it was like coming home. I put my big bag on the small bed and unpacked. It was awesome, I knew where everthing went! I unpacked in just a few minutes.

I changed into shorts and a t-shirt, put on my flip-flops and walked out to the edge of the cliff and just marveled at the dark quiet Caribbean stretching out before me. I really felt like I was home.

I always say I feel like I’m home when I’m in Negril, but this time it was more than hyperbole. I took several deep breaths and just enjoyed the moment.

I headed back to Xtabi on foot, meeting and greeting the local Jamaicans, suprised how many I remembered this third time in the neighborhood in a little over a year.

Then it was off to 3Dives for some of Lloydie’s World Famous Jerk Chicken. It did not dissapoint!

Vinny :)

1 Comment December 29, 2006

Christmas in Negril

It’s been beautiful here, a little rain every day. It cools things off in the afternoons. We’ve been all around from Half Moon Beach in Orange Bay, and in a fishing boat on the Black River with Rasta George.

The Blue Cave Castle is awesome as always. The pictures just don’t capture the views here. So You’re going to just have to come down and see it for yourself.

Hastle with the planes and and getting here are far behind. The food has been great, 3Dives, XTabi, Brown Sugar. We got some great gurried goat yesterday for lunch, way up in the mountains above Black River. Great Stuff :)

More to come…

Vinny :)

Leave a Comment December 20, 2006

All My Bags Are Packed…

All My Bags Are Packed, I’m ready to go
I’m standing here just by de doe (waiting for a cab)
Kris just called me up, to say goodbye.

But the dawn is breakin’ it’s early morn
Leaving Rosie has me emotionally torn
Already I’m so excited, Jah Rastafar – I

So Kiss me and smile for me
Tell me that you envy me
Don’t cha wish you were going to Negril

I’m leaving on a jet plane
AJ cancelled my flight again
Oh Babe, Can’t wait to go

There’s so many times I’ve gone to town
All I do is play around
I’ll tell you now, I can’t wait to get some Ting

Every place I go I’ll think of you
Every beer I’ll drink I’ll drink for you
When I get back I’ll bring your Christmas thing

So Kiss me and smile for me
Tell me that you envy me
Don’t cha wish you were going to Negril

I’m leaving on a jet plane
Shuttle bus to Newark; A big-ass pain
I wish they would have let me know

I’m leaving on a jet plane
Gonna get really drunk ‘pon de plane

Leaving on a jet plane
My buddy Clive, will pick me up again

Leaving on a jet plane
To stare ‘pon de Caribbean

Peace :)

Leave a Comment December 15, 2006

4 Days, 17 Hours, 45 Minutes, 27 Seconds

Oh boy! It’s getting close. I’m reviewing my last minute checklist, and the rolling duffel is packed, but not yet zipped.

Today I start overfeeding Rosie The Cat. For the next few days she gets a can of Fancy Feast in the morning and another one at night. It’s all about feline abandonment guilt. She knows when I’m leaving for vacation, she gives me “that look”, and then she acts pissed for a few days after I return. It seems I have complicated relationships with every female in my life.

Then there’s housekeeping. I hate to go away and leave my place a mess (which is its default state). Thursday I did eight loads of laundry, wash dry and fold in two and a half hours. Impressive, huh. Friday and Saturday was spring cleaning, belated not proactive, so that when my neighbor come up to “look-in” on Rosie, she won’t be horrified. 

Finally there’s Chrismas shopping. I never went on vacation this time of year before, and since I’m returning Christmas eve, there’s a pretty good chance everyone on my list is getting a t-shirt and a bottle of Pickapeppa. Well that’s not exactly true, I’ve done some shopping, and maybe I’ll do some this week, but I can’t go into any details.

I’m rambling aren’t i? Sorry. Go Eagles!!

Peace :)

Vinny

1 Comment December 10, 2006

The P List!

OK, I’m 11 days out!! Woo Hoo!! And it’s become a tradition for me to not only make a packing list, but to post it here for all to see, and in some cases, to ridicule.

The list is thorough, but every time I’ve posted one of these lists someone emails me with some important thing I’m missing. I’ve paired the list down considerably for this trip, less goofy stuff I “thought” was a good idea, but never touched once in Negril.

Anyway here it is, please feel free to cut and paste for your personal use :)

Clothing

  • 1 pair – Swim Trunks ** Lots of swimming last time, but only used one pair
  • 3 pairs – Shorts
  • 3 pairs – Gym Shorts ** My version of PJs
  • 8 Assorted T-Shirts
  • 3 Polo/Golf Shirts ** I may play a round of golf this trip – all these trips and I never have!
  • 6 Hawaiian Shirts ** I look so good in these
  • 1 pair – Jeans ** Winter travel-wear
  • 1 pair – Socks ** Only on the list for appearances
  • 10 pairs – Underwear ** incl. silk boxers just in case … Well, you know who you are ;)
  • Sandals
  • Flip Flops ** There is a difference between Sandals and Flip Flops, Sandals don’t make noise
  • Running Shoes ** As if I’ll be running :) actually just more winter wear
  • Light Jacket ** I may check this to a heavy sweatshirt pending departure day weather
  • 2 Ball Caps ** Eagles & Phillies – Not that either team deserves it!

Health & First -Aid

  • First-Aid Kit (Simple, Band Aids, alcohol wipes, tweezers)
  • Neosporin (For creepy crawly bites)
  • Sun Block 15 SPF
  • Sun Block Stick 30 SPF (For my nose)
  • Bug Repellant w/ at least 30% Deet ** Not sure of the bug situation in December
  • Pepto Bismol (Get individual serving packets) ** Just in case of Bustamante’s Revenge
  • Excedrin Extra Strength (Great for hangovers!)
  • Wet-Ones Travel Pack ** I put them in the freezer, great for wiping your sweaty face! Don’t knock it till ya try it! An old Restaurant Manager’s trick
  • Condoms ** I got several comments about this last time. Like how many to bring. Maybe I should bring like, 300 assorted condoms in my carry-on bag as if to dare the TSA guy to comment. I’d probably have to put them in a clear ziplock bag. 

Toiletries

  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Floss ** Again this is just for show, who flosses on vacation?
  • Mouth Wash 
  • Shampoo
  • Disposable Razors ** I always bring 3 I don’t know why
  • Shaving Cream
  • Hair Brush
  • Deodorant ** I’m an Old Spice Man
  • Cologne ** I’m going sans date so I need to make the ladies swoon

Other Stuff

  • Digital Camera ** Smile!! I need to take a lot of pics this trip!
  • AA Batteries – Energizer Max – 8 Pack ** For above Camera
  • Laptop Computer ** I’m not 100% sure about this, I miss the daily walk to Easy Rock
  • DVD’s (Laptop has a DVD Player) ** I watched King Kong on my last trip!
  • Disposable Flashlight (De power go black a lot) 
  • Disposable Rain Ponchos (for those afternoon storms) ** I still have the same 2 ponchos I bought for my October ’04 trip. I feel like a real outdoorsman having them, but I’m sure they won’t be touched, ever.
  • Disposable Lighters ** Ya Mon :) 
  • Cell Phone ** Which I end up using as a clock. I may rent one for this trip, email me for the number
  • Sunglasses ** I bought a great pair this summer, but I can’t find the damn things! They definitely enhanced my coolness
  • Breath Freshening Gum ** Red Stripes and Jerk Chicken aren’t workin’ with the breath!

Mind and Body

  • My Jamaica Journal – It’s a leather bound journal Kristine got me a few years ago that I only use in Jamaica. ** This is Sacrosanct! I just looked though it and I may fill it up this trip. Hey Kris, *Hint!
  • Books ** I have Wild Mind by Natalie Goldberg as a kind of workbook for my writing practice. For fun I have The Sex Lives of Cannibals by J. Maarten Troost.
  • Assorted Meditation Crystals ** These aren’t as weird as they may sound, but trying to explain them to a corrupt Jamaican cop who pulled me out of a gypsy cab looking for drugs was an experience.
  • My Mini Buddha, AKA Travel Buddha ** Ever see those little boxes while you stand in line at Barnes & Noble?
  • Assorted Incense w/ holder
  • Christmas Lights ** I think it will be fun to decorate my room, don’tcha think?

Travel Supplies

  • Passport ** Duh
  • Money - $100 in singles for tipping ** Jamaicans really appreciate the US $1 Bill, though you have to give them out in multiples these days.
  • ATM Card ** Visa Check card works more and more places each trip
  • Travel Wallet
  • Plane Tickets
  • Printed Hotel Reservations
  • Pens (1/2 a dozen, for the customs forms on the plane. I become a hero because no one has a damn pen)
  • Airline headset from previous trips ** I think Air Jamaica has different plugs than US Airways
  • Lonely Planet Guide to Jamaica New ’06 Edition ** I think my dad has this
  • Jamaican Road Map  ** I just like Maps
  • A collapsable duffel bag ** I may do some Christmas Shopping this trip and will need baggage space for the return trip
  • Candy for the Kids – Non-melting, individually packaged, and yummy! ** I always bring a bag, I brought Tootsie Pops last time, but I didn’t give any out. I still think it’s a nice idea. 

Damn, this is a good list! I may be getting this travel week thing down!!

 

Peace :)

Vinny

16 Comments December 3, 2006


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