July 20, 2013
There are so many things to do in Negril, but sometimes the most fun is to do nothing but be there. Being there is a different kind of nothing, and Negril regulars understand this definition of being.
It was one of those weeks in Negril where one could bounce around and be the belle of the ball, or just chill and recharge before the Christmas rush back in the states. To that point I hadn’t made a decision either way.
By the time I felt the need to move from The Castle it was somehow Tuesday. It’s funny how that happens. I rolled out before nine AM, and I was in the back seat of a route taxi two minutes after passing through the silver Castle gate.
I love corrupting the faithful route taxi driver. He took me down to the NCB Bank, and I paid him 500J to wait until I finished getting cash and grabbing a case of Red Stripe. Once back in the car the young driver offered to take me on a tour.
“How much?” I asked.
“500J” he responded too quickly.
“Deal! Take me somewhere I haven’t seen and I’ll give you a good tip.”
“Challenge Accepted!” He didn’t say, but that was the feeling I got from him as we shot through the round-a-bout and down the Beach Road.
The wind in my face on a beautiful Tuesday morning, I began to wonder if nine twenty-five was too early for a Red Stripe. I guess I decided it was since I opted for a Ting in a glass bottle. In my opinion, Ting in a glass bottle tastes better than Ting in a plastic bottle. We shot up past the A-I’s and over the new bridge around to Orange Bay and then inland into the hills and dales beyond.
I love backwoods Jamaica. I’m always amazed how Jamaican drivers are indifferent to pot-holed roads and impossibly steep hills. It’s rides like these that the familiar reassurance of “No Problem Mon” holds actual weight.
We came out on the road from Sav la Mar a few miles outside Negril proper when a quick left turn took us back into the bush. Minutes later we were driving slowly along an isolated beach. My driver looked at me with a “I bet you’ve never been here before” look, and instead of saying, “Isn’t Blue Hole just over there?” I just smiled and enjoyed the ride. Soon we were on the ass-end of West End Road and fifteen minutes later I was loading my little fridge in Deluxe One with warm Red Stripes.
Rob of Negril.com and Real Negril.com fame had a webcast scheduled down at Fun Holiday on the beach. Invigorated by my morning trip I decided lunch at the beach, followed by some beach beers was a good idea.
This time out I wanted to stretch a little, so I walked into town. I had no illusions of making it all the way to Fun Holiday, but I was hoping to make it to somewhere near Canoe Bar. I don’t like walking around that blind corner on the final dip into town.
I ran into a guy I always seem to run into in Negril. I hopped into his van and he took me out to Fun Holiday, all the while offering me every diversion, substance and pastime available to we wayward travelers. I begged him off with the, “Look for me later. I’m meeting up with some friends tomorrow who love all that crazy stuff,” line.
There wasn’t much going on at Fun Holiday, but I loved seeing Rob and saying hello to the boardies, at least to the financially independent ones who are in the chatroom on a Tuesday afternoon. (You know who you are…)
The only other person there was a young Jamaican girl named Nikki who seemed annoyed that I wasn’t paying more attention to her. She gave me a huff as she left.
The day was cool and the beach looked great. For someone who goes to Negril so often I’m not very fond of the water. I love walking along the waterline, and I love walking to the many bars along the beach, but the surf rarely goes above my knees.
About an hour and four beers later I’d only gotten a few hundred yards. I was talking Football with a bartender, and I had a nice buzz working when I noticed my new friend Nikki, her sixth sense honed in on my buzz, closing in for the kill. Though I kind of like the attention, I’m grounded enough to see what was happening. Attractive twenty-two year old women no matter where they’re from don’t have any interest in middle-aged men, even when the guy is a charming bastard like me.
This experience seems to happen more and more as the years go by. Is Negril changing or am I? Obviously both change constantly, but I do try to keep away from such situations. Once in the situation, however, extricating oneself is tricky. Lucky for me the bartender noticed I wasn’t buying and chased Nikki and her friend from the bar.
His help added dramatically to his tip, and after a really good fish sandwich he arranged for a driver to give me a ride back to The Castle. Nice.
A nap later it was time to head out to 3 Dives for more webcast and a great Jerk Chicken dinner. I arrived at 3 Dives about half an hour before sunset. I grabbed some beers, ordered dinner, and busied myself making stupid faces and odd comments into the webcam.
Just as Rob and Lisa were telling me about a reality TV show that was filming in town, a bald dude in a white suit showed up and began to bounce around the place like, well, like a reality TV host.
I had never seen Hotel Impossible, but Anthony Melchiorri is an infectious guy. He shook hands and asked about everyone there. He shook my hand and finding out I live in Brooklyn, he threw on his Brooklyn accent and told us he’s originally from Sheepshead Bay.
Intrigued by the webcast Anthony zoomed in on Rob. He got all excited when he found out Rob “is” Negril.com, and he started flexing his marketing muscles while his entourage chowed down on Jerk Chicken and Red Stripes. By the time he and his crew left, Rob and Lloydie had arranged for them to come back Thursday night to feature 3 Dives and Negril.com as marketing tie-ins with the hotel he was revamping.
It was late when Rob and Lisa dropped me at The Castle. The fully booked resort had many guests partying all over the place. I made my rounds, drank more beer and it was well past midnight when I bid my fellow revelers goodnight.
What a day . . .