stay home, share 3 travel photos challenge (day 6) jamaica
Jamaica - Ocho Rios
Jamaica is the only place I’ve traveled to and took very few photos. Jamaica has been my only nightmare vacation. I didn’t feel safe. I blame that on traveling with a not so nice travel companion. The amount of bad experiences traveling with a poor choice of a travel partner reflected on my photo “silence.” In hindsight, she invited me to join her because she found a travel deal and didn’t want to vacation alone so she asked a neighbor who seemed reasonably easy to be with (me). She insisted that I give her full reign of planning. She thought my penchant for organizing annoying. I like to read reviews, check weather forecasts, and look at photos to plan excursions. I didn’t think I was over the top with organizing but she thought I was a control freak. Boy, did I learn who the control freak was.
If you want to test any friendship, travel together and you will learn the truth. If you want to test the resilience of any relationship, watch how you deal with crisis and emergencies together.
Jamaica was lovely. Lush island weather. The mermaid above was from a wood carver’s shop display. I liked seeing children skipping and playing outside as we drove past. Highlights about the island was visiting the Bob MarleyMuseum and Dunn’s River Falls. Low points was needing to abandon the hotel we initially booked and navigating the moody waves of my friend. Her bargain choice hotel had dead bugs in the bedding and broken toilets. We switched out rooms three different times before seeing we weren’t going to be safe nor comfortable. After the third room, I told my friend we needed to get some air and go for a walk. We walked til we came upon a hotel where we had stopped briefly earlier when our airport shuttle dropped off guests. It was an all inclusive resort and the security at the gate let us in after I told him we needed a place to stay.
Moon Palace Hotel
I wish I took more photos of the lovely Moon Palace Resort. After speaking with the manager, she set us up in a room and had a driver help us retrieve our luggage at the first hotel. The manager of this sparkly grand hotel was very nice and saw that my friend was prickly company. She was not only accommodating but also gave us a personal tour of the hotel and pointed out where the hotel’s pianos were and encouraged me to play them whenever I liked.
I would absolutely return though the hotel is better suited to couples. There were several pools with dive-up bars, bars about the hotel, and plenty of food. During my travel companion’s cheerier moments, we fit in tours, we went kayaking, and snorkled. But, there we many times where I chose to be on my own. I brought a book or found a piano to relax. I was happy to entertain myself alone. A group of girls vacationing from New York adopted me into their clan. I found myself invited to different circles and parties among the hotel guests much to my travel companion’s surprise.
I wouldn’t recommend roaming alone outside of the resort. I barely felt safe when my “friend” and I left the hotel. We would find ourselves surrounded by at least half a dozen men trying to sell us drugs among other things. Even on the beach, a man in a kayak approached me and said he can get a hold of any drug I wished for. It was a stunning moment. I had expected him to try to sell me island touristy stuff like seashells when he rowed up.
This is the only and last photo that I took with my “friend” during our Jamaican trip. It was a long week but I managed to have fun by choosing to be alone as much as possible. My “friend” was brutal company that I had to steel myself against. It was an expensive lesson to learn that vacations are best enjoyed either alone or with family or longtime friends. This is a rare vacation where I didn’t take many photos nor bought any souvenirs.
Not all vacations are idyllic. But if you’re a good lemonade maker, you can make the best of a bad situation, alone, and thousands of miles away from home.
Thanks @psos for fun challenges that take me down memory lanes where I may reflect on past travel experiences good and bad.