Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Jamaica March 2011 Day 1
Leitrim Hockey shirts (there was probably about 65 of us) to catch our 6:00am flight. The kids were very excited, ours especially since they had never been on a plane before. Check in was interesting. Many thanks to the kind family who lent us some weight to get our hockey stuff through. We all had an extra 5 kilos and had to distribute it evenly among us to get the sticks and nets on the plane. In Canada they seem content to check for traces of bomb-making type stuff by dusting your gear with some secret powder which must show a reaction when it comes into contact with anything shady. Pretty high-tech! I didn't get the pat down but I took the longest in the x-ray line because I was packing so much tech (Iphones, netbooks, vid and still cams, media players, GPS etc.. ).
this screen shows 41,000 feet).
On the plane ride we were asked to complete a Jamaican customs paper for each family member. There was a shortage of pens but no worries, I had one in my favorite color, purple, and it took me about 30 minutes to fill them all in (what's this stuff! I'm on vacation mon!). As it turns out, this was bad as I had not noticed the note at the top indicating the use of blue or black pens only. So when we put down in Jamaica and went to customs, they told me my forms were NO GOOD, Purple ink and all that and that I had to go re-do them.
dragged a dirty cloth across the windshield. He was a Squeegee guy without the squeegee!
Do you know that it costs between $500 and $600 or $700 US to get stitches in Jamaica? $150 for the doctor to come look, $150 for the stitches, $150 for the meds and $150 for anything else. When you pay the $150 he takes a look and totals up everything else and lets you know, it's a case by case thing (we are not in Canada anymore mon!). Even though we had vacation medical coverage this didn't seem right to me. The nurse asked my kid some questions and I went and answered for her and the nurse got angry with me and gave me the "talk to the hand" thing.
"Let her answer!" she barked.
Hmm. I was starting to get pissed here. Hey nurse Ratchet, I'm the parent and this is MY kid you are talking to. This isn't a child abuse disclosure interview, how about we knock off the tude a bit eh? The whole money thing pissed me off and I'm already starting to suspect your medical opinion is driven by greenbacks. So I did the typical Canadian thing and smiled and told my kid to answer her (she didn't at first, which was funny. She must have thought if she opened her mouth the stitches were gonna be going in right then and there. In the end nurse Ratchet wrote down what I told her in the first place). Before she cleaned and wrapped it I got a good look at it and it was not as bad as I thought. I told her we had a doctor in our travel group and I was going to get a second opinion. We had packed a ton of first aid stuff and could probably get through the week keeping her beach shoes on, her toe bandaged up and the salt and chlorine would probably keep it pretty clean.
The nurse was a bit angry at that point and asked me if I was not respecting her medical opinion and I lied politely and told her that I did respect her opinion and I was simply seeking a second one. What I really wanted to say was that I don't like getting reamed out by hotel medical practitioners in a foreign country because I'm a tourist and you have me over a barrel, but I kept that particular medical opinion to myself. I may need this nurse again soon and it pays to be nice! Then she made me fill out an incident report and she got very picky over my wording and handwriting and it took about 15 minutes to fill that out. All the while there were 3 other couples out front waiting to see the nurse. Thank god we were first. For the second or third time I was starting to get a bit flustered at her demeanour. As I was trying to fill the thing out she asked me a few times if I understood what she was asking me to do. I think what she REALLY wanted to ask me was if I actually understood English and if I was quite possibly illiterate. Yup. That's the impression I got. When she huffed at my wording I crossed out a word to chose another word and she just about had a cow. "NO!!! DON"T CROSS IT OUT!" Then she reached for a new form and I told her there was no way I was filling a new one out. I've been in your damned country 2 hours and I'm spending half of that time filling out damned forms. I thanked her for wrapping my kids foot and I asked her if I could wheel my kid out and bring back the wheelchair.
Nope.. Wheelchair stays. Your kid can walk if she doesn't need stitches. YEEHA! I'm having fun now! As I left I glanced at the peopel waiting in the outer office and said:
"Good luck folks!, you're not in Kansas anymore!".
The doctor in our group from Canada said that stitches would probably not do well in that area and just to bandage it and keep it clean. I told my kid we'll pass on the stitches and buy an IPAD 2 when we get home with the money instead, because the cost is about the same, and plus we can take pictures of her toe with the ipad!
We got our room a few hours after and we unpacked our stuff and headed out to explore the grounds. As we left our room I went to lock the back sliding door and noticed that there WAS no lock on it. Doh! No problem man, I had to go to the front desk to get a safe key anyhow, I'll ask them to fix the room door.
The hotel was neatly laid out and you could see how they attempted to separate the kids and families from the US spring break crowd that had also begun to arrive. All the kiddy stuff, water slides, lazy river etc was on one side, and the hot tubs, big pools and swim up bars were on the other. We caught the sun set right at 5:50/6:00 and explored the rocky outcropping that protected some of the swimming areas before hitting the evening dinner buffet. The food was very good. I will eat well over the next 8 days! We caught a bit of the night time show and turned in early to get rested up from the early start. On the way to our room we passed the water park in the night and took a picture. We'll be trying that bad boy first thing tomorrow morning! Whatever happens after today, it's all uphill!