Friday, March 25, 2011

Jamaica 2011 - Final Days

The family and I were getting to be experts at the buffet now and I was able to cobble together something approximating your typical breakfast meal in my work's cafeteria. The kids loved this whole "go get whatever you want whenever you want for free" concept of food procurement (it was quite the shock to the system when they came back to Canada and didn't have the Omelette guy serving them up whatever they wanted). The food at this place was awesome. A good tip the next time you;re at one of these resorts is to go to Canadian Tire and grab one of those Big Bubba Keg mugs so you can get them to fill it with whatever you want and save yourself a few trips to the bar. The drink glasses on the resort are pretty small and a large drink container comes in handy!

They had these neat birds at the resort who really liked scrambled eggs so they would clear out the last remnants and feed them all in the back so they wouldn't bother the patrons in the dining area. My wife managed to get a shot of a Heron-like bird in the bay as well. There were quite a few cats running around. These were wild cats, strays, who managed to survivine on whatevber the vacationers at the hotel fed them and my kids were all over that (they are cat crazy). I'm surprised we didn't have one living in our room. Something struck me as strange with some of the cats before I realized that I'm not used to seeing them with their junk intact.

Every day there would be different vendors in the Hotel set up so you could buy stuff. They were pretty nice and no one hounded you at all. At another hotel there was a guy who sold stuff offshore. He was not allowed to come on the beach so he had a kayak full of stuff and he would paddle in about 20 feet from shore (outside hotel property) and get to to come over and see what he had. An interesting way to circumvent the system! Apparently whatever they offer you you're supposed to go down 50% but we didn't haggle too hard. We figured they needed the money more than we needed to save any.
The gift shop on the resort was full of great stuff! You could get various Jamaican phallic symbols as well as a Beatles Yellow Submarine Jesus! I really wish I would have picked up one of those Jamaican hats with the Dreads on them. very cool. In the end I settled for a couple of t-shirts. Remember the Jamaican bobsled team? They had posters of those guys as well!

That afternoon I went out into the water again snorkling with Dan's camera this time set to widescreen 30 frames a second video. I headed over to the drop off and tried to measure how deep it was. I hung there in the water and figured that about 5 of me would fit one on top of the other so about 30 feet. That's my limit as far as going down deep, actually probably about 25 feet but that took me to the mouth of these Coral caves and wouldn't you know it, there was ZIP in there, nada. I was expecting some huge sea beast to be hunkered down in there just waiting to be videoed. That's when I noticed something was wrong with the underwater camera. I've used cameras underwater before and Ive experienced the situation with throwaway underwater cheapie cams where the pressure is wacked and you can't even press the button because the air is so compressed. I headed back up to breathe and see what was up and the camera was not doing so good. Hmm, it should be good to a certain number of meters. Oops. later i found out it was only good to 15 feet. It sprung a seal and salt water killed it good. I did the bag of rice trick but to no avail. I just killed my friend's camera. Oh well. (I bought him a better one, a Hi Def model three up from his and newer the next day I got back. OUCH!). This sucked because i was on the fence thinking about buying a Go Pro HD underwater Cam and now here I was replacing a cam I broke. I should have just bit the bullet and bought the Go PRO before my trip. Let this be a lesson to you gadget freaks. If you are thinking you should but something, GO WITH YOUR GUT AND BUY THAT THING! (hehehehehehe).

When I got back to the pool Dan informed me that he entered me and this guy Luigi from our group in a talent show at the resort that night. That's nice of you Dan! What am I supposed to do? "Do some of that guitar stuff!" I asked if they had an acoustic, because I do a version of "No Woman No cry"  slap funk fingerstyle that might go over well, but no.. They just had the house band and he had a Fender copy electric guitar. I met with him an hour before I was supposed to go on and I tried to get a high gain sound with a touch of delay like I like it but no deal man. That guitar was a reggae guitar, clean as a whistle and it did not dirty up very well through his setup. I fitzed around and went with the dirtiest sound I could get but it had absolutely NO sustain. ACK! And launched into RUSH's Limelight for the Canadian Contingent. After a few bars the drummer and bass player kicked in and I thought great! Rush, everyone knows Rush, Awesome! Until it hit that time signature switch from 4/4 to 4/ 3/4 and then it was like that scene in "Back to the Future" where they got lost, looked at each other and stopped playing... hehehehehehehe.

Still it was fun. If that ever happens again I'm bringing some Amp Models on my Iphone and plugging into that. Playing any guitar pyrotechnics when you don't have your sound (the brown sound or something like it) is like trying to make out with your head wrapped in cellophane. You can go through the motions but it's not gonna work and it gets you down just trying.

Luigi, the guy that sang the national anthem at our Jamaican hockey game turned out to be a wedding singer and he closed the show with a great rendition of "It's a wonderful world". It was definitely Canadian Entertainment night in Jamaica.

That night the "Girls Gone Wild" as we were calling the Spring Break students from Ithaca, spend part of the evening throwing up in back of our hotel room. By this point, it didn't phase us. That was one of the few weird things about the resort, the fact that they had mixed families with kids with "Girls Gone Wild" in the same area of the hotel. For the most part though, the hotel managed to keep them all on one side where the hot tub and swim up bar was.

Our kids liked to go to the hot tub, but the first few times I accompanied them there, it was to watch them sitting amongst a sea of 19 to 22 somethings. In a couple of instances, I moved the kids along because of what was going on. Now I'm not a prude, and I can take a 3 woman(girl) "Love train" chugging along poolside with the middle one grabbing the first one's boobs and the last one slapping the middle one's butt cheeks, I just don't want to explain it to my kids.When I arrived back at the waterslides some other ladies were getting ready to take their kids to the hot tub and I kind of said "Uhh, maybe not..". One of the Dad's asked "What's going on at the hot tub?" and I said: "uhh, maybe you shuld go check it out first" (grin). ZOOM! Now my kids know that it is possible for multiple people to drink booze underwater using a funnel and bong device (thank you Georgia University!).

Actually my kids enjoyed watching their antics. I myself was reminded of competing tribes of monkeys in documentaries on the Discovery channel I've seen  where male monkeys in the "Georgia" tribe would attempt to entice female monkeys from the "Ithaca" tribe over to their side. This action greatly upset the male monkeys in the "Ithaca" tribe who attempted to retaliate by trying to do the same with tribe "Georgia"'s females. This in turn had the effect of angering the females of tribe "Ithaca" who went out of their way to be receptive to the advances made by male "Georgians", and so on. Or sometimes the female "Ithaca" and female "Geogians" would turn to each other for comfort in this tense tribal situation causing all of tribe Ithaca and Tribe Georgia males to stop what they were doing and take photographs instead.

Only In Jamaica Mon!

All in  all it was a wonderful vacation and we would go back to the same resort given an opportunity. We actually had 8 days there due to our early flight and late departure. It's a great setup for kids and they had a great time. I think next time we go though we'll try and avoid the three overlapping weeks of US spring Break! Maybe the Pirate ship will be open!


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