Although Daniel and I got married last year, we just took our honeymoon this year for our first wedding anniversary. Like the Jamericans we are, we visited Ochos Rios, Jamaica for 5 glorious nights. Because we had many family members who came from out of town to our wedding we didn’t just want to jet off the next day for our honeymoon. And even thought we definitely aren’t the richest people in the world (probably not even Bill Gates is by now) we knew that if we didn’t take our honeymoon now, we probably never would.
When we were first flying into Montego Bay it was apparent that Jamaica is a lush, foresty, mountainous country. I guess in my head I pictured it more hot and sandy. Once in customs I thought I had lost a very important document and would be stuck in Jamaica forever. My face turned super red and then the lady at customs told me even if I had lost it they could give me another one….Needless panic, one of my best traits. The transfer from Montego Bay to Ochos Rios was quite the cultural experience simply because I haven’t left the country in 3 years. There were goats everywhere along the side of the highway ( I use “highway” loosely here). Probably about 2/3 of the buildings and houses we saw were unfinished (we were later told by a tour guide that this is due to 25% interest rates on loans). Once at the hotel we discovered that the couple who got off the bus at the last stop mistook our luggage for theirs. Luckily we got our luggage later that night. Also, it was about 7:45pm by the time we arrived at our hotel and we still wanted to walk by the ocean. The sun set very early in Jamaica so it was dark on the beach. We were walking along when out of nowhere we heard, “Hey! Wanna buy some smokes?” I grabbed Daniel’s arm and told him we should swiftly get the H outta there. A security guard overheard what was going on and told us that the locals are separated from the resort’s private beach by a fence and not to worry–that guy was just a local trying to sell some “smokes.” Pretty sure that means Maria Juana.
The second day/first full day was our first anniversary. We spent it by the beach, swam in the ocean, and enjoyed the swim-um bar. The beach was very clean-very little seaweed, no jellyfish, and the water was warm. It was about 88 degrees each day and cloudy. The staff was friendly and eager to talk with the tourists. They also had a fancy chocolate cake dessert with “Happy Anniversary” written in chocolate waiting in our room. Probably the fanciest gift we’ll ever get for our anniversary, Gracias Jamaica.
The second day we did a tour to Kingston, the capital city. The tour included a stop at Juicy Patti-a Jamaican fast food joint that serves fried tortilla-like pockets of “beef” (again, used loosely). The “beef” was seasoned pretty good and we didn’t get sick so I’d say it was a win. We also toured Bob Marley’s home where he wrote “Three Little Birds.” Did you know that Bob Marley was the victim of an assassination attempt? I did not. But now I’ve seen the bullet holes.. it really happened, ya’ll. I’m a Bob Marley fan and reggae fan in general so I thoroughly enjoyed the tour, minus the fit as many people as we can in Bob’s house part. We also ate d-lish-us ice cream at Devon House. Other than that I wouldn’t recommend spending your money on the Kingston Tour.
The third day we sat out by the ocean, but this time I had a brilliant idea. Let’s forgo the lounge chairs in the shade and get tanned! I have red hair and freckles and Scottish/Swedish blood and not the tanning gene. What a great idea. We got totally burned, but only on our front side. It is now 3 weeks later and my shins are peeling. That’s how I roll…or peel. We ate dinner at Moonstone Italian that night and it was pretty good.
The fourth and final day there we hiked up a waterfall- Dunn’s Falls. If I would have known that you hike UP the WATERFALL instead of next to it like people who want to live, I never would have signed us up…and paid to do it. Alas, we lived and didn’t chip a tooth so I guess it was fun, minus the pebbles in my chacos every other step. After that, and because we hadn’t had enough thrill for the day we rode the Mystic Mountain bobsled (look it up!) and ziplined through the forest. We loved ziplining. It was much better than hiking up a waterfall. But, then again, isn’t anything better than hiking up a waterfall? On the way home our bus driver obliged our request to stop at Scotchy’s, a local smokehouse that sells wonderfully amazing jerk chicken. We ordered half a chicken and 2 festivals (like a cornbread stick) and ate with our hands on the balcony of our room admiring the beautiful view of the mountain. It was one of my favorites.
We also played tennis with the resort tennis pro and got lessons 2 days. The Jamaican humidity is much worse than the humidity in the Southern state where we live. I could barely hold the racquet I was sweating so bad. Still worth it.
Overall, Daniel and I made memories to last a lifetime. We relived our wedding day and reminisced about the best day of our lives. Hopefully, we can make it a tradition to wake up on our anniversary in a new destination every year. Oh, and it’s not a stereotype–Jamaicans really do say “Ya, mon” to everything.