March 03, 2012

Runaway Bay -- Continued

There's no such thing as a bad day in Jamaica. The sun is shining brightly and people are moving about. The view from the patio showed a glimpse of the ocean and beautifully-tended landscaping. Off to find breakfast and see about changing rooms.  Daylight showed that the room, while spacious and nicely-appointed, had seen its better days. As we meandered around the grounds, it became evident that an influx of funds was needed. But, breakfast beside a window opening onto a gorgeous view of the ocean made those observations irrelevant.

View of Jetty From Room
Club Ambiance is a small (or intimate, if you prefer) all-inclusive resort. It offers the amenities of a larger resort but on a smaller scale. There are organized activities but the entertainment staff is not pushy.  In other words, join in if you want problem. You can snorkel, canoe, take out the paddle boat, or ride over to Breezes (another resort) in the glass-bottomed boat. The beach is limited so don't expect long walks along the shoreline. You will, however, find plenty of space for sunbathing by the beach, by the pool, wherever. Did I mention that there is also a nude beach?  Some of the folks were lobster-red or the color of shoe leather.  There's also a circular building at the end of a jetty where you can fish or get a drink. The food is good; the drinks non-stop.

Speaking of drinks...when we checked in, we were greeted by a man who had a running drunk. I haven't seen one of those in years. He and his wife took the stairs to the upper level and he fell going up. I was afraid that he was going to tumble back down. We immediately nicknamed him "Stairmaster." And he was on a perpetual drunk until the morning he left. Gregarious.  Everybody was his friend.  Wonder what he's like at home?  There were also the people with the big "buddy" cups.  You know those 1/2 gallon containers?  SF and I missed the memo to bring one. Saves you from having to belly up to the bar on a regular basis.  The kicker was the man who showed up with a gallon container and slapped it on the bar.  Even the bartender was taken aback.

We made arrangements to take the glass-bottomed boat tour.  I thought it would be fantastic to go out around sunset.  On the water, sunset, warm temperatures. Girlfriend's been reading too many books. So when we show up, we're told that they think the water is a little rough and give it an hour. Maybe the waves will have died down.  They're concerned?  Not going at all is fine by me. When we returned, we rescheduled for the next day.

Throughout the main building and in the rooms are great pieces of art--paintings, carvings, ceramic pieces.  I've spotted a fantastic urn in the dining room and the burning question is "will they sell it to me?"  One of the doormen suggested that we check out the business across the street or one two blocks down to see if they had anything of interest.  Off we go.

Now, let me be very clear.  Jamaicans do not observe the speed limit. And, there were no stop lights or crosswalks anywhere in view.  Crossing the street means taking your life into your hands. We sprinted across the busy road (more like a highway) and took a look at the young man's carvings. Nice but nothing to float anyone's boat. Back across the highway and started to walk the "two blocks" to the next business. As SF stated "Two blocks in Jamaica can mean two miles." 

It's hot and I'm thirsty.  Just as we decided to turn around and go back to the hotel, this young boy appeared out of nowhere and announced that he was our tour guide.  Where did he come from?  I swear he popped up from between the cracks in the sidewalk. "What's your name?" "I'm your tour guide." When we explained that we were looking for paintings, etc., he directed us to a man carving under a tree. Everything we wanted was to be found under that tree. We declined and kept walking. Finally, we turned around and found that we had walked past the "shop" we were looking for.  Can't get away from Wally.  Ziggy had named his shop "The Future Wallmart." And who should show up? Our tour guide.

The next day was a busy one.  Fingers and toes must be done; the trip on the boat. And, I've got to eat and drink in between. First order of business: the boat. We forgot to bring the bread to feed the fish problem. The problem arose when I saw them bailing out the boat. Another arose when they didn't give me a life vest because they were wet. Lawd, Lawd.  But I really started praying when we got out into deep water and the boat rose and fell with the waves, each landing accompanied by a great SLAP.  Hold on. Nowhere in my books have they ever mentioned anything like this. I'm ready to turn around. No life vest and I don't swim that good.

School of Fish
Oh but when they stopped midway, the anxiety was worth it. A school of fish had amassed under the boat, waiting to be fed. Sea urchins were anchored to rises in the sea floor. Sea fans, coral reefs, and I missed the turtle.

The ride back was much smoother--just as I imagined it to be from my books--we were going with the waves and not against them. I'm so glad that I didn't give into my nerves and insist on going back.  Now I can check that experience off the list of things to do.

Back on shore, drink in hand (to calm the nerves, of course), enjoying the view and breeze,  SF is notified that he has a guest who has been waiting for him for an hour.  Get out!  It was so good to see him after all these years. I declined the invite to tootle off because my manicure appointment would not wait. The hooves were in sore need of attention and I would have been a 5th wheel.

It is possible, boys and girls, to receive an excellent manicure and pedicure absent the accouterments we are accustomed to in the States. Rose did not have the massage chair with the foot bath; the heat lamp and blower to dry the nails. Your toes were done while she rests your foot on her knee. Soaking is done in the same little foot bath we all have tucked away and never use.  And when she whipped out this strange instrument to hack off the husk, my heart jumped into my mouth. An emery/pumice contraption which looked suspiciously like a knife (but wasn't). I've never had a better foot or hand massage. Thanks, Rose.

What's a trip to Jamaica without an encounter with a Rasta man or Ganja man? I'll tell you about mine next. Be Safe  Be Blessed.

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