Monday, November 14, 2011

Tim & Andrea's honeymoon Cruise - Day 8

If you're new here, you may want to read my previous posts about our private Key West beach wedding here, and also read about Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6 and Day 7 of our honeymoon cruise before you continue on with this post.

And you can read about all of the wedding planning here!

All caught up? Great, we're ready to continue on with Day 8 of our awesome honeymoon cruise:

MAY 9, 2011 - JAMAICA DAY!!! WOOHOO!


Tim and I were up at 6:30. We were both very excited to be going to Jamaica today. 

JAMAICA!!!


Room service came with coffee, orange juice and danishes within a few minutes after we were up.

We showered and dressed.

We watched from the balcony, and soon we saw JAMAICA!! We stayed on our balcony for a while and watched and took pictures.

It was a little foggy or cloudy over the island:

(sorry this pic is pretty saturated with color, I had to do it because the pic was too dark to see the island better)



Then we headed for the front deck. When we got out there, there were only a few other people out there on that deck. We took some photos from the front deck.

Sunrise as we were sailing to Jamaica






As soon as we pulled up to the dock, we rushed back to our room and packed our backpack for the day. ( Sunscreen, tranopy tickets, baggies to collect sand, S&S cards, drivers licenses, cash……..)

We went down to deck one, the designated area to wait if you had an excursion booked that morning. It was crowded, but we only had to wait about 10 minutes until they allowed us to got off the ship.

We walked along the dock, and into the port area. It looked like it might rain.



At the port, there were many people holding signs for different excursions, and soon Tim and I found the guy holding the sign for the Tranopy Adventure excursion.

Very quickly, we were loaded into a very nice air conditioned bus/van It held about 25 people. Within 5-10 minutes the bus/van was full, and we were off to Mystic Mountain. Our driver was very nice, and very funny. He asked us to call him "No Problem Peter" and he told us a little about Jamaica on the short drive along the coast.

No Problem Peter told us there are no problems in Jamaica, only situations. He entertained us the whole way there, and he taught us to say "Yeah, Mon" and "Irie, Mon".

He taught us that "Irie, Mon" is a general greeting of good will in Jamaica.

When we pulled into the Mystic Mountain parking lot, we found a lady there waiting for us at the entrance.
She explained what we would be doing for the Tranopy Adventure. We would take the Sky Explorer up the mountainside, over the rainforest canopy. This was like a ski-lift/ chair-lift type of thing.

When we were at the top of the mountain, we would ride the Jamaican Bobsled ride down through the rainforest.

Then, back up on the mountain again, we would do 6 ziplines, and then ride the sky explorer chair-lift thingie back down to the bottom again.

WE WERE READY!!

We walked through the Mystic Mountain park toward the chairlift. The park was pristine and absolutely beautiful!




We got to the entrance of the chairlift, and the guide gave quick instructions about how to get on the lift and we were off!

The ride up the mountain on the chairlift was AMAZING!! We could see the rainforest below, it was beautiful, and I was just thrilled that I was in a rainforest in Jamaica. We could hear the birds singing and calling below us.

We could also see our ship!

The ride up was very enjoyable, and took about 10-15 minutes to get to the top. About half way up, there is a camera on one of the poles rigged to take your picture as you ride up.







Here is a video we took of the ride up. If you have speakers, turn em on and listen to the rainforest!


video






At the top, another guide was there to give quick instructions so we could jump off. It was easy to get on and off the chair-lift while it was still moving. You just had to be quick. The guides would be happy to stop the ride for anyone that needed longer than 2 seconds to get on or off.
We were let off in a beautiful park area and we took some time to hang out up there and enjoy the morning. We met "Grandpa" who was traveling with his adult granddaughter. They were on the same ship as we were on.

We looked at the photo that was taken of us on the Sky Explorer, and although it was a really good picture of us, we didn’t buy it because it was $15.00 for the 5X7. I probably would have paid $10.00 for it, but I thought $15.00 was a little high.

We looked at the displays, and saw a lady who was making handmade straw baskets. These were tote-baskets, with 2 handles at the top. They were wonderful, and perfectly made. I would have loved to have one of those baskets, but I  talked myself out of it.

We went in the gift shop and bought our Jamaica magnet, and a bottle of water.



We decided it was time to bobsled. This was part of our paid excursion "The Tranopy Adventure" which inclided the ride up the mountain, a bobsled ride, and ziplining.  We walked over to the entrance to the bobsled ride. The guide helped us into our little bobsleds, and gave us instructions on how to work the brake. I let Tim go first, as I was a little apprehensive about riding this thing down a metal track through a rainforest.

The Jamaican bobsled ride:



Here is Tim in his bobsled, ready to go:




Soon, Tim was off, and I was next!!!

It turns out I was fine. I was better than fine, and I laughed the whole way down! It was fast, and just like a rollercoaster. I never used the brake even once, until I got to the bottom and the big sign told me to brake.

Then my little bobsled was hooked to something and I was pulled back up the track which winded through the beautiful rainforest. The ride back up was considerably slower than the ride down, and I had an opportunity to take a few pictures.




And even a self-portrait:



We got back to the top, and although we had the option to purchase more rides ( I think it was $10.00 per ride), we decided we didn’t need to ride again.

We spent a little more time at the top of the mountain, taking a few more pictures:
(and look how nice the weather turned out that day!)




Soon we decided we were ready to zip-line!
We walked over to the zip-line area, and the guides helped us put harnesses and helmets on.



The guides offered to snap a picture of us using our camera:
(our best look!)




and then they gave a short demonstration and told us what to expect.

We followed the guide down a pathway and into the rainforest. A short way down the path, we came to the first platform. One of the guides went across the zip line first, he explained everything he was doing as he hooked up and took off down the zip-line.

The second guide helped each of us with our harnesses and sent us zipping through the forrest.
Here I am ziplining:


Surprisingly, I wasn't scared at all. It was fun! The guides were very nice and funny. They joked with us all through the course.

After about 3 zip-lines, we reached a platform and the guides told us we would have to repel straight down a rope to the platform below. The distance between the platforms was about 30 feet. 

The first guide showed us how to repel, and lowered himself slowly down the rope to the lower platform. But, when it was our turn he dropped each one of us at a fast speed, and then was able to stop us before we hit the lower platform. It was both scary and fun.

The people in front of us repelling:




Now it was my turn to repel:
The guides warned us several times to keep our legs away from the rope......I certainly didn't want rope burn!

Here's me repelling!



After the repelling, we walked across a swinging bridge to the next zipline platform.

This was one of our guides:



We finished our remaining zip lines, here is a video of me on the last zipline

video






 We ended up at a platform where we could catch the sky explorer chairlifts back down to the bottom of Mystic Mountain. We said goodbye to our guides and hopped on the lift.
The ride down was very nice:





Back down at the bottom, we waited around for about 20 minutes until No Problem Peter loaded us up in the shuttle bus and drove back toward the port. 

Our Mystic Mountain Tranopy Excursion was over, but it was only about noon. We wanted toexplore Jamaica a bit before we went back to the ship.

Tim snapped some more pics while we waited:




The shuttle busses that took us back and forth from our excursion to the port:




In the shuttle bus, Peter sang "Day-O" with us (that was fun! such a silly touristy thing to do, but I loved it!), and told us more interesting tidbits about Jamaica. He pointed out a gift shop where we could get 5 t-shirts for $20.00 (yeah, mon!!)

We were in Ocho Rios, Jamaica and Peter explained that Ocho Rios means 8 rivers. He also told us there are not 8 rivers in the area, I think he said there were 3 rivers there.

No Problem Peter dropped us off near the Port. The first thing Tim and I did was find the Harley Davidson store. 


Inside we bought 2 shirts for me and 1 for Tim. They had a sale on the ladies shirts that day.

We also bought another Jamaica magnet:




Next we walked over to a restaurant to find some lunch.





We LOVED our Jerk Chicken and rice.

We also shared an order of french fries.


The cook had prepared our delicious meal in this outdoor kitchen.



While we ate on the restaurant's patio, we people watched. One of my favorite things to do.

You can see in this picture below, the 2 small white cars stopped on the street. While we were eating we heard screeching tires, and looked up to see this fender bender. No one was hurt. The occupants of both cars spent about 20 minutes in the street talking and looking at the damage. We never saw any police come, although there was a man nearby who looked like a police officer. He just ignored the accident though.



Before we left the restaurant, we asked the waitress to trade us an American dollar bill for some Jamaican money. She was happy to do this for us, and she gave us this bill, and a few coins. We gave the coins to our nephews after we got back home.


She told us the Jamaican money she had was not quite worth the same as the American dollar. We didn't care how much she gave us, we just wanted to take Jamaican money back with us, and we happily traded her our dollar for the money she had.

After we left the restaurant, we walked a few blocks to the gift shop that No Problem Peter had pointed out. We needed a lot of souvineers/ gifts from Jamaica to take back to our friends and family, so this sounded like a good place.

We walked out of the store with 9 t-shirts and 10 keychains to take back home, and next we went into another shop and bought some Jamaican Jerk Spice, and a small bottle of Jamaican Rum to take back home with us. It's a very small bottle, (200ml) and was $7. or $8.00



Later when we got home from the cruise, we learned that this rum is sold at our local liquor store! That shows you how much we know about importing Jamaican Rum! Oh well! At least we know we bought this bottle in Jamaica.

Also, the spice is VERY good! We have made grilled chicken and also fried pork chops with it, and both were WONDERFUL!!

The Spice was $14.99, and I'm glad Tim suggested we buy the large one:



After we left the rum and spice store, we decided to head back to the ship, as we were loaded down with packages.

I have to say that walking around Jamaica was not quite as fun as I thought it would be. Each time we walked from one store to the next, we were HOUNDED by locals trying to ask us for something or sell something to us. It was funny the first time or two, but by the 50th time, we were growing impatient with them.

If I smoked a cigarette while walking down the street from one shop to another, 10 locals would stop me and ask for a cigarette. I learned very quickly not to bring my pack of cigarettes out in the open.

We were asked if we wanted drugs, jewelry, beer, taxi rides, tours, and various other requests. We were asked to give money and cigarettes. It was quite shocking, even though we were prepared for this behavior from the locals. These people would follow us talking to us, and as soon as we would shake one local off, another would show up.

We walked quickly, and said NO THANK YOU! We headed for the safety of the ship.


The view from the pier was much nicer than earlier that morning:



When we went through the ships security we were surprised that the crew didn't take our rum away from us. We were never asked if we had alcohol with us, and we didn't bother telling them. It went through the xray scanner in our backpack with the rest of our purchases, and we took it back to our room.

Out on our balcony, we looked out at beautiful Jamaica, and we talked about how it was too bad the locals were so aggressive. Such a beautiful place, and we felt we couldn't enjoy it completely after we left the saftey of the tranopy adventure excursion. Carnival had kept us safe and free from the begging locals, but out on our own, we were targets. For me, Jamaica had been a double-edged sword.

As we looked out at Jamaica from the ship, we noticed a beach just to the left of the long pier where our ship was docked.
It looked like we could walk to it.

 It didn't look very busy, only a few people here and there. I wondered if it was a public beach? I wanted sand from Jamaica.

I asked Tim what he thought, and he agreed that we should try to get some sand.

We decided to put on our swimsuits before we left. It would also be fun to swim in the ocean in Jamaica if we could. We still had about 2 hours before our ship left, so we headed back off the ship.

At the end of the pier, we asked a worker if the beach was open to the public, and she told us yes, we could access the beach for $2.50 per person. She directed us toward the entrance.

We paid our $5.00 at the little hut at the gate to the beach, and we walked toward the water. We dropped our bag and towels in the sand, and I headed into the water.

It felt glorious!! I swam out a little way from the beach and thought that maybe Jamaica deserved a second chance. Maybe it wasn't so bad here after all!

Here I am swimming in the ocean in Jamaica! Something I only dreamed I would do one day.


Tim was still on the beach, putting some sunscreen on, when I noticed a local had come up to talk to him. Oh no! Not again! I swam back toward the shore.

I came out of the water, and the local had already gone. Tim said he asked if we wanted beer, and Tim had politely told him no.

I sat in the sand, and began picking up a few tiny seashells up that were scattered around. I told Tim I would watch our stuff, and Tim could get in the water.

We both felt a little uncomfortable leaving our stuff unattended on that beach. There were very few other swimmers, and there were several (maybe 15 or 20) locals milling about up and down the beach. I had my good camera with me, and I wasn't taking any chances.

I took a few pictures of Tim in the water, and I looked around for more shells.


As soon as Tim got out of the water, a local man came along and noticed Tim had a bit of a sunburn. The man made a big deal of how bad it looked and asked if Tim wanted anything to put on the burn. Tim said No Thank You, but the man was insistant. He said he would be right back with something for the sunburn.
We dried off, and hoped the man wouldn't come back.

He did. He had a piece of aloe vera plant and he began to rub the gel on Tim's burn, talking the whole time about how to treat a sunburn.... OK, I knew we had both had enough! We were just trying to enjoy the beach, and this guy was totally in our space! I put my sandals on, and right then another local man showed up.

This man was old and had long gray dreadlocks, and was dressed in very shabby clothes. He carried an old guitar, and as soon as he walked up to us, he began playing the guitar and singing (loudly) a nice Bob Marly tune (Three Little Birds, one of my favorites!)

WOW! The scene was unbelievable, Tim trying to put his sandals on quickly while a man rubs alow vera on him, wierd. At the same time the old man is singing and playing his heart out while standing about 2 feet away from us. We need to get out of here, we are sitting ducks on this beach!! How many more would show up? We knew they wanted us to "tip" them a few dollars, but really, the tipping in Jamaica was getting out of hand. If we had given each person a dollar, we easily would have handed away $40 or $50 dollars that day. 

And these locals wouldn't accept "no thank you" at all. They would keep on and on trying to help us, or sell us something. It was really too much.

I reached in my beach bag and grabbed a baggie. I quickly filled it with sand and put it back in my bag. As I reached in the bag, I grabbed 2 one dollar bills and I handed one to each man, the singer and the aloe-vera guy. We grabbed the bag and our towels and we almost ran off that beach.

We had only been on the beach about 15 minutes TOTAL, and that was a little crazy. We both admitted we felt a little uncomfortable and we were glad when we were back on the ship. We honestly didn't know if the locals meant no harm, or if we might have gotten into trouble had we stayed there any longer. Neither of us wanted to find out.

***I want to add here that in no way were we scared, and we never felt we were in any danger. We felt like we should be a little more "guarded", but we felt safe enough. The amount of locals that approached us was a bit of a shock to us, and we didn't feel as if we could liesurely walk around town, or liesurely hang out on the beach.

I don't want anyone to feel as if I am saying there is danger in Jamaica.  Most everyone we came in contact with was very nice. It was weird for us because we weren't prepared for the amount of people who came up to us and wouldn't take "no thank you" for an answer. Others might have a different experience than we did.****


Back in our cabin, we both showered and put on clean clothes. We then made our way up to the Lido deck for lemonaid and ice water, and I had an ice cream cone.

We walked up to deck 10 and took a few pictures of beautiful Jamaica. We spent about 40 minutes looking at the island, and enjoying it from afar.


Ocho Rios Jamaica, from the safety of our ship:

Looking down at the long dock to get to the port area:




When it got too hot to stay on deck any longer, we went down to the photo area to see our photos from the formal night last night.

We walked around and found all of our photos. I liked quite a few of them and asked Tim how many I could buy. He told me to pick three of them, and we both narrowed them down until we had 3 pictures we liked. They were 8X10's and were just over $20.00 each.

We love them! They are exactly what I wanted, cheezy-formal cruise ship pictures!





Love, Love Love this one, it's my favorite:


I couldn't be happier with the way these photos turned out! They are all in frames on our living room wall!

We walked back to our cabin, and decided we would order room service for dinner. We were usually too tired on port days to put forth the effort to go to the MDR.

While we waited for our dinner to come, I took some time to download our pictures from the day and Tim and I looked at some of the excursions that we might want to do tomorrow at Grand Cayman. Instead of an excursion, we decided we would find a taxi ourselves and go to a beach. We were going to try to wing it in Grand Cayman.

Sailaway from Jamaica was at 5:00 PM and our dinner came shortly after that. It was very good! We had sandwiches and chips. And I ordered a fruitplate and Tim had a salad.

We watched "Little Fockers" on TV on the Carnival movie channel until we noticed the sun was going down. We took our camera and walked up to the front deck to take a few pictures. There were a few people out on the front deck tonight also taking pictures.


A Jamaican sunset! Just beautiful!!



After the sun went down:



And up high in the sky was the moon:

A Jamaican moonrise:


When we got back to our room, we met Amung in the hallway and we told him we didn't need our room cleaned or turned down tonight. He did give us fresh blue towels in exchange for our wet ones from the beach earlier that day.
He also gave us our FUN TIMES newsletter for tomorrow, and invitations to the past guest party for tomorrow night! We were now considered past guests since we had been on the previous cruise (last week!). We were to meet at 5:15 tomorrow night in the Paladium Theatre. Free drinks! I wanted to take advantage of the free drinks.

Before we went to bed, I checked the swimsuits to see if they were drying. We would need them tomorrow for our Grand Cayman beach day, and I didn't want to put on a wet swimsuit the next morning. Although I had another suit with me, Tim only had one. I had rinsed them out in the sink earlier and they were hanging on the clothes line in the shower. They were still pretty wet so I took them outside and layed them out across the chairs on the balcony.

The ocean was calm tonight and there was hardly a breeze at all. I decided to leave them out there to dry for the night and hope for the best.

Tim and I fell asleep pretty early again that night, our alarm was set for 7:AM.

Tomorrow was going to be Grand Cayman day!!


******

DAY 9 is HERE!!!!

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