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 Raise the Flag; We're off to Jamaica!! 

Ahhh!! Jamaica! Home of 'Ya Mon!', 'no problemo' and 'Jamaic'n mi crazy'. What follows are the tales of the exploits of Rick and Darragh, modern trailblazers in this West Indies country, far, far from home (not to mention the freezing single-digit temperatures. Brrrrr!)

For ten days (an optimum length of time; not too long nor too short) we were quite thankful to have been able to bask in the very HOT sun, mid-80's temps for the two days we were able (yes, two days). Want to see this experience through our eyes? The following are selected pictures from our trip that should provide a good snapshot (pardon the pun :-) of our experience and maybe convince you that Jamaica should be your next vacation spot. (Click on each picture for a larger image).

        Getting There . . .         
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The 'Airport Singers'.

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Waiting on the bus.

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Carving stand.

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Local 'craftsman'.

Upon arrival at the Montego Bay airport, we were greeted in customs by a roving band of singing Jamaicans. It set the flavor for the rest of the trip and gave us a distraction whilst waiting in those slow-moving lines in customs.

To get to the Grande Jamaican Resort, we had to take a 2 hour shuttle trip from the airport. This afforded the opportunity to see the 'real' Jamaica, complete with roving goats and cows, and considerable poverty (the average wage is $40 U.S. per week). The American dollar goes further here; one could live in a very nice furnished home for about $1,000 U.S. per month.

Carving is a huge business and a good source of income for the natives, particularly if they can get U.S. currency. Then they are very happy. On the way, we passed several stands selling carvings as well as other hand-made goods.

Many of the living arrangements of the typical Jamaican would truly be a challenge for most any American. Certainly we're blessed in the U.S. Ironically, a great vacation is an effective antidote to so easily forgetting this truth.

As an aside, should you venture into the local shops and stands, invariably you'll be offered pot / weed / smoke. It's always offered in a whisper. Hopefully you'll politely decline as we did :-)

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Somebody lives here; we think.

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Coconut plantation.

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Across from the resort.

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. . . where the animals roam . . .

Finally Arrived!
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Resort Entrance

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Happy to be here.

Upon arrival, a nice open-air lobby invites you in as you feel the tropical breezes wisping through your hair, those warm temperatures enveloping your previously frozen body.

You just gotta say 'thanks'. (Keeping our hearts thankful was good too 'cause the weather is finicky and we didn't get any sun until the third day, then none the following weekend either). 

Here is the view from our 11th floor balcony. The blue Caribbean water quickly put our minds at ease and our spirits at peace.

Though the room was no great shakes, you're not supposed to spend a whole lot of time there anyway, right?

(Hint to women: bring your own hair dryer.)

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Nice view.

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Ahhh . . .

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