Thursday, February 26, 2009

Back At It

Vacation is over, and both John and I are back to work. I am off to my nursing competency fair for some in service today, which I am not exactly looking forward to, so I am putting it off by reading blogs, checking emails, and doing laundry.

John started back to work this week after almost 3 months off. He is enjoying being back and has been feeling great. He was greeted with an immaculately clean and organized room after some of the other teachers on his team came in on their winter break last week to clean it for him. I guess the long term sub that was covering John's class while he was out operated the room in a state of disorganized chaos and then topped it of by throwing a party the last day before break. Okay to do if you are going to clean it up, but I guess the guy just left at the end of the day with the room in disarray. John's friends at work figured that would be pretty annoying to come back to, so they came in over break to take care of it. Simple acts of kindness...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Our Jamaica Trip

Well, after a couple days back in reality, I finally got around to sorting through all of our Jamaica pics and maybe after I post I will actually get around to unpacking. It drives John crazy that I can leave that suitcase there for days (, weeks...) before I get around to taking care of it after a trip. I mean what's the's not like I am going to need access to my capri's and flip flops any time soon (it's a bone chilling 24 degrees today). So sad...Anyway, we've been getting requests for more about the trip from the fams, so here it is.

I'll start with the hotel. As we mentioned before, we stayed at an all-inclusive resort called Grand Palladium Lady Hamilton Resort & Spa which is listed as Montego Bay, but is actually near a smaller town called Lucea, about 30-40 minutes West from the Montego Bay Airport. We arrived Sunday morning to a beautiful open air lobby.We were reserved for a 1-bedroom suite, but somehow got upgraded to a Bungalow Suite that was right on the ocean, with it's own outdoor patio. Our Bungalow was the first from the left.The room was great. It had a huge king bed (that was hard as a rock...John was in heaven because he hates our soft mattress at not so much...). The bathroom was huge with a big Jacuzzi tub...nice, relaxing, but since it was so big, it took almost an hour to fill to a comfortable depth. What was cool was the outdoor shower. The best though was the view from our room. We had a huge slider door leading to our ocean front patio.The resort had multiple buffet restaurants and 7 "theme" restaurants including a seafood place, steak house, Italian, Indian, Creole, Asian, and Mexican fare. We tried to hit all the different places, but we literally didn't find the Creole and Asian restaurants until the night before we left (the resort was huge).

As far as activities went, the resort offered a lot. We did do kayaking and snorkeling. The last time we went snorkeling I had a mild panic attack when I almost swam straight into two jellyfish because I was too busy looking down and not looking in front of me. John of course thought I was ridiculous, which I acknowledge was probably true, but I definitely have an exaggerated fear of all things water related (fish, sharks, jellyfish...drowning), so that was it for me with the snorkeling. We tried to go sailing the last day, but got to there too late, so no sailing for us. Otherwise we spent most of our time lounging on the multiple private beaches scattered around the resort or by one of the hotel's two pools. The larger main pool was an infinity pool with a swim up bar.We had a celebrity siting at the main pool that I should be a little ashamed to admit to since I am 27 years old...last year I got sucked into a show on CW called Gossip Girl, which is a high-school teen drama, sort of like 90210 was for the previous generation...this is the same idea only in Manhattan instead of Beverly Hills. Anyway, on the first day, I could have sworn I saw Jessica Szohr (plays Vanessa on the show), but John didn't believe me. Well later that day and again the next we saw her again, this time with fellow co-stars Ed Westwick (plays Chuck) and Leighton Meester (plays Blair).
One night the resort put together a Reggae Beach Party BBQ at Sunset Cove (one of their private beaches). The food was okay (I was really hoping for some jerk chicken), the entertainment was more R&B cover band than Reggae, but the sunset was amazing. They also had a DJ from Margaritaville there giving out prizes, and a fire eater/breather for entertainment.While there was a ton to do at the resort, we did opt for an excursion into Negril for shopping and a trip to Rick's Cafe. The shopping included a stop at a small duty-free mall and a local craft market. The mall was a typical tourist souvenir stop, but the craft market was something I had never experienced before. First of all, using the word market is a stretch. This was more like multiple rows of shanties all smashed together overflowing with wood carvings, paintings, T-shirts, skirts, dresses, hats, and jewelry. As you walk through the place you are bombarded with people sitting outside their shanty urging you to "Respect" and "Come on in to take a look." It's all so overwhelming and offputting that you don't even feel comfortable browsing. In the middle of the constant sales pitches there are also many offers to sell you ice cold Red Stripe beer and weed. The thing is, I would have probably enjoyed browsing and maybe even buying a thing or two if I didn't feel so much pressure.

After the shopping trip we went to Rick's Cafe, which is apparently the tourist thing to do when in Jamaica. We wanted a chance to try the jerk chicken - which was pretty good, and we were told the sunset's in Negril were the best in Jamaica. John also wanted a chance to do a cliff jump.
Overall, we had an amazing time. It has us both longing for future travels, maybe somewhere in Europe next. For now it's back to normal life after a much needed respite.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Last Day in Paradise

I can't believe a week has flown by this fast. We have had such a relaxing time here in Jamaica, it's so sad that we are leaving tomorrow. While we feel like we didn't even come close to taking advantage of all the resort had to offer (John is especially bummed that we never got around to the archery), we had a great time. I have a ton of pictures that I will share more of after we get home, but here are just a couple from the week.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Jamaica Man!

Hello from beautiful Jamaica!

Just wanted to pop in and say hi while we have a little downtime here in Jamaica. It has been such a great time so far. We checked in on Sunday, and pretty much slept to make up for our uncomfortable overnight layover in Charlotte.

Yesterday was amazing. We spent the morning by the pool soaking in the sun (about 82 degrees here on Monday). We had a real celebrity siting...more on that later. After lunch we went kayaking in the bay to scope out some good sites for snorkeling. From above the water we thought we were going to be disappointed, but we were in for a surprise. You can get snorkeling gear from the resort, but we brought our own, and we are glad we did, because we plan on snorkeling a lot. We saw so many fish and other things I don't even know the names off...we even saw a baby swordfish (which was cool but a little scary).

It was a little overcast and rainy this morning, so we laid low for a little, but even as I am writing this, it looks like it is clearing up, so we are going to head back to the pool.

I haven't really taken many pictures yet, but hopefully will upload some and post later this week.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

It's Time to Relax

John and I are headed to Jamaica for a much needed vacation. Now that all the craziness of the last few months is behind us, we are looking forward to a relaxing (and warm) time in the Caribbean. We decided to do this way back in December, but we had been putting off making a decision about a location. Plus we wanted to wait for some great last-minute deals. We finally booked the trip this morning, and we couldn't be more excited.

Our trip will be to an all-inclusive resort in Montego Bay called the Grand Palladium Lady Hamilton Spa and Resort. From all the pictures we can find, it looks beautiful.

Here is what we have to look forward to in just 8 short days...