Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Blissing in Negril, Jamaica

The wind made its way through my hair, gently stroking strand by strand. The sun hit my face with the strength of a tamed ox. Small drops of water splashed on my arms, creating a refreshing sensation. The scenery was mind-blowing yet extremely calming. The slow Reggae beats entered my body and I began shifting from side to side. I reached over to my husband, gently bringing him closer to me. I wasn't imagining, but we were in paradise.

The Catamaran moved at a perfect pace, slow enough for us to focus on the fabulous seaside hotels and villas, but fast enough to initiate some waves. We were on a two hour cruise to the Pirate Bay Caves. The boat held about 30 people, all couples, inferred from the name of our resort. The barman was also a DJ and an entertainer really. He danced around the boat with the vacationers, passing out rum and coke, and posing for pictures. We accepted an island drink, more alcohol to fuel our bliss…

Arriving at the caves we rush to jump in to the deep turquoise-blue water. My husband and I swim to the caves, awed by the scenery. They are cool but not eerie, embracing our presence as we enter in a group. I'm a bit scared about swimming in such deep waters but I look around me and cannot think of one reason to complain. The water is crystal clear and the sand white, creating a synchronous turquoise-blue with several depths. We almost missed this cruise, doubting the worthiness of a cruise included in the hotel rates. The warm, sweet attendant at the water sports counter convinced us to board, saying it was an experience. Seeing as he was the same guy who took us on the amazing glass-bottomed boat a day earlier, we trusted him. These were the best two hours of our already amazing vacation.

On the way back to the shore, I reminisced on our time here. Fresh baked pastries and ripe tropical fruits were served to us every morning in our terrace, overlooking a lush, tropical garden. Most of our days were spent at the huge beachfront pool, soft reggae emerging from the fully stocked bar smack in the middle of the pool. On the beach, we picked out mattresses and lounge chairs and dragged them to the water placing them halfway within. The waiter immediately came by offering us frozen island drinks; we gave in and ordered a batch. A wavelet breaks and a warm stream of water immerses our bare feet, gently massaging the city scabs. We waded in the warm yet invigorating water, losing track of time and reality while discussing nothing of importance for hours. I began feeling hungry even after a big breakfast and three cocktails. We contemplate our lunch options, the healthier buffet with a salad bar or the beachside grill for fresh off the grill delicacies. We decide on the salad bar figuring we will have a big dinner anyway. Colorful and rich vegetables in the salad bar, several make your own sandwich stations, fresh grilled meats, a selection of warm and healthy sides and finally the desert bar including fresh tropical fruits, make your own ice-cream sundaes and the famous Jamaican rum pudding.

Time for our afternoon nap. Our room is spotless and our sheets drawn. Our mini bar has been refilled with water, soda, tropical juices and a wide selection of alcohol including a bottle of champagne. We chill in our spacious and comfortable room watching American cable on our flat screen. My husband checks his email on his laptop, our only link to reality, and I briefly snap at him.

We awaken from our nap after sunset and start preparing for dinner. Tonight we have reservations at the “Otaheite” restaurant. We were advised in advance that attire is formal and men must wear slacks. My husband, protesting, puts on his big city slacks in this small and beautiful oasis. I’m excited to taste French-Caribbean fusion cuisine. The round windowed room holds only several diners. We are seated at a table with a velvet plush loveseat lit by an exquisite hanging lamp. The ambiance is extremely romantic and we feel as if we have landed somewhere else. The five course meal was delectable and a feast for our eyes. Every course was served in a covered silver tray and revealed to use by the waiter to the sound of “voila”. Perfection at its best!

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