Sunday, March 20, 2011

Interesting Times-A Vacation Curse-Days 6-8


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On the Staircase in the Millenium Atrium Lobby on Thursday Night

The Cruise was beginning to wind down.  We had one more port to make...Ocho Rios, Jamaica.  I must confess we were looking forward to seeing this island paradise the most...well...okay...the second most. After all, we had already seen the Hemingway cats.

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We were supposed to meet our tour guide, Peat Taylor, at the end of the dock, no later than 8:00.  He wanted to get us to the big island attraction, Duns River Falls, before the other tours reached it.  That way we would have the falls to ourselves for awhile.  Naturally, the curse was active once again.

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We walked to end of the dock and customs/security had no idea that we were supposed to be on a tour.  You're going to walk around by yourself.  We even pointed to the list of tour operators.  We were finally told Peat's not here yet.  Wait over there.  He was about 15 minutes late.  Originally, we had enough to fill two buses, but some folks elected to stay on board so we squeezed into one bus and headed for the Falls.

On the way, Peat issued some advice/warnings that had all of us feeling a little apprehensive.  He told us if someone tried to hand you something, don't take it.  If the item end up in your hands, you've bought it.  If a woodcarver or woodburner is really friendly and says Hi, Mon...my name is such and such what's yours?  Do not tell him your name.  If you do so, he'll carve or burn it into his craft, and once again, you've bought it.

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We reached the Falls and wandered around.  Some of the more adventuresome braved the cold water and elected to climb the Falls.  One of the other groups that came off the ship had someone break his ankle when his foot became wedged and he fell back.  Not for the klutzes among us...or the faint hearted like...well, like me.

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The visit to the Falls was a little aggravating when we were suckered another way.  An employee offered to take our picture using our camera.  After he snapped the photo, he handed the camera back, held out his hand, and said give me something good Mon.  Duns Rivers was yet another example of tipping being expected for everything.

Finally, it was time to board the tour bus.  We headed up roads that I wouldn't want to attempt to drive.  We stopped at a little preschool and met some of the children and a teacher.  It demonstrated the dichotomy between the tourist's island paradise and the poverty that some of the residents live in.  The group visited a souvenir stand that helped support the school.

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Our guide pointed out the concrete slabs that sat on tin roofs.  He said that in this part of Jamaica, it's how we make sure our roofs are hurricane proof. 

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We boarded the bus for the scenic drive back to the main shopping area. We divided up there with about half going back to the ship and half going shopping.

Day 7 was the last fun day at sea.  We wandered the ship and did our final shopping.  As the day went on, I began to fill ill.  By nine that evening, I was in severe intestinal distress.  I had a flu shot before the trip so I strongly suspect food poisoning.  The last night on board I paid homage to the porcelain throne.  It was an unforgettable end of the cruise.

Saturday we debarked the boat for the last time.  Our trip through Customs was quick and easy.  We boarded the bus for the airport and home.  When we reached the airport, it was a zoo once again.  Southwest Airlines employees did their best to confuse by sending us to one line...no over there...and finally back to where we were originally.  Once our luggage was checked we found a seat. 

I nursed a Sprite to settle my stomach.  We flew back to St. Louis with no problem...although it was the only time I flew that I held onto an air sickness bag just in case.  Our ride met us at the airport and we made it back home safely...where I've been sick for the last week  with an upper respiratory infection...but to quote Buddy off of that classic sitcom Night Court..."I'm feeling much better now."

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