Thursday, July 1, 2010

Ocho Rios- 5 Years Later

Its hard to believe that its already been 5 years since we went to Jamaica the first time to get married. Our experience at Sandals Grande Ocho Rios was nothing short of magical back then and this trip had a lot to live up to.
Let me explain some of my trepidation....early 2007 we took a vacation to Tulum, Mexico, expecting to have a similar experience to our time in Jamaica. Sadly, that was not the case. The underlying vibe that had seduced us in Jamaica simply did not exist in Mexico. Everywhere we looked, we saw people who looked put out st reven having us in their country, rather than pleased to show us their national treasures. The concierge at the desk looked at me as if I were crazy when I explained that the water in the bathroom would only come out in dribbles. By the time we left we had independently vowed never to return to Mexico again.
I was worried that our Mexican vacation was indicative of a new era. Perhaps no one was friendly and welcoming anymore. Well, as soon as we stepped off the plane in Montego Bay I knew that wasn't the case. Strangers greeted us with "Yeah mon!" and "Feelin' irie?" and huge smiles. Our 2 hour trip to our resort was sprinkled with conversations with our bus drivers and locals along the way. The resort was exactly how we remembered it!
In 2005 when we came to Ocho Rios my mobile device was my Treo 650. I remember I had cached some AvantGo pages to read and had some games and ebooks to entertain me for the duration of the trip.This time I came armed with my Nexus One and HP Mini 1000. Dean's mother was staying at our house watching Seth while we were gone and we planned to Skype with them as often as possible. The Wifi pass for a week cost about $40, and was strongest in the lobby of the resort where I could access speeds of about 17kbps. The speeds in our suite were even slower- but we still tried the Skype video call. The voices were barely audible, and it snapped 3 still images on the duration of the call- but it was enough to make much needed contact with our little guy.
This trip was about relaxing and unwinding- we took a boat ride, did a lot of swimming, played shuffleboard, and spent a large amount of time with our "Do Not Disturb" sign on our door. In other words, it was perfect.
The tech I've seen so far includes:
-2 iPads (both by fellow travelers.1 woman was watching a movie on the bus on the way to the airport, and the couple in front of us on the plane are at this very moment engaged in a game of Scrabble)
-Countless Nokias (just about every local Jamaican had some form of Nokia device. Our bus driver on the way to the airport was using his to play a song quietly to himself up in the front)
-Beatz by Dr Dre Headphones (fellow traveler on the plane is wearing them in white.They have a very distinctive look to them!)
-Blackberry devices (I noticed at least one resort worker, and one airport official using some older model Blackberry devices)
-3G advertising (we saw at least a dozen huge billboards advertising 3G coverage across Jamaica. From Claro, to LIME, it seems like telcos are big business there too)

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