Caribbean Travel Roundup

Newsletter - Paul Graveline, Editor


Caribbean Travel Roundup
Paul Graveline, Editor
Edition 122
February 1, 2002

Last Update 1 Feb 2002

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PRESS RELEASES FOR FEBRUARY 2002

PARADISUS COZUMEL ALL-INCLUSIVE BEACH RESORT & COUNTRY CLUB

Paradisus  Cozumel  All-Inclusive  Beach  Resort  &  Country Club offers 
honeymoon  packages  including  a  Paradise suite with Jacuzzi, surprise 
gift,  in-room  flowers  upon arrival, one private dinner for two on the 
beach  or  suite  balcony,  one-day  car rental (not including taxes and 
insurance),  round-trip  airport transfers, bottle of domestic champagne 
and  cheese  plate,  one  20-minute  horseback  ride  and  all taxes and 
gratuities.   Three-night/four-day  and  seven-night/eight-day  packages 
include  unlimited  golf  (not  including  mandatory  golf  cart) at the 
adjacent  18-hole,  par  72,  Nicklaus-designed Cozumel Country Club and 
golf  course.  From  Jan.  5  through  March  21,  2002, the three-night 
package  is  $1050  and the seven-night package is $2,160. All rates are 
per couple, all-inclusive.

Sol  Cabañas del Caribe, Cozumel has honeymoon packages starting at $490 
for  three  nights/four days and $860 for seven nights/eight days, rates 
valid  from  Jan.  5  through  March  31, 2002. Per couple rates include 
accommodations,  a  surprise  gift,  in-room  flowers  upon arrival, one 
private  dinner  for  two at the property’s ocean-front restaurant, one-
day  car  rental (not including taxes and insurance), round-trip airport 
transfers,  bottle of domestic champagne and cheese plate, in-room petit 
fours each night and all applicable taxes.
Meliá  Cancun  Convention  Center  Beach  & Spa Resort offers a romantic 
package  that includes deluxe ocean view room with terrace, daily buffet 
breakfast,  deluxe  fruit basket, romantic dinner with a domestic bottle 
of  wine,  25 percent discount on car rental, in-room bottle of imported 
sparkling  white  wine,  15  percent  discount  on  tours  made with the 
hotel’s  in-house  travel  agency,  use of the hotel’s tennis courts and 
executive  nine-hole  golf course (with previous reservation), bell man, 
maid,  gratuities  and taxes. From Jan. 3 through March 31, 2002, three-
night/four-day  packages are $707 and seven-night/eight-day packages are 
$1,485.  April  1  through  Dec. 20, 2002, three-night packages are $565 
and seven-night packages are $1,153. 

Meliá  Caribe  Tropical,  The Ultimate All-Inclusive Resort, Punta Cana, 
Dominican  Republic,  has a honeymoon package including a surprise gift, 
basket  of  fresh  fruit  and  a  bottle  of Dominican rum upon arrival, 
choice  in location of suite (subject to availability), participation in 
a  honeymooner’s  cocktail party, late check-out, 10 percent discount on 
the  “Meliá  Spa  Lovers”  spa  services,  10  percent  discount  on all 
motorized  water  vehicle rental, 25 percent discount on golf lessons at 
the  adjacent  Cocotal  golf course and 10 percent discount on horseback 
riding  excursions and all taxes and gratuities. All-inclusive rates are 
$135  from  Jan. 3 through March 31, 2002. From April 1 through Dec. 24, 
2002  rates  are  $99. All rates are per person, per night and require a 
minimum of three nights stay.
Meliá  Playa  Conchal  All-Suite  Beach & Golf Resort, Guanacaste, Costa 
Rica,  offers  a three-night/four-day honeymoon package including deluxe 
villa   suite   accommodations,  daily  in-suite  breakfast,  bottle  of 
sparkling  wine,  surprise  gift,  romantic  dinner for two, including a 
bottle  of  wine at the hotel’s Faisanela gourmet Italian restaurant, 20 
percent  discount  off greens fees at the hotel’s championship, 18-hole, 
par-72,  Robert  Trent  Jones  II-designed  “Garra de Leon” (Lion’s Paw) 
golf  course, $10 casino chips, daytime use of the tennis courts and all 
taxes  and  gratuities. Packages are $779 per couple from Jan. 1 through 
April 15, 2002 and $639 per couple from April 16 through Dec. 23, 2002.

Gran  Meliá  Caracas  Hotel Suites & Conference Center, Venezuela, has a 
honeymoon  special  rate  that includes a standard king room, located on 
the  “Servicio  Real” (Royal service) floor, breakfast for two, a bottle 
of  champagne,  in-room  flowers  and fresh fruits upon arrival, his and 
her  bathrobes  and  a late check-out of 4 p.m. The special rate is $199 
per couple, per night, plus tax and is valid until Dec. 31, 2002.

Sol  Meliá  Hotels & Resorts is one of the world’s most successful hotel 
companies  with  its four brands – Meliá Hotels, Tryp Hotels, Sol Hotels 
and  Paradisus  Resorts – with over 350 hotels in more than 30 countries 
worldwide.  Sol  Meliá’s  2002 expansion plans include new properties in 
Brazil,  Peru,  Puerto  Rico,  Mexico  and  throughout  Asia Pacific and 
Europe.
Individual  reservations  can  be made through a travel consultant or by 
calling  toll-free 1-800-33MELIA (63542). Group reservations can be made 
through  a  professional  meeting  and  incentive planner or through Sol 
Meliá’s  group  desk  (CIMAS)  by  calling  1-888-33MELIA or via e-mail: 
"mailto:Cimas@sol-group.com".  Hotel information can also be obtained by 
accessing Sol Meliá at "http://www.solmelia.com/".

JOURNEYS FOR FEBRUARY 2002

ANTIGUA: JUMBY BAY BY LARA SOLONICKNE

Jumby Bay

I  went  to  Jumby  Bay,  Antigua  for  a  week in December 2001 with my 
husband.   We   won   a   seven-night   stay   through   an  auction  at 
LuxuryLink.com.
 
Getting There and Checking In

We flew American Airlines to Antigua with a connection in San Juan. 

On   arrival  at  Immigration  in  the  Antigua  airport,  a  Jumby  Bay 
representative  checked  us  in while we waited for our luggage and gave 
us  our  room  assignment.  The  representative led us to a taxi, and we 
drove  five  minutes to a dock where the Jumby Bay catamaran was waiting 
just  for  us.  We  enjoyed  a rum punch on our 10-minute journey to the 
exclusive resort.

Rudi  Schoenbein,  the  General  Manager  greeted us on the dock. As the 
bellmen  took  our  bags to the room, Gordon, the night manager, took us 
in  a  golf  cart on a brief tour of the resort. We took a quick peek at 
the room, and then went to dinner.

Background

Jumby  Bay  island  is  a private 300-acre island two miles northeast of 
Antigua  that  contains  the  80-acre  resort  and  private estates. The 
island  is  accessible  from  the mainland only by ferry. No automobiles 
are  permitted,  and  the  homeowners  and  visitors  use golf carts and 
bicycles to get around.

"Jumby"  means  mischievous  spirit  in  Arawak.  Jumby  Bay island once 
housed  a sugar plantation, and this history is reflected in the remains 
of  a  sugar mill and a plantation manor on the resort property. Most of 
the island is grassland, and occasionally you can see sheep grazing.

In  the  early  90's  Jumby  Bay  resort  was  considered one of the top 
resorts  in  the world. However, the homeowners (who include "Lifestyles 
of  the Rich and Famous" host Robin Leach and novelist Ken Follett) were 
unhappy  with  the direction the resort was heading. The homeowners took 
over  ownership  of the resort, hired RockResorts to oversee operations, 
and  the  resort  was  essentially run into the ground. Jumby Bay closed 
for  a  time and opened again in 1999, now owned and managed by the Half 
Moon Golf, Tennis and Beach Club.

When  we  were  at  the  resort,  reportedly  the  homeowners  agreed to 
purchase  the resort from Half Moon, and they are trying to get Rosewood 
to  manage  the  property. So more changes may be in store for Jumby Bay 
in 2002.

Since  it  resides  on  a private island, naturally Jumby Bay is an all-
inclusive resort.

Accommodations

Jumby  Bay  offers  39  suites  and  11  villas,  spread  throughout the 
property.  Strangely,  none  of  the  accommodations are directly on the 
beach, but all offer ocean views.

We  stayed  in  a  deluxe  junior suite--#6. There are only six of these 
rooms,  also called the roundavels. There are two suites per cottage. In 
each  cottage,  one suite faces the water, and the other suite faces the 
interior  of  the resort. Our suite afforded the best views of the beach 
and  water,  and our cottage was the most private of all the roundavels. 
#6 to the main beach was about a 30-second walk.

Each  deluxe  junior  suite  consists  of  three rooms: bedroom, sitting 
room, and bathroom. Only the bedroom is air-conditioned. 

The  good-sized  bedroom had a four poster king bed draped with mosquito 
netting.  There  also  was  a CD player (you could get CD's at the front 
desk).  No  television.  To  make  outside  telephone calls you must use 
Cable  &  Wireless  (no  calling  cards  permitted), and the prices were 
unbelievably  expensive--once  I called the U.S. to check two voice mail 
messages  and  paid  $27.  I  think  our telephone bill for the week was 
about  $500,  so  consider  that  if you need to conduct business during 
your trip.

The  sitting room had a small cushy sofa, chair, and mini-fridge stocked 
with  wine,  sodas,  beer,  etc.  (We also received welcoming bottles of 
champagne  and  rum.)  The sitting room was a good place to read when it 
was  raining,  and  I  used  the area to do sit ups and exercises in the 
mornings.

Bathrooms  are  large and feature beige marble. There are large mirrors, 
double  vanities,  shower,  Frette  towels,  blow  dryer,  and a lighted 
makeup mirror. The electrical outlets are 120V.

The  resort  also  provides  fresh flowers, robes, bug spray, umbrellas, 
and flashlights.

There  is  twice  daily  housekeeping. Every night when we returned from 
dinner,  a  mosquito  coil was lit, and on the pillow was a flower and a 
card  with  a quotation about sleep. On our final night, the resort gave 
us a watercolor of the beach--good thing we had room in our suitcase.

A  bicycle  is  provided  for each guest so that you can bike around the 
island and to the beaches other than the main resort beach. 

Our  patio wrapped around the building and faced the beach and water. It 
had several lounge chairs, tables, and a sofa.

Because  Jumby Bay is a private island, there are no room keys provided. 
That took awhile to get used to! However, there is a safe in the room.

The  high,  peaked  ceilings  of  the  roundavels  create  a  feeling of 
openness.  However, since the air conditioning was usually on, we had to 
shut all the wooden slats on the windows and it was dark inside.

I  did  not get an opportunity to see the other room categories, but our 
friends  who  stayed  in  a  deluxe  suite said that their room was much 
nicer than ours was!

Beaches

There are three beaches on Jumby Bay island.

The  picturesque  main  resort beach stretches just over a mile. You can 
see  the  Antigua  mainland in the distance. There are plenty of palapas 
and  lounge chairs, and the beach is large enough where the other guests 
are  not  sitting  nearby.  The  cream-colored  sand is not powdery, but 
rather  shelly.  Hammocks  hang  between palm trees that line the beach. 
The  main beach is very photogenic--my friends at home could not believe 
how  perfect  my  photos  turned  out  and there was never a soul on the 
beach. There were consistent tradewinds every day.

The  main beach has water sports--snorkeling, water-skiing, windsurfing, 
sailing,  banana  boat  rides,  and  aqua trikes. The snorkeling off the 
island's  beaches  is  not  great.  Jumby Bay has a snorkel outing three 
days  a week where they take you to nearby Bird Island to snorkel around 
dead coral. Not exactly prime viewing.

There  is frequent drink service on the main beach--all we had to do was 
stick  a  flag  in  the  sand and a server would come to take our order. 
Occasionally  a  server  would  appear with a plateful of fruit sorbets. 
There is also a cute little beach bar.

The  other  nearby beach is Pasture Bay, which was a five-minute bicycle 
ride  from  our  room. Pasture Bay is a natural, unlandscaped beach that 
is  a  nesting  area  for the endangered hawksbill turtle. This beach is 
very private--usually there are no other guests around.

Dining

All  meals,  afternoon  tea, cocktails, and wine with meals are included 
in the price.

Most  dinners  are  held  at  The  Great  House, an elegant 230-year old 
plantation  mansion.  There  is  an  outdoor terrace on the ground floor 
adjacent  to  a  garden  courtyard  so guests can enjoy candlelit dining 
under  the stars. Upstairs is the comfortable Great House bar, which has 
indoor seating in a library and outdoor seating on a verandah.

The  Great  House has menu service with different selections each night. 
Each  night  there  is a four-course "chef's selection" degustation menu 
and  a  four-course  vegetarian  menu.  You can also choose from several 
other  a  la carte entrees, appetizers, soups, salads, and desserts. The 
cuisine  was European and Caribbean. Considering that the executive chef 
left  the  week  after  we were there, I will not expend too much effort 
detailing  the sophisticated cuisine since it will certainly change with 
the  new  executive  chef.  As  for  entrees,  my  favorites were: "root 
vegetable  stuffed  grouper  with  thyme  local  crab  broth" and "char-
grilled  local  tuna  with lemon-herb butter sauce and vegetable risotto 
flavoured  with  white  truffle  oil".  My husband raved about the "lamb 
rack  stuffed  with  mushroom mousse with rosemary potato cake and vodka 
jus".

As  you  might imagine, the atmosphere at The Great House was very quiet 
and romantic. A couple nights there was mellifluous live music.

Breakfasts,  lunches,  afternoon  tea,  and the informal barbecue dinner 
are  held  at  the open-air Verandah Terrace, which overlooks the beach. 
The  view  is  striking--flowers  everywhere,  the aqua water, and birds 
flitting around.

Breakfast  is  menu  service  with  a  supplemental  buffet  of  fruits, 
pastries,  and  juices.  Breakfasts  were outstanding. I ate the lobster 
frittata  almost every day, but the specials were consistently excellent 
as  well.  The New York Times and Britain Today facsimiles were provided 
each  morning.  Jumby  Bay  also  provides  continental  breakfast  room 
service so you can eat on your terrace.

Lunches  are  buffet style with seafood and meats prepared on the grill. 
I  did  not think there was enough variety, and I would have appreciated 
a larger buffet with more selections.

The  beach  barbecue  was classy and romantic and was one of my favorite 
dinners that week. Do not miss it! 

Adelza  runs  the  Verandah  Terrace  and she ensures that everything is 
perfect for the guests.

Generally,  the  dress  was  casual, but long pants for men are required 
most evenings at dinners. 

There is no nightlife after dinner, and the bars close at 11 p.m.

Sports and Activities

Guests  enjoy  a  variety  of  water sports including snorkeling, water-
skiing,  windsurfing, Sunfish sailing, banana boat, and aqua trikes. The 
equipment  was  is  excellent  condition  and the water sports staff was 
helpful and friendly. There is also a freshwater pool.

The  resort has three tennis courts--two are hard (Laykold, I think) and 
one  is  a  synthetic  grass. None of the guests played the week we were 
there,  and  we  hired  Jerry, the resident pro, to hit with us a couple 
days. Jerry was a terrific player and instructor. 

There  is  a  small, open-air fitness center with a bike, treadmill, and 
Cybex weight machines.
Other activities are bicycling, basketball, and croquet.

Jumby  Bay  is  building  a  spa. Currently they have a single treatment 
room  near  the  Verandah  Bar. Su, the therapist, provides massage ($95 
U.S. per hour) and reflexology among other services.

Guests can also take the ferry to Antigua for sightseeing or shopping. 

When  the  hawksbill  sea  turtles  are  mating,  the resort can arrange 
nighttime turtle-watching excursions.

Jumby  Bay threw two stylish parties for the guests. One was a manager's 
cocktail  party  in  the  Verandah  Bar,  and  the other was a catamaran 
sunset cruise. 

Most  guests  were  not participating in any activities other than lying 
on the beach. 

One  service  I  wish  Jumby Bay had offered was a dedicated workstation 
with  Internet  access  available  to  the  guests.  This is pretty much 
standard at other top Caribbean resorts.

Service

Jumby  Bay  distinguishes  itself from its competitors by its high level 
of  service.  We were told there are about three staff members for every 
guest,  and  it  seemed  as if the ratio was even higher. Everyone knows 
your  name,  and the wait staff and bartenders remember your preferences 
and  how  you  like  your  drinks. They go above and beyond to make your 
stay flawless.

I  can  honestly  say  I  did  not  have a bad experience with any staff 
member--and  I cannot remember a time when I have ever said that after a 
hotel  stay. The staff is what makes Jumby Bay special and why they have 
so many repeat guests.

Clientele

The  guests  were  mainly upscale couples with an age range of late 20's 
to  mid-60's.  There  were  some families there with adult children, and 
there was one couple who brought their toddler.

As  I mentioned earlier, we bought our trip on Luxurylink.com, but there 
were  many guests there who had bought their trips on Skyauction.com and 
saved much more money than we did.

Checking Out

Jumby  Bay  gave  us  a  late  checkout without us asking. Our bags were 
delivered  to  the  ferry promptly and we made it to the airport with no 
problem.

American Airlines was hand searching every bag that was to be checked.

Summary

Jumby  Bay  is  sophisticated,  private  and  romantic.  You  can  enjoy 
unparalleled  service,  great food, informal atmosphere, and totally get 
away  from  it all. Moreover, unlike other private island resorts, Jumby 
Bay is easy to get to, being a short distance from the Antigua airport.

The  downsides  are the high price tag and, depending on your interests, 
the lack of action at the resort.

CUBA’S PLAYA SANTA LUCIA - A SNORKEL AND SCUBA DIVER’S PARADISE BY HABEEB SALLOUM

"You’re  going  to  Playa  Santa Lucia? You’re lucky! For snorkeling and 
scuba  diving,  it’s  a  paradise!"  My  friend  in snow-clogged Toronto 
seemed  envious.  He  continued,  "I’ve  been  there twice and I will go 
there again and again any time that I have a chance."
Now  as  we  boarded  the  bus at the Camaguey International Airport for 
Playa  Santa  Lucia,  I felt excitement and at the same time contentment 
as  we made our way northward toward Cuba’s Atlantic seacoast 110 km (68 
mi)  away.  The  Santa  Lucia  sands and waters were virtually within my 
clasp. 

We  drove  for  an  hour  and  half  through a rich farming and ranching 
countryside,  until  we  reached  Santa  Lucia - a beach- resort of some 
2,000  which is the main retreat for Cuba’s province of Camaguey. Within 
a  few minutes, without any red tape, we were settled in our comfortable 
21st  century  abode, edging Santa Lucia’s 20 km (12 mi) of white sand - 
considered  to  be  one  of the most beautiful beaches in Cuba - to many 
tourists   only   surpassed  by  Varadero.  However,  Varadero  is  very 
touristy,  but  Santa Lucia is virtually an unspoiled expanse of sugary-
white  sand,  edged  on  one  side  by  jungle-like  shrub  forests  and 
marshland; and on the other, protected by a huge coral reef. 

Some  36  km  (22  mi) long, this reef is the largest in the country and 
second  largest  in  the  world  -  only  exceeded  by Australia’s Great 
Barrier  Reef. An exceptional site for diving, it features caves, abrupt 
bottoms, black coral, tunnels, tubular sponges and three wrecked ships -
  now  sanctuaries for sea species. The underwater scenery which include 
50  different  types  of  coral  plus  34 dive sites, makes it a diver’s 
delight.  The  lure  of the reef for underwater enthusiasts is even made 
more  inviting  by the barracuda, mackerel, parrot, mollusk and numerous 
other varieties of fish to be found in and around the coral. 

The  calm waters between the coral reef and the beaches make it a dream-
like  sea for amateurs to practice snorkeling and scuba diving. However, 
for  those  not  inclined  to  dive  or  snorkel,  there  are the superb 
stretches  of sand, washed by the calm-crystalline waters. The sands are 
ideal  for  all  types  of beach sports such as beach-combing, horseback 
riding, kayaking, rowing, sailing and swimming. 

The  only drawback to this idyllic spot are some mosquitoes on the hotel 
grounds  in  the evenings and the narrow strips of pebble found on parts 
of  the  shoreline, at the point where the gentle waves lap the inviting 
white  sands.  Unlike  many  other Caribbean holiday destinations, there 
are  no  beach  peddlers to irritate the tourists. One only encounters a 
few  out-of-town  girls  seeking boyfriends - not at all annoying to the 
young men.

Besides  its  fine  sands, Santa Lucia has excellent tourist facilities, 
including  five  hotels  in  the  two to four star range - their grounds 
decorated  with  the  huge  tinajones  - earthernware urns for which the 
state  of Camaguey is noted. The beach has become a favoured destination 
for  tour  groups, coming mainly from Italy, Canada and Germany. All the 
hotels  offer  all-inclusive packages. If tourists are not interested in 
sun  and  sea,  they  can  simply  stay  on  the hotel grounds and enjoy 
endless  food,  drink  and entertainment. Even though 20% of Cuba’s salt 
is produced in the Santa Lucia area, tourism is its true lifeblood. 

Should  visitors  be looking for other excitements, great excursions are 
offered  from  the  hotels.  Without doubt, one which tourists will long 
remember  will  be  a  trip  to  Cayo Sabinal which some travellers have 
called  ‘heaven  on  earth’.  Its  16 km (10 mi) expanse of sugary white 
sand  is bordered by marshlands filled with animals and birds, including 
flamingos, sea gulls, deer, iguanas and wild pigs.

Among  the others excursions are the Flamingo Tour, a relaxing cruise in 
the  Bay  of  Nuevitas and snorkeling atop the coral reef; Swimming With 
the  Dolphins,  a wonderful experience for those who enjoy the animal of 
the  sea;  Coral  Tour,  advertised  as three hours of magic; and a tour 
visitors  to Santa Lucia should not miss, a Trip to Camaguey, one of the 
most  popular  excursions.  During this day’s tour, visitors explore the 
colonial  core  of  Camaguey, filled with the sites and aura of medieval 
Spain. 

Camaguey’s  colonial  architecture  has  survived  in  the shape of huge 
doors,  ironwork  decoration,  terracotta roofs, and magnificent baroque 
churches,  patios  and  squares. Its white homes are built around flower 
and  tree  decorated  hidden patios, surrounded by arches and galléries, 
edging   narrow   winding  alleyways.  With  the  exception  of  Havana, 
Camaguey’s  colonial quarter contains more old structures than any other 
city in Cuba. 

As  to  restaurants,  they  are  virtually  non-existent  and not really 
needed  since  all  foods  and  drinks  are offered in the package tour. 
However,  an  excellent  seafood  restaurant, Las Brises, on the all the 
tour  operators  itineraries,  offers  a  fine  meal  for  about $18. Of 
course,  there  are,  as  around most resorts in Cuba, homes which offer 
lobster  meals for $10. Even though not legal, they are much favoured by 
tourists  who  are  steered  to  them by bird-dogs (men who will sell or 
find for tourists anything they may be seeking. 

In  the  words  of one of these bird-dogs, "Tourists come Santa Lucia to 
dive,  snorkel  and  enjoy  the  sun.  We  round  off  their vacation by 
offering them the exciting underground."

IF YOU GO

Facts About Cuba:
1)  The  American  dollar  is  the  tourist currency of the country. For 
visitors,  there  is  no  need  to  buy Cuban currency unless travelling 
outside  tourist  areas. It is best to take U.S. dollars in cash - saves 
the  high  commission  charge  on traveller cheques. Never take American 
Express  or  Citibank  Travellers  cheques  or credit cards - only Visa, 
MasterCard and Eurocard are accepted. 

2)  In  spite  of all types of shortages, Cuba is still safe, thefts are 
rare and tap water is drinkable, even in the villages.

3)  The  best  buys  in  Cuba are rum and cigars. Beware of black market 
cigars - often they are not authentic. 
4)  Cubans  are  appreciative of gifts, especially soap, English-Spanish 
dictionaries and all types of clothing - new and used.

5)  For  Americans  wishing  to  travel  to  Cuba through Canada, only a 
passport is needed. Also, 
USA citizens should not use their credit cards in Cuba.

6) Remember to keep US$20. for a departure tax.

For  Further  Information,  Contact:  Cuba  Tourist  Board, 55 Queen St. 
East,  Suite  705,  Toronto,  Ontario,  Canada  M5C  lR6. Tel.: 416/362-
0700/1/2. Fax 416/362-6799. E-mail: cuba.tbtor@sympatico.ca 

JAMAICA: RONDEL VILLAGE BY LIZ AND PHILIP MAHER

PART ONE
Well  here  we  go,  trip #7 for me, trip #3 for the kids, something way 
more than that for Philip. We like Jamaica, Negril in particular.

Even  post  9/11 and post-NY airline accident, we were pretty calm about 
flying  and  I'm glad - everything went very smoothly, all on time (even 
early).  Security  was  a  bit  tighter than normal but we arrived early 
enough  to eat a meal and hang out for awhile at the airport. We arrived 
in  Charlotte  to  change  planes  and  joined  our  relatives  from NYC 
(Philip's  mom,  aunt and uncle), and got to MoBay. There's just nothing 
like  stepping  off  the plane having that warm air hit you in the face. 
Aaah…. we're back in Jamaica! We changed in the airport into shorts. 

Delroy,  Lee Weinstock's friend who also drove us last year, met us with 
a  nice  van  and  a  cooler full of red stripe and ting for the ride to 
Negril.  We  took the coast road TO Negril, planned to take the back way 
on  the return. Between the two, I'd have preferred to take the back way 
both  ways  -  it's  much prettier, and faster, road is in better shape. 
But  the  coast  road  was  OK,  under  2  hours I'd say, and we stopped 
halfway for a bathroom/more beer break.

We  arrived  at  Rondel  Village  and  checked  in  swiftly.  Rondel was 
wonderful,  a  very good choice for those who really want A/C, cable TV, 
phones,  etc.  I  don't  care  much about those things but did enjoy the 
A/C.  What  was  really  great  to  me was all the space we had in our 2 
bedroom  villa  -  a  huge  living  room  with  full  kitchen  (blender, 
microwave,  toaster  oven,  real  oven  and  stove,  large fridge, sink, 
dishes,  etc.),  2 huge bedrooms, one on the main floor that had its own 
bathroom,  one  "loft"  bedroom  that slept 5, another bathroom, a large 
wrap-around  porch  and our own jacuzzi (not that hot but the kids loved 
it).  The  furniture is real upholstered stuff too, not the semi-outdoor 
things  that  a  lot of tropical hotels have. Beds were cozy, everything 
worked.  Bring  a  CD  player  though  - that's all they don't have. The 
staff  was  wonderful  from  our  housekeeper  to  the  manager  to just 
everyone  we  came  in  contact with. Rondel is right on the beach, in a 
great  location  -  a few doors up fro mWhistling Bird, a few doors down 
from  Nirvana,  Mariposa…nice  and  quiet  at  night  but  easy  walk to 
nighttime  adventure. The bar and restaurant at Rondel, Irie Village, is 
run  by  Maggie  who was at Beach House Villas before, a lot of you know 
her.  Bartenders  Crazy  and  Milton  took  very  good care of us on the 
beach.  Good  food there and they have a deal with Rondel so you can get 
room  service,  or  pickup  service,  or  a phone call when your food is 
ready.  Sometimes  we were just that lazy J . There is a pool across the 
street  from  the  beach, where the standard rooms are. No one was there 
so  the  pool  was  totally private. There's another jacuzzi there also. 
Our  villas  were on the beach side though, so we spent most of our time 
in the sea rather than the pool.

My  son  said  the  very  first  thing  he was doing when we arrived was 
jumping  in  the  ocean  so we dropped our bags and changed - 10 minutes 
from  van to beach, I'd say J . We arrived in plenty of time for sunset, 
too.  I  believe  we ate that first night at the Boat Bar, which is next 
door  to Rondel. We ate there a lot last trip - great food, great prices 
and  Spencer  is  a wonderful host/chef. It's nice to be remembered from 
trip  to  trip  too,  and he did. One other reason we eat there a lot is 
that  it's right on the beach and they aren't fussy about wet sandy kids 
so  the kids could swim and play while we waited for our meal. Big plus, 
that.  We  ate  breakfast  there most mornings, and dinner several times 
too.

However,  our  very favorite place in Jamaica is 3 Dives restaurant/bar, 
up  by  Xtabi  on the cliffs, and we had to go up there and say hello to 
Lydie  and  Paula. Philip and I took a cab up and found it VERY crowded. 
Yay!  There was to be a big internet board party the next night but this 
night  they  had  their hands full as well. We had a little jerk chicken 
(have  to  do  that  - Lydie's is the best in Negril), met some boardies 
there  (hi russ!), enjoyed a couple of red stripes, and got caught up on 
the  runnings  with  L&P. We visited 3 Dives several times this trip and 
it  was  almost always busy - a lot of people apparently have discovered 
their  great food at great prices in a nice, natural atmosphere, and the 
hospitality of Lydie and Paula.

I  miss  the cliffs. I really prefer to stay up there - it feels like my 
neighborhood  and  I  love  the relaxed pace of the west end, snorkeling 
whenever  we  feel like it or just swimming in that crystal clear water, 
the  lack  of  hassle  and  busyness that is the beach. But our kids are 
still  small  and I don't want to risk an accident (the cliffs in Negril 
are  open/unfenced - lovely but not great for small children) so we stay 
on  the  beach  for  now.  It's  really  perfect  for  them, so nice and 
shallow,  calm,  gently sloping - no drop-off. And all that sand to play 
in....

PART TWO

We  woke  up  pretty  early,  not surprising since we went to bed pretty 
early  the  night  before and everyone is excited to be here. This was a 
beach  day,  like  many days this trip. It's so easy to be lazy, to fall 
out  of  bed,  walk  the few yards to the sand, order some breakfast and 
jump in the water while it cooks. 

I  did  not  take  very good notes this trip so I'm not going day by day 
from  here,  just going to note some things and talk about some stuff we 
did  to break the beach monotony (I'm the only one on this trip who gets 
bored  at the beach - everyone else could happily stay on it all day for 
10  days, doing nothing. I get antsy after a day, knowing all of Jamaica 
is out there.)

This  night  was  the sunset negril.com party at 3 Dives so we headed up 
around  4:30.  We  stopped  by  the Negril Yacht Club to say hi to Rasta 
John  and  Blondie and deliver some goodies to them. It was great to see 
them  but  they couldn't come up with us to 3 Dives and we never made it 
back  to  the NYC, kids and all that. (Guys, we'll make it up in April!) 
We  arrived  at  3  Dives  just after 5 and it was crowded - and getting 
more  and  more  rowded. The board party seemed to bring maybe 50 people 
and  a bunch of other people stopped in just because there was obviously 
a  party  going on! I said hi to some folks I knew, met a few more, then 
took  my red stripe down by the cliffside to watch the sun do its thing, 
which  it  did  pretty well until it hit some low clouds. No problem, we 
got  to see sunset almost everyday. Later on it got so busy I was called 
behind  the  bar  (I  was a bartender for 5 years - I don't particularly 
miss  it but it's not that hard to open red stripes which is pretty much 
what I did for 2 hours!)

I  brought  Lydie  and  Paula some CDs. I trade live recordings of bands 
that  allow  people  to tape and trade their shows (as long as you don't 
sell  them,  it's  cool). Bands like ekoostik hookah, the Grateful Dead, 
String  Cheese  and, as it happens, Bob Marley and Peter Tosh. I brought 
2  Peter  Tosh  shows, one acoustic, and one Bob show, all from the mid-
seventies  taped  in  clubs  in  NY  and  Chicago.  I know few people in 
Jamaica  have  a computer, never mind CD burner, and you can't buy these 
shows  anywhere.  So  I  brought a lot of them down to give to people as 
gifts,  and  I brought some ekoostik hookah as well, since they'll be in 
Negril  in  April and I figured I might as well warm people up for that. 
Lydie  and Paula have already seen Hookah, when they were there in 1999, 
so  they're  already  fans  - I broughtt hem some CDs last time too. The 
reggae  CDs  were  extremely  popular - everyone from the housekeeper to 
the  driver to a nice guy I met on the beach loved them. I'll bring more 
next trip.

A  lot  of  people  ask  about the weather in Negril. It didn't rain one 
single moment our entire 11 days. No afternoon shower, no cloud-hitting-
ocean  drizzle,  nothing.  Sun,  sun,  sun  -  hardly  even  any clouds. 
Finally,  on  the way to the airport coming in to MoBay, we hit about 30 
seconds  of  rain  -  literally.  But we were lucky because according to 
friends  down there, it had rained almost 2 weeks staraight before that, 
including  the  time  Hurricane Michelle passed by. People in MoBay said 
it  did rain there several times during our stay but I guess none of the 
rain clouds had the energy to go all the way west to Negril.

People  also  asked me about hurricane damage. As you may know, Michelle 
didn't  actually  hit  Jamaica  so there wasn't any wind damage, but she 
sent  one  heck  of  a  storm  surge  and  a  lot of rain. The beach was 
somewhat  narrower  in  spots  than  it  was,  but  for the most part, I 
couldn't  see  any  difference.  Some  properties  up the beach, already 
affected  by  past  storms,  had  little  beach  beyond their structures 
(beach  bars, etc) - we had to walk in the water to pass sometimes. Kind 
of  puts  a dent in the long beach walk but the sand seemed to be coming 
back  even  during  our  stay,  with some help from a barge pumping sand 
back towards the beach over by Country Country.

On  the west end, the damage to Pickled Parrot and Rockhouse was easy to 
see  from  the  water  -  the  slide  at PP is broken and so is the rope 
swing,  and  their cliff got beat up a bit. Still, you can dive and swim 
and  they are working to repair it all - I'm sure by Spring Break at the 
absolute  latest,  everything  will  be  back  to  normal. Could be much 
earlier  than  that. Rockhouse's cliffside villas were being worked on - 
doors  and  windows  replaced,  a couple of roofs being rethatched. They 
also  looked  nearly  done with their repairs. Post-hurricane, life goes 
on.

We  took three different boat trips this time. Our glass bottom boat guy 
was  Patrick,  a really nice guy who uses the Captain Kirk boat. He took 
all  of  us  out  to  the  cliffs one afternoon and we had a great time. 
Negril  is  really  different  from  out  on the water, I think everyone 
should  get  out  there  at  least once. Later in the trip, Patrick took 
Philip  and  the  kids and I out to the reef to snorkel. We saw a lot of 
fish  -  Patrick  brought  some  little  cakes  and  the zebra fish just 
SWARMED  around  us  as we fed them. Really neat, they'd take food right 
from  our  hands.  We saw some gars also, and a couple of rays, and some 
nice  coral.  We  got  a deal on the reef trip, it being our second trip 
with Patrick this time. 

My  daughter,  who  is  4,  really  perfected her snorkeling skills this 
trip.  We  practiced  just off the beach and when we got out to the reef 
she  was  good to go (we bring our own snorkels/masks - that way we know 
it  fits  but  Patrick  had all that stuff too). My son is 7 and he's an 
old  hand at it, doesn't use a lifevest anymore at all. My daughter just 
started  swimming  this summer while my son has been for 3 years and was 
on  a  swim  team this past summer. He also jumped off the highest cliff 
at  the  Pickled  Parrot - it was too funny to watch him walk around all 
these  adults  who were standing there, working up the courage to jump I 
guess,  and  just  pass them and go. I guess that cliff is 20+ feet, I'm 
not  really  sure.  But  it's high enough that I don't want to jump from 
it!

My  husband  and  son also went parasailing - another activity that they 
love  and  I  get nervous about. Parasailing is kind of expensive, about 
$30  per  person,  but  they  say  the  view is unbeatable. I may try it 
someday…

One  thing  we  did  this trip that we hadn't before was SAIL around the 
bay.  A  kind  gentleman  named  Keith cruised up to us in his Hobie Cat 
while we were swimming. We sailed up and down the bay, just the 
kids  and I and Keith, for maybe an hour. We all did a little rudder and 
rope  work,  I  was  kind  of rusty not having sailed in awhile but it's 
like  riding  a  bike…especially when the pro is right there to keep you 
from  tipping.  It's  really nice to be out there with no gasoline smell 
or  engine  noise,  just  us, the wind and the water. The Hobie Cat only 
holds maybe 4 people at a time.


PART THREE
The  granddaddy  trip  this  time,  (we  always  do at least one big day 
trip),  was  out  to  Alligator  Hole  to  swim  with manatees. The only 
driver/guide  I  talked  to who had ever been there and seemed confident 
about  where  to  go  were  the  husband/wife  team of Carloyn and Errol 
Barrett.  I  have  other drivers I love but none were familiar with that 
setup  and  since  we  weren't  either,  we  thought  someone should be. 
Carolyn  was  in  the  states (she is American) but Errol was in Jamaica 
(he  is Jamaican) and we arranged to have him pick us up at our hotel at 
9AM.  Only  Philip  and I and the kids are going - the others don't feel 
like a 4 hour car ride and stay on the beach.

He  was  right  on  time. We grabbed some refreshments and were off. The 
drive  to  Alligator  Hole  (that's  the name of the attraction, not the 
town,  I  guess  the  closest  town  is Canoe Valley or Gut River - it's 
about  a  half-hour  further than Alligator Pond, on the far eastern end 
of  Long  Bay)  took about 3 1/2 hours. This sounds long, and I guess it 
is,  but  I really enjoy driving around Jamaica. It's a great way to see 
the  countryside.  We  stopped  for  lunch  in Black River, at sort of a 
banquet  hall,  and had some chicken and that was about half way. I will 
never  forget  the  views  from  there on - the Santa Cruz Mountains are 
amazing  and  we  passed  pristine  bay after pristine bay. Sometimes we 
were  in  the  mountains  looking  out over coastal plains, sometimes we 
were  on  the  plains close to the water. We passed through little towns 
like   Bull   Savannah,   Junction,   Pedro  Cross  -  nice  towns  with 
surprisingly  large  homes and nary a tourist in sight. One thing that's 
pretty  unusual  is that around Treasure Beach, which we did not stop at 
(kids…)  there  are cacti. Large cactus, not little aloe-type things but 
huge,  saguaro-type  things!  Apparently  the mountains stop most of the 
rain from getting to this area and it is very dry. Grassy plains 
in  some  spots,  dry  sand  and  cactus in others, or even both. Really 
remarkable  eye  candy,  especially  on  this one bay - I forget which - 
where  the mountains come almost right to the water's edge. I had camera 
difficulties  this  day  so  the images of all this are only in my mind. 
(Unless someone else has taken pics of this area…?)


We  arrived  at Alligator Hole. This is a pretty casual setup - there is 
a  little  building  with  a  few  displays  on  manatees and some other 
endangered  Jamaican animals (crocs, etc.), and the guy who will take us 
out  in  his  boat  doubles as a concession stand, with a cooler full of 
this  and that and a bag of salty snacks for sale. No other visitors are 
around.  Errol  parks  by the road and will wait by his van for us while 
we  go out on the river. I call this a river but I don't think it really 
is  - it's really a morass (swamp) with clear areas and reedy areas. The 
water  is  crystal  clear,  we can easily see the bottom and sides as we 
move  along.  This boat is a flat-bottomed rowboat and our guide paddles 
out  a  short  way,  silently,  looking for the manatees. They are semi-
fenced  in - it turns out there are three in residence. There's a net of 
sorts  across  the  water that keeps them from swimming up the river too 
far  or (I guess) out to sea. Our boatman says this is necessary because 
there  are very few left in Jamaica - they get caught in boat propellers 
and  are  sometimes  caught on purpose, by fishermen, to eat. Supposedly 
there  are  less  than  100 in the whole Caribbean. I knew some of this, 
that's  why we came - I wasn't sure how long it would be possible to see 
them  since  they  seem  to  be on the way to extinction. However, since 
these manatees are looked after, they may be there for awhile.

The  water, as I said, was really clear, and we could see the occasional 
eel  or  fish  swimming  near  the  bottom.  We  round  a corner and our 
boatman/guide  gets  very  quiet  - he is looking for the fin that tells 
him  the  manatees  have  come  up  from under the banks on the sides to 
breathe.  This  is  not, by the way, a take-a-boat-ride-and-see-manatees 
trip  - there's only one way to see them and that's to put on a mask and 
snorkel  and  jump  in.  Now  I'm  looking around the reeds by the edge, 
thinking  "whoa  -  what  might  be  hiding  in there besides huge water 
mammals  that  weight  800  pounds  or  so?  Crocs?  Snakes? Am I really 
jumping  in here??". Our guide sees the fin he's looking for and paddles 
downstream  a  little  bit  so  e  can jump in and swim back up. This is 
where   I'm   not   entirely   sure   I   really,  really  want  to  see 
manatees….while  the  kids  get  their masks adjusted, I ask the boatman 
about  crocodiles  and  he  informs  me  that  there aren't any "in this 
part".  Okaaaaay…..I haven't seen any and I didn't drive all this way to 
chicken out so in the water I go, Philip and the kids right after me.

The  water  is  a  perfect temperature and so clear, and it is fresh, or 
feels  like fresh water. I'll admit to a short panic attack at first, as 
I  remember  the  eels  and get closer than I want to the edge where the 
reeds  are.  But  the kids are in and they're having fun already, off to 
see  if  they can catch the manatees, so I swim along. Actually seeing a 
manatee  is  tricky  -  my son was the only one who actually did. What I 
saw,  periodically,  were HUGE clouds of river-bottom silt being stirred 
up  by  something  very  large right under me. I saw this several times, 
might  have  caught  a  glimpse  of  gray,  but  mainly it was clouds of 
sand/silt.  We  followed  them around for awhile, maybe a half hour, and 
finally  were  kind  of tired. While I didn't come face-to-face with one 
(this  was  partially  because  with  the kids, we weren't swimming very 
fast,  and they only come to the surface to breathe then they head right 
back  under the banks by the edge and I was NOT going down there! If you 
can  move  more  quickly  than  we  could, you can see them), I was very 
aware  of  their  presence  in  the  water  with  me and this was a real 
thrill.  Not  in  small  part because I was scared and I did it anyway - 
you  know  how  something  hits  you AFTER you do it? Skydiving was like 
that 
for  me  -  I  didn't realize what I'd done until I did it, and the good 
feeling lasted all day.

We  paddled  back  to the van, got some snacks, and relaxed for the ride 
back.  I  should  say at this point that Errol was a wonderful guide, he 
knows  a  LOT  about  plants and trees and veggies in particular - every 
kind  of  fruit tree was pointed out to me, also farms full of scallions 
and  onions  and even corn. Errol does a little farming at his place and 
so  do  I  so  we  talked  a  lot  about that stuff. His van is also the 
cushiest  I've  ever  ridden in - it's got A/C and upholstered seats and 
this is all very good when you're in it for 4 hours!
On  the  way back, Errol asked if we wanted to stop and see a cottage in 
Bluefields  Bay  that a friend of his owns. It was close to sunset so we 
figured  why  not, good rest stop. This cottage (actually there are two, 
plus  the  owner's  house)  is  right  in Bluefields, behind a high wall 
(this  is  a plus because it's by the road and without the wall could be 
loud).  It's  called Horizon Cottages, or Rasta Ranch and Sea Ranch, and 
is  really  cool.  There  is  a  private  beach  -  small  but clean and 
inviting,  and  two  jetties  that go out in the water with steps at the 
deep  end.  The  jetties  are partially covered and under the roof there 
are  benches  with  throw  pillows and cushions and hammocks - just made 
for a good book and a rum drink of 
some  sort.  Bluefields  Bay  has  nothing on it that I could see - it's 
like  having  it all to yourself. There's a sea kayak and a raft to use, 
and  the  cottages  are  very funky and rustic, again with many cushions 
and  tapestries  and hardwood everywhere. I could easily pass a few days 
here,  just  chilling  out  and  being  completely alone. The sunset was 
beautiful.  The  kids  didn't want to leave, they loved the little beach 
and  cottages  and jetties, they asked if we could stay there next time, 
which we may.

One  person  was staying there, a friend of the owner, an American woman 
living  elsewhere  in  Jamaica. Philip was wearing a Phish t-shirt which 
she  saw  and  asked  if  we  were from New England. Philip looked a bit 
blank,  not  knowing  she  was  referring  to  the  shirt (Phish is from 
Vermont).  Turns  out  she  and Trey, Mike etc are friends, they stay at 
her  place  in,  I  think, New Hampshire. I mention this only because we 
seem  to always meet these people in Jamaica - an editor from High Times 
at  Blue  Cave,  or Lee Weinstock who went to high school with Dave Katz 
from  hookah  - interesting people wind up in Jamaica.We finally made it 
back to Negril, in time to grab a bite and collapse after our day.

PART FOUR - FOOD

With  the  big trip done, it was time to relax on the beach again, maybe 
go  as  far  as  the cliffs one or two times. One place I really enjoyed 
that  was new to me was Easy Rock Café. It's a cybercafe, actually, with 
(I  think)  4  computers (which is 3 more than most cybercafes I've seen 
in  Negril). It's located where the west end begins, across from Tigress 
Lane  on  the  cliff road. The restaurant is lovely, right on the water, 
and  the  view  is of the beach and mountains behind. Sue, the owner, is 
British  I'm  told  but  we  never  met  her.  We  did  meet  Zola,  the 
waitress/manager/cook/cyberlady   who  is  Jamaican  and  she  was  very 
friendly  and  helpful.  I wound up there a couple of times, to check e-
mail  and have a snack. Very relaxed place with a tiny beach nearby that 
my  kids  played  on for quite awhile. I had a sandwich one day and some 
fish  the  next,  my kids had chicken - all were delicious. I could hang 
out  at  this  place  for  a few hours easily, lots of cushions and such 
around.

While  I'm  on the topic of restaurants, I'll mention our experiences at 
a  few.  One thing to keep in mind most places you eat in Jamaica, if it 
is  a sit-down place, is that food takes a LONG time to prepare. I mean, 
an  hour  was pretty standard except at breakfast, two hours not unheard 
of.  So  don't go hungry or impatient, sit back, have a couple of drinks 
and  relax,  or pick a place the locals eat at, they're busir so food is 
served faster.

I  believe  the  reason for the general slowness is that no restaurant I 
have  seen preps food in any way. I've worked in restaurants and bars in 
the  US  and stuff is bought, sliced, chopped, parboiled, whatever hours 
or  days  ahead  -  not so in Jamaica. When I order a meal sometimes the 
proprietor  will literally go buy the food (you know the old complaint - 
"what  does  he  have to do, go catch the fish?" - sometimes, it's close 
to  that!)  and then begin the process of slicing, chopping, cooking the 
sauces.  This  makes  for  some of the freshest, tastiest food I've ever 
had  but  it's  not  a  fast thing. If you're in a hurry, stop at a jerk 
barrel  by  the  road,  that's pretty much always ready when you are, or 
get  patties  from  a  bakery  - they're ready to go in cases. We always 
pick  up a few to keep at the hotel for snacks. 3 Cs is the place we go, 
or pattymon comes by on the beach on his bicycle.

3  Dives  remains  our  favorite  place  for  good food and vibes at low 
prices  (or  any  price,  really).  The  seven of us had a HUGE plate of 
lobster  one night, with that signature garlic butter, callaloo and rice 
and  peas  -my  relatives had never eaten there and they raved - we even 
had  to  take some lobster back to the hotel, we couldn't finish it all. 
We  also  had  Lydie's  chicken  several  times - often you can get that 
pretty quickly, if he has some on the grill.

The  Boat Bar is the beach place for us, Spencer the chef is a wonderful 
man  who  cooks  the  heck out of fish or chicken or ackee - never had a 
bad  meal  there  and it's also very reasonable. I'd say we ate there 10 
times  in  as  many  days. Lots of fish, chicken, Jamaican breakfast and 
the kids' favorite - french toast.

We  had  one  meal at Ristorante de Gino, on the beach. It's Italian and 
very  good but not that cheap, at least at dinner time. Still, they have 
a  seafood  salad  appetizer  that  is amazing - fresh seafood in a cold 
vinaigrette-type of sauce. Yum.

Irie  Village  was "our" restaurant at Rondel. Their food was very tasty 
too  though  a  little  more  expensive  than the Boat Bar which is next 
door.  One  thing  I can recommend, especially for kids, is their pizza. 
We  had  the  lobster pizza and the kids liked the cheese pizza. My kids 
actually  do  very  well  with  Jamaican food - they mainly eat chicken, 
stewed,  fried,  whatever  and  eat  it all, and rarely ask for anything 
American.  Still  the  pizza  was  a  nice  break  once or twice. I also 
enjoyed  the  fish there (I ate fish at almost every meal in JA, I can't 
get  enough  of  it  -  escoveitched  (vinegarey  sauce with peppers and 
onions), steamed, fried, stewed…I don't care it's all delicious).

We  had  one  meal  at  Xtabi,  it  was our somewhat fancy dinner out at 
sunset  and  we were all a little disappointed. It was OK, but not worth 
the  money  I  think.  We arrived right before sunset and had to go away 
for  20 minutes because they weren't ready yet (we went to 3 Dives for a 
drink  to  wait).  Odd  for  a  sunset place, not to be ready at sunset. 
Philip's  uncle  kept  looking  wistfully over at 3 Dives, talking about 
how  much  better  their lobster was. I think we'll try Rockhouse or LTU 
for  the fancy cliffside dinner out next time, if we do one.Philip and I 
checked  out the Chinese restaurant at Country Country (Hunan-something, 
Garden  maybe?) one night. Walking there from Rondel was a little tricky 
-  right  before  Country  Country we had to climb up a fence-thing on a 
log  -  the  beach  is badly eroded right there and hadn't been repaired 
yet.  We  made  it  to  the  restaurant  where we had a very nice meal - 
Philip  ordered  shrimp  and I had fish (of course) and we shared - both 
were  very  tasty and not too expensive. The hot and sour soup, of which 
I  am a big fan in the US, was too spicy to finish, - I'm no lightweight 
but this was HOT.

We  had  a  snack  while  we hung out at the Pickled Parrot - seems only 
right  to  buy  something  if we're using their cliffs, and as usual, it 
was  mediocre and expensive. But we knew that and just ordered one thing 
for  all  of  us  to  share. We did get some cool cups with tops to take 
home  that  said  Negril  2001  on them - we used those the rest for the 
trip  for  drinks, great for the little ones especially.3 Dives has $70J 
red  stripes (that's about $1.50US), Irie Village has $50J red stripes - 
between  the  two  I don't think we ever paid more than that for a beer. 
One  warning  -  other  beer is rarely this cheap, even red stripe light 
was  $100J  at Irie Village. $50J red stripes are kind of a loss-leader, 
to  bring  folks  in.  Blended  rum drinks at Irie Village were $150 - a 
little  over  $3US,  and  they were great - pina coladas, dirty bananas, 
whatever  you like (if you visit Crazy at Irie Village he might serve it 
on his head, which is bald - he did that for us a lot).

We didn't even pass by Rick's this time! Can't say I missed it.
..that's  it for this particular report. Can't wait to get back in April 
with hookah!Links to stuff I talked about in this report:

Lee Weinstock 
http://www.negril.com/leesmain.htm

Carolyn      and      Errol      Barrett      (Barrett      Adventures): 
http://www.barrettadventures.com/

Rondel        Village:       http://www.negril.com/rondmain.htm       or 
http://www.onestopva.com/rondel/rondpix.htm

3 Dives: http://www.negril.com/3dives/

Horizon Cottages (the ones we visited in Bluefields): 
http://montego-bay-jamaica.com/horizon/

Negril Yacht Club: http://www.negrilyacht.com/

Jamaicans.com bulletin board: 
http://www.jamaicans.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?category=3

Negril.com bulletin board: 
http://theone.negril.com/cgi-bin/config.pl

ekoostik hookah: http://www.ekoostik.com/

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