Caribbean Travel Roundup

Newsletter - Paul Graveline, Editor


Caribbean Travel Roundup
Paul Graveline, Editor
Edition 83
March 1, 1998

Last Update 28 Feb 98 1200et

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1/ PRESS RELEASE

ANTIGUA: SANDPIPER RESORT

This  season, the Sandpiper Reef Resort was relaunched and renovated 
under  a new management company, Tropical Resorts & Vacations headed 
by  Chris  Collie,  formally  from  Clubs International and Couples.   
The  beachfront  resort offers 22 spacious rooms and 2 suites.  Each 
room   has   breathtaking   ocean   views,  private  balconies,  air 
conditioning,   mini   bars,   color   television  and  direct  dial 
telephones.

A  new  beach  bar  and grill was also added to offer customers more 
choices.    This  intimate,  private,  relaxing resort is nestled in 
the  upscale  Crosbies Estate community, is only 10 minutes from the 
international  airport  and  10 minutes from the main shopping area, 
St.  John's.   As  a  service  to  it's  guests, the resort provides 
complimentary  transportation  to the cedar Valley Golf Club only 10 
minutes away.

Mention  the  Caribbean  Travel  Roundup  when booking and receive a 
20%   discount  off  the  advertised  room  rate  and  complimentary 
breakfast.

2/ REGIONAL NEWS

ANGUILLA LOCAL NEWS FROM BOB GREEN

News Tidbits from Anguilla

UK  Ministers Clash Over Passports for Anguilla. The Times of London 
reports   that "two senior cabinet ministers are clashing over plans 
to  grant  full   British passports and settlement rights to 150,000 
residents  of  Britain's  remaining dependent territories." The idea 
has  been  delayed and will only be  mentioned as a "possibility" in 
next  weeks  meeting  of  the  Dependent  Territories Association on 
February   4th,  according  to  this  article  in  the   Independent 
newspaper (link will fail after Feb 8th).

The  Rope  at  Little Bay is gone. So you can't climb down the cliff 
anymore.   You  can  still  get to Little Bay by swimming east along 
the shore from Crocus  Bay, or hiring a boat to take you for $10.

Computers  Now  Duty-Free for personal use, for small businesses and 
for   educational  purposes,  according  to  Finance Minister Victor 
Banks.  "There  is  a   need  for computer literacy with the way the 
world is heading."

AHTA  Now  On-line.  The  AHTA  is  the  Anguilla  Hotel and Tourism 
Association.   AHTA has offices in the same building as the Anguilla 
Tourism  Board  (ATB),  across the street from St. Gerard's Catholic 
Church  in  The  Valley.  Mimi   Gratton,  the director, is proud to 
announce  that  they now have their own  email, ahta@anguillanet.com 
instead   of  sharing  with  the  ATB:   atbtour@anguillanet.com  -- 
Anguilla is online.

National  Bank  of  Anguilla  has broken ground for the expansion to 
their  building.

Meads  Bay  P.A.D.I.  Dive  Resort has opened just behind La Sirena. 
This is a  branch of Anguillian Divers in Island Harbour.

The  Youth  Council has selected Bren Romney as their new president. 
You  may  remember Bren as the resource coordinator who put together 
the Road Primary  School web site.

Budget Travel: Try Sydans

Anguilla  is  known  for  its  luxury  resorts and villas. I'm often 
asked  if   there  are any more reasonably priced places to stay. Of 
course  there  are.  There are numerous small inns and guest houses, 
mostly  owned and operated by  local Anguillian families, that offer 
a clean, comfortable lodgings.

Sydans  apartments  on  Sandy  Ground  is  an example. The units are 
located  on   the salt pond, across from Johnnos restaurant and bar. 
Apartments    feature     full   kitchen,   private   balcony,   air 
conditioning,  and they are located just  across the street from the 
Sandy  Ground  beach.  The picture here was taken  from the porch of 
one of the 3 units that face the pond.

If  you  stay  in  a local apartment or guest house, you get to meet 
lots  of   friendly local people, take part in local activities, and 
have  an authentic,  Caribbean the-way-it-used-to-be experience. For 
example,  your  hostess  at   Sydans, Ann Edwards, is also the vice-
principal at the high school.

Sandy  Ground is the closest thing Anguilla has to a quaint tropical 
seaport.   It  has  a  long, protected sand beach without surf, with 
Mariners  resort  at  one   end and many restaurants to sample, plus 
the  Dive  Shop  , and Johnnos and the  Pumphouse for entertainment. 
Sandy Ground is where most holiday boat races  start and end.

Sydans  rate  is  $75 per night, plus 8% tax and 10% service charge. 
Telephone:   264-497-3180.  Other money-saving options in this issue 
of the Anguilla Local News:



- Evanet Apartments.


- Mala's Cottage for roti and local food.


- Paradise Apt web page.


- Newly reopened resort offers summer prices.

In Memory of Princess Diana

  An African Tulip tree has been planted in The Valley as a memorial 
to   Princess  Diana.  The  tree  was planted by the Anguilla Garden 
Centre  and  the   Anguilla Beautification Club (the same people who 
planted  the  beautiful  rows   of  ficus  benjamina all along Queen 
Elizabeth Blvd).

As  you drive into The Valley, you will see the memorial tree on the 
right  just before the post office.

Large and Successful Agriculture Show

Friday-Saturday, January 30-31st.

If  you went up Coronation Blvd toward the baseball field, you would 
have   seen  fields  crowded  with booths and exhibits, visitors and 
students,  all  for   the Agriculture and Industrial Exhibit, 1998 . 
This  joint  effort  of  the   Department  of  Agriculture  and  The 
National  Farmers Association was a very  appealing, well-organized, 
educational, entertaining and colourful fair.

It  seemed  as if every possible domesticated animal in Anguilla was 
at the  fair, as well as booths showing a huge variety of produce.

The theme of this year's fair was "Farm Today or Starve Tomorrow."

There  were  classes  attending  from many of the schools (I saw the 
entire  89- pupil roster of West End School), studying the exhibits, 
trying  to  figure out  how to get a horse ride, identifying unusual 
fruits  and  vegetables,  listening   to  the  steel  band,  ... and 
generally having a good time.

An Artistic Collaboration

Showing  at  Savannah  Gallery,  in  The Valley through February and 
March,  is   the  large  four  by six foot painting, "Melee", by the 
artistic  team  of  Lynne  Bernbaum and Jo-Anne Hill Saunders . With 
the  wealth  of  talented  artists   living  and working in Anguilla 
these  days,  it's  interesting  to  see  something   quite  new - a 
collaborative  effort!  Lynne  and  Jo-Anne  have  even  named their  
movement; "duoism".

Inspiration  for the style of painting "Melee" came from a book that 
both    artists   were   enjoying   titled   "Australian  Aboriginal 
Paintings"  by  Jennifer   Isaacs. Photographs in that book depicted 
groups  of artists laboring on a  single painting. Inspired by these 
group  efforts,  Lynne  and  Jo-Anne  finished  "Melee" recently and 
anxiously  await  reactions,  for duoism creates a style  that looks 
like neither a typical Bernbaum or Saunders painting.

The  title, "Melee" refers to a Caribbean slang word for gossip, and 
more  specifically to the confusion and chaos created by gossip.

Other Art News:

During  February,  Savannah  Gallery  will  feature  an exhibiton of 
recent   paintings and pastels by Marjorie Morani , February 5 - 26. 
Phone 497-2263

Lynne  Bernbaum's  new  paintings  will be featured in an exhibition 
titled   "Spectrum" along with recent sculpture by Courtney Devonish 
in  his  show   called  "Touch  Forms" at the Devonish Art Gallery , 
February 7 - 28. Phone 497- 2949

Guest article by Frank Costin.

Upcoming Events in Anguilla

The  Anguilla  Local  News  has  a  Calendar  for  the  year showing 
events,   holidays,  and activities. And February is a busy month in 
Anguilla.

Bob  Marley's  Birthday  is Friday, February 6th. Celebrate the life 
and  work   of  Robert  Nesta  Marley  O.M. with reggae music, food, 
drink,  and  dance.   10:00am  until  late at night. Across from the 
Ruthwill Auditorium in The  Valley.

Valentine's  Day  is  an important social event in Anguilla. And the 
Rotary   usually  has  a  party and selects the winner of their Jeep 
raffle  ($100  per   ticket, but there aren't many tickets). Ask any 
business in The Valley.

Sacred  Dance  Choir  performs  Sunday,  February  15th  at 5pm, St. 
Augustine's  Anglican Church, East End village. Public invited.

West  Indian  Garden  Party  at  St. Gerard's Roman Catholic Church, 
Saturday   February  21st. The best of West Indian dishes. Drinks on 
sale.  The  bar  opens   at  6:30pm,  with  dinner from 7:30pm until 
9:00pm  and dancing with music by  Sprocka. Read all about the party 
last  year . Tickets are US$20 ($25 at the  door). Buy them at Vista 
Market, Anguilla Drug Store, or Alecia's Place.

A  Cultural  Festival  is also planned for February, but I have been 
unable to  get a detailed schedule.

Moonsplash  is  Bankie  Banx annual 3-day beach party. Moonsplash 98 
is    scheduled  for  March  6-8,  because  Richie  Havens  will  be 
performing at Koal  Keel restaurant on March 5th.

Listen  to  the Radio. Many local events are not announced until the 
last  minute, and then only on Radio Anguilla, 1505 AM, 95.5 FM.

Wallblake House Restoration Starts

Work  has  started  on the restoration of Anguilla's oldest and only 
surviving   plantation  house, which is in desperate need of repair. 
These  are  the  first   fruits of a determined fund-raising effort, 
including  special  events  and  selling t-shirts , by the Wallblake 
House  Trust. Of course, they haven't  raised enough money yet to do 
the  entire  job  (est.  $440,000),  so  they have  started with the 
outbuildings.

The  complex  was  built  in  1787  and is one of the few plantation 
houses  where   the  entire complex , including the kitchen, stable, 
and  worker's  quarters   still  exist. The workers have removed the 
entire  roof  of one small structure,  revealing the thick limestone 
walls  and  their  angled  tops  with the slots into  which the roof 
beams should slide.

For  more  details on the project, consult the project's web page at  
wallblake.ai

A Homebase for Exploring Anguilla

Evanet  Apartments, near Straw Hat Restaurant and with a spectacular 
view  of  St. Martin, is within a 1 minute ride (or a 3 minute walk) 
of  the  beach.  The   manager Evadney Richardson has available a 3-
bedroom,  3-bath  fully  furnished  house, and two 2-bedroom, 1-bath 
fully furnished apartments, for long-term  and short-term rental.

Amenities  for  the  short-term  visitors:  Cable  TV, maid service, 
villa  phone,   coffee  maker, etc. She can also arrange car rental, 
baby  sitting,  private   cook,  island tours, tennis. Just send her 
your  private  requirements.  Evadney   Richardson,  PO Box 739, The 
Forest, Anguilla, BWI, telephone: 264-497-2255.

Mala's Cottage: Roti Hut Reborn

What  is  that quaint old-fashioned building in George Hill that has 
been   repainted  yellow  with  pink  and  turquois  shutters? It is 
Mala's  Cottage  ,  a   new  enterprise  by Heather James to provide 
Indian-vegetarian  local  dishes  in   the  Caribbean style. Heather 
used  to  run  the  Roti  Hut  across the street in a  grounded food 
truck,  but she now has a dining room, a kitchen with glass  viewing 
window, and porch with a full bar.

The  menu  is  similar  to  the Roti Hut, but expanded. Each day the 
cook   prepares  main  courses:  Chicken,  both  boned and boneless, 
goat,   Conch-seafood,   and  Biganee  (vegetarian  fish)  and  many 
vegetable  dishes:  Carnival  rice,  Curry  potato, Curry Mango, and 
Steamed  pumpkin.  To  place  your  order, you decide if  you want a 
Roti-bake  suitable  for  fast  food/takeaway, or a more substantial  
meal  plate.  Roti  bakes  consist  of  one  main  course  plus  one 
vegetable  in  an   Indian-style "tortilla". A meal plate consist of 
one  entree  plus  two   vegetables plus either rice or a side roti. 
Prices  for  Roti's  are  EC$10 to  EC$14, full meals EC$15 or more, 
extra vegetables EC$1.50 each.

If  you  stop  by, be sure to try the Fresh Local Fruit juices, made 
from   whatever  is in season. Heather had made papaya juice the day 
we visited - it  was fantastic! US$2 small and $3 large.

Youth Arts Festival Competition

Did  you  drop  by  the post office recently and see all the entries 
in   Anguilla's  Youth  Art competition. The walls were covered with 
enjoyable   artistic  works,  making  our  post  office a bright and 
wonderful place to visit.  The winners are:



- Age 11 & under




- 1st - Samalta Daniel (age 8)



- 2nd - Ilka Harrigan (age 9)



- 3rd - Carvel Fleming (age 6)



- Runners Up - Macrena Hodge (age 10) and Darren Smith (age 11)



- Age 12-17




- 1st - Jervayne Daniel (age 12)



- 2nd - Teresa Harrigan (age 17)



- 3rd - Bennecia Webster (age 15)



- Runners Up - Corring Fleming (age 13) and Daryl Thompson (age 13)

New Visitor Training Program
  Here  is  what  you need to know for your first visit to Anguilla: 
Comfort  :   80F  day and night. Casual dress. No ties. No swimsuits 
in  town. Airco not  needed. Perils : Use sunscreen at the beach. Do 
not  touch  coral.  Guard   against mosquitos. Money : Bring US cash 
and  travellers  checks,  plus  your  credit cards. No ATM machines. 
Phonet/Net:  :  Reliable  but  expensive. Consider  Internet-by-the-
minute.  Driving  : Stay to the left. Don't worry about horn  beeps. 
Bring  your  license.  Manners  :  Say "good morning" before stating 
your   business.  Wave  to  strangers. More Tips : Pets. Gratuities. 
Ferries. Marriage. 

Web Sites About Anguilla

Rentalcars.ai  is  a  new web site for High-Way Rent-a-Car in George 
Hill.   Leslie  Richardson,  proprieter.  You can select the type of 
vehicle  you  desire  on-line, they place a reservation request from 
your  web  browser. And they  have those cute "microbus" vans, but I 
don't think a 6'8" driver will fit.

Paradise  Apartments  ,  the  affordable friendly place on Rey Hill, 
now  has  a   web  site.  Lot's of pictures, directions, and package 
deals and honeymoon  specials.

Chinchary.ai  is  the  web  site for Lucia Butler's new villa, which 
you can  rent or buy: chinchary.ai

Summer Starts Early at Mariners

Mariners  Resort is freshly refurbished and open for business again. 
Mariners   is  that  collection  of cute West Indian cottages at the 
west end of Sandy  Ground beach.

To  celebrate  the  hotel's  $2.2  million renovation and expansion. 
they  are  offering a "Summer Break" for guests: low summer rates in 
the  winter  high  season. The 64-room waterfront property has rates 
as low as $99 a night.

And  their  waterfront  restaurant  PawPaws  is planning specials to 
jumpstart   business  again:  Friday  "Latin"  night, Saturday "West 
Indian"  night,  Sunday   Brunch,  monthly  fashion shows, and other 
events.

"Ranger",  otherwise  known  as  Jerome  Vanterpool,  is the chef at 
PawPaws.  His   menu  is reasonably priced, with entries from $16 to 
$24, including Jerk  Chicken with spicy seasonings from Jamaica.

Telephone: 264-497-2671. Email: mariners@anguilanet.com

 Report from a Radio Enthusiast

Roger  Fenn  comes  to Anguilla every year and part of his enjoyment 
is   listening  to  the  local  radio  stations!  He  has sent us an 
updated  visitor's   guide  to radio on Anguilla. Radio Anguilla, at 
1505  AM  &  95.5  FM, is a "must"  waking companion between 7 and 8 
a.m.,  with  complete  local, regional, and  world news, sports etc. 
Weather is usually about 7:40.

PJD-2,  St.  Maarten at 1300 AM has a really good newscast from 6:45 
AM  to   about  7:30,  including  a  look  at  the  local  newspaper 
editorials.  The weather  on this one tends to err, since it is from 
the  bureau in Curacao. Its sister  station, PJD-3 at 102.7 FM has a 
similar  newscast  earlier  and later to fit  busy schedules. Fairly 
reliable  sources  for  regional weather are GEM radio,  St. Maarten 
at  107.9  FM  at  the top of most hours, weekdays. ZBVI, Tortola at  
780  AM  has  WX  on most half hours, WVWI, St Thomas at 1000 AM has 
CBS  radio   news  followed  by  WX  on most hours.We also found the 
following  stations  informative for regional news and weather : ZIZ 
Nevis  at  550  AM,  ABS  Antigua   at  620 AM, VON Nevis at 895 AM. 
Stations   we  heard  from  Montserrat  last  year   are  no  longer 
there.....

For  entertainment,  try any of the following FM stations. The other 
stations    licensed   to   Anguilla:   ZJF   105.5,  which  usually 
rebroadcasts  JAMS-FM  from  St.   Maarten, or "Heartbeat 107.5 FM", 
which  plays  hot  Caribbean  Music,  but  seems   be  on a "casual" 
schedule.  My  personal  favorites  for beach listening with a  book 
were  the  following  FM's:  Marigot  88.9,  Marigot 91.2, The Oasis  
(Philipsburg)   96.3,  Radio  St.  Barth  (Marigot)  100.7,  JAMS-FM 
(Philipsburg)   101.5,  PJD-3  (Philipsburg)  102.7,  RFO  (Marigot) 
106.1  GEM  Radio  (Philipsburg)   107.9,  which  is part of the GEM 
radio   network.   For   more   about  GEM,  check   their  website: 
www.gemradio.com

By  the  way,  Caribbean  Beacon  is still on at 1610 AM but I never 
heard  it  at   690,  where it had been in the past. I wonder why it 
dropped 690.

USVI FROM FRANK BARNAKO

The following information is provided by Frank Barnako who owns property which he'd like to rent. You can check it all out at:
For the most relaxing vacation of your life, stay at Over the Rainbow Our management company has produced a new web site for Beyond the Sea, a spectacularly sited 2-1/2 bedroom property. Please take a look at: http://www.caribbeanvilla.com/develop/carib/beyond/beyond.html.Golf course proposed on St. John.

 Feb 15, 1998 

This  edition  of  the  Virgin  Islands  News  was  being written on 
island.  It was our first visit in a year. 

The  biggest  difference  between  now  and last year is the people. 
They're  everywhere!  Caneel Bay Resort is open and active.  The St. 
John  Westin  has  three  restaurants,  the biggest pool you'll ever 
see,  para-sailing,  jet  ski  rentals  and  very good Pina Coladas.  
And,  the  fleet  is in. Really!  A small Naval destroyer escort, or 
something  like  it, has been parked in the entrance of Cruz Bay for 
about  three days.  The streets are full of good looking guys, and a 
few  gals  too,  and  they  are  laughing  and  having a great time.  
Woody's  Seafood  Saloon, across the street from Chase Manhattan and 
Scotia  Bank,  is jammed, while on the second floor of the building, 
at  the  new  Quiet  Mon  Pub,  a  live  band  is blaring.  And just 
tonight,  after  dinner  at the Fish Trap, we walked out on the Cruz 
Bay  dock to look at the Naval ship - all decked out in lights - and 
ran  into  some  friends from Washington, whom we haven't seen state 
side in 14 years! Parteee!! 

What's  not  changed  is  the  warm  weather,  the long beaches, the 
crystal  clear  blue water and the laid back atmosphere.  Y'all come 
down - and rent our houses :)! 

Now ... the news. 

 ** Mini-golf course planned 

  New  York  real  estate  appraiser Richard Singerle bought land on 
Dec.  4 and has announced plans to open a Caribbean-themed mini-golf 
course  by  the  end of the year.  Estimating it will cost a million 
dollars,  he  said  the  project  will  be  built  at  the corner of 
Centerline  Road  and the road to Bethany Church, the Virgin Islands 
Daily  News  reported.   Singerle  said the 18-hole course will have 
structures  explaining the islands' history. Including volcanoes and 
Water  Island replicas, instead of the usual windmills found in such 
developments. 

 ** America's Cup challenge is pursued 

  The team which seeks to challenge for the America's Cup has posted 
a  $250,000  performance  bond.   The  designated  skipper  of  Team 
Caribbean,  Peter  Holmberg,  told  the  Daily  News  the bond is in 
escrow  with  the  Cup  Challenger  Association.   The  Team is also 
preparing  to  compete in the Mini-America's Cup Regatta in Auckland 
in  April.   It is one of six challengers invited to race.  Holmberg 
said  he  is  on the lookout for corporate sponsors to held fund the 
tasks of designing the team boat and organize a sailing crew. 

 ** St. John road repairs underway 

  Although  it  is  high  season  for  tourists, the Water and Power 
Authority  began  this  month repairing and replacing water lines on 
St.  John.   While  the  Daily News editorialized that the timing of 
this  construction  work  was  lousy, our first-person experience is 
that  the  work  is  being  done  at  night and while roads are only 
temporarily  patched  afterwards,  traffic  is  moving  without much 
restriction during the daytime.  

Source: http://www.stjohntradewindsnews.com/

JOURNEYS FOR MARCH 1998

ARUBA BY PHYLLIS SAVARINO

Trip 1/98

We  just  returned  from  our  9th  trip  to  our favorite place. We 
purchased  tickets  from  IHR  and we were very happy with the price 
and the service. 

The  weather  was great never a drop of rain. We arrived on Jan 15th 
and  left Jan 25th. We stayed at the Radisson and had a great junior 
suite.  We  spent  most  of  our  beach  time  at the Americana only 
because we have friends staying there and we're used to that area. 

The  Americana  will  becoming an all incusive resort as of May 1st, 
new  managment has taken over and is keeping the help on their toes. 
I  personally  don't  like  all  inclusive because there is too many 
great places on the island to eat. 

We  went  to  all  our  favorite  restaurants  tried  Bistro  81 and 
Ventanas   Del  Mar  and  were  very  pleased  with  both.  We  were 
dissapointed  at  the  Trattoria Faro Blanco this trip. The food was 
just  OK  and the service was not very good. We sat outside so maybe 
that  was  why.  Also  we  waited almost 45 minutes for a cab out of 
there. I don't know if we will go back again. 

Chalet  Suisse  was excellent and I met Benny and he told me to send 
his  love  to  all  on  the  board  especially  the "pretty ladies". 
Elgaucho   was   great  as  usual  and  we  even  waited  with  9:30 
reservations,  but  it is really worth the wait. Everyone said Tango 
is as good as Elgaucho with the same owners but we didn't try it. 

We  enjoyed  our  10  days  as usual just chilled out and went brain 
dead  for  the  entire  time.  Our biggest decision was were to have 
dinner  and  what  casino we would go to. We had a lot of fun in the 
casino  coming  out almost even.When we left we said we're not going 
to  wait till next Jan to go back so hopefully we will get back real 
soon. 

BAHAMAS: PARADISE ISLAND, NASSAU, SOUTH OCEAN RESORT BY MIKE LEIB

Trip 10/97 

We  traveled  to  the  South Ocean Beach Resort in October last year 
during  the  Columbus Day Holiday. We arrived at the resort property 
which  is  divided  into  two  distinct  areas,  a garden style/golf 
course  section  and  a  beachfront  area.  The main hotel is at the 
gardenview  location.  After  check-in, we were ferried by golf cart 
from  the  main  reception  area  to  the  beachfront rooms. It is a 
difficult ride with several suitcases. 

The  rooms  at  the  beach  resort are Spanish-motif, verandah style 
rooms  that  all face the beach and the Caribbean Sea. All the rooms 
have  air  conditioning,  a  ceiling  fan,  four  poster beds, tiled 
floors,  exquisite  bath  with a whirlpool tub, wetbar and a balcony 
or  patio.  The  rooms have French doors with screened shutters that 
open  to  reveal  an  oceanview  balcony  or  a  patio. Along with a 
private,  security  patrolled  beach  is a beachhouse converted to a 
bar  and  restaurant overlooking the beach and ocean, as well as the 
fresh water swimming pool. 

The  hotel  provides  free use of snorkeling gear as well as kayaks, 
small  sailboats  and  boogie  boards.  The South Ocean Dive Shop is 
adjacent  to  the  property  if  you already know how to skindive or 
want  to  learn.  They also have snorkeling trips but if you want to 
snorkle  "au  cheap",  bring  your  own mask etc. The reefs near the 
beach,  about  30  feet  offshore, you can walk out from the shore's 
edge.  We  spent  most  of  our time in the water at these reefs. We 
went  through  four  of those disposable, waterproof cameras and got 
fantastic  photos!  Colorful  fish, starfish, urchins, conch (animal 
still  inside),  stonefish,  coral,  seafans,  hermit crabs etc. The 
reef  fish  love cookies brought out in a zip-lock bag. No sharks or 
barracuda  but  we did see a small school of cuttlefish. This resort 
is the pace to go to relax and unwind. 

Taxis  to  Nassau are expensive, $25 for two, one way! Private buses 
run  to  Nassau  for  about  $10-12 per person. Scheduled buses cost 
about  $7.50  with  a pre-purchased ticket. Scooters/mopeds were not 
available.  A  rental  car  would  be  a good idea. The nearest town 
market  is  about  5  miles  away and the bus doesn't stop there nor 
does  it  go to the Barcardi Rum Factory, a nice tour from what I've 
heard.  Weather  all  week  was  in  the low 90's, a little warm for 
October, only one short shower in the middle of the week. 

JAMAICA: BREEZES GOLF AND BEACH RESORT BY DENNIS RODGERS

Breezes Golf and Beach Resort at Runaway Bay

Trip Report for 1/98

(a            few           personal           pictures           at 
http://www.mnsinc.com/flax/jamaica.html)

Breezes  once  again  changed  their name. From "Jamaica Jamaica" to 
"Breezes  Runaway  Bay" to the newest incarnation, "Breezes Golf and 
Beach  Resort  at Runaway Bay", but itís reputation as a quality and 
affordable All Inclusive stays as is.

First off, the flight in to MoBay from BWI via Air Jamaica:

We  flew  first  class  on  AirJamaica  from  BWI. (For those of you 
flying  out  of  Baltimore,  Md, BWI has a first class check in line 
for  AirJam,  so it made checking in a snap) The $120 extra a ticket 
for  first class was well worth it, and paid off in comfort numerous 
times.  First  off,  AirJam  stocks  their  fleet  with several MD80 
aircraft.  These  are  small  planes,  and  can  be quite cramped in 
coach...  it  was  even a bit cramped in first class. What lacked in 
space,  was  gained in treatment, though. AirJamís attendants worked 
hard  to  keep us happy. Moments after we sat down, we were asked if 
we  wanted  any  juice or a memosa (it was an 8am flight). I had two 
of  those  memosas before we even left the ground. <grin> Just after 
takeoff,  we  were  asked  what  we wanted for breakfast (4 course). 
Canít  remember  what it was I had, but I can tell you it was pretty 
yummy.  <grin>  The  flight  was smooth with very little turbulence, 
and  the pilot would come on the PA from time to time to let us know 
what island we were flying over, etc...

The  only  complaint  I  had was that there were some empty seats in 
First  Class,  and  some people got bumped up. I would normally have 
no  problem with this, except 4 of those people were small children, 
who  didnít  like  standing  still for 5 minutes, not to mention the 
three  and  a half hour flight. They were noisy, kicked the seats in 
front  of  them  (I  was glad I wasnít sitting there!) and when they 
discovered  the  trays  in  the  arms  of  the  seats, they got even 
nosier.  Despite  several  complaints  to  the attendant for several 
people,  nothing  was  done about it. Not even after one of the kids 
ripped  the  trim  off her seat. We later learned that AirJam didnít 
even  normally  allow  children  in  first class at all. Ah, well... 
could have been worse.

Arrival and the Ride to Breezes:

We  landed early in MoBay, which makes sense as we took off from BWI 
a  little early! MoBayís airport is a little old and dirty. You have 
to  walk  from  the  tarmac to the terminal, which was fine with me, 
since  stepping off the plane in 88 degree weather, after getting on 
the  plane  in 40 degree weather was a good thing. <grin> The public 
restrooms  in  MoBay are to be avoided. If you fly first class, just 
before  customs  there is a AirJam first class lounge... make use of 
it. Itís very nice! More on that later...

Customs  was  busy,  but  a  joke.  The  officer  never  touched out 
passports,  even  though  we  put  them  under his nose. He took the 
"Importing  goods"  form  we had to fill out and sign, and waived us 
on. Seems I bought a passport for nothing.

We  made  our way to the SuperClubs desk where our luggage was piled 
into  different  piles  depending on where you were heading... I was 
glad  that  the  pile  for Breezes Runaway was small. <grin> We were 
told  it  would  be  20  minutes  before  the bus would leave, so we 
walked  outside  to  check  out  the  sites.  We  were greeted by an 
airport  employee  with  "Welcome  to  Jamaica,  mun!  Come  have  a 
Jamaican  beer!" as he whisked me over to a beer stand not far away. 
Halfway  to the beer stand, he asks "Want some Jamaican smoke, mun?" 
I  was  a  little  shocked  since  this was an airport worker, but I 
guess anything for a buck. I passed, but thanked him anyway.

They  were  out  of  Red  Stripe  at the beer stand, so I got a Ting 
instead.  (Ting  is  a  Jamaican  made grapefruit drink sort of like 
Mountain Dew thatís gone a little flat. Quite good though...)

My  wife and I sat outside and drank for a few moments, and then got 
the  call  to  go to the bus. Superclubs took the luggage to the bus 
for  us,  but  then a skycap (who later asked for money from us all) 
placed the bags into the bus for us. 

The  "Ride  From  Hell"  wasnít as bad as I heard it was. Our driver 
was  very  nice,  and  gentle  on the gas pedal. We only had about 3 
close  calls  with  other  cars on the road. <grin> He told us about 
the  towns  we  drove  through  (which looked very poverty stricken, 
BTW),  about  the landmarks, and resorts and such as we passed them. 
It  was  a  fairly  comfortable Toyota commercial minivan, and there 
were  another  couple  seated  behind  us  and two single females in 
front of us... so not very packed in.

About  20 minutes down the road, we ran into a police check stop. It 
was  a little disheartening, I must say, to be pulled over by police 
with  machine guns. The driver knew one of the officers, so they let 
us  go  without  checking  us  out,  but the driver said that it was 
common.  The  police  stop  cars  and busses to check for drugs, and 
such.

We  stopped at the rest stop about a half hour from the resort (itís 
just  outside  Discovery  Bay)  were  I  was once again offered some 
"Jamaican  Smoke".  The  bus  driver  told  me  I kept getting those 
offers  because I have a beard. Seems that the majority of Jamaicans 
who  wear  beards  smoke  dope,  so they apply it to the tourists as 
well.

BTW,  the  rest stop is a tourist trap. It has a gift shop and sodas 
and beer and such, but all overpriced.

Check In and Rooms:

Check  in  was  also  a  breeze! We came in, announced who we were , 
were  given  a  glass of champagne and a form to fill out. We turned 
in  the form, and identified our luggage, and were immediately given 
a  room.  (I  heard  them telling the single people that their rooms 
werenít  ready  and  it  would  be  a half hour wait, though) We had 
asked  ahead  of  time  to  be  on  the  "nude side", so we got room 
3116...  halfway  down  the  row and on the ground floor. A bit of a 
drag,  as  itís  quite a long hallway to get to the room when youíve 
been  drinking.  <grin>  Nice  room,  though....  I  could have done 
without  the  cheesy  wooden  palm  trees  above  the  bed, but, who 
cares...  we  were  in Jamaica, after all! Bathroom was large with a 
big  closet  (with  an ironing board inside, and the best iron weíve 
ever  seen!).  I  really only used the closet to hang up my wet suit 
and  my other snorkeling equipment, but it could have easily fit the 
clothes  from  both  our  suitcases. (the safe was in there too, but 
once I locked my wallet in there, I rarely went in after it)

The  TV  had  a  couple  of US and Jamaican channels on it, and a TV 
Channel  which gave times of activities at the resort. Donít believe 
this  channel, as just about everything it said was wrong! The times 
were  off,  peoples  names  were off (like the golf pro, some of the 
entertainment  coordinators,  etc)  and  they listed some activities 
which never seemed to happen.

The Rest:

The  grounds  were  amazing,  and there seemed to always be at least 
one  or two workers trimming trees, raking the lawn, etc. There is a 
little  jungle  right  smack  in  the  middle of the courtyard which 
holds  4  hammocks  and  a large bird cage in the center (no bird in 
it,  though) It gets very dark and romantic in there in the evening, 
in  case  youíve  ever  had  the  fantasy  to  mess around with your 
significant other in a jungle setting. <grin>

The  pool  looked  very  nice,  and  itís  large  size  could easily 
accommodate  many  people.  We  never  used the pool, though, as the 
Caribbean was just to inviting.

The  buffet  breakfast,  lunch  and  dinner, was the best I had ever 
seen.  Many  choices  of all courses... I must have gained 10 pounds 
in  my  first  two  days! Great food, and plenty of it! They had the 
BEST  bread  pudding,  BTW.  We tried all sorts of "different" foods 
that  they  offered,  such  as  goat,  ox  tail, conk, jerk pork and 
chicken,  and  octopus. The menu always changed, and they rarely had 
the same foods severed again on another day.

Donít  bother  looking  at  the  menu they post, though, as half the 
time, that is wrong as well.

We  only  ate once at the Italian restaurant they have. The food was 
good,  and  it was a nice change from the buffet, but I still missed 
the "all you could eat" and the pot parie of choices!

There  were  several bars there, and all of them willing to make any 
drink  you want (except champagne). The bartenders are friendly, and 
like  to  tease and joke with you. If you want a premium liquor, you 
have  to  ask for it though... otherwise they give you an off-brand, 
and itís noticeable.

The  wildest  bar  seemed  to  be  the  one in the terrace area. The 
tenders  there  grabbed me on my first day and forced (yeah, right!) 
me  and  my  wife  to  do a "welcome shot" with him. No clue what it 
was,  but  it  tasted  good,  and  felt good too. <grin> Most of the 
bartenders  at  that  bar  also  offered  to "give me a tour" of the 
north  part  of  the island (for a price). They arenít allowed to do 
this,  but  do  it  anyway...  like  I  said, anything for a buck, I 
guess.  We  didnít  take any up on it, but we talked to a couple who 
did. They seemed to enjoy the experience, either way.

The  "all  you  can drink for free" thing got to me, that week. I am 
usually  not a drinker, but I pretty much kept a constant buzz going 
the  entire  week  with  mixed drinks, wine at lunch and dinner, and 
beer. I was in Jamaica, after all, right? No worries!

Speaking  of  vices,  if  you  like  cigars, the gift shop carries a 
small  assortment  of Cuban cigars. I had always heard how good they 
were,  and  wanted  to try one (and being from the States, had never 
had  the  opportunity).  I choose a "Romeo y Julieta" for about $16. 
This,  I  have  to  say,  was the BEST cigar I have EVER had. I went 
back  and  got  more.  <grin>  I  was also soaking them in a shot of 
spiced  rum,  which made the experience even more enjoyable. Hell... 
even  my  wife was loving those rum soaked Cubans! I almost tried to 
smuggle  some  back  with  me,  I  liked  them so much. Good thing I 
didnít, as US customs went through my luggage when I got home.

The Beaches:

The  "prude"  beach was large and soft with densely packed sand, and 
was  the  most popular. I cant say much more about it, other than we 
cut  across  it  several  times  to  use the bathroom or to exchange 
towels  at the towel changing station. It doesnít have much swimming 
room,  though,  as  the  reef  which  is just about 100 feet off the 
beach is roped off from swimmers.

The  nude beach was small, but cozy. We spent 90% of our time there. 
It  was  popular,  though, and most of the chairs would get taken up 
quickly.  I  meant  to  spend  the  majority  of my time on the golf 
course,  but  loved the beach so much, I only got to play golf once! 
There  is  no  warning  signs on either side of the beach though, so 
you  get quite a few people wandering into the area turning red when 
they  realize  what  they  have  stumbled  into.  There  is also the 
occasional  gawker,  but youíll find that anywhere you go thatís not 
a  totally  nude  resort.  FDR,  the  resort  next  to  Breezes, has 
children  in  it,  and  many times people would come walking by with 
their  kids.  I  heard  on more than one occasions one of the little 
ones  exclaim as they walked by "Hey! Daddy! Those people donít have 
any clothes on!!" in excitement.<grin>

The  nude  side also doesnít have a bathroom, which I hope they will 
eventually  remedy. Also, the bar there is self serve. It has a soda 
machine  (with  one  beer  tap  and the rest soda), ice, a couple of 
bottles  of  liquor  and  a couple of bottles of different juices. I 
would  have preferred a bartender like they had at the "prude beach" 
bar.

The  nude  hottub  was nice, but very sandy... It held about 8 of us 
comfortably. 10 if we were good friends. <grin>

Speaking  of  which,  naturists  are  usually the friendliest people 
around,  and  this  was  still  the  case  at  Breezes. We made many 
friends  out  there on the nude beach and hot tub. (Hello to all our 
new  friends  from  Canada,  Wisconsin,  Brazil,  Germany, New York, 
England and Russia!) 

I  read on another trip report in rec.nude that Breezes might not be 
the  best  place  for  a newcomer to the naturist lifestyle. I would 
not  say the same thing. My experience there was very enjoyable, and 
I  think  itíd  be  fine and dandy for a newbie. I just wish I would 
have  been  able  to walk back and forth to my room without anything 
on... would have made it all the better.

It,  at times, was also annoying to be bugged by the "shell boys" in 
the  water. They are locals who wait in the water, and when you come 
out  to  swim  (or  sometimes  they  call  to you on the beach) they 
pounce  on  you to buy shells (which they pretend they just found in 
the  coral... even though they are polished shells, and itís illegal 
to  take  anything  from  the reefs!), drugs, or "anything you want, 
mun!"  Usually  a  "no"  works fine, but every time you go out, they 
ask you again. <grin>

Snorkeling:

With  a  reef  just  50  yards  off  the  beach,  itís  perfect  for 
snorkeling.  We  went  out  twice  a  day,  every  day.  Once in the 
morning,  and  then again after lunch. The best place to go in right 
off the nude beach, as that part of the reef isnít roped off.

We  saw  everything  you can imagine out there! Eels, squid, octopi, 
rays  and all sorts of colorful fish. Some of the fish are genuinely 
curious  about  the  divers, and will follow you around. The sargent 
majors  especially. I swam out to the reef one morning, and a school 
of  about  50  of them swarmed around me checking me out. They would 
even  come  right  up to my mask to look me in the eye! Talk about a 
weird feeling! (but way cool!)

The  amount and species of coral were varied as well... all sorts of 
neat looking stuff. Some very large brain coral as well.

The  water  is  clean,  and  once  you  are  in  the  reef area, has 
wonderful  visibility. We had rain and wind one day, which messed up 
the  water  for two days, but other than that, it was very clear and 
warm.  I  never  had to wear my shorty, except for the morning after 
the  storm  (and  then  the water was really to cloudy to really see 
anyway)

Activities:

We  didnít  do  many  of  the  activities,  as  we were usually busy 
worshiping  the  sun,  or  snorkeling.  My  wife did try the trapeze 
though,  and had a blast. Some of the folks we met on the beach from 
Canada  got  quite  good  at  it,  and  even performed in the "Guest 
Circus"  they  have  every  Thursday night after dinner. (BTW... the 
trapeze  teacher,  Dennis, and his girlfriend "JC" are very nice and 
very good instructors!)

My  wife  went sailing with one of the instructors, and enjoyed that 
as  well. (and got a couple of neat pictures from the boat) I didnít 
go,  as I was recovering from some motion sickness that hit me while 
snorkeling earlier that day.

We  also  did their Bingo night (where my wife won a SuperClubs mug) 
and  their  Casino night (where I won big, but not big enough to win 
any prizes) Both were quite fun, and social.

There  was  also  a beach party, complete with team games (where the 
teams  are  ENCOURAGED to cheat by the staff!). My wife sprained her 
ankle  in  the conga line going down to the beach for the party, but 
played  the  games anyway! They also had a Reggae dance contest that 
night  on  the  beach..  they  picked  a  best  male and best female 
dancer.  They  had  to  cut the evening short though, as a couple of 
the guys started to take it ALL off!

And  a  safety  tip...  do  NOT  take  the  bicycle tour!! Itís VERY 
dangerous.  We didnít do it, because on our first day we met someone 
who  had.  It was described to us as this: "Some staff member riding 
a  bike  to  fast, and very far ahead of you, on a small street with 
cars  driving  by  you much to fast and only an inch away from you". 
That  same  bike  tour,  a  car  got  a  bit  to close to one of the 
guests... she now has a broken leg.

We  were  to tired to do the toga party and the pajama party (though 
I  sleep  nude,  so I wasnít sure what I was going to wear anyway!), 
though  we heard no one showed up for either, and the staff was very 
disappointed.  Some  people  we  had  met in the hot tub had been to 
Breezes  many  times  before,  though, and said that usually both of 
those  parties  were  packed. Donít know why it was so dead the week 
we were there.

We  also  went  to  the  lounge  one  evening and saw a local female 
singer  do  some  reggae tunes. She was good, but still acted like a 
lounge  singer. As someone who used to be a professional musician, I 
couldnít take to much of it as I used to live it!

There  was  also the Caribbean show on Wed evenings... this is a not 
to  miss show if you have never seen the usual tourist shows before. 
Limbo  dancers,  fire  eaters (this guy was WAY cool, and really got 
the  energy  going  in  the  crowd!) traditional Jamaican dancers, a 
contortionist,  and  a  parody  "Jamaican  Mamma". (one of the local 
dancers  dressed  up  in traditional garb, but with large pillows in 
the  chest  and butt area!) She pulled people out of the audience to 
dance with her up on stage. Quite funny!

Golf:

One  of  the  reasons  I  went  to Breezes Runaway was to golf. As I 
mentioned  above,  I  barely  got  9  holes  in (on my last full day 
there!)  since  I  was  so  busy  having  a  blast  on  the beach or 
snorkeling!

The  golf  course  is  nice,  and  well  kept,  and  the  caddie was 
wonderful!  The only bone I have to pick with them is they charge an 
arm  and  a  leg.  While  the  $58  green  fees are free to Breezesí 
guests,  the mandatory clubs, cart and caddy were not. We had to buy 
balls  as well. It cost us about $75 (plus the $10 tip to the caddy) 
just  for  9  holes!!  Itís  a  damn good thing my golfing plans had 
changed  and I spent most of my time on the beach: Otherwise, Iíd be 
broke right now!

I  didnít  check  out  their  golf  school or the driving range, but 
their  putting  green  was very unkept. Trash and chunks of mud were 
all  over  it,  making  it impossible to use. The people I talked to 
who went to the golf classes said they were great, though!

The Trip Back:

The  bus  we took back was much larger. It held about 12 of us, plus 
our luggage.

The  ride  back  was  MUCH  worse  then the ride there. This was the 
usual  stuff  you hear about: Drivers going 20 times as fast as they 
should,  bumpy  ride, and several close calls. At once point, we all 
thought  we  were  gonna  die, and a truck coming the other way came 
inches from sideswiping us.

At least we were in air condition. <grin>

At  the  airport,  I  again thanked the gods that I was flying first 
class!  You  see, AirJamaica schedules just about all their Saturday 
flights  between  the  hours  of  5pm and 6pm. This means you have a 
couple of thousand people getting in line to check in.

The  first  class  check  in at MoBay at about 4 people in it, so we 
breezed  right  through!  10  minutes  later, we were sitting in the 
first  class lounge drinking more free beer, and eating free snacks. 
The  lounge  is  wonderfully  furnished,  clean  and  well  kept.  A 
friendly  bartender  and  one friendly waitress. I sat and watched a 
Jamaican  soccer  match  against Brazil (Jamaica lost) while waiting 
for the plane.

Finally  we were called to board the plane, and right on time! I bed 
farewell  to  my Red Stripe, and headed off to the tarmac. In luck!! 
Itís  an  airbus!  The seats are SO much more roomy, and I was comfy 
in  a  momentís  notice.  They steward brought me a rum punch, and I 
waited for the plane to taxi.

20  minutes  went  by,  and we still hadnít budged. I looked out the 
window  and  saw the pilot leaving the plane... NOT a good sign when 
we are already 20 minutes late.

Come  to find out, some of the navigation gear had malfunctioned. We 
spent  an  hour  or so in the plane (getting hotter of course, since 
the  door  was  open)  waiting  for  them  to  fix the problem. They 
couldnít  do  it,  so we had to go back to the terminal. (I figured, 
better delayed then dead because of a plane crash, right?)

Again,  I  thanked the gods for the first class lounge, as we had to 
wait  3  hours for another plane. It turned out to be another little 
MD80, but beggars canít be choosers.

While  the  folks  at Air Jamaica treated us very well for the fight 
back,  and  while  we were waiting for the new plane to arrive, I do 
have some other bones to pick with them again.

Before  we  left  the  plane,  they had us all write down a name and 
phone  number  to  contact someone in the states to let them know we 
were  going to be late. They didnít make my call until the new plane 
was  actually  taking  off. (my ride at the airport had already been 
at  the airport waiting for me at that point!) So if this happens to 
you... CALL HOME! Donít trust AirJam with the task!

Also,  no  one  knew what was going on. When we left the plane to go 
back  to  the  terminal, the AirJam people freaked out when they saw 
us  all  coming  back  in.  They had no idea what had happened, even 
though  we were told by the flight crew to go see them about what to 
do.

Also,  the  flight  delay  was  never  relayed to anyone. Out flight 
showed  that  it  was  coming  in  on  time  on  the BWI flight info 
screens,  even  after  our  landing  time!!  My  ride called the Air 
Jamaica  1-800 number to check on the flight several times, and each 
time  they  told  him  we  were  on  time... even though one time he 
called  10  minutes  after  the  time  we were supposed to land!! No 
communications in that airline at all, it seems.

At least we made it home, though. <grin>

Back  at  BWI,  we  were  the  first  ones to grab our bags and head 
through  customs.  Even  though  we didnít have anything to declare, 
our  bags  were  searched, while they let everyone else go by. Maybe 
it was my beard. <grin>

All  in all, we had a wonderful time, and canít wait to go back! The 
wife  wants to head back to Breezes, while I would like to try Grand 
Ledo  Braco  or  Negril... weíll see who wins for our trip back next 
year.  If  she  does,  no sweat off my back! I could spend a week at 
Breezes Runaway again without any second thoughts! 

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