Caribbean Travel Roundup

Newsletter - Paul Graveline, Editor


Caribbean Travel Roundup
Paul Graveline, Editor
Edition 93
March 1, 1999

Last Update 26 Feb 99 1800ET

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JAMAICA : GRAND LIDO BRACO BY RICHARD TRON

This  won't  be  one of those really lengthy reports. We'll cover the
pros  and  cons  of Braco versus Negril also. Late getting into Mobay
because of ice in Newark causing plane to be late to Philly. Lost 2 -
  3  hours  of  laying  out in the sun. The ride to the resort was as
advertised,  about  50  minutes.  Check  in was a little quicker than
Negril.  Unbeknownst  to  us, we were upgraded to the luxury suite on
the  c/o  side. Separate bedroom, 2 full baths, 2 a/c's, refrigerator
in  room,  table w/ 4 chairs, sofa, 2 more chairs and a coffee table,
and  balcony.  Had  dinner  at Piacere the 1st night (faxed a request
before  leaving).  Service and food were top notch, about the same as
Negril's  except  the  service was a little better paced. Seemed like
the  wine  list  was  a  little more extensive also. Did the PJ party
afterward.  Found  the  room  to  be smaller than Negril's. Music was
LOUD  and  left  before  the  prizes.  Getting  too old for that loud
stuff. Headed to the hot tub.

Did  breakfast  each  morning  at  the Market. Same thing as Negril -
nothing  hot  in  the  covered dishes. Had to get an omelet or waffle
(which  were  pretty good) to get something hot. Never did the buffet
for  lunch.  Did the pool bar or Pebbles Beach House for lunch. These
were  both  good.  You  could get jerk chicken, burgers, fries at the
pool  bar.  Lamb  chops and the room service items at Pebbles. Drinks
were  available at both places. Other than one stale batch of nachos,
all the food from these places was good.

Other  dinners  included  the  Japanese  restaurant,  the  Market one
evening,  the  Street Fair (Sue only, write for details <g>), and the
French  place  again. The Street Fair was typical buffet, but ALL the
other dinners were superb.

For  activities,  we  played golf (only once because Sue got a birdie
and  I  couldn't  handle  listening  to  her again), did the mixology
class  twice.  The first time was a killer. May have had something to
do  with  Sue  going  to dinner alone <g>. Did pool volleyball almost
everyday  and  water aerobics once. Needless to say the hot tub was a
nightly  thing.  Only one night was it too hot to go into. It must be
a  Grand  Lido  trademark to screw around with the hot tub temps on a
daily basis.

The  food  was  very  comparable to Lido. If you closed your eyes you
wouldn't  know  the  difference.  Braco  stands  out,  in  our humble
opinions,  for  a  couple of reasons. The service was far superior to
Negril.  All  of the restaurants, including the Market for breakfast,
had  great  service.  Your  water glass, wine glass or whatever never
got  more  than  half empty. The people working there really went out
of  their  way to make you feel comfortable. Smiles were not in short
supply.  Another  huge advantage for Braco is the c/o facilities. The
pool  and  beach are much larger and just beautiful. The hot tub will
hold  30  comfortably  and  there is a smaller one tucked back in the
trees  for  overflow  or privacy. The entertainment also seemed to be
better  than  Negril's.  They  fly  in entertainment along with their
house  band.  A  violin and guitar played at Piacere. A string sextet
from  Cuba  played  at  the Market during dinner. Both were fabulous.
The  band  that  played after dinner on Monday would take a back seat
to  no  one.  We were amazed each night at the quality of the talent.
Even  the  house  band  was  more  than  adequate.  All  in  all  the
atmosphere  is more alive than Negril. The Village layout makes for a
different more festive "feel".

The  beach was not rocky at all. Some returning guests indicated that
it  was  much  better  than their previous trips. And those that went
diving were satisfied with that.

There  were  typical  GL  problems with the room, one a/c worked only
went  it  felt  like it and one shower didn't work properly. But just
minor  problems  that didn't detract too much from the visit. We will
definitely go back.

JAMAICA: GRAND LIDO SAN SOUCI BY RANDY NELSON

Grand Lido Lottery

Dec, 4, 1998 to Dec, 11, 1998

Hi  everyone,  here  is our trip report for our vacation to the Grand
Lido San Souci in Jamaica.
I’ll  try  and  not  make  it  to boring (it’s a long report). I will
include  some information that I wish I would of known before I left.
This  was  our  first  vacation  to  Jamaica,  and  the Caribbean. We
enjoyed ourselves immensely.

In  August,  we both decided to go for a winter holiday, and couldn't
decide  were  in  Jamaica  to  go.  We  thought  about  Sandals,  and
SuperClubs.  All-inclusive  was a must, as it was something we wanted
to  try  for a very long time. After reading many trip reports on the
Internet  we  chose  Grand Lido. But which one!! We picked Air Canada
Vacations,  Grand  Lido  Lottery, and this package allowed SuperClubs
to  choose  our  resort  destination in the Grand Lido class of their
resorts  (5 star). It would be either be Negril, Braco, or San Souci.
A  week  before  we  left  the  travel  agent  called and told us the
destination,  and type of room. We were pleased with the selection of
San  Souci  (because  of the spa, more mature guests, and a less of a
party  atmosphere).  We  are both 33 years old, and fairly laid back,
not  much into partying all night. We like our booze and being active
during  the  day. So San Souci seemed to be a perfect fit, with water
sports,  spa,  and  bars  all  over the place, we were in heaven. The
price  of  the trip for comparison purposes cost us $4600.00 CDN this
included  airfare,  transportation,  resort  accommodations,  and all
taxes  (including  Jamaican departure tax) for the both of us. A very
good price, some Americans we met were paying close to $4000 USD.

Well, on to the report…..

Friday, Dec., 4, 1998

Left  Calgary,  Alberta at 12:00am on Air Canada for a 3 hour flight,
it  was  uneventful  and  we  tried  to  sleep  a  little. Arrived in
Toronto,  Ontario  around 6:00 am. The connecting flight didn’t leave
until  10:30am so we just wandered around the airport until then. The
flight  to  Montego  Bay  was on a 747, WOW what a large aircraft. At
about  3:00pm  we  arrived  at  Montego  Bay  airport.  (I’ll  try to
describe  the  airport  as  we went though it, it is very detailed on
purpose).  We got off on the tarmac and entered the charter terminal;
it  looked  very  third  world.  Turned  right and walked to a set of
stairs  that  led  up  and right again at the top of the stairs. Then
down  the  corridor  to  a Jamaican band that was singing “Welcome to
Jamaica".  Turned Left then we were in the Immigration area. We stood
in  the  tourist  line  up  and got our passports and airline tickets
out.  The  officer  didn’t  even  look  at  them and just stamped our
papers.  Now  another  right and down the stairs to the baggage claim
area.  Waited  about  20  minutes  for  the baggage. Then went to the
“nothing  to  declare  line”  just to the left of the stair case. The
officers   just  stamped  the  papers  again  and  then  out  to  the
transportation  area.  The  Air  Canada  rep was standing and waiting
just  outside  of  the  doors.  We checked in with her (took down our
names  and  told  use  to  meet  our  vacation rep "Mark" tomorrow at
12:15pm),  and  she  directed  us  to  the  Super  Clubs desk (to the
right).  Checked in with the desk and waited about 20 minutes for our
ride.  The  porter  took us to the small passenger bus (tipped him $6
USD  for  two  bags, too much). The bus first went to Breezes then to
San  Souci. The bus ride was quite wild and fast!! Road was rough and
narrow,  but  we  got  to see the different parishes as we drove. Why
there  aren’t  any  dead  dogs and goats on the road is beyond me. We
saw  some  quite poor areas along the way; it got nicer the closer we
got  to  Ocho  Rios.  The  ride  took  1 hour and 45 minutes. When we
arrived  at  San  Souci, a porter took us to the lobby and told us he
would  get us something to drink and told us to wait. We waited about
10  minutes (no one was paying attention to us) and went to the front
desk.  Our  drinks never came (Bad first impression). After we talked
to  the  front  desk, things were fine. Checked in quickly and driven
to  “A”  block  2nd floor corner room excellent view. King-sized bed,
large  marble  bathroom,  2  sinks, shower and a Jacuzzi tub. Balcony
table  and  chairs. Sitting room, TV, remote control air conditioning
unit.  It  was  quite  a  nice room, and we were very pleased. Porter
kind  of hung around slightly (TIP?) not too obvious. We showered and
changed  to  rush  off  to  the  Friday night GALA buffet. The Friday
night  Gala  was  large  (about  12 buffet stations). Set on the main
lawn  area.  We  met  2  couples, one from Kentucky, and one from San
Francisco.  The  Italian  red wine was good. After supper we tried to
call  out  to  our parents. Asked for a Jamaican operator, then asked
for  a  Canadian  operator to place a, collect call. TIP, try to call
collect,  it  can be difficult but it is less than 1/2 the price of a
direct  dial  call.  Preordered  room  service  for breakfast 8:00am-
8:15am,  to  do  this  just fill out the card provided and hang it on
your door knob by 2:00am. In bed by 11:00pm.

Saturday, Dec., 5, 1998

Got  up 7:45am showered and breakfast arrived at 8:05am.We ate on the
balcony  and had ordered coffee (blue mountain, WOW!!!), juice, and a
breadbasket  with  fruit, all items were very good. The view from the
balcony  was  just  great,  ocean  view. We had room service this way
most  mornings.  Oh yeah, don’t leave your breakfast unattended or it
will  be stolen by little blackbirds who are very tame. After we ate,
we  applied sunscreen head to toe (this was our morning ritual). Then
we  left  to  book  our  spa  treatments.  On  the  way  to  book spa
treatments  we  were  offered  GANJA  by  a guest that was leaving. I
think  that  it  is a custom of guests to offer this if they have any
left  over.  But  we  don’t  smoke,  so  we declined, but thanked him
anyway.  The  spa  was  completely booked for today and tomorrow, but
got  our  treatments  booked  for the week. Then booked Casanovas for
Monday  it  was  all  booked  up for Saturday and Sunday. Then off to
water  sports  hut  to book scuba and snorkeling. Scuba resort course
Monday.  Ocean  dive  Tuesday.  Then  book plantation tour for Sunday
morning,  and  shopping  Thursday.  Walked  to the gift shop, (at the
very  front  of  the property) expensive by our standards. As you may
notice,  we  planned  our  week  the  first  day.  It is important to
reserve  the spa treatments and Casanovas early. Take a pen and paper
to  mark  down  appointments  and  activities (as you'll read later).
Went  and  looked  at  C/O  (clothing  optional)  beach,  very  nice,
everyone  was clothed. A nicer beach (with a river in front of it) we
will  return  later  to try it out. Off to the main beach bar, Coruba
and  Coke  (very  good). One tip take insulated drink cups. This will
stop  a  lot of the condensation from dripping on you while you drink
your  beverage  and  it  will  also  keep  your drink cold. Our drink
containers  went  over  well.  The  bars (4 or 5 of them) were always
well  stocked  (except  in  the  morning)  and never took more than a
minute  or  so  to  get  your  drink.  Weather was partly cloudy with
showers  but not enough to ruin relaxing on the beach (Lots of SPF 15
applied).  One  disappointment  was both our OAKLEY sunglasses broke.
They  seemed  to  crack  around  the lenses from the heat almost like
they  were  disintegrating.  We  asked for crazy glue. The front desk
said they would look into it for us.
12:15pm,  we  visited with "Mark" our Air Canada Representative. This
was  a  nice  touch by AIR CANADA VACATIONS. He asked how things were
going  and  warned  us  to put on sunscreen (just general chit-chat).
2:00pm  went snorkeling, the water was choppy, and not too clear. The
couple  from  Kentucky  was  on the boat (Paul and Melissa). And then
WHOOPSY,  when  I  got  back  in the boat I hit my head on the wooden
roof  cover.  I  cut  my head, about a 2 inch long cut, and it bled a
lot.  I  also  chipped  one  of my front teeth. Not one of the guides
seemed  to  know what to do. Dawn (my wife) immediately took over and
applied  pressure  with  a towel. One guy in the boat got sick on the
way  back  to  shore!  Sight of blood or motion sickness? Went to see
the  nurse  and she cleaned it out and tried to butterfly bandage the
cut.  But it would not hold. So a doctor had to be called in for $120
US.  Had  to wait about 30 minutes. Doctor was a surgeon and was very
nice.  He  put  5 stitches in my head. I got tetanus shot from nurse.
(The  original  bottle  of  tetanus  was out of date by about 1 year.
Wife  requested an up to date bottle). The nurse dug one out from the
back  some  where.  The Doctor instructed us that we had to go to the
local  hospital  for X-rays. The hotel arranged the cab (NO CHARGE by
the  way) to take us to the so-called hospital. We drove ½ hour to St
Mary’s  hospital  (if  you  can call it one). Got the X-rays done and
tracked  down  the  doctor in the hospital. He said it was ok. It was
dark  and  the hospital was closing, if you can believe it. At 6:00pm
it  just shuts down and a janitor came around and shut the lights off
and  everyone  just disappears. Our driver went down the hill to park
and  we  did  not know where he went. It was dark and we were getting
very  nervous.  What  happened  was the Doctor told me to take the X-
rays  directly  to  him after they were taken. The people in line for
the  doctor  were kind of mad and thought that I was cutting in front
of  them.  They  were not happy and they were saying that whitey gets
better  treatment.  Wife  paid  for  the X-rays and was ripped off by
clerk,  she  was  not  about  to  argue  for a few US dollars besides
change  was  given  in  Jamaican dollars and her brother wanted a few
dollars  as  a  souvenir. All in all the whole treatment cost $150 US
dollars,  and  a  unusual  visit  to a hospital with the local people
none  to  happy  that a tourist was using their facility. None of the
employees  were  friendly  or  accommodating to us what so ever, just
the  physician. We were very happy to get back to the resort. Back at
the  resort  (6:00pm)  we  changed  for supper, and called my dad and
told  him  the  story.  Went  to  La  Tezza, the main restaurant. Had
Jalepino  shrimp,  beef vegetable soup, chicken fried steak, and pear
mouse  all  okay.  Met the couple from Kentucky (Paul and Melissa) in
the  restaurant  and asked them if they wanted to go for drinks later
at  the  beach  bar.  At  9:30pm  went  to  the  Balloon  terrace for
ShowTime.  At  11:00pm  got  back  to  room and fixed our sunglasses.
Before  we left for the hospital the front desk notified us that they
located  some crazy glue for us NO CHARGE. Rumor has it they went off
the  resort  and went shopping for the crazy glue. This is what makes
it  so special here. They will go out of their way to make you happy.
Dirty  clothes  went  in  the  laundry  bag for complimentary laundry
service.  The  hotel  also  sent  us a complimentary fruit and cheese
plate  with  champagne  (see what I mean about service). I tried some
of both and went to bed 12:00am.

Sunday, Dec., 6, 1998

Rise  and  shine  7:45am.  My head seems ok and breakfast at Pazzaio,
nice  selection  of  fruit  and  regular breakfast buffet selections.
9:00am,  and  off  to  the Sunvalley plantation tour, $56 USD for two
people.  ½  hour  ride with owner of plantation in her car. Extremely
nice  lady,  and very friendly. We got to see the real countryside of
Jamaica.  We  toured  around  the farm and plantation and tasted most
every  fruit  and  spice  available  in  Jamaica,  I’m sure. I highly
recommend  this  tour,  however,  DON’T  EAT BEFORE YOU GO. We tasted
Coconut  water,  Coconut  jelly  (very  young  coconut  pulp),  fried
plantain,  boiled  green  banana,  and  two types of wonderful juice.
Grapefruits,  oranges,  and  Ackee with salted cod, the national dish
of  Jamaica.  We  tramped  through the plantation and saw how bananas
and  coconuts  grew.  Along with Vanilla beans, and cocoa pods. GIANT
LEMONS,  I  think the trip was a good one, but again slightly pricey,
I  think.  Got back to resort by 11:45am, changed into swimwear. Laid
by  pool  for a couple of hours. Wanted some beach grill food but too
busy  and  too  many  people  around.  Well, there was always the C/O
beach.  Decided  have  lunch  (we  wore  cover-ups or shorts while we
ate).  There  were  only  2 other couples nude. We ate hamburgers and
the  jerk chicken was better than at the main beach. After we ate our
pedicure  and  manicure was booked for 2:30pm. This was my first time
for  a  manicure  treatment  and it was ok. My wife rated it 7 out of
10.  As we left the salon it started to pour very hard. Warm rain not
like  Canada  (our  rain  is  ice  cold  in the middle of summer). We
stopped  at  the  spa  bar  for refreshments and photos. Then went to
beach  to  take  some  pictures by rocks. Maintenance crew was adding
lots  of sand to beach around 4:30pm, they were trucking in the sand.
We  came back to the room and had a warm Jacuzzi bath and changed for
dinner.  Went  to  Balloon  Bar  for  drinks  before  dinner. I had 3
glasses  of  wine,  Valliposa Italian; I drank this brand most of the
time.  Dawn  had a 7-up. Dinner was at Café Lido. For an appetizer we
had  bruchetta  that  was  very good, cheese and beer soup (ok). Dawn
had  linguine  primavera very good. I had ravioli carbonara also very
good.  Back  to Balloon Bar for frangelico liqueur and a china white.
After  supper  we went down to beach bar to meet Paul and Melissa. We
were  early  so  we  sat on the beach with tonic and limes. They came
later  on and we chatted for about an hour and took some photos. Came
back  to room around 11:30pm and found a GET WELL card from the front
desk  and our bed was turned down with rose petals (again, see what I
mean about special treatment). Ordered breakfast for 8:30am.

Monday, Dec., 7, 1998

Woke  up  to  room service at 8:30am. Dawn had a Chocolate croissant,
(ladies  if  you can get your hands on one of these little gems don’t
let  go,  FABULOUS and I could not find one the rest of the vacation,
just  a  tip  from Dawn), had coffee and breadbasket very good again.
Went  to  the  gym  for  some  cardio. Then met Dawn at the pool. She
wanted  to  get some sun. I went to room and showered then joined her
by the pool.

I  had  2  humming bird drinks (excellent). But Dawn says a little on
the  sweet  side.  Dawn  had a coconut hat weaved for her and then we
came  back  to  our  room  for lunch room service. I had Calimari and
bacon  bavarios  (good), Dawn had tomato mozza salad and herb chicken
was  good  as  well. We forgot our facial appointment for 12:30pm and
couldn’t  reschedule (we were slightly mad at ourselves). Went to the
C/O  beach for about an hour. Decided to go to the mineral pool for a
swim.  Charlie  the  turtle  came  out  of her cave she was, very old
around  97  years old so, (HUGE turtle). They seem to grow everything
big  here  LEMONS and TURTLES. They fed Charlie every morning. We met
up  with  Paul and Melissa at the pool, they had a good time at scuba
lessons  but  most of the water activities were cancelled for most of
the  week  due  to  rough  water.  Went to check out afternoon tea in
hopes  of obtaining a cup of that blue mountain coffee, no luck, just
tea  available.  So we came back to room and ordered room service for
coffee.  A  tip for the resort, have coffee available at the bars all
the  time.  We went for a walk around the pond near "A" block. We sat
and  relaxed  in  room  till  7:30  PM  and got changed for supper at
Casanovas.  Went  to  Balloon Bar for drinks then Casanovas our usual
routine.  Arrived a few minutes early, the maitride seemed shocked we
were  there  early,  everything is no problem and no rush in Jamaica,
and  we had a very good supper, Quail for entrée. The cake at the top
of  dessert  menu  is  a  must;  I  forget  the  name  but its triple
chocolate  something.  Similar in taste to an Almond Rochee chocolate
bar.  Luszana  was  our waiter, a very nice, witty, and funny guy (we
really  liked  him).  The  fashion  show after supper kind of fun. We
reggae  danced for a while after the show. Then down to the beach bar
and  talked  with  Omar  the bartender for an hour or so, it was very
slow  for  him. Sitting by the ocean, stars twinkling, surf pounding,
free  drinks,  and  reggae music playing…it just can't get any better
than this. Sleeping by 1:00am.

Tuesday, Dec., 8, 1998

Room  service  at  8:00am.  Coffee,  and bakery basket on the balcony
again  (just  wonderful).  Went  to  the  pond  to  feed a few of the
leftovers  to the geese. They hissed at Dawn. Got to spa at 9:00am, ½
hour  early. We are not going to miss this appointment. I asked to be
put  on  the  waiting  list  for  any cancellations to get our missed
appointments  rescheduled.  I had a body scrub and Dawn had a facial.
The  body  scrub  was  superb and it was in a room right by the water
and  Charlie's  grotto (request this location if possible). The scrub
was  refreshing.  Dawn  said the facial was 7 out of 10 (best one was
in  Las  Vegas, which she still has not found its equal yet). The spa
manager  said there were 2 cancellations at 11:30am and we took them.
What  luck!  We went back to the beach and I bought a necklace from a
beach  vendor  and  Dawn  bought  2 key chains. All for $13 USD. Then
back  to lobby to mail letter to Dawn’s brother, just to see how long
it  takes  for  mail  to  arrive in Canada. It arrived on January 15,
1999  over  one  month  for delivery. Obviously poor service. Cost to
mail  letter,  $25  dollars  Jamaican  or 75cents US. Now back to spa
again.  Dawn  had  the scrub and I had a facial. Dawn said body scrub
quite  good!!  Time  for  lunch  at  the  buffet, then off to the C/O
beach.  We both prefer the C/O beach because it is quieter and people
are  really  nice.  There is better service and no waiting for drinks
or  food.  We  both  went  fully  naked. Went into the pool and had a
couple  of  pictures  taken,  proof  for  my brother. We tanned for a
while  but  it  started  to  rain.  So  we  talked with a couple from
Edmonton,  Alberta  at  the  bar.  Very  nice  people,  they  arrived
Saturday,  the  day  I  hurt  my head. And saw me walking through the
lobby  with  a  towel  on my head. Back to room to change for supper,
Jamaican  night  was  moved  indoors due to rain. Food was just okay.
After  supper  we  lied  on  a  hammock and listened to the band, and
watched  fire  breather, and some bats feeding on the blossoms of the
big  hibiscus  tree.  Back  to  the  room by 11:00pm. Dawn called her
parents  and  to  bed  by 11:30pm. This call was the test for collect
call  versus  the  direct call. We usually do little checks like this
one.

Wednesday, Dec., 9, 1998

Up  around  8:30am  showered  and  guess  what…room  service  on  the
balcony.  After  breakfast  we went and worked out at the gym for 1/2
hour.  Then to the water sports hut to try some sea kayaks. Afterward
I  went and played volleyball out in the ocean. At about noon we went
to  the  C/O  beach  for  Jerk  chicken and drinks (delicious). Lazed
around  pool until about 5:00pm, then went to spa for a massage (both
of  us were very drunk and happy). Casanovas again, for supper. Still
pretty  drunk after Casanovas. We came back to room called our friend
Barry.  Sleeping  by  10:00pm.  Nice relaxing day today, only a small
paragraph.

About  1:00am bad thunder and lightning woke us up. The worse we ever
heard.

Thursday, Dec., 10, 1998

Woke  up  to  hard  rain  at  7:30am.  Showered  and room service for
breakfast.   Spa  at  8:30am  for  reflexology,  It  was  quite  good
(surprisingly).  Back to lobby for our 9:30am tour and shopping trip.
I  guess  some  roads were washed out last night, and the resort tour
was  cancelled.  But we booked with AIR CANADA tours and we got to go
right  on  time  (very  reliable  rain  or shine). First stop was the
market  it  was  very  interesting  and  different.  Bought  my dad a
walking  stick  and my mom a coconut bird feeder. Dawn bought coffee,
a  dress  for  her  mom and a hat for about $45 USD (expensive) not a
real  good  deal  for  her.  One tip, ALWAYS take lots of SMALL bills
wherever  you  go in Jamaica they never seem to have change. Also you
seem  to  always  get the line. "Because you are my first customer of
the  day  I  will give you a deal". Then we went to a Pottery studio,
not  very  interesting  for  me.  Fern  Gully was next, a lush garden
valley  with a road going through it. Then to a botanical garden very
nice,  so many different plants we don't see in Canada. It used to be
an  old  estate.  Then  to the Taj Mahal for more shopping. We got T-
shirts  there  at  a  fairly  reasonable  price.  3  for $25 US, nice
embroidered  shirts, not that cheap iron-on stuff. Bought a different
brand  of  Blue  Mountain  coffee  and some hot sauce. Then to Dunn's
river  falls.  The  falls were great to see. BUT it is a TOURIST TRAP
and  the atmosphere sucked. Two cruise ships came in to port that day
so  it  was  busy  and very expensive, and crowded with high-pressure
guides.  These  guides get paid for taking the tourists up the falls.
Each  tourist  pays $8 USD to climb the falls, the guide is included.
WATCH  OUT,  don't  give  them  your  camera,  and  take a waterproof
camera.  The  guide insists you give your camera to his buddy to keep
it  dry  and  safe  (this buddy also climbs the falls with you). They
make  you  climb holding on to one another in a long line. Take water
shoes  or  rent  them  for  a  good grip. Once you get to the top the
guide  kind  of  blocks  your way out of the falls until you give him
and  his  buddy  a GOOD TIP otherwise they won't give you your camera
back  to  easily.  The  tip  at the end is expected around $5 USD per
person.  This service was already paid for at the beginning. Dawn did
not  climb  the  falls due to her knee so she took pictures along the
side  and  kept  our  camera.  We  met a very nice couple from Hanna,
Alberta  and  they stayed at Ciboney resort just down the street from
us.  The  whole trip was videotaped and cost $35 US to buy, expensive
as  usual.  So  we  bought  only  one  and we sent a copy to Chris in
Hanna.  Now  back  at  the  hotel,  we got some more jerk chicken and
talked  to  Angel  the  bartender. Then back to the Balloon Bar for a
card  game  and  some  tea.  Supper  at 6:30pm Casanovas. Good supper
again.  Back  to  room  early  to  pack a little and go to bed around
9:15pm (very tired).

Friday, Dec., 11, 1998

Up  at  7:30am, Great sleep. Packed some more. Room service was about
1/2  hour late. Talked to Paul and got his email address. Weather was
better  this  morning.  Went  to C/O beach for some morning sun and a
couple  of drinks (only 2 hours left). 11:00am back to room for final
packing,  we left our bags outside the room and went to check out. We
got  a  couple  more humming bird drinks at the lobby. The supervisor
for  the  spa  contacted  me,  And  one of the spa attendants set her
wedding  ring  down  to  do my reflexology yesterday, and when I left
the  gazebo  the  ring  was  still on the table. It was gone when the
girl  came  back to get it, and she was a newlywed (sad). Maggie (the
spa  supervisor)  just  wanted  to  know if we had seen anyone in the
area  after  we  left.  Our Dunns river tour tape came just before we
left.  The  bus  arrived  at 12 noon and got to the airport by 2:00pm
and  we  checked  in  with the airline. Dawn was watching the luggage
closely.  The  departure terminal was modern and nice. Tip, no matter
what  other  people  may  say,  get all your coffee and liquor at the
airport  duty  free  shop.  It  is  cheaper  and  more convenient. We
boarded  flight  around  5  PM,  about  1/2  hour  late.  Took off to
Kingston,  a  30 minute flight, to drop off some passengers. Took off
from  Kingston  around  6:45 still slightly late. Arrived in Toronto,
Ontario  around 11:00pm. A few drug sniffing dogs wandered around the
customs area. Layover in Toronto. We stayed at an airport hotel.

Saturday Dec., 12, 1998

10:00am  flew  to  Calgary,  Alberta,  arrived  about 2:00pm. Home at
last!!!!This was the best vacation we ever had.

Both  Dawn  and  me agree that 7 days was almost long enough. 10 days
would have been perfect.

We would recommend this vacation to anyone.

JAMAICA: GRAND LIDO BRACO BY DOUG AND SIDNEY MUIR

Trip 2/99

The  following is our report on the Grand Lido Braco resort, which we
visited  from February 4 through 9, 1999. This was our second trip to
GL  Braco,  having  visited  previously  in May 1998. In general, the
resort  has  improved dramatically since our last visit, particularly
with  respect  to the quality of the staff, which was outstanding and
rivaling that of GL Negril in terms of attitude and service.

Getting there

We  took Delta to Atlanta and connected with Air Jamaica, arriving in
Montego  Bay  about 11:30 a.m. Immigration and customs were a breeze,
since  ours  was  the  only  flight  arriving  at the time. (It's not
always  so;  if  multiple  flights  arrive  at  about  the same time,
prepare  to  wait  in  line  since  immigration never seems to change
staffing  levels depending on the volume of people to process.) After
clearing  customs, Superclubs was on the ball and had us in a bus and
on  our way quickly. The bus trip to Braco isn't bad - about an hour,
including  a brief beer stop along the way. On the return, we made it
from  Braco to the airport in under an hour. For those of you who are
used  to  TimAir or Air Negril going from MoBay to Negril, there's no
corresponding  service  to the Braco area, unless you plan on using a
parachute. With the bus ride time, you don't need it anyway.

Air  Jamaica was fine, arriving and departing on time in all material
respects  on  both ends of the trip. The aircraft were relatively new
Airbus  A310s.  Service  and cleanliness of the aircraft were as good
as most of the domestic U.S. airlines.

Check-in

We  arrived  well  before  the  3:00  check-in time, but our room was
available  anyway.  Take  along  a duffel bag with any essentials and
you'll   be   able   to   deal  with  a  3:00  check-in  without  any
inconvenience: just head for the pool or beach.

Resort overview

The  main  Braco  complex  is  a replica of an island village, with a
number  of  one  and  two  story  buildings fronting on a main street
running  perpendicular to the ocean, which is bisected by two shorter
streets,  all  of  which  are  of  pressed  concrete resembling brick
pavers.  The  various  buildings  house shops, the main lobby, disco,
piano  bar  and  most  of the restaurants. At the intersection of the
streets  is a fountain, and at the far end of main street is the main
"textile  side" pool. Facing the ocean from the textile side pool, to
the  right  are  first the building housing the piano bar and Nanny's
Jerk  Pit  and  then  a  number of buildings housing the textile side
rooms  (some  ocean  front,  some  not). To the left are the Victoria
Market  and Stir Crazy restaurants, the workout facilities and the au
natural  section  of the resort. The au natural section of the resort
is  separated  from  the  rest of the property by a kind of "no man's
land;"  once past this Maginot Line, nude is the rule in all areas of
the au natural side.

On  the  textile  side,  only about a third of the rooms (at a guess)
front  the  ocean;  the rest are what would probably be called garden
view.  On  the  au  natural side, the buildings housing the rooms are
between  the  ocean  and  the  au  natural  pool,  and  all rooms are
oceanfront.  Unlike  Grand  Lido Negril, where "au natural" begins at
the  buildings  facing the ocean, at Braco the whole west side of the
resort  is  au natural, and one does not have to suit up when leaving
the beach area.

The  landscaping  throughout the resort is really outstanding, though
on  the au natural side a good bit of the plantings are rather young,
particularly  the  palms  between  the  buildings  and  the beach. We
noticed  some  maturation  of  the landscaping since May of 1998, and
before  too long things should look even more mature. Like GL Negril,
there's  a  small  army  of  landscaping folks working on things just
about  all the time. There are a number of hammocks strung up between
trees  in  the  shade  throughout the resort for those late afternoon
naps.

We'd  guess  the  average  age of guests at Braco is somewhat younger
than  at GL Negril. Not too many in their twenties, but lots and lots
of  thirty-  and forty-somethings. And not an insignificant number of
fifties and sixties.

Like  GL  Negril, we found that the au natural side tended to attract
the  more  outgoing,  gregarious  crowd.  There  was  just a lot more
interaction  among  guests  who  didn't  know  each  other  on the au
natural  side  than  on the textile side, where it seemed people kept
more to themselves.

Brief  words about the au natural side for those who've never been to
a  nude  beach:  try it, you'll like it. No one will stare or gawk at
you;  more  than likely, someone will offer to bring you a drink from
the  bar.  Ladies,  if  you want to keep your bathing suit bottom on,
that's  fine.  No  one cares. Expecting a crowd of hardbodies? You'll
maybe  find  a  few,  but  most  folks look just like the rest of us.
Again, nobody cares.

One  difference  between GL Negril and Braco is that the "nude" beach
at  Negril  is  a  clothing  optional beach. At Braco, the au natural
side  is  just  that: nude. Women in bottoms are accepted, but that's
about  as  far  as  it  goes.  If you're not sure about trying a nude
beach,  we'd recommend staying on the textile side. That way, you can
visit  the  au  natural  side and enjoy it if you like it (we bet you
will)  but  retreat  to  the  textile  side if that's not your thing.
You'll  be  uncomfortable in a bathing suit on the au natural side of
the resort.

Rooms

There  are 174 rooms and 6 one-bedroom suites on the textile side and
52  junior  suites,  one-bedroom suites and luxury one-bedroom suites
on  the  au  natural  side. On the au natural side, the junior suites
have  a  large  sitting  area  with sofa nearest the doors facing the
beach,  with  the sleeping area and bathroom at the rear of the room.
It  appeared as though all the junior suites had two double beds. The
one-bedroom  suites  have the bedroom (with king bed) situated on the
ocean  side of the suite, together with a full bath. On the land side
of  the  suite is a living room with sofa and chairs, together with a
half  bath.  The  luxury one-bedroom suites have two full baths, with
the  bedroom  on  the  land side of the suite and a very large living
room  on  the  ocean side. All rooms have off-white tile covering the
floor, which is much better than carpet in this environment.

The  rooms are similar in many respects to Grand Lido Negril, in that
they  feature  twin double beds or king beds, tile floors, reasonably
large  baths,  and  sofas.  CD players, satellite TV, ironing boards,
irons,  refrigerator  (stocked  with  Red Stripe and soft drinks, but
bring  your  own  opener)  and  small  wall  safe  (good  for  travel
documents,  wallets,  jewelry,  a small camera and such, but not much
more)  are standard. The rooms, at least on the au natural side, were
in  good  repair  and  comfortable.  On  the  au  natural  side,  the
downstairs  rooms  have  French doors which open onto the beach, much
like  Grand  Lido  Negril.  Unlike GL Negril, the upstairs rooms have
balconies  large  enough  that  one can open the French doors without
bumping  into the balcony furniture. It's a toss-up as to whether the
second  and  third  floor rooms at Braco are better than ground floor
rooms:  it's a trade off between the view upstairs and the easy beach
access of the ground floor.

Restaurants

Piacere  is  the  French  restaurant  and  is elegant. Long pants and
jacket  are  required  (if  you  don't  want  to bring your sportcoat
along,  the  restaurant  will  lend  you  one). Very nicely done, and
should   be   taken   in  while  at  Braco.  The  service  is  really
outstanding.  For example, my wife Sidney asked about a birthday cake
for  me  when we arrived for dinner (figuring they could put a candle
in  a  cupcake  or  something).  No  problem: desert was a first-rate
cake,  decorated  with  my  name  and  "Happy  Birthday."  The string
quartet  even  walked  over  to  the table and played Happy Birthday.
Make  reservations  at  the beginning of your stay. Dinner only, 6:30
until 9:30.

Victoria  Market is the main dining room, and is open air overlooking
the  main  pool. The arrangement is much better than GL Negril, where
the  comparable  area  is sort of down in a hole and further from the
beach.  Breakfast  and lunch are served buffet style, and dinner is a
la  carte  from  the  menu,  which  we thought had more than adequate
variety.  Victoria  Market  is  closed some evenings when there is an
"event"  dinner  being  held,  notably the Friday night street party.
Dress  is  casual, meaning a minimum of bathing suit with cover up or
t-shirt  at  breakfast and lunch, and shorts and polo shirt at night.
Breakfast  is  8:00  until  10:30;  lunch  from 12:30 until 3:00; and
dinner from 7:00 until 10:00.

Stir  Crazy,  the  Japanese  restaurant  (with tables for eight, each
attended  by  a  chef cooking on hot grill built into the table, just
like  Stateside),  was  much  improved  from our last visit. Food was
excellent,  as  was  the  service.  Dinner only, served 6:30 to 9:00.
Long  pants  are  required.  There  is  also  a separate sushi dining
facility  within  Stir  Crazy;  we  didn't  try it, but we heard good
reports.  Specify  sushi  or  traditional Japanese dining when making
your reservation.

Nanny's  Jerk  Pit is open from about 11:00 to about 6:00, and offers
jerk  chicken,  pork  and  beef. It's very good. The Jerk Pit is near
the main textile pool, and offers tables outdoors.

La  Pasta  Sidewalk Cafe is open from midday to about 2:00 a.m. (open
7:00  a.m.  to  2:00  p.m. for breakfast croissants, etc.) Offers mix
and  match pasta and sauce dishes (including chicken and escargot) as
well  as  some  really great pizza, made to order with your choice of
toppings  and  cheese. Also features an antipasto bar, and a visit to
the bakery next door will fix you up for dessert.

Food  quality  was  generally  very  good.  If  the lunch buffet on a
particular  day  doesn't appeal to you, just hop down to La Pasta for
a  pizza  or  pasta.  On  balance,  we  thought the food at Braco was
better  than  at  GL  Negril, and that's saying something in light of
the generally legendary reputation of GL Negril.

Liquor  is  abundant as always, with most top shelf brands available.
Remember  to  ask  for what you want though: "gin and tonic" will get
you  some rotgut stuff, while "Tanqueray and tonic" will get you just
that.  To our surprise, Heineken was available in bottles in addition
to  the  Red  Stripe  on  tap or in bottles that is the mainstay most
everywhere  in  Jamaica.  We like Red Stripe, but it was nice to have
an  alternative now and then. Wine quality was much improved from our
May  1998 visit; you'll not find anything of outstanding quality, but
enough to make do.

At  all  restaurants,  tables for six are available; it would be wise
to  call  ahead  if there are more than six in your party so they can
set  up  a  table (except for Stir Crazy, at which the tables are set
up for eight).

In  addition to the restaurants, there is room service available from
two  "club  houses"  on  the  property,  much like the "houses" at GL
Negril.  Each  of  the  houses  has a seating area if you want to eat
there  instead  of  in  your room or at the pool. In addition to food
service,  the  club  houses  have  24  hour a day bar service. A pool
table  had  been  added  to  the  au natural clubhouse since our last
visit, and now accompanies the ping pong table.

Room  service  is similar to GL Negril, and available 24 hours a day.
In  addition to traditional room service, a continental breakfast can
be  ordered  the  night  before  for  delivery  to  your  room in the
morning.  The  room  service  menu  is  much  more  extensive than GL
Negril;  for  GL  Negril  fans,  Braco *does* have the lamb chops and
potato skins on the room service menu.

Room  service  is also available served at the pool bars if you don't
care  to head down to Victoria Market. Also available at the pool bar
on  the au natural side is jerk chicken cooked on a grill in the bar,
which  is  a  nice  change  from  a buffet lunch and is the same jerk
chicken served at Nanny's Jerk Pit.

Beaches and pools

The  au  natural  side  beach is, in our opinion, better than Negril.
While  the resort faces the Caribbean Sea (unlike Negril, whose beach
is  on Bloody Bay), management has constructed a man-made reef around
a  swimming  area  on  both  the  au natural and textile sides of the
resort.  Unlike  GL  Negril,  the  water  off the au natural beach is
clear  Caribbean  Sea,  not  filled  with plants. While the beach and
ocean  bottom  at Braco are a bit rockier than Negril, we didn't find
that a problem and never broke out our surf shoes.

The  au  natural side beach is much better than the textile beach. On
the  textile  side there are many more large rocks on the ocean floor
than  on  the  au  natural  side, so if you stay on the textile side,
those surf shoes might be a good idea.

The  main textile pool is large and features a swim up bar. On the au
natural  side  is  the  largest  pool  we've  ever  encountered, also
equipped  with swim up bar and, at one end, a sloping entrance to the
pool  much  like a concrete beach. Both pools featured lots of tables
and chairs with umbrellas, especially on the au natural side.

Both  beaches  and  pools  feature many new lounge chairs of aluminum
frame  and  webbed  fabric  construction:  much more comfortable than
those  heavy  white plastic lounges at GL Negril, and no need to have
one  of  those  fancy  pool/ocean  floats  in  the  chair to use as a
cushion.  Another improvement from our last visit was the replacement
of  all  the  water floats throughout the resort. The old ones needed
replacing,  and management didn't skimp on doing so. There are plenty
of floats around for use in the ocean or the pool.

There  are  two hot tubs on the au natural side, a large concrete one
next  to  the  pool  and  a  smaller one surrounded by wood decking a
short  distance from the pool, set back near some trees. There's also
a  hot  tub  near  the  main  pool  on the textile side, as well as a
smaller tub next to the textile side club house.

There  have  been  a  number  of  posts  and  reports on the 'Net and
various  proprietary  service  providers  like  AOL  that  the  windy
conditions  make  Braco  undesirable.  Braco is on the north coast of
the  island,  unlike  Negril on the west end, and there is definitely
more  wind at Braco than Negril. A couple of days during our trip the
wind   might   have  made  sailing  a  Sunfish  problematic  for  the
uninitiated,  but  the  wind was never a problem on the beach, in our
opinion.   In   fact,   the   breeze  kept  things  comfortable  when
temperatures   rose   to  the  mid  80s,  and  in  the  summer,  when
temperatures   get   into  the  90s,  things  might  have  been  very
uncomfortable  with  the  generally  still  air of Negril. The breeze
also  seemed  to keep the humidity lower than Negril (not an issue in
February, but could be an issue in the summer, absent the breeze).

Service

The  service  level  by  the  staff was outstanding, and was the most
notable  and  dramatic  improvement  since  May  1998.  Last trip, we
thought  the  food  service staff was pretty good, but it ranged from
indifferent   to   outstanding.  This  time,  service  was  virtually
flawless,  and  the  attitude  and  friendliness  of  the  staff just
wonderful,   without  exception.  We  were  rather  surprised  to  be
greeted,  by  name  in  some cases, by staff we met on our last trip.
Some  staff  working  on  the  textile  side even came over to the au
natural  side  to  say  "Hi." How they knew we were on the resort, we
don't  know.  (And  we're  not  any  special  kind  of  VIP  guest or
anything.  We  *did*  write  a  lengthy letter to the general manager
after  our  last  trip,  praising  the good things (including special
staff   members)   and   offering  suggestions  for  improvement;  my
suspicion  is  that  management shares these comments with the staff,
and  maybe they have files "flagged" for repeat guests who've written
to management in the past.)

Service  at  the  "club  house" on the au natural side was excellent,
even  very  late at night. Bar service was great everywhere, from the
piano bar to the pool bars.

Since  our  last visit, Braco has added cocktail service on the beach
and  around the pool. A cocktail waitress cruises around to take your
order, so if you never want to leave your chair, you're all set.

The  resort  offers  48  hour  laundry and dry cleaning service at no
extra  charge.  Learning  from our experience at GL Negril, we packed
light and still didn't have reason to use it.

The  pool  guys did a great job keeping the hot tubs and pool in good
shape  throughout  our visit. Always clean, and the right temperature
in the hot tub.

Activities and Nightlife

Daytime  activities  (organized  by  the  social  directors  or other
"specialists,"  such  as  aerobics  instructors)  include things like
nature  walks,  water aerobics, reggae dancing lessons, trivia games,
volleyball  (in  the  pool  or  on  the  beach), tennis lessons, beer
drinking  contests,  etc.  The resort has a nine hole (I think) par 3
type  golf course and at least four tennis courts (one of which is on
the  au  natural side: try nude tennis some time!). The tennis courts
are  hard  courts, in very good condition. At least one of the courts
on  the  textile  side  is lit for night play, and it appeared they'd
run  power  to  the  au natural court and that installation of lights
was  in  process.  Regulation golf is available off site at, I think,
Breezes  Runaway Bay, without additional charge. I think it's about a
45 minute bus ride to the course.

Watersports   are  abundant,  including  water  skiing,  windsurfing,
kayaks  and  Sunfish  sailing.  There's  also  extensive scuba diving
offered,  included  in  the  "all  inclusive"  rate  except for night
diving. Diving was reported as fairly good.

There's  also  a workout area adjacent to Victoria Market, facing the
ocean.  There  are  about eight Cybex machines, treadmills, bikes and
dumbbells,  but no free weights. The equipment is in good repair, and
there's  plenty  of  it for all the exercising you're likely to do on
vacation.

Most  of  the  "organized"  daytime social activities centered on the
textile  side, in or around the main pool. There were also activities
scheduled  on  the  au  natural  side,  but they were fewer in number
since  the  au natural side has only about one-fourth of the rooms at
Braco,  and  I  guess  the  management feel (probably correctly) that
it's  easier  for  the au natural guests to be comfortable going over
to  the textile side than vice versa (and this also avoids having the
textiles on the au natural side).

Activities  outside  the  resort  (but  which can be arranged through
Braco)  included  horseback riding (reported as a lot of fun) as well
as a trip to Dunns River Falls.

While  not  an  official  "activity,"  we  quickly found out that, at
least  in  May,  the  sun sets over the water when viewed from the au
natural  beach.  This  was  truly  spectacular, and was attended most
afternoons  by  a  considerable  number  of  folks,  nude and textile
alike.  Unfortunately,  the  sun  doesn't  go  down over the water in
February.

Nightlife  at  Braco  can  be rather thin. There's a disco that opens
most  nights  about  10:00  or 10:30, which attracted some folks, but
not  what I'd call a crowd. The Thursday night pajama party generally
is  very well attended, and the attire is considerably more revealing
than  at  GL  Negril. Lots of thongs, g-strings, etc., but with a mix
of  people  in  more  traditional  garb.  Everybody  gets along fine,
despite  the  disparity  in dress. The Friday night street party, for
which  the  resort  sets  up  a  pretty lavish buffet in the streets,
together  with  tables,  is  usually the best attended event. There's
reggae  dancing  for  at  least  two  hours  for  those  who have the
stamina;  most  people  take a turn here and there, then make way for
others.

On  most nights things pick up in the Piano Bar about 10:30 or so for
the  non-disco  crowd.  Some  nights  there are some people (local to
Jamaica)  jamming  in, so to speak, with the official pianist. All of
them were more than slightly talented, we thought.

The  hot  tub  on  the au natural side, as expected, attracted a good
crowd  most  every  night,  and  sometimes  late into the night. Late
night  activities weren't the bother for people in their rooms trying
to  sleep  since,  unlike  GL  Negril,  the  hot  tub is considerably
farther  (on  the  other side of the pool) from the buildings than at
Negril.  The  au  natural  hot  tub  adjoining the pool is about four
times as large as the one at GL Negril.

Summary

With  the  recent improvements to GL Braco, it's now really difficult
to  decide  whether we like Braco or GL Negril best. The one thing GL
Negril  still  has  going  for it is that Hedo II is right across the
street,  and  you  can  jump over there for an evening or two of more
lively  entertainment  than  you'll  find  at Braco or GL Negril. The
service  at  Braco  is  now  at  GL  Negril  standards,  and based on
discussions  with  management  at  the  cocktail  hour  for repeat GL
guests,  we  think  management  is committed to making Braco the best
resort in Jamaica.

We'll  be back to Braco, and would recommend it for people who want a
relaxed, classy vacation in Jamaica.

JAMAICA: GRAND LIDO BRACO BY MATTHEW FONTANA

Trip 2/99

Just  got  back  on  the  18th  and had 6 days and 5 nights of what I
would call paradise.

It  all  started  Friday  the  12th,went to work 7:30 am and got home
about  6:30  had  dinner  had  to  leave the house and meet up with a
couple  of band mates to go to a local bar and interview a singer for
our  band.  The  reason  I'm  telling  you about this is because this
turns  into  a  marathon, so bare with me on this. The wife and I are
no  early to bed people, so we decided to stay at the bar till one in
the  morning listening to the singer, anyway we left with her driving
of  course  for  home and took showers .Left to go to the airport and
arrived at 3:30 am, Sat. around and drank coffee for 2 hours.

Finally  left Detroit Metro at 5:35 am. I can never really sleep on a
plane  maybe  no  more than a couple of minutes per flight. Landed in
Atlanta  at  7:20 with a layover till we left on Air Jamaica at 8:45,
finally  landing  at  Mobay  at  11:58. Still no sleep but who can at
this  time were in Jamaica. We go straight to immigration guess what?
There  is  anywhere  from  two  to three hundred people waiting to go
through.  Lesson  learned,  never fly on a Saturday and when kids are
on winter break.

We  check  in  with  the  Superclubs  desk  and  was told we would be
leaving  by  bus  in  about  15 minutes.So we went out side and had 2
quick  Red  Stripes a piece. Driver told us it was about 1 hour drive
so  if  we  wanted  more  to drink we better get them right now, so I
asked  the  other  two couples who were going to Braco who wants one?
They  all  said yes after finding out the air did not work on the van
I  brought  everybody  2  a  piece. Were driving about a half a hour,
everbody's  beers  are  gone  and  were all sweating like crazy, so I
say.  Driver  we gettin kinda thirsty, no problem mon you want beer I
stop,  we  all  at  the  same time say yes. So I had him buy us a six
pack  nice  and  cold.  Finally  arrive  at  Braco all I can say just
fabulous.  The  cold  towels and champagne hit the spot, we were then
told  our rooms would be about another hour before we could use them,
I  politely  asked if a c/o room is ready they said yes, giving it to
us  at no extra charge! John and Morissa who we hit it off with right
away  were told they could not have the same deal because nothing was
left  on  the  c/o  side had to wait, plus they had friends that they
were  meeting from Germany were also booked on the clothing side with
them,  so  at  the time they didn't think it was right to put them on
the  spot. What nice people. They asked us if they could walk with us
to our room and see what it was like we said of course.

Soon  as  we  walked past block A it hit all of us at once! How cool.
Never  doing  a  clothing  optional,  just  seeing everybody talking,
swimming,  drinking,  and just having fun, just to cool. We arrive at
our  room finally, block B room 3044 2nd floor, just beautiful. Front
door  looks at the pool the back doors open to a ocean view. All four
of  us  are  there  hungry  so we call the front desk and ask them to
call  John  and  Morissa  at our room when there's is ready. WE order
the  chicken  sandwiches  and heeding Carol Hill's advice 4 orders of
potato  skins  because each order you only get 3 and I would say they
are  the  size  of  a  small  egg.... Thanks Carol for that info. The
chicken  was just great. The call comes John and Morissa get to their
room.  Still  no  sleep...  were  just  not tired got the second wind
going  for  us  now.  Amy  and  I  took quick showers and put on just
suntan  lotion  and walked out the doors. We never felt uncomfortable
at  all,  what  a feeling of freedom a first time experience never to
be  forgotten.  The  wife  and  I  are  just floating when a bunch of
people  of  about 14 hit the jacuzzi, That's when a couple named John
and  Lisa  come  by  ask  us  our  names  and  ask  us to come and be
introduced  to  the  people  in the Jacuzzi. There we met some of the
nicest  people  we  have ever met, Annie,Mike,Traci, Bob, Cindy, Jim,
Martha,  and  another  John.  At  about 8:30 after more champagne and
lots  of  laughs ,the wife and are finally raising the white flag and
go to our room for a much need of sleep....more to come

We  awoke  Sunday morning and I looked at my watch and it read 10:10.
I  said  no  way we could of slept for almost 14 hours. So Amy looked
at  hers.  Guess what ? Hers also stopped but read 7:20. Took showers
and  got  dressed  to go to breakfast, ran into a guest and asked him
what  time it was? His response? He didn't know neither. You guest it
his  watch  stopped  working  the night before....How freaky is that.
None  of  us thought to turn on CNN or call the front desk. Turns out
it  was only 7:40. Went to Victoria Market for the buffet. The buffet
had  everything you wanted for a filling breakfast. Back to the room,
we  open  the  door,  which in turn caused a back draft to the second
leading  to  the  bedroom...  The  bedroom door slams shut due to the
fact  we  left  both  balcony  doors  open....it  locks us out of the
bedroom.  We  try the door key it doesn't work. I call the front desk
they  tell  me  somebody  will  be right there. Forty minutes later a
maid  is  there,  she has no key. She calls front desk tells them the
problem,  tells us maintenance we be here shortly. Another 40 minutes
later  he  arrives,  he  says he sorry but this is the third door the
same  thing  has happened to this morning. Get this they have no keys
for  those  doors so they have to rip the molding off the door to get
it  open.  Just  would be simpler to get all new locks, or better yet
have  no  locks  on  those  bedroom  doors at all. Anyway went to the
beach  till  lunch.  Ate  at  the  clubhouse,  Amy and I had the Club
Sandwich  not  bad  at  all.  Because  of  Valentine's Day one of the
directors  came  around  with  paper,  glue, and glitter so you could
make  your  better  half  a  Valentine's  Day card. Dinner was at the
Japanese  restaurant  excellent.  Went back to our room, then hit the
hot  tub  till 1:00 am...As usual more champagne and lots of laughs..
Amy  and  I  went  golfing  and  hooked up with a couple we met there
named  Cindy  &  Jim,  nice couple. After golf us four had a few cold
ones  at  the piano bar patio. Back to c/o side for a shower and back
to  the pool bar for..........Mixology. A pretty good time by all Amy
&  I  survived...Biggest  laugh came when one gal went running off in
the  middle of the game to the bathroom, when she got back Renald ask
who  gave  you  permission  to leave my class? She said she was sorry
but  felt totally naked with out her lipstick. We went to beach for a
couple  more hours and canceled our dinner for the French restaurant,
people  were saying it takes about 2 1/2 hours we were having to much
fun  so  we  settled  for the Italian restaurant. We thought the food
was  very  good.  We  met  4  other  couples  at  Victoria's  for the
entertainment  a  very good show ..back to the hot tub at about 11:00
but  we  all  were  not very happy to find it very cold, so everybody
called  it  a night....Tuesday was a better weather day than Monday I
forgot  to  mention  Monday was windy as heck with very little sun.By
Tuesday  afternoon  sun  was  out  for  good  a bunch hit the hot tub
before  dinner,  as  we  were  all  leaving to go to our own rooms to
shower  and  get ready a couple, Martha & John got out of the hot tub
and  we  all  noticed a green substance all over them. Turns out most
of  us did. We figured out somebody or some bodies got in the hot tub
after  the  body  painting contest. We all met down at Victoria's for
dinner.  Amy  had  the  Roasted Pork & I had the Jerk Swordfish. Very
good.  A  bunch  pushed  tables together so we could all sit together
after  dinner,  so  we  danced,  and partied till 11:15 ....all of us
back  to the hot tub till 12:30....back to bed. Wednesday I got up at
6:30  knowing  it was are last full day. I went out side to make sure
I  got pictures of our side before everybody got up. We were poolside
by  9:00  am.  We  ate  hamburgers  at the pool bar for lunch. Pretty
good.  We  played  nude  trivia  with  4 other couples. By 5:30 I was
ready  to  stay  another  day  so  we went to our room and called the
front  desk. They told me it would cost us 740.00 for one extra night
that's  before we even checked about changing our flight. Which was a
extra  150.00.We  thought  about it but declined not knowing what the
weather  would  be  like...Went  to  dinner  at 9:00, overslept so we
missed the beach party.

So  Wednesday  evening  we  missed the Beach Party Buffet & Party. We
ate  Italian  again.  This  time  the sauce was so spicy we could not
finish.  The  waiter  noticed  this  and  ask.  What is the matter? I
politely  told  him  the  sauce was hotter than any chili I have ever
had.  He then went on to say Jamaican food is usually spicy. I agreed
and  told  him, yes but not this. My wife and I mouth's and lips felt
like  we  both ate a plate full of jalapeno peppers! I told him twice
to  go check the sauce for the other guests sake. But I don't know if
he   ever   did.   Anyway   we   went   back  to  our  room  for  the
night.......Thursday  morning the dreaded check-out day. We got up at
7:00.  Took video this time of the grounds. Went back to the our room
to  shower,  dress  and go to Victorias for breakfast. Eggs over easy
hash  browns  and  toast.  Went  back  to  our room and sadly did our
packing..We  then  got  undressed  for  one  more time of what I call
total  freedom.  By  this time other guests were stopping buy to talk
to  us  for  the last time and exchange e-mails. At a 11:45 I went to
the  front  desk  to  check  out, then went back to the pool bar till
two...I'll  never  forget  the  feeling,  how  quite, and the look on
everybody's  face  when  we  all were on our way back to the airport.
Leaving  GL  Braco put us all in a somber mood. Boy what a difference
from  the bus ride going there. Just so quite...I'll skip the details
from  Mobay  to  Atlanta  to  Detroit..except  to say when we finally
landed in Detroit it was 21 degrees.

The  good  news  is  a  lot  of the people we became friends with are
planning  to be back to GL Braco next February. That's why the E-mail
exchanges.  I  hate to keep repeating myself but the those people and
new  friends  we  made  are the most friendly and laughable people we
ever  have  met  on  a  vacation...AS  of right now my wife and I are
really  thinking  about  returning  in May or June & still go back in
February  We  found  our  spot for vacations to come..One other note:
Carl  the  Program Director...Class Act. Denton the bartender a great
guy...Anybody  who  is  going To GL Braco anytime soon, tell them and
any  of  the  staff  that  Amy and Matt will see them soon and what a
great job they all did. I don't think you can tell them enough.

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