3 A.M. this morning started off what is to be a series of new adventures for me. It's my first time out of the country, and here I sit in our Jamaican hotel room. It was more or less an adventure getting here, and I wish I had thought about taking pictures when I was in the airport here. We saw a crab in the hall, and there were even pictures of Usain Bolt, arms outstretched, welcoming us to Jamaica. Being properly welcomed, I was then comfortable enough to begin stepping out into something new. Or something along those lines.
We rode on, what they called, a bus/shuttle to the hotel. It was really just a van, but it served the same purpose. It was so odd, we drove on the left side of the road and went clockwise around a round about. Not only that, but I saw signs saying "Keep Left" instead of "Keep Right," and 80 km/h instead of mph. We saw adorable little houses with the clothes out on the lines, and shops right up against the beach. Once again, I wish I had gotten my camera out.
We got to the hotel after a 15 minute drive. The check in lady was so nice, and the bell hop (is that what they're called?) came and got us all set up. He even talked to the front desk for us about getting a crib for Benny. One of the best things about this place--everything is bright colors. The chairs, the pillows, the walls, the buildings, everything. Love it.
We were absolutely starving, so we went to one of the hotel's restaurants for lunch. Let me tell you, if you ever want a good burger, that is the place to go. We wanted to explore some, so we walked up and down a little beach stretch with Benny--he loved it. His first ocean experience ever, and it was in Jamaica. This kid has got it made. Everyone loves Benny. One hotel worker had just gotten off of a sail boat and greeted us with a friendly "yo mon," and tried to get a high five from Benny. No matter how hard this poor guy tried, the only response Benny would give him was a "no" followed by a cold shoulder. I guess he didn't want to be interrupted from his ocean exploration.
I got a chance to go and take a few pictures from the patio of our hotel room. I must say, our view is prime.
Not the best picture, I had the wrong lens on. But you can see the ocean if you look, and the palm trees are fairly picturesque, if I do say so myself. If you'll notice the bushes at the bottom, you'll see some red flowers. I decided I wanted some macro shots of them, so into the bushes I went with my macro lens, trying to get the best angles. I must have been quite the sight, especially with Benny attacking my head and camera. Despite some struggles, I think I was able to come out with a few good shots.
My dad took Benny to the pool for a little swim while my mom, Tori and I rested a bit. We went out to meet the boys after a bit, and I brought my camera along. The sun was setting, and it was absolutely amazing. It was like a piece of the sky was on fire. Benny, of course, was a doll baby, and a few other shots here and there made the trip complete.
We came back to the hotel room once it started getting darker. My parents went to get some dinner at a different resort restaurant, and Tori hopped in the shower. Due to the nature of the buddy system, that meant that I stayed in the hotel room too, which was fine with me--we had had a late lunch, and I got a little more rest. After a bit, my mom came back with dessert for Tori and me. Apparently, it's against the rules to take food with you, but the waiter made an exception for us. Maybe it's the thrill of summer vacation and the exploration of a foreign land, maybe it's the humidity, maybe it's just pure skill, but whatever it is, the food here is dang good. Once I was done, my mom told me to grab the camera and come to the restaurant with her.
As it turns out, Benny had fallen asleep on my dad's shoulder as they walked to the restaurant. When the waiter saw them, he grabbed a waitress and started talking to her. A second later, they brought over two chairs with arms, two napkins, a tablecloth and a pillow. Then they stuck the two chairs next to each other, used the napkins to tie the arms together so the chairs wouldn't slip, put the pillow down on the chair, and tucked Benny into his own little makeshift crib with the tablecloth!
Needless to say, he slept safe and sound while my parents had a quiet dinner out, and everyone around commented on how lucky this little king was.
The people here are such an inspiration. They are so happy, and so willing to go the extra mile; and it's not only the locals. They are just loving life, and are so friendly. We haven't even been here a full 24 hours, and I already feel at home. Everywhere you turn, someone is there to say a friendly word, or offer a helping hand. They do what many people won't, and step outside of themselves to see the people around them.
I have the rest of my Jamaican adventure waiting for me, followed by an excursion to Fiji. I'm absolutely thrilled thinking about discovering what both hold for me. But I think that, even bigger than those, is the adventure of stepping outside of myself. There is something in it that you can't get anywhere else. Thanks to the example of the people on this island, I'm embarking on that journey today. In the words of Charles Muntz and Ellie (soon to be) Fredricksen, "adventure is out there!" And I can't wait to discover this one.