Jamaica

The first port we visited on the cruise was Jamaica. Ocho Rios. The port is actually not in Ocho Rios, Royal Caribbean built their own, guarded, touristy port.  Understandably for safety reasons.
I've never seen poverty so close at hand, and that was just through a rain covered tour bus window.  Suddenly our bank account being empty seemed far from a horrible thing.  Most of the buildings/homes we saw were made of scrap things or tin, some were actually cargo crates....  The nice houses were made of rebar and cinderblocks, though there weren't many and they were very small or in progress of being built.  The tour guide on the bus pointed out the housing complex that Americans live in, expressly stating that it had 24 hour security. Only when asked did she tell us about why so many homes were only half built.  It's not all that horrible an idea,they don't have banks and credit lenders.  They build their homes as they have money for supplies.  A few blocks here, a bag of cement there.  Before we got off the bus we were warned not to accept anything from anyone even if it's 'help'.  If someone offers to take a picture for you, just say no.  Otherwise you'll have to pay to get your camera back. If someone hands you something saying it's a gift, it's not, they want money.
 Here's one of the fancier houses, that was not a resort, that we saw.







Due to the rain, I have no pictures of our adventures in Jamaica.  Just rainy bus views.  What DID we do?  Well first we went kayaking in the liquid sunshine.  Liquid sunshine being the ocean there.  That gorgeous light aqua colored ocean that is baby bath warm.  The rain, was freezing.  Get to cold? Stick your arms and legs into the water.  The original plan was to kayak all the way to the Dunns River Falls.  But due to the rain the water was extremely choppy, so instead we kayaked around the harbor a bit, Mr. Man and I were not the most coordinated, but still super fast!  :)

After that we climbed onto a boat of sorts and zoomed(?) through the CHOPPY water to the falls.  It was a 15 minute ride in a boat with a motor and we bounced all over the place, so yes not kayaking it was a very good idea.  when we got there we went on another boat for lunch.  There was fruit punch and empanada type things that Jordan said were good but I wasn't feeling like eating, so I had nothing.  I did use the toilet on the boat......interesting experience.  Pump action for toilet flush... and no lock on the sort of door....and wet toilet paper....and nothing with which to wash hands or sanitize....
Then it was over to the falls.  Which was gorgeous.  Up the falls we went, as a "human chain" so that if someone slipped, you wouldn't fall and crack your head open.  You have to have water shoes/sandals with good traction.  I was quite pleased with how my sandals did, so here's a plug for

Ananias Sandals.  


Great grip and so comfortable, and did not fall apart at all despite actively being in water for hours  
Here are some pictures I 'borrowed' to give you an idea of what we did......

It took a very long time.  You go up and up and up.  And just when you think, okay, this must be the end, you keep going up.  THEN you see an exit sign, and a resort's deck and you think "Yay! We did it!"  But no, it keeps going.  And you are completely and utterly drenched at the end.  And it was raining, so there was no point in trying to towel off before getting back on the bus. They have their own photographer and videographer through the thing and you can buy a dvd of it at the end.  So expect to sit on the bus for a while as they burn the dvd's real fast.  Which they will try to sell to you for $20 each and if you hold out, the price magically drops to 2/$15.   
Back to the port we went.  There are lots of shops, most selling jewelry or rum, tax and duty free.  We bought 3 wooden turtles.  One for each girl. 
Then we got back onto the boat to warm up and get dry. 
Goodbye Jamaica, you are super green and pretty and I'd be interested in seeing the non-tourist side of you.   With someone to fend off the hawkers and such.....

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