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  • Jamaica: 100 Memories

    (originally published on March 25, 2014)

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    Oh, friends, we've been back from Jamaica for over a week. That beautiful island of sunshine, smiling people, lush greenery, and the bluest of blue shades is just the faintest of memories now.

    However, while we were there, I kept a simple running list of wonderful things that happened each day. Last summer when I was on the Cape for two weeks, I kept a similar list and found it to be such a great way to capture the feelings, thoughts, and special moments of my vacation. Turns out I wrote down 100 memories from our nine days in paradise. Here's the entire list:

    1. handling both the flight to Orlando and the flight to Montego Bay with confidence and ease (see my posts on my fear of flying journey)
    2. watching Frozen on the plane and loving Olaf's summer song
    3. feeling my heart soar when I saw the Caribbean blue of the ocean when we landed in Montego Bay
    4. thanking the awesome resort message board for alerting us to the glory of the new arrival escorts through Club Mobay -- 20 minutes from plane to lounge, bypassing a two-hour wait in immigration!
    5. drinking my first Red Stripe in the resort lounge and then spilling it all over me -- as usual -- before we got out of Montego Bay and not caring one bit
    6. enjoying the 90 minute drive to Negril 
    7. after checking in, heading right to the bar for my first Dirty Banana and seeing the giant pile of fresh bananas waiting for me (last year they used MIX)
    8. having my disappointment at being housed in building 1 instead of building 2 replaced with joy when I saw our view (half ocean and half our beloved garden)
    9. enjoying our first sunset of the vacation, drinks in hand, and feeling the stress just leaving my soul
    10. eating a wonderful lesiurely meal at Heliconia on lobster night
    11. having both papaya and sour sop juice -- two of my favorite things! -- for breakfast
    12. establishing my drink rotation for the trip on the first full day (Dirty Banana, Piña Colada with rum float, Miami Vice, Hummingbird, Purple Rain, Jamaica Smile, with a Dark and Stormy thrown in where needed. Repeat.)
    13. trying a new-to-me drink, a Jamaica Smile, (layered: strawberry daiquiri then piña colada then topped with a rum cream float)
    14. seeing a hummingbird while drinking a Hummingbird (seriously!)
    15. sharing jerk chicken and a jerk burger with the Mr. at lunch
    16. decorating my pool float with flowers I found
    17. wearing the first of many (!) caftans
    18. picking the theme song for the vacation (The Good Good by Snoop Lion)
    19. eating three desserts ... at lunch
    20. taking the snorkel gear out and seeing eight starfish and a school of fish right before sunset
    21. wearing a carefully curated delicate Caribbean bracelet stack
    22. enjoying a delicious cup of espresso at the bar after dinner with the Mr.
    23. seeing a grey heron on my morning walk
    24. discovering Rick's Cafe retweeted my sunset photo
    25. being selfish and take three giant, super ripe pieces of papaya for breakfast
    26. finding more sour sop juice waiting for me
    27. scoring the perfect piece of crispy bacon
    28. watching a butterfly land on my knee ... twice!
    29. seeing a huge white egret fly over my head, but no one else seeing him
    30. seeing a large hummingbird  -- another one!
    31. enjoying my first grilled snapper sandwich at lunch while staring out at the ocean
    32. trying another new drink, Ellie Smile, which is a dirty banana with apricot liquor
    33. inhaling the amazing coconut chicken soup and green papaya salad at Lychee
    34. sitting on the tree swing with the Mr. while watching a movie on the beach
    35. loading up on guava juice, fresh papaya, coconut French toast, and sugar cane for breakfast
    36. walking the full length of the beach (and, sadly, discovering that my beloved Office of Nature is no longer there)
    37. seeing a crab scurry on the beach
    38. being completely taken aback by the Mr. spotting one of our least favorite people from previous trips on the beach and laughing afterwards by how funny it was that I shouted "Holy shit!" a little too loudly when I figured out what he wanted me to look at
    39. sipping pineapple orange water
    40. adding some spicy oil to my fried snook at lunch (and then looking up snook on the interwebs to figure out what I just ate)
    41. slowly eating my sour sop SORBET
    42. hearing and then seeing a Jamaican woodpecker
    43. enjoying a less crazy than usual catamaran cruise to the cliffs and singing along to Sean Paul on the way home
    44. being amazed by how close the giant white egret allowed me to get on my morning bird stalk
    45. spotting the turtle in the pond -- my only sighting of this trip
    46. discovering that Edge of Water, the next book in Elizabeth George's YA series, was automatically delivered to my Kindle
    47. enjoying the delicious combination of a juicy papaya, boiled banana, and passion fruit juice
    48. spending a gorgeous clear and quiet morning reading by the pool
    49. cheese fries!
    50. floating around the pool on floaties with the Mr. while calling out  "Rose!" and "Jack!" anytime we floated away from each other
    51. being followed around the ocean by a school of fish (I could do that forever!)
    52. seeing 20 starfish during our daily pre-sunset snorkel  (The Mr. is THE best starfish hunter!)
    53. enjoying our dinner at the fancy restaurant, Otaheite -- especially the salmon and artichoke mousse, rum drenched shrimp, mango sorbet, and the coffee press of Blue Mountain coffee
    54. grabbing a coconut and enjoying really fresh coconut water
    55. scoring a front row seat at the pool with an umbrella
    56. cheering on the Mr. while he saved a drowning bee in the pool -- we named him Beejesus
    57. soaking in the hot tub
    58. discovering there were hard tacos and grilled snapper for lunch
    59. enjoying the glass bottom boat ride over the coral reef
    60. seeing the Sargent fish and a stingray
    61. during our daily snorkel, seeing some sort of creature before he buried himself in the sand
    62. taking a wonderful nap before dinner
    63. devouring grilled snapper with lime. butter. sauce.
    64. spending my fourth birthday in a row in Jamaica and thinking how really, really lucky I am
    65. before leaving the balcony for the day, watching a white egret fly over my head, seeing a Jamaican woodpecker land on the tree in front of me, watching two little yellow bananaquits build a nest, and watching a cat play with a lizard
    66. getting my favorite seat by the pool on my birthday
    67. discovering that they had boiled dumplings for breakfast on my birthday (the ONLY day they served them)
    68. indulging in jerk chicken, cheese fries, and cocoa bread for my birthday lunch
    69. finally learning I could get a fresh papaya daiquiri (!!)
    70. eating an ice cream cone in the hot tub
    71. heading to Rick's to watch the cliff jumpers and the sunset
    72. getting a coveted table IN the pool at Rick's 
    73. watching a really cool and fiery sunset while drinking Red Stripes
    74. meeting other people from Boston as we watched it and learning they lived in the town over from us and were staying at the other Couples resort in Negril (clearly, our Bizarro friends)
    75. enjoying my birthday dinner at a table by the beach with tiki torches
    76. indulging again in the sour sop sorbet
    77. drinking as much guava juice as possible
    78. eating fried plantains for breakfast
    79. sitting on the other side of the pool for a change and being able to stare at the Caribbean blue ocean all day
    80. listening to a lovely quartet playing mellow music at breakfast
    81. really savoring the last Dirty Banana of the trip
    82. spending our last day just chilling by the pool, listening to tunes, floating on the pool floaties, and watching the palm trees sway in the breeze
    83. spending our resort credit on coffee, coffee, and more coffee
    84. also getting a cute clutch from the resort store and a blue and white polka dotted frog, which I named Jerk
    85. finding a banana flower (!!) and bananas on the other side of the resort 
    86. discovering a staircase I never knew was there and getting an awesome photo for my lighting series
    87. enjoying a chocolate ice cream cone
    88. finishing our trip the way we started it: with a lovely dinner at Heliconia, this time with beachside seating
    89. enjoying one more Caesar salad with shrimps (yes, shrimps!)
    90. getting lobster tails that were so easy to remove from the shells this time and enjoying every last bite of them
    91. experiencing a really good night's sleep
    92. getting first dibs on the fresh papaya (the upside of having to get up early to leave the resort for the airport)
    93. trying callaloo at our last meal
    94. seeing new things on the Ride of Great Sadness to the airport
    95. bypassing the giant security lines at the airport with our Club Mobay departure escort
    96. seeing and quickly buying my favorite brand of rum cream to take home with us (Sangster's!)
    97. getting seated at a private table in the quiet room at Club Mobay
    98. being surprised by how good the last drink in Jamaica was, a guava daiquiri at the Jamaican Bobsled Cafe
    99. messing around with the bobsled on display next door
    100. starting the planning for our return trip next year!

    I have lots of photos, too, friends. Of course I do. Stay tuned for the visual companion to these memories. Irie!