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  • Ocho Rios, Jamaica: 100 Memories

    We vacationed in Jamaica again this past March. After four years in our beloved Negril, we decided we wanted to explore a different part of the country. Because we've loved our time with the Couples Resorts, we chose Couples Sans Souci in Ocho Rios as our home for a week.

    "The details are not the details. They make the design."   - Charles Eames

    Last year I started keeping a list of the tiny things I wanted to remember from our annual trip to this special island. It's those moments that make the experience so wonderful. Here's the 2015 list:

    1. getting a red "TSA expedited" stamp on my boarding pass and not having to take off my shoes
    2. seeing a gorgeous sunrise outside the windows at Logan as we waited for our flight
    3. having a direct flight this year (yay! no stress!)
    4. watching and enjoying Big Hero 6 on the way there
    5. only spilling a tiny bit of Red Stripe on my shirt this time on the bus to the resort (baby steps!)
    6. getting to see a whole new part of Jamaica on our bus ride, especially the beautiful coastal vistas
    7. the Mr. and I letting out a simultaneous sigh after we stepped out of the bus and saw the orchids and lush greenery at the entrance to the resort
    8. seeing our room and the amazing balcony view for the first time 
    9. drinking my first dirty banana of the trip and enjoying a grilled red snapper sandwich while seated at a table right on the beach
    10. discovering I didn't have to jump up to get on the perfect-height-for-me swim up bar seats
    11. feeling sad yet intrigued by a tiny dead tree frog floating in pool
    12. getting a special delivery of Ting to our room
    13. enjoying cheese and crackers on our balcony before dinner
    14. seeing my first little lizard
    15. watching the white egrets fly past our balcony at the end of the day
    16. enjoying the beach party with some of my favorite Jamaican foods: escovitch fish, fried bammy, and rice and peas plus a very yummy sweet potato tart for dessert
    17. getting a seat just inches from the ocean
    18. listening to our favorite steel drum band, The Silverbirds
    19. sipping a rum cream at the Balloon Bar before turning in for the night
    20. watching the egrets fly back the other direction in the morning
    21. witnessing a giant piece of fruit falling off a tree, just missing our heads
    22. diving in to our first breakfast at Palazzina -- fresh papaya, sour sop, guava, salt fish and ackee, pineapple French toast, and fried dumplings
    23. walking on the beach and finding tiny pink shells and a huge crab
    24. finding an awesome seat at the pool with a view of the ocean
    25. trying a few new-to-me drinks -- Banana Banshee, Peach on the Beach, and a Jamaica Delight
    26. winning second place in trivia and getting a bottle of rum cream for my morning coffee (and discovering that it was Miss Jamaica Universe who beat us)
    27. enjoying a jerk burger and a rum and Ting for lunch by the beach
    28. discovering how much better a piña colada tastes with a rum cream float
    29. spending the last few hours of the day on the beach
    30. finding a giant crab and a giant spider in its giant web on the way back to the room
    31. having a lychee martini at the Martini Bar
    32. The Mr. saving that martini (and me) after a rat almost jumped on my shoulder 
    33. savoring an incredible dinner at Palazzina: Caesar salad with crunchy proscuitto bits, charred tomato soup, lobster, and passion meringue pie
    34. feeding lobster bits to the kitties
    35. plotting to empty the bowl of anchovies into my purse so we could lure the kitties back to protect us from those rats
    36. starting the day on the balcony with a little rum cream in my coffee and a chocolate croissant with some banana bread
    37. wandering around the spa paths and checking out each massage hut
    38. finding the hidden beach
    39. walking on the main beach with my honey
    40. eating a beef patty with extra jerk sauce and a chocolate ice cream cone for dessert
    41. walking around the pond and seeing pelicans divebomb the fish in the pond, and seeing egrets, herons, and turtles
    42. meeting the green parrot, Crackers, and having her whistle at me
    43. taking our first dip in the mineral pool 
    44. soaking in the hidden jacuzzi and then relaxing by the mineral pool
    45. enjoying dinner -- beef tenderloin with jerk sauce and ackee rice -- at a beachside table for two at Bella Vista 
    46. eating fried bammy and fresh papaya for breakfast
    47. getting a hot stone massage in a hut overlooking the ocean, waves crashing below, on my birthday 
    48. having some quiet time on the balcony afterwards
    49. discovering the cookies in the lobby!
    50. taking a trip to Scotchie's to enjoy jerk chicken, roasted breadfruit, and a Red Stripe with our gracious driver, Orville
    51. finding Anita, the blue macaw
    52. being addressed as "m'lady" for a week
    53. being completely overwhelmed by the wonderful Starlight Gala -- and especially enjoying the red snapper with lime buerre sauce, tomato soup, and banana dessert
    54. watching Milton and Co. dance and listening to the fantastic singer, Tammy T (and little bro Clive with his awesome dreadlocks)
    55. enjoying my morning coffee with rum cream and croissants on the balcony
    56. experiencing a quiet early morning by the pool
    57. listening to the birds squabble in the trees
    58. discovering the popcorn machine at the beach grill
    59. dozing underneath the pool umbrella as the rain poured all around us for about 20 minutes
    60. loving the cassava chips with pumpkin jalapeño and roasted artichoke dips at the mineral pool
    61. following it with a chaser afterwards -- a snapper sandwich
    62. finally feeling like we knew our way around the paths of the resort
    63. savoring dinner at Casanova: shrimp and salmon kebab with the awesomest risotto, tomato and crab soup (with vodka), and beef tenderloin
    64. listening to the reggae show, playing on the terrace below, during our dinner 
    65. sipping Blue Mountain coffee after dinner
    66. being awake for that early morning moment when the tree frogs are still chirping and the birds begin to sing 
    67. despite inertia, getting up and going on the morning nature walk
    68. seeing a doctor bird 
    69. seeing my childhood hero, Rikki Tikki Tavi, aka a mongoose darting across the lawn
    70. eating almonds fresh off the tree
    71. appreciating the magnificent rubber tree
    72. eating fresh papaya and muesli for breakfast
    73. sitting in the jacuzzi during a rain shower
    74. seeing a little black lizard inflate his throat 
    75. watching the talented Brian at the Balloon Bar do his cocktail tricks
    76. enjoying Blue Mountain coffee after dinner (again!)
    77. listening to the jazz entertainment back in the room while falling asleep
    78. waking up to sunshine after a cloudy, rainy day
    79. getting our favorite poolside seat for the last day
    80. realizing we still have a ton of resort credit left and booking a private sunset boat tour for our last evening
    81. walking along the beach and finding a cool shell and the remnants of a palm leaf arch used for a wedding next door the night before
    82. swimming out to the floating dock and dangling my toes in the Caribbean while watching the boats go by (and laughing when the Mr.'s shorts almost fell off when he climbed the ladder)
    83. enjoying my morning Banana Banshee
    84. eating my last beef patty with extra spicy sauce and a rum and Ting
    85. buying a few photos of ourselves that we actually liked
    86. taking time to explore the hidden beach
    87. finding the hidden mineral grotto
    88. taking a photo walk on my own
    89. sadly taking our last dip in the pool
    90. enjoying everything about our private sunset cruise on the Dolce Vita
    91. going really, really fast and managing to barely spill our champagne
    92. discovering there was a cheese plate to enjoy on the boat
    93. seeing Dunn's River Falls and Lobster Dave's from the water
    94. finding Mick Jagger's house on the top of the mountain
    95. sipping champagne while watching the sunset
    96. ordering room service on our last night and enjoying my favorite, grilled snapper with lime butter sauce 
    97. one last room service breakfast of Blue Mountain coffee and buttery croissants, and dumping the rest of the rum cream in my cup
    98. sitting outside on the balcony in my underwear until the very last minute when I had to put my pants on to get on the sad bus home
    99. taking in everything on the final ride home and seeing slices of Jamaican life (and Usain Bolt's school and track)
    100. eating our traditional cheeseburger before our direct(!) flight home