Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Ocho Rios, Jamaica - more touristy-type post

So we didn't go down just to observe the locals and sympathize with their plight, as I may have portrayed in the last post. We went for sand in our toes, unlimited drinks at a swim up pool bar(s), and to see some natural beauty. (Besides the natural beauty of DB~, of course).

We stayed at the Riu Ocho Rios, a mega-resort of 864 rooms spread over 3 towers. And of those 864 rooms, it felt like we were checked into half of them thanks to a series of goofs by the front desk. The first room we got was in the standard Tower 3...normal room. When we used the key (not a keycard, a key, oddly enough) and opened the door...there were a man and a woman in various states of undress. But at least they were both wearing something.

After dragging our luggage allllll the way to the front desk, we got another room in Tower 3 from a different front desk guy. I asked him to ring the room to make sure no one was there this time. No answer. So we caravan back to the new room and have a good laugh about the first room on our way there. When I open the door to the new room, we are both greeted by the site of a swarthy naked man running out of the shower, crank bobbing in the breeze, coming to slam the door in my face or punch me...whichever comes first.

This time, I had DB~ hang out with the luggage and I quietly complained about the unacceptable nature of this situation. For my efforts, we got upgraded to a junior suite in Tower 1.

That was the last bad thing that happened...the rest of the time at the Riu was fantastic. The food was great at the 5 restaurants you could make reservations for, plus the buffet restaurant and the Italian restaurant.

The first picture above is a shot from our kayak out on the Caribbean Sea looking back towards the Riu. We were staying on the very far right.

The second picture is a shot of Dunn River Falls, a must-do if you are in Jamaica. Dunn River Falls are a series of cascading waterfalls that descend over 300 feet into the Caribbean Sea. You are given a tour, one in which you will definitely get wet, by forming a human chain of people and then ascending the falls by climbing up the rocks. It's an idea that you would never do back in Pittsburgh, but it seems perfectly acceptable in Jamaica. It was a ton of fun and we got a lot of great pictures of us in the falls themselves, thanks to tipping our guide $5 to keep our camera dry and take shots of us periodically.

The one picture that I wish I could show you was that of Glistening Waters. This was another off-site tour we did to a lagoon that has micro-organisms in it that absorb sunlight during the day. At night, these micro-organisms emit bioluminescence when disturbed. The boat ride you take at night causes the boat's wake to glow a neon blue. And then you can get in the lagoon and swim around too -- this causes the water around you to glow as well as the hair on your arms. The bottom of the lagoon is this bizarre gelatinous mud type of mixture that feels super weird when you walk on it (you're only in 4 feet of water at this point). It's even harder when you are carrying your girlfriend who doesn't want to touch it with her feet!!

All in all, Jamaica was a great place to visit and there is plenty to do over the course of a week. It's not a place we will rush back, as both of us love to explore different places, but I do recommend Jamaica. Yea mon.

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