Our last port of call was in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Mick and I signed up for a combo excursion – Zip Line and River Tubing! How could you go wrong? The main problem with the day’s adventure is that the previous night’s adventure was a bit taxing and man-was-I-tired. Since I was a little out of sorts in the morning during breakfast, I forgot my beach towel in the room and had to mad dash down to the bus to meet everyone. I also forgot my sunscreen so both of us were dreading the harsh misery of the Jamaican sun.
Fun facts about Jamaica:
- Their drivers are about as aggressive as Italian drivers. When we were driving up the mountain to get into the canopy, and the single-lane road became steadily narrower (trapped between a cliff-face and a drop-off), there were numerous times another vehicle would honk-honk-honk and zoom by us. Ridiculous.
- Since tourism is their #1 industry, their social norms have modified accordingly. At the end of our excursion, I had some shady dealings with one of the photographers to get some photos of the river tubing – he pointed at the $60 price tag for 18 photos, then agreed to a “deal” of $35 for the set… as long as I paid $25 to the register and $10 to him. Shady!
- Most of the people I talked to were both grumpy and friendly. It was sort of odd; my guess is seeing so many clueless American tourists each day was a major factor.
The zip line portion could have been longer – it was three too-quick lines between platforms. Mick even suggested we ask to do it again immediately afterward (after all, we already had the gear on). I had tons of fun whooping and zooming down from the high point to the first tree-platform… but the process of zip lining is very much an unstable balance equilibrium problem. The more you consciously try to adjust your position / rotation on the line, the harder it is to keep from twisting. By the time I realized this, I was already heading down the last part of the line.
By contrast, the river tubing was relaxing and fun, but a tad too long. The best part of that were the rapids (obv) but there were only three real white-watery sections. The plus side (for our poor sunscorched heads) was that over 75% of the river tubing was under canopy cover and quite cool.
Even despite (or maybe due to) almost-drowning in Grand Cayman, I preferred it to Ocho Rios – possibly just because it wasn’t as “in your face” about the tourism.