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.