Posts Tagged trips

Ya Mon

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.

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Excursion Diversions

I’m heading off to the Caribbean on a cruise in about two and a half weeks – a repeat of last year’s excellent Magic cruise, organized by two fun-loving friends from the Midwest, Steve and Lindsey.  It’s a cruise through the frickin’ Caribbean, quite magical in and of itself, but since it is nominally a Magic event as well (with numerous shipboard tournaments and leagues and drafts over the course of the weekend) it’s a good way to meet more laid-back and friendly Magic players from all over.  I’m trying to nail down the excursions (daytrips while harbored) I want to take; specifically, so that I can run them by roommate Mick and make sure we are at least purposefully not doing the same things (as opposed to accidentally).

A group of people are doing the pub crawl in Key West – that sounds fun, but I want to be sure I get a real-deal-kinda scuba experience this time, and Key West has a snuba activity that looks interesting.  Actually, the correct play is probably to pub crawl with people in Key West (a great way to icebreak and get to know some of our fellow cruisers better) and then do beginner’s scuba in Grand Cayman.

I thought the combination snorkeling and bicycle ride excursion I took with Bill and Jess last year in Cozumel was pretty awesome, so I’d like to do a third excursion that’s about the level of physical activity as biking… maybe some sort of dune buggy adventure in the mountains of Jamaica?  Actually, looking over the options, zipline + river tubing sounds both surreal and sublime, so I think that’ll be the tentative plan.

I know, rough life. :)

(Also, whoa, talk about an upgrade from last year — apparently the Carnival Freedom, our ship for this year’s cruise, has some sort of fancy steakhouse on board that you can make reservations for [but you have to do it two weeks in advance!]  Wowza!  It’s like a secret excursion to deliciousness.)

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