Thursday, May 1, 2008

Arriving in Jamaica!!!

We are in Sandal's Whitehouse - after a long day of travel we have arrived in paradise!

We left town late last night for an 11 PM flight to Atlanta. We were not thrilled to have to fly red eye, but it was the most convenient thing to do. The flight to Atlanta was pretty uneventful, I spent most of my time trying to get comfortable and was able to spend a couple of hours sleeping. Peter spent most of the night watching television shows and playing a trivia game with others from the plane. (You can play against others on the flight using the screen on the back of the seats). He did dose off a little bit by the end of the flight. We were in the very back of the plane and almost everyone on board was trying to sleep, but the flight attendants stood in the back and talked all night. It was a little bit irritating.

We arrived in Atlanta at 5:30 AM 2:30 AM West Coast time and had to travel clear across Atlanta's airport to the international wing. That killed sometime. Then we got some food and I found a place on the floor to curl up and catch some z's!!! I slept for about a half hour bringing my grand total of sleep to about 3 1/2 hours.

Our flight to Jamaica left Atlanta at 9:30 in the morning and seemed to go pretty quickly. By the time we got our refreshments and filled out our immigration forms we began to descend on the little Island of Jamaica. There were several planes all landing at the one time in Jamaica and that really backed up immigrations and customs. We finally made our way through the hot and humid airport and turned a corner to the Sandal's lounge of the airport. At that time all the stress and worry was gone - they would take care of from here on out. We seated ourselves in the very nice lounge and waited for the car to Whitehouse. We finally started on our journey to Whitehouse. Our driver was highly entertaining and one of the first things he told us was that we could ask him any questions we liked and that he was not a policeman so nothing was to bad to ask for. (I am pretty sure he was referring to weed at this point in time). He was telling us how he had been sitting at the airport since 2:30 in the morning waiting to transport people to their resorts and that you usually do about one transfer a day and that is all. He thanked us for coming to Jamaica because tourists are where Jamaicans make all of their money. He was very informative about the resort and was preparing us for the way Jamaicans drive and also how bumpy and terrible the roads were going to be. He explained how if he went around the island which would be the most comfortable way to the resort - the ride would take over three hours, but if they go up and over the mountains it only takes half that time. So off for the mountains we headed:

We definitely recognized that we were in a third world country. Most of the homes were in terrible condition and even the very nice home's wouldn't be suitable for us Americans. The roads were very bumpy and tight spaces and they would pass like 5 cars at one time and honk and fly by each other on tight corners - it was the scariest driving experience ever, but the driver assured us that he would not kill us! He kept saying "don't worry man, be happy" The drive was almost like a roller coaster combined with the bumpiness of the Indiana Jones ride in Disneyland.

The driver explained to us how the school children go to school on different shifts and that was why kids were already out so early in the day. The schools are full and that is the only way they can get all the children through school. All the children wear uniforms and he explained how it is a real sense of pride for them.

This is a huge church in the mountains of Jamaica. Our driver explained how the only thing that outnumbers churches are bars and I wish I could have gotten a good picture of the bars along the road. About every 5 minutes on the drive you would pass a little plywood shack on the side of the road that was a bar. He said the only religion in Jamaica is Christianity.

The views from up in the mountains were amazing and while the roads were terrible it was a view that most do not get to see.

This was a picture taken in Montego Bay right after leaving the airport. Montego Bay seems to be the big tourist part of Jamaica and was bumper to bumper and honking horns and people standing in the middle of the road trying to sell things. It was chaos!!
We finally after an exhausting journey pulled up onto the campus of Sandal's Whitehouse - we made it!!! We were immediately greeted with cold wash clothes to wipe our faces and hands and a glass of champagne (yucky). Check in was a long and drawn out process, but hey mon, we are on Jamaica time now! We found out that our travel agent was able to get us an upgrade and we were sent on our way. They escort you to your room and make sure it is to your liking then follow with your luggage later on.

This is the view from our room! We took a short nap then went and had dinner - we tried authentic Jamaican beef patties - they were a little hot for our liking, but that was alright. We went to the pastry shop adn splurged way more then we should have. We walked on the nice warm, white sand beach and came back to our room to relax.

This is our room. I am now off to have a relaxing bubble bath and then get some much needed sleep!!! More to come tomorrow - I am sure!