Monday, September 17, 2012

Jamaica Me Smile (Day 1)

Our mantra for this trip was, "not sure if we have enough time".  Not enough time to do anything other than eat, drink, sit in the sun and walk on the beach.  A perfect girlfriend getaway with a great friend.

We had an 8am flight out of an airport about an hour away so Jenn picked me up at a half past dark.  Getting to the airport early has its perks.  We upgraded to business class for a nominal extra charge and we excited for our 1 free drink and snack...this was on Airtran by the way so nothing fancy expected.  Once on the plane we were quite excited.  Even though it was early, it was time for a drink...and of course we chose a rum drink since we were on our way to Jamaica.  They also had some little biscuit cookie things that I really liked and had quite a few.  The flight attendant noticed this and made a comment over the speaker about the blonde woman in the front who ate all the cookies.  Come on!  I did not eat that many....  We flew over Cuba and the landing into the airport in Jamaica was great because we got a nice view of the island...which is all we would really see of it other than our resort since there just wasn't enough time!
Once we arrived in Jamaica the van company was waiting for outside right on schedule and offered us a choice of water or beer.  It was water for me and a Red Stripe for Jenn!  We stayed at the Iberostar Grand Rose Hall (aka the Grand) in the Montego Bay area.  I had previously stayed at the Iberostar Grand Hotel Paraiso in Mexico so I knew what to expect.  (I will compare the two resorts in another post) This was Jenn's first stay at an all inclusive and I knew she would love it. 
We were greeted at check in with a glass of champagne and then headed to our rooms.  I had emailed our room requests to the resort prior to arrival and everything was perfect.  We had two ocean front rooms on the top floor on the far corner.
The rooms were beautiful and very spacious.
 The balcony had a couch, swing and table and looked right out to the beach and ocean.

Before the heading to the beach we went to the buffet to get some lunch.  I am not a fan of buffets and especially not outdoor buffets where the food sits in the heat, but this was the only place to get lunch.  There was also the BBQ going on as well.  We had not eaten since the cookies on the airplane so we were starving by this point and everything tasted pretty good.  We would not keep this opinion though on future days.  Note that all food pictures are thanks to Jenn so most of the food pictures are what she ate.  I am not patient enough to take pictures before eating!
Finally after about 10 hours since we started the journey...we were at the beach!
Jenn and I have traveled together once before but it was to Vegas so we learned a little bit about each other on this trip.  Jenn learned that I love to pull my chair out from under the palapa and bake myself while just staring at the ocean.  Maybe I should have spent more time under the palapa with her, but do not worry...Jenn is one of those people who makes friends with everyone!  She knew the people on either side of us quite quickly.  Which brings me to one of the few things that was not Grand about this resort...the palapas are really close together.  There is plenty of beach space, but the palapas are really crammed together.  Luckily Jenn is also an early morning person who would get up and get us a spot in the front row each day. 
After some sun and drinks it was time for dinner.  I had made reservations for each night before arrival so we were set and would not need to eat at the buffet for dinner.  First night was teppanyaki.
The food was good, but everyone else seemed to know the system better than us.  I ordered sushi as an appetizer, an entree (the teppanyaki part) and dessert.  Clearly everyone else knew better and ordered another course of all sorts of other appetizers after the sushi course but before the teppanyaki course.  This was a downer because we had to wait for everyone else to finish all their appetizers before the chef even started the show cooking part.  Overall the food was good, but the entree portion was small so we wished we would have ordered more appetizers.  The service was good though and my champagne glass was kept full!
After dinner we went to the lobby bar.  As soon as we walked in, a very tan man who smelled like a bar stumbled up to us and said, "you're new".  It was a very social bar where everybody seemed to know everybody.  I went to the bar to get a drink and Jenn a coffee and the bartender made fun of the way I said "cafe con leche" which made me feel really uncomfortable....big mistake...big...huge! (Pretty Woman  I normally tip on every drink, but no tip for this guy and then I never went back up to the bar on the trip because of him.  We relied on the waitresses instead after that.  When I came back with Jenn's coffee, the drunk/tan man's wife told Jenn she better get some Bailey's for that because the coffee is terrible...and she was right!  There was also a saxophone player roaming the bar and played for the first dance of a couple who had just gotten married.  We watched the newlyweds dance and noticed the back of the bride's dress did not seem to lace up properly in the back and was way too tight...more on that later!
We did not stay too long as we were tired so we went back to our rooms.  Jenn put the butler to work and he brought her some movies.  I sat on the balcony for a while to just listen to the waves and the wind.  What a great first day...
Any guesses where the "Jamaica Me Smile" post name comes from?  

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