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Our Jamaican Vacation (Day 1)

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Our trip to Jamaica was really nice. This was actually our honeymoon, since we didn't take one when we got married. Yeah, that does sound like us though, getting around to it two years later. Anyway, I had taken many trips with my parents, but this was my first real vacation. On all the other trips, I was really just along for the ride. We originally planned to visit Florida and do the Universal Studios/Disney World thing, but that quickly became extremely expensive. Plus, although it sounded like a lot of fun, it didn't sound relaxing in the least, and we both really needed some time to just chill. So we decided on an all-inclusive resort trip to Jamaica.

Dragon Ball Z- The Legacy of Goku II (for Game Boy Advance) The journey officially started on Sunday, October 5, 2003. We hopped in the car around noon-ish and headed for my parents house where we were going to hang out until heading to the airport later that evening. Treeses drove on the way down, and listed to one of the five CDs that was in her stylish metallic CD case. I kept busy with Dragon Ball Z- The Legacy of Goku II, a new game I got for the Game Boy. Even with the lighted screen, playing Game Boy in the car during the daytime can be quite difficult. Angling the system so that you can see the screen and not a reflection of yourself is quite a task, and then adding in the constant shadows that fly over the display presents a unique challenge in itself.

Despite the problems with actually seeing the game, I really enjoyed playing it. The attitudes and dialog for the characters were dead on, the combat system was simple yet effective, the menus were intuitive, the quests were entertaining, and the NPCs (non playing characters) were fun to interact with. My only real complaint is the dashing. To run, you double tap the direction you want to go, and if you run into something your character stops. This gets annoying when you want to move through an area quickly, because you can only run in one direction at a time. So you double-tap, run into a tree, turn sideways, double-tap again, run into a rock, face another direction, double-top again, and so on. I would have liked it much better if you could just hold down a button to make your character walk faster.

When we got to my parents' house, we just hung out for a little and told them about our upcoming trip. We went out to dinner, Hometown Buffet I think it was. My mom tried calling uncle Mark from her cell phone, as she said that he lives right by the airport and often lets family park there so not to be robbed by the fees for the airport's long-term parking. Unfortunately, nobody was home. After dinner, I worked on my parents computer a bit to fix whatever problems they had been having at the time, and Treeses took a quick little power nap. Soon it was time to head off to the San Francisco airport, so we said our goodbyes zoomed away.

We arrived at the airport with no problems, and found the long term parking. We parked in a handicap spot right near the bench where the bus picks you up, but when we tried to find Treese's handicap pass, it wasn't in her back. She specifically remembered putting it in her bag just for this purpose, but now it was nowhere to be found. We had to conclude that Christy took it out while helping us pack, and Treeses was pissed. But everything would be okay, for there just happened to be one single unoccupied non-handicap spot in the next row over, so we pulled into that one. Then we grabbed our bags, and waited for the bus.

Once we the bus got us to the airport, we got off at the US Airways stop, as that's what our paperwork told us. But once we reached the counter, we were informed that we had to go to the United terminal, which was basically all the way across the airport. So we walked all the way to the proper terminal, dragging all our stuff with us. Once we got to where we were supposed to be, everything went smoothly. Treeses read and I played Game Boy until it was time to board. Actually, I don't think there was an in-flight movie, so I think I played Game Boy most of the time.

Our flight wasn't a direct one, so we had a stop over in Philadelphia for a couple of hours. Again I played Game Boy most of the time. Due to the time zone change and the length of the flight, it actually started to become morning while we were there. That was a pretty thing to watch, as we are rarely ever awake early enough to see the darkness fade away. We had a snack while we were there; I had a slice of cheese pizza and Treeses had a bagel with cream cheese. Then it was time to fly again. This flight was also pretty uneventful, but at least it had an in-flight movie, which was Legally Blonde 2. Now I do like Reese Witherspoon, but I absolutely hate the character she does in that movie just because it's SO ANNOYING.

Our Jamaican Vacation (Day 2)

It was morning when we arrived in Jamaica. It was bright out, and the atmosphere was hot, damp, and sticky. We made our way through immigration, got some Jamaican dollars, and found our way over to the SuperClubs area where everyone gathered who was going to be staying at a SuperClub resort or hotel. I'd say there was about 10 people. We waited there until they said our bus was ready, loaded our luggage onto a cart, and showed us all to the bus. The ride to the resort was long, but enjoyable, although I did almost dozed off a few times. Remember now that at this point we had been awake since the previous morning, except for the little sleep that Treeses got on the plane. Along the way the driver would talk about Jamaica and point out sites and landmarks. He even had us all introduce ourselves, where we were from, and what we liked using Jamaican speak. We stopped part way through the trip for a rest break and to pick up souvenirs from stores not on the resort (and thus about a third cheaper). We picked up some t-shirts and keychains, and took some pictures. We had previously bought a 256 MB CompactFlash card just for this trip.

Hedonism III- Clothing Optional Pool We eventually continued on our journey, dropping off folks at their resorts along the way. By the time we got to our resort, Hedonism III, there was just us and one other guy. We disembarked, tipped the driver, and headed up to the front desk to check. For the vacation package that we choose, they got to choose our room for us. That was fine with us considering that was cheaper than even picking the cheapest room. Our room assignment (321- building 3, floor 2, room 1), and it wasn't bad. It wasn't the cheapest they had, but it also wasn't a suite. The view from our window overlooked the clothing-optional pool area, which was a really nice area. There was a swim up bar underneath the second-story deck, a hot tub on either side, a volleyball net stretched across one portion of the pool, and a couple platforms inside the pool that shot up a constant stream of water.

Hedonism III- Typical Room After putting down our things and checking out the room, we both laid down on the bed and passed out. I don't know how many hours we slept, but when we woke up it was still bright out. We decided to get up and go check out the beach, so we rubbed on some sun screen and headed out. The nude area was only a short walk from our room. When we got it there, we saw an area filled with lounge chairs in front of us, a pool off to the left side, and the beach over to the right. Although the pool was by no means small, it was much smaller than the clothing optional one, but was filled with a ton of more people, all completely naked. The beach, on the other hand, was completely empty. So we headed down the wooden stairs to the beach, stripped our clothes off, and walked on in. The water was nice and warm, as well as perfectly clear. The area that was roped off never got more than five feet deep, and you could see all the way to the ground everywhere you went. Sometimes you could even see tiny fish swimming by.

After our nice, relaxing swim which just felt amazing, we headed over to the pool. There they had a 24 hour open swim-up bar, which we would make good use of later on. We hopped in the pool, which was just a little cooler than the ocean water, and waded over to the bar. We both had a few drinks, although I don't remember what they were, just that they had rum in them. The pool was still pretty crowded, so after a while we took our current drink and went over into the hot tub. And oh my did it feel good. Warm bubbling water massaging your whole body while you just lay back and sip your drink. I don't remember how long we stayed there, but after a while we just had to go get something to eat. So we got out, dried off, and took a short walk over to the 24 hour outdoor restaurant, where you could eat and watch the sunset at the same time. Everything they served there was a jerk dish (jerk being an extremely popular Jamaican spice), like jerk chicken, jerk hot dog, jerk burger, etc. During our stay, I believe we had tried everything on the menu. And it was all pretty good, too.

Sometime that evening there was an orientation where they would have someone show you all around the resort. There was only one other couple there when the orientation started, which was Tom and Marisa who were celebrating their honeymoon as well (although not two years late). So the guide took us all over the resort, starting in the lobby and heading over to the clothing optional area. He said that although it was clothing optional, usually people would were bottoms and just go topless. Also, he said that although the pool is open 24 hours, the bar there wasn't, and so the pool was usually empty when that happened. Oh, unlike the nude side, photography and video was fine over here. Then he lead us over to the nude area where he explained that you had to get naked within five minutes or one of the employees would escort you out of the area. He said that was done to make everyone who went over there feel more comfortable.

Hedonism III Next we were taken over to the restaurant where we had eaten at earlier. This was now in the prude area, were nudity was not allowed. From there we ventured into the main section of the prude area, where there were restaurants, another beach, a disco, a game room, a gym, a basketball court, and a humongous pool. This area was huge! There were two main restaurants, one Italian and one Japanese, both of which needed reservations a day in advance. There was also an open buffet-style restaurant with a stage where they would hold performances and parties. The beach was about three or four times as big as the nude beach, and there were huts were you could sign up for activities or check out snorkel gear. Plus, just outside the roped off swimming area is where the boats were that would take you on glass bottom tours or out for water sports. The disco was on the second story, and had a see-through water slide tube running straight through it. The game room contained two ping-pong tables, two pool tables, several shelves filled with board games, and a whole bunch of slot machines. The gym seemed like a typical gym, but we really didn't go in there. The pool in this area went all over the place! It curved around here and there and went under bridges and had islands with hammocks. It was just amazing.

Our Jamaican Vacation (Day 3)

The next day was also pretty relaxing. We signed up for a couple of tours that were off the resort, one on Wednesday where you walk up a waterfall and one on Thursday where you float down a river in an inner tube. We also signed up to go diving on Friday morning, which was one of the water sports offered at the resort. This day, however, was all about relaxing. There was a lady over at the nude area that was doing temporary tattoos, so Treeses sat down and got one. She wanted a pair of wings on her back, but the closest thing the lady had was a pair of wings with a heart in between them, so she offered to take off the heart and charge us less for it. Woah! Didn't expect that. If that situation came up in the States, we would have either been stuck with the heart or charged more to get rid of it.

Hedonism III- Temporary Tatoo So while Treeses was getting that done, one of the scheduled events for the day started right over where we were at. That event was oil wrestling, and was one of the events we were looking forward to trying. Unfortunately, we mis-read the schedule and thought it would be starting later, so now not only was Treeses in the middle of being painted, but when her tatoo was finished it still had to stay dry for like 45 minutes. It was a blast to watch though. They had a couple mats layed out over the sand, poured cups of oil (for slippage) and water (to keep the sand off) over them, and then had couples come up and wrestle best two out of three rounds. I'd say about five couples participated, and everyone had a good time. I would find out later that night that while sitting and watching the fun, I got a bad sunburn all over my shoulders and back, except for where my hair had been laying. We had both put sun screen on earlier, but it must have either not been strong enough or washed off in the ocean, pool, and/or hot tub.

Later that night we had dinner at Pastafari, the Italian restaurant that we made reservations for the night before. The food there was great, and even thought I stuffed myself so full that I didn't have to eat again for at least 16 hours, I still didn't even eat half of what was in front of me. It was just way too much! I ordered the special, which was basically pasta and sausage in a spicy sauce and served in a skillet, and oh was it tasty! They had someone going around to all the tables and taking pictures, so we had ours done. He did two shots, the first was normal and for the second he put a heart-shaped template over the camera. When we went to pick up the photos on the day we were leaving, the lady couldn't find ours for some reason. But when Treeses mentioned that the guy took two photos, one with a heart, she went to a separate pile and was able to pull it out. So we only got that one, but it was a nice picture.

The theme for the main dinning room in the quad and the after dinner disco party was pajama night. This sounded like fun, and we were planning to go, but we were both so full from dinner that we went back to our room and passed out. We were just going to get a couple hours of sleep, but didn't wake up until the next morning. That was a little disappointing.

Our Jamaican Vacation (Day 4)

It was now Wednesday, the third day of our vacation (the first day didn't count as "vacation"), and we already knew that this trip was definitely worth taking. On the schedule for the day was the tour to Dunns River Falls, where you can actually walk up a waterfall. There were two other couples who were going also, and when we arrived our driver told us just to meet back here whenever. He said he'd wait. He pointed us to where there was a bunch of other people all walking the same direction, so we all just followed them. The walkway eventually widened up into an area where people were scattered and going in various directions. What kind of tour was this? Well, what we figured out was that Dunns River Falls was actually a park, and the tour for walking up the falls was the main attraction. But let me tell you, that is really confusing when you're just expecting a tour from start to finish.

Jamaica- Dunns River Falls So we eventually found our way over to where they start the tour. We rented a locker to store our things, put on a bunch more sun block, and then joined the crowd for the tour. Once they had the right sized crowd, we followed our two guides all the way down to the beach. Once there, the front guide (BBG- Big Belly Gibbs) told us that we would all be holding hands while climbing the falls, so we all made a human chain and started up. The water was cool, but not cold, and was refreshing as we continued to ascend. At one point there was a pool of water where he had us all submerge ourselves up to our neck, getting us completely soaked, before we could continue. As we climbed, my right sandal decided to break on me, but luckily it broke in such a way that it would still stay on my foot. At another point in the falls, closer to the top, there was a little slide in the rocks where you would sit down, cross your arms, hold your feet out, and then get a push from Gibbs causing you to slide down a few feet completely submerging you into the water. I did it, but I didn't really enjoy it as I have a "thing" about having my head submerged. As we approached the top, there was a guy taking pictures, and he put this funny-looking hat with a bunch of flowers stuck in it on my head and took our picture. It turned out really well, so we bought it after returning to our locker to get our things.

Near the lockers, we saw one of the couples we came with sitting on a bench, so we talked with them for a few minutes. They said they hadn't seen the other couple yet, which was good for us to hear because I wanted to get my hair braided at a little place we saw while making our way to the falls. Both Treese and I got our hair braided, but mine had cost more because I have a lot more hair. As they were about half way done braiding, our driver came up and told us that both couples were back and he was going to leave. Oh, wonderful. But I understood, we couldn't ask two other couples to wait another 30-45 minutes for us to get our hair braided. The lady said that she would get us a cheap ride and would even ride with us, so we stayed to have our hair finished. It looked really nice once it was done, so I'm glad we did.

That evening we had reservations for Munahana, the Japanese restaurant. Our previous reservations were for sometime around 6:30 in the evening, so we decided to try this one at closer to 9:30. The layout here was different from Pastafari, as four couples would sit around one table on which the cook prepares the food (I'm sure you've all seen this style). One of the couples at our table was none other than Tom and Marisa, so we got to chat a bit more. As the cook was preparing the meal, we were constantly served various appetizers. First there was soup, then sushi, and then I lost track. We also tried sake for the fist time, which tasted basically like wine. Neither of us likes wine, and so neither of us really liked the sake. Anyway, by the time the cook finished preparing our meals, we were both almost full, as was Tom. Marisa, on the other hand, comes from an Italian family where they are trained to eat, so she had no problem finishing off her plate. The rest of us had a bunch of food remaining.

Our Jamaican Vacation (Day 5)

Jeep to Chukka Cove River Tubing On the schedule for the following day was the Chukka Cove River Tubing. The tour started with a jeep ride to the river. The back of the jeep was open, and the seats all faced inward to the side, instead of the front. We were the only couple from Hedo that was going, but the driver said that there were some other couples we would pick up from other resorts. The little brochure said it was like a 30 minute ride to get there, but we didn't even start picking up the others until 45 minutes to an hour into it. It then took another 45 minutes to reach our destination after everyone was on board. For much of the remaining ride, we were on a single-lane dirt road driving at what seemed like unsafe speeds. Rounding a blind corner? No need to slow down, just honk a bunch of times.

We were in our inner tubes fairly quickly after arriving. We all floated a short distance to area where they explained how to control the tubes, and then we got started floating down the river. Treeses had the water camera that we had picked up at the resort that morning, so she took all the pictures. There were also a few spots where they would take pictures from the shore. The ride down the river was mostly peaceful, and the occasional rapids gave it a bit of excitement. Part way down we were all stopped by a rope strewn across the river, which is where they passed out drinks and we just floated around and rested. We then continued on, going through one more bout of rapids before reaching the end. There they had samples of jerk chicken for everyone to try, and let you see if you wanted to buy any of the pictures they took. The pictures were taken with a digital camera and were downloaded to a PC running Windows XP where they would print them out using a very nice quality printer. With all that technology, you'd think they'd be able to burn the pictures to a CD as well, but that was a no-go.

Needless to say, we got back much later than we had expected, and thus missed out on the activities over in the nude area, which was disappointing because there was one that we were really looking forward to (although I don't remember what at the moment). We did come across where they were handing out togas for the dinner later that evening, so we picked those up. I had to tie mine only around my waist though, as the sunburn on my back and shoulders was really hurting now. We bought some of that aloe gel, but that only provides so much relief, and it's only temporary.

When it was time for dinner, we tied on our togas and headed for the buffet. The instructions said no toga, no food, but there were plenty of people there without togas who were still eating. There were some singing performances while we ate, and when most people were done with dinner they had everyone who was in a Togo get up and move on to the dance floor where we all preceded to do a conga line. That eventually broke down into some sort of dancing, and finally everyone sat on the step around the dance floor as they started contests. They had categories like sexiest toga, best Roman tied toga, and best couple. Treese won for worst tied toga.

Our Jamaican Vacation (Days 6 & 7)

Hedonism III- Body Painting And then it was Friday, our last day of fun. We spent most of the day just relaxing. They had body painting as an activity in the nude area, and we didn't miss out on that. I painted an evil happy face on Treese's back. Treeses couldn't really think of anything to paint on me, so she just did a bunch of various random things. This was also the day that I got stuck by a sea urchin in my right foot. The splinters definitely hurt, but it wouldn't have been nearly as bad had some of them not gone in right under my big toenail. Now that hurt! We got to the nurse fairly quickly, but it was too late for her to get them out. We didn't think of it at the time, but we should have had someone on the beach pee on it so the splinters would come out right away. The nurse gave me some pills for the pain, put some stuff on it that's supposed to make splinters work their way to the surface, and then bandaged it up nice and good. It still hurt bad for the rest of the night, though. The pain went away the next morning, and today it's definitely looking better. There are still a few visible splinters in there, and it hurts it presses against anything too hard, but otherwise I don't notice it.

Saturday morning marked our time to leave. We picked up the pictures that they had taken in the restaurants, and tried to cash in the tokens we got for participating in activities, but couldn't find where to do it (and the staff didn't seem to know either). The ride back to the airport was uneventful, and soon we were on a plane to North Carolina. This sucked for me, because I was really congested and the pressure change made my jaw ache and my ears feel like they were going to explode. The movie for that flight was Alex & Emma, which was nothing special, but at least it wasn't annoying. The stop over wasn't very long, so we were in the air again soon. The movie on this flight was Bruce Almighty. It also was nothing special, but there were some laughs and it was better than Alex & Emma.

It cost around $90 to get our car out of the long term parking, which sucked, especially after we found out the next day that my uncle called back my mom only 10 minutes after we left for the airport. Well, I guess we'll know what to do next time. We got to Vallejo that night and went to a Taco Bell to get dinner. We ate when we got to the house where my parents were already asleep. Julia and her boyfriend were also there, but only Julia came out so say hi. The next morning we all went out to eat at a restaurant my dad used to work at when he was young. Treese tried an omelette for the first time, and didn't like it. I don't remember what I had, but I know it was yummy! But soon after that it was time to drive home, bringing our vacation to an end. Well, mostly. I didn't go into work for three days because of being sick, so I got a little bit more vacation time, if you can call it that.

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