Sunday, December 25, 2016

Vacation 4: Sunset and Mama

I'm not sure what it is about tropical vacations, but I always seem to wake up earlier than usual.

I don't know if it's the bright sun that starts streaming through the patio windows about 5:30 a.m. or the fact that I'm relaxed enough to not need as much sleep or that I'm excited to get started with the day. But as per usual, I woke up about 8 a.m. (7 a.m. our regular time) on Monday morning in Ocho Rios.

A haze was lifting off the turquoise ocean, and sunlight brightened the white coverlet on the bed. I closed my eyes and dozed off a bit more, waiting for my husband to wake up as well.

We were planning on attending a resort tour that morning, so instead of heading across the resort to the French restaurant we have liked to dine at during our other Sandals stays, we instead ordered room service.

I had a fresh fruit plate and a fruit-and-yogurt parfait, and Nate ordered the breakfast sandwich. I can't say that it was the best breakfast I've ever had, atypical from other Sandals resorts we've been to, but we ate it overlooking sparkling waters that reached to the edge of the horizon, so I don't think I'm allowed to complain.

We took a tour through the resort and then put on our bathing suits, and I was so excited to finally wear my new suit from Victoria's Secret. The perfect mix of leopard print and turquoise, I had oggled at this swimsuit for no joke two years. It was too expensive though, so it was always on the wish list in the back of my mind. Now that VS had decided to discontinue their swimwear line, *tear* I was able to get it on sale.

We rested on the beach for a little while and then grabbed a lunch of fried shrimp rolls, which were delicious, and then decided it was time for a little activity. We walked to the water sports area and signed out a kayak.

Rowing the yellow craft, I tried to remember the lessons I had learned in previous years --- Don't try to steer, that's the back person's job; don't work to hard, let the paddle do the work; don't dig in too deep with the paddle, it should skim the surface.

"Lily dipper," Nate said from behind.


"You're barely putting the paddle in the water."

"I thought that's what you were supposed to do."

"If you're racing. We're not, dig in."

So I did.

We rowed past the Sandals Plantation resort next door to our resort. This is a butler-only resort, with quiet rules and fewer restaurants. Being so much more expensive, the guests there have the option of using both Sandals Plantation and Sandals Ochi, so they could walk over to our resort to have more restaurant variety. We were not allowed at that resort though...

Next to that were brightly-colored houses and hotels, painted in pink and turquoise hues, almost matching the colors of the ocean and the ocean sunset.

We rowed out quite a ways, and then hung our legs over the side of the kayak, enjoying the slight coolness of the clear water. Waves crashed against an old tree log that had floated out to a bed of coral and gotten stuck.

We just floated.

The blue skies. The relaxing wind. The gentle roll of the waves.



That evening, we had somehow gotten last-minute reservations at the hardest-to-get-into restaurant on the resort, which meant we had to get there right when it opened.

We were exactly on time for dinner, dressed to the nines, with Nate in khakis and a crisp blue shirt and tie and me in a black lace backless dress.

We sat down, and the waitress came up to fill our water glasses.

"You look nice; where are you headed tonight?"

"Here," I said with a smile.

"Really? Wow."

I guess we were dressier than she had been used to seeing, but it's not very often that we get to dress up where we live so we take advantage of it on vacation.

As we ate the different courses for dinner, night began to fall on Ocho Rios. From sun when we started to pink and purple skies as evening arrived to darkness with dessert. Even in the dark, the place was absolutely gorgeous, with the sound of the waves beating against the rocks on the pier creating a soothing tone.

It was early when we finished our meal, and we wanted to go see the jazz singer's whole show that evening, so we went to the other side of the resort and waited at a bar before heading down to the Rabbit Hole.

"Jungle juice," we told the doorkeeper. (I think that was the password...)

We were allowed inside and headed right upstairs to claim the same overlook seat we had the night before. Unfortunately, the upstairs was booked by a private party from China --- we are assuming someone important since they allowed that --- and had to find a spot downstairs.

Most of the seats on the main level were already taken, except for one loveseat. That was right in front. Like three feet away from the singer.

Nate looked at me.

"That's really close."

"I know, but there's no where else."

"But that's really close."

"Oh well I guess."

He went to get a couple of drinks, while I sat down, trying to figure out how to not look awkward when the singer stood right in front of us.

Dressed in a tight black frock with white pearls, silk gloves and a 1920s floral headband, Mama started her show. Yes, it was a little awkward at times when she looked right at us and we could about feel the heat of her breath, but her powerful voice was so awesome that we looked past the uncomfortable part.

We would have paid a lot of money to see that show. But we didn't have to. Perks of an all-inclusive resort.

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