Jamaican me crazy….

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My random, split second decision to leave the country to get some perspective on the “thorn in my side” and spend some quality time with my mom and sister lead me to the island country of Jamaica.

Now, I wish I could report that I did something noble like a mission trip or working to better the lives of the poor….but that was not the case.

You see, my little sister is getting married next year and has decided to do a destination wedding in Jamaica at a 5 star all-inclusive resort. They were on a reconnaissance mission and I was invited along.

While my sister and I were raised in the same house, we are as different as night and day. I travel light, I stay in cheap hostels around Europe, I like to get into the culture of the country I’m visiting. I swear there is some gypsy blood in me somewhere, as I’m always on the move. My sister is my complete opposite: she does not travel much, but when she does, she stays in resort areas with a suitcase that would last me months. All-inclusive translates into the cost of the resort includes all your meals, drinks (from water to liquor), and the use of their butler service. Basically, it’s like being on a cruise on land. This was my 1st foray into this mode of travel.

This was also the 1st time my mom left the country. I don’t count Canada. This is the only country my sister has visited. Again, Canada doesn’t count.

I ate meals fit for royalty. I drank like a sailor. Well, I wasn’t walking around intoxicated, but having a drink before lunch became the norm. There was a bar you could swim up to, which was awesome. And when you’re sitting in a meeting about floral arrangements for a wedding that’s not yours, a drink should be customary.

Best parts: spending a summer afternoon with my mom and sister. We sat out drinking and sunbathing by the pool, ordering fruity drinks, talking about everything. We laughed a whole bunch and enjoyed each other’s company. It was one of the most perfect moments we’ve had, bonding as mother and daughters. I wish I could have bottled it up and relive it when I’m old. I shared a room with my sister and wow that girl can talk! We had a lot of good conversation and I feel I got to know her better; she’s got a pretty good head on her shoulders. We tried our best to avoid each other when we lived under the same roof.

Worst parts: Driving to the resort. Jamaica is a very impoverished country. I felt guilty dining on lobster and steak and helping myself to a buffet all day when it’s obvious that the typical Jamaican does not have access to things I take for granted here in the States. It was very sobering. I wanted to venture out beyond the resort to explore the country as I do in Europe, but that was heavily frowned upon. With the poverty comes the crime: with my light skin, I might as well tattoo “American Tourist with Cash” on my forehead. $92 Jamaican = $1 USD. I’d be an easy roll.

While the resort was on the ocean, I did not like their beach. There were no waves, thus no surfing. The beach was roped off so you could only go out shoulder deep. I do not like being ‘caged’ in. All the sand there is imported….the natural landscape goes ocean-rocks-land. There is no ‘beach’ like there is here in the Carolinas. Kure is still my favorite.

I return next year with my General for the nuptials. And I must say I’m looking forward to sharing this experience with my husband.

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Bald Head Island

Bald Head Island

A few weekends ago I had the opportunity to head out to one of my favorite places in the world: Bald Head Island, North Carolina.

Bald Head is very different from most islands. First off, there is no bridge to get there. You have to take the ferry. Once you are on the island, there are no motorized vehicles (save for emergency ones) — you have the option of renting an electric golf cart, riding a bike, or walking. Most choose a golf cart as we did….my mom and her friend were in town visiting from Illinois. It’s basically a very large subdivision with beautiful gigantic homes that you only see in those fancy magazines. I’d love to retire there.

Outside of the gift shops, a few restaurants, expensive clothing stores, and an ice cream stand, there isn’t much to do there except to just be.

It’s my favorite place to unhook from life for a day.

Next time I head out there, I plan to do so on a day when I need to be alone and clear my head. I have every intention of renting a bike there and jut winding down wherever the road takes me.

Morehead? No thanks.

The General and I took our summer day vacation today to the Crystal Coast and it was pretty awesome.

We spent the 1st half of the day hanging out at Emerald Isle – the ocean was so much more blue-green than it is off Pleasure Island.  Despite the lack of industry (read: healthcare facilities), I would totally move to Emerald Isle.  We caught some decent waves via boogie board and saw a swarm of fish arrive with a swarm of seagulls and pelicans.  Stoke factor was high today.

Morehead City, however, just didn’t do it for us.  There wasn’t much there outside of a handfull of restaurants, art galleries, fishing charters, and fish markets.  We did manage to get some yummy ice cream at Captain Bill’s Waterfront Restaurant. We stumbled upon an art studio by this guy who had these fantastic oceanic photographs on aluminum canvas – the detail and the color were beyond anything we had ever seen before.  If I had about 4 figures worth of change lying around my dresser, I so would have bought one.  If you are the in MC, you have to check out this studio!

We left Morehead bound for Pleasure Island and grabbed dinner at The Ocean Grill and Tiki Bar in Carolina Beach.  Dinner was fantastic on the covered patio and we got drinks out on the short pier.  I highly suggest the Ocean Potion cocktail.  I could have ordered a whole pitcher.

After getting my butt handed to me in poker by none other than The General himself, I think I am going to call it a night.