Ian and I thought we had won the lottery when another couple at the resort approached us early in the week and told us that they had won a free excursion to Negril on Wednesday, but couldn’t go, and would we like to go instead?
Other than being puzzled at how their schedule could possibly be so packed that they couldn’t take a free trip while on vacation, we jumped at the opportunity. This place just kept getting better and better! Not only did Ian upgrade our room to an ocean view, finagle us a free mini bar and room service, but now we got to go on a trip where we got to “Relax and party all afternoon at Margaritaville, shop at Times Square, and end the evening with a beautiful sunset at the world famous Rick’s Cafe”. And most people had to pay 80 bucks a pop for that!
It was to be a full day of travel: the bus left the resort at 7:15 am, so after a hurried breakfast at the buffet, we hopped on the road to paradise.
Four hours later, the bumpy ride through the heart of Jamaica ended at our destination:
Let me start off by saying this: the Jamaicans are by far the most hospitable people I have ever encountered. Since we had arrived at the Jewel, I was shocked at the genuine care every single person seemed to take in making us comfortable and able to relax at the resort, without any obvious intention that they just wanted tips.
So maybe the looping Jimmy Buffet videos on the sound system should have been a red flag, but we didn’t know better than to expect that same level of service at Margaritaville. As soon as we arrived, a nice man escorted us to the beach, set up an umbrella for us, and stayed to chat for awhile.
But he didn’t go away. Soon the conversation turned into a lament about how hard he works for us, setting up our umbrellas, slaving away and sweating in the hot sun all day, and if we would like to give him a tip that would be alright, mahn.
And just awkwardly laughing didn’t make him go away.
We asked him if we could have a menu, because we were starving after the long bus ride. Enter Shocker Number Two: we weren’t in all-inclusive land anymore. No, we were back to the real world, where the cheapest thing on Jimmy Buffet’s menu was a platter of thirteen dollar nachos. We reluctantly indulged.
And then a band came on the beach and started playing for us– how charming!
Soon, they too made it clear that they would not at all be opposed to receiving tips from us, the peasants who just paid an arm and a leg for a plate of fatty chips.
We tried to kick back and relax, but between being heckled to go on jet-ski rides and parasailing, American Top-40 music blasting from inside the restaurant, and natives trying to hawk their goods on the unsuspecting tourists. Relaxing? Not so much.
Then, the sky got dark and before we knew it, it was pouring. We hurried inside to grab a table, where we were given the evil eye when we told the server we weren’t buying anything. Hundreds of beach goers did the same thing, and before long the little hut was stuffed to the brim with sweaty, sandy, drunks who paid too much for their booze. And their kids. (Really?)
We were stuck there for another two hours before the bus was due back. I was less than pleased.
As per usual when I have a silly meltdown, I started out annoyed with our surroundings. Then, I started thinking about the beautiful resort (where it NEVER rains!) that we paid for to eat and drink all we wanted all week, and here we were, hot and soaked and watching soccer on TV at freakin’ Margaritaville, and we were stuck and couldn’t leave and I had to pee but the only bathroom required walking outside and I didn’t have an umbrella. And I lost it. Because who cries on their honeymoon?
And that was the end of my Meltdown at Margaritaville.
The rest of the day looked significantly up. We got to shop for some Jamaican goods –the same ones you could get at every single shop:
…and ended the day at Rick’s Cafe, another overpriced tourist spot where the sunset is the only thing that doesn’t heckle you. But at that point, the sun had come out, we were soon going back to the Jewel, and we had made friends with another couple who enjoyed the whole day just as much as we had. Happy days were here again!