We got up Sunday morning and headed to the beach, intent on enjoying the hell out of our last day in Negril. We asked Michael if he’d seen Kris and Orsi, and he said he hadn’t that day. (It turns out they were calling our room, but we weren’t there.)
We swam for a long time, sat around in beach chairs drinking beer and generally collecting the sun. There was a couple of old guys serenading our area with awesome old reggae songs, and people were flying by on jet skis and parasails. There was a lot to look at.
After a while it was time for lunch, so we walked down to the patty place. They were closed, so we decided on Bourbon Beach instead. We went in to get a table, and a very energetic man working there gave us a flyer for the next night’s show. We told him we couldn’t make it since we were leaving Negril, so he said he would call the airline and have our flight rescheduled for us. If only.
Matt ordered some awesome-looking jerk chicken, and I got the only vegetarian thing on the menu, a caesar salad. It ended up being shockingly good. We sat there for a long time, enjoying the food, the beer, and the view. I love Bourbon Beach!
I managed to pick up a wifi signal and there was an email from Orsi saying they’d tried to call to make plans. I emailed back that we would plan to meet them up at Samsara in time for sunset. We hung out talking to the table next to us for a while, and one of the guys said he’d been coming to Negril for 20+ years. I can’t tell you how many times we heard the same exact thing from people: it’s not for everyone, but if you love it, you just keep coming back every year. I totally understand that, because I can’t wait to go back again.
The enthusiastic employee came by and asked if he could take Matt’s chicken bones for his dog, the Marlboro Man. That made me want to just stay in Negril forever.
Since we were there for the first time during the day, we checked out the wall of fame. Matt recognized pretty much everyone on there. Awesome.
We went to Yellow Bird for a Dirty Banana, as was tradition. I realized we were finally fully in the swing of the beach the last few days: swim in the morning, sit around doing nothing much more than sunning and staring at the ocean, drink some beer, sit at a bar for a few hours, go get some food when you’re hungry. It’s an amazingly fantastic change from normal life, and one that takes me a while to get used to.
I took forever to finish my Dirty Banana, because for the first time ever it was way too sweet for me. Matt had his plus a couple of rum punches which I helped finish. Miss Josephine, the old lady I’d met during our first visit to Yellow Bird that trip, came by and set up her table with jewelry for sale. I’d told her then that I would stop by and look, and I was true to my word. We picked out a necklace for my mother-in-law’s birthday.
After a while, we headed to the room to shower and change. We got a cab to Samsara, and wandered around the place looking for them. We ran into Peter, and he said they’d gone off down the road. We grabbed some drinks at the bar (it was conveniently happy hour), and grabbed a table on the patio to wait for them and generally enjoy life.
They showed up a bit before sunset, and Kris handed Matt yet another bottle of tonic wine. Matt celebrated our last sunset there in style.
(He said it smelled like Parmesan rind. Gross.)
While the sunset, we told Kris and Orsi about our great moneymaking idea that we’d developed earlier. It’s called COOOOOOLLLLLLD WATA Enterprises, because of an old rasta I overheard at No Limit. I wanted to remember forever how much he enjoyed drinking his cooooooolllld wata. Anyway, the premise is this: we’re a really shitty yet entertaining excursion company. Rather than offering you the best of all the local tourist attractions, which are bound to be mobbed and mostly fake anyway, we take you on a real adventure. Some of the ideas we came up with were:
– Open Bottom Boat (bring a bucket!)
– Stand on Some Rocks (photos extra)
– Poke the Ocean with a Stick (this is based on a fishing boat I’d see earlier, and discussion about wanting to go vegetarian fishing again)
– Sinking Ship (the ship starts to sink, and you have a limited time to escape. Those who survive get a certificate.)
Also, Matt decided his dancehall name was “Deep Frya”. Yes, we’d all had some rum by then.
The kids were still with Nav at No Limit, so the four of us got a cab to Pushcart, which was finally open this time. I hadn’t expected anything so fancy, but it totally was. It’s part of the Rockhouse property, which Matt and I had eaten at on our last trip. They had real cocktails (not just super-sweet boat drinks), and the menu was great. We ordered almost one of everything.
The ackee patties were my favorite, followed by the Bush Man Stew. Matt and Orsi shared some insanely spicy prawns that were the size of miniature lobsters.
We had a fantastic meal there, and it was a good way to wrap up our stay in Negril. After bally hung out with Haile Selassie, of course.
We rode back to No Limit, and hung out with Nav and the kids out back for a long time. When we went in for a drink, a rasta (who was very drunk, and told us he had 2 kids: one in Switzerland, and one Ireland) started lecturing us about how “the boy” might not live here, but Jamaica was his home, and so it was a crime to take him away from it. We agreed with him, and told him a couple times that he wasn’t our son, he was our friends’. (Also, the rasta couldn’t have cared less about “the girl”, just Atti.) He was hearing none of it, though, and escalated into yelling at Matt about taking the boy away from Jamaica. We excused ourselves to the back again.
After a while, it was time to say goodbye to Nav, Byron, and the most awesome bar in Negril. We thanked them for everything, settled our tab, and swung by the store for supplies before heading to Samsara. We sat on the porch drinking for a while (where we met a guy and his girlfriend from St Paul, strangely), then went down to get a table on the patio outside the bar. We had quite the array of refreshments:
The bar had karaoke going on again, and they were giving a bottle of Appleton to the winner. I tried to convince Matt and Kris to sing, but the contest ended before I could get them to commit. The super-loud Canadians were in full swing again, and their accents drove me insane. We played cards for a while, and when Kris and Orsi headed to their room, we told them we’d see them in Atlanta.
Matt and I packed up and went to go walk around the grounds to look at the stars, and decided that next time we go back to Negril, we should just stay at Samsara the whole time. It’s fantastic, and getting from there to the beach is incredibly easy. There’s no real need to stay there.
We headed out the front gates of the hotel (which were closed!) and stood out on the walkway waiting for a cab. A car came flying past and pulled over quickly across the street, but there was no real indication that it was a cab otherwise. It sat there running while we stood looking at it for a while, and finally decided to go over there. There was no evidence of any other drivers around at that point.
We asked the guy in the passenger seat if they could take us to Legends, and he said yes. I went to get in the back seat, and had to move a couple bottles of rum out of the way. I said something about them, and the guy said, “Yeah, you can move them. Don’t worry, we’re not drunk.” He was slurry, which was not encouraging. The driver was female, and didn’t say a word to us.
They made a U-turn to head back down the cliffs, and he asked her if she was alright. As far as we could tell he was drunk and it was his car, and she wasn’t very comfortable driving a stick. We were totally in an illegal cab in Negril, but we figured as long as we got there alive it was fine.
The guy told us it’d be $1000J to our hotel. Matt balked, saying we paid $600 to get up there. ($500-600 was the going rate, depending on the driver and how much of a sucker you were.) They argued for a bit, and finally the guy said, “OK, six hundred, but be sure to tip.” Matt agreed. We hung on for our lives as we drove through the curves in town, but the lady driver seemed to be fine. When we got to the hotel we jumped out as fast as possible, and Matt handed the guy $1000 anyway. It was worth it for the extra adrenaline.
We headed to the room to finish packing up our stuff (this time I actually did pack things properly and weigh the bags, since I didn’t want a make a huge effort with it in Montego Bay), and headed to bed.