We woke up very late on Wednesday, as expected. Then we spent three hours in the ocean, bobbing around and practicing our bodysurfing. At times, we actually got it right!
Once we decided it was time for lunch around 3 or so, we went down the beach to the patty place whose sign we could see from the ocean. They were out of veggie patties, though, so we decided to go elsewhere. We were intercepted by one of the hustlers on the beach, who convinced us to go over to ‘his’ bar, which was right next door. It’s called Arthur’s, and it bills itself as the oldest bar in Negril. I have no idea how to verify that, though.
There were a few extremely interesting locals sitting at the bar, and a guy from Sweden who had his own bottle of overproof rum sitting next to him (I love that that’s allowable at bars there). Everyone was listening very intently to the cricket match on the radio. We got rum punches and a Red Stripe from the awesome old bartender, and the vendors at the stalls next door came up to us a few times to ask us to visit them after we were done. I’d been asked a million times if I wanted my hair braided, though, and I still hadn’t been convinced. The same went for the aloe massage.
It was getting towards 4pm or so and we still hadn’t eaten. That didn’t really cross my mind, though, because I was fully in the state that seems to overtake me every time I spend a few days in the tropics: something about the combination of heat/humidity/different food/hangover/sunburn/dehydration makes me absolutely uninterested in food. Which sucks when you want to try everything there, but at least it means you can wait forever for a meal!
We walked over to Time Square to check on the status of the ATM. This time, it was actually working! We got out our American dollars, and decided what a couple of people in need of food and entertainment should do: we decided to get a cab up to Rick’s Cafe, the biggest tourist spot in Negril. It’s on the cliffs, and we knew we’d have to stop by and see it at some point.
Richard, our driver, had the most pimp cab ever. He drove us through town and up to the cliffs, dropping us right at the entrance to Rick’s, along with half the universe. That was to be expected, though: watching the sunset from Rick’s is one of the biggest traditions in Jamaica.
We wandered over to see the cliff divers first. There were a couple guys who jumped for tips, but tourists can also pay to jump off the low platform. It was highly entertaining. All the booze cruises pull up to watch, too.
I think my favorite thing was the tables in the pool. Is that the greatest idea anyone’s ever had, or what?
We wandered over to the bar, and managed to find seats on the far side. We must’ve arrived at the right time, because it filled up completely shortly after we arrived. We had quick access to the bartender and dinner (I had veggie pasta, the Jamaican default for vegetarian/rasta), and a good view of the ocean for sunset. Perfect!
The overhead system played such selections as Sexyback, the Roots (which always excites me a lot), and Morris Day and the Time (612 represent!). A reggae band started playing a bit later. Close to sunset, everybody wandered over to the west side of the patio to watch.
Shortly after sunset, the place began to empty quickly. I suppose all the resort people hopped back on their buses. It was still kind of mindblowing, though: good band and a bar overlooking the ocean in Jamaica… why would you want to leave that quickly?
In addition to the standards, the band played The Gambler. As a reggae song, of course. We almost died of awesome. We took our drinks and went to sit down by the band, because we discovered COUCHES.
Once the band wrapped up, we moved to a round booth facing the ocean, and ordered a couple of appetizers. I went to the bathroom, and on the way back, one of the security guards stopped me to talk. He asked who I was there with, and I told him ‘my boyfriend.’ He said, ‘Oh, well then I won’t be rude.’ Hahaha.
After a while, we realized that apart from the staff, we were the only people there. It was probably 9:30 or 10pm at the latest. We decided to go get another cab back down to the beach, and stop at the show. Wednesday meant Roots Bamboo.
Our driver told us all about hurricanes in Jamaica, which was pretty fascinating. He dropped us right at Roots, and we went in, paid our $10, and got hand stamps. As with the other show, the place was encircled by the giant blue barrier, which made it look completely different. We got a seat at the bar, and watched the show. A little ways into it, we realized that the guy playing the trumpet was the same one who’d been playing for the Indika Band at Bourbon Beach, the one who sold Matt the CD.
I got up to go to the bathroom, and was directed out back to where the little cottages are, behind the bar/restaurant. There were 5 doors, and all of them seemed to be occupied. There was no indication about male/female, but that was rare at the beach bars anyway. Finally, an old guy emerged from the last stall. I headed that direction, and he stopped me, saying that it was only a urinal. I asked if that was why some of the doors were red and some blue, if that was a girls-boys thing. He said no, and just then, another blue door opened. A policeman walked out as I headed toward that door. Suddenly, the policeman removed his hat and hairnet, saying, “I am a woman!” She wasn’t mad, just amused at my bathroom confusion. I sat in the bathroom, laughing.
It was Matt’s turn to brave the restrooms when I got back. Approximately 2 seconds after he walked away, the guy standing near me against a pole sidled up and started talking. He asked if I was there with anyone, and I said yes. I mean, there’s no way he could’ve have noticed Matt getting up. He told me that he just wanted to let me know that I looked crisp like a biscuit.
CRISP LIKE A BISCUIT. Seriously.
We left a while later, taking the beach back to our hotel nearby. As the music was still playing, we ended up dancing on the beach. A woman approached us and kept trying to wrap her arms around us; it took me a while to realize she was a prostitute, and wanted us to take her back to the room with us. Oh, Jamaica. You’re so awesome. We, however, declined.
Unlocking our door, we noticed the tiniest lizard in the universe hanging out in the next room’s windowsill. He hid as soon as we approached, but I could see him peeking out. After that, we saw him there every night. He was so cute!
Since we’re smart and know that one should drink a lot of water after drinking, we stayed up and watched the Lakers/Golden State game on ESPN. I think that was our first contact with the outside world up to that point. We weren’t missing much.