Jamaica - Evry Ting Irie Mon
Trip Start Dec 29, 2009
43Trip End Jun 22, 2010
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We arrived at what we thought was pure luxury, the Grand Palladium is huge with enough "apartments" to hold about 3000 people
The Grand Palladium was an 'all inclusive’ place, which means that you pay a flat fee once and all food and drinks are included. It was all great quality too. We did our best to try all of the restaurants which were creole, Indian, Italian, Asian and a steakhouse. I had some delicious snapper with a capers and spicy sauce at the Creole place and tried some fresh guava juice at the breakfast smorgasbord, it was soooo good! I found out that guava is a native fruit of Jamaica…maybe that’s why it was so good. I also tried soursop juice (It’s not as sour as the name sounds) this is a native fruit too.
The only service that was a little too expensive at the Grand Palladium was their laundry service ($2.00 per pair of underwear!)
We tried lots of cocktails, hummingbirds (Creamy chocolate/banana cocktail), Mai ti’s, Pina Colada’s, Dirty bananas, Miami beach and the hotel rum punch and of course Red Stripe beer, it’s great on tap!
After 6 days of sloth like activity, a little too much sun tanning and over eating we left the Palladium and headed in our hire car around to Negril. This is a small place on the Western coast of Jamaica. I drove as Matt had a nasty ear infection. Let me tell you driving in Jamaica is very different. No amount of Mario Cart or Daytona could prepare you for this! The first obstacle of mass destruction was the goats!! Yes goats roaming freely, eating their grass at the side of the road! I think they do it on purpose to freak driver s out! There are dogs too that look pretty mangy, you wouldn’t want to be a dog lover this place would break your heart. There are speed signs in Jamaica (That’s good) and we are driving on the more familiar left hand side (that’s good)…..but 90% of driver’s don’t do the speed limit…so you can choose to keep to the speed limit and have cars trying to attach themselves to your rear bumper or you can go with the flow
We drove down a skinny road with hotels on the beach/cliff side and other houses and little shops/stalls on the other side. The beach side of the road was mostly walled, so that you couldn’t see the ocean, behind the walls were a variety of resorts. Matt luckily spotted the sign for our next place, Catch a Falling Star. This place was really really good. We had our own little cabin with wood paneled walls and wooden louvers to let the breeze in. We could make our own tea and coffee and had a TV, fridge and a cute back courtyard surrounded by lush tropical plants and looked down to the cliffs and ocean (about 50 meters away). There is a bar called Ivan’s bar at Catcha, named after hurricane Ivan that hit the coast about 10 years prior. Next to the bar is a little swimming pool and spanning the coast/cliff length of the property are little nooks and crannies to sun bake
The weather was a little overcast and a huge swell came in which sent waves crashing into the cliffs and massive spray jets shooting up into the air. This became the latest and greatest subject to practice our photography skills on.
We took a trip into Negril town so that Matt could see a doctor for his ear. We found a place that was pretty good. The nurses were friendly and the doctor gave Matt some antibiotics and ear drops. We went to the Sunshine plaza for some groceries and to the pharmacy. The shops were ok and there were security guards around and people wanting to give us a ride in their taxis. Generally it seemed pretty safe, there were school kids running around and most people just going about their business.
We ate at Ivan’s, which was really nice. I tried their jerk chicken (Jerk is everywhere in Jamaica). The spice tastes like ginger powder, allspice, chilli…yum. My favorite dish was the papaya (paw paw) fish. This came in a ˝ hollowed out papaya shell, the fish was really fresh, cut into bite sized chunks and covered n a papaya, coconut sauce. On the side was an upside down cup of slightly spiced rice with beans mixed through and salad with a horseradish coconut dressing
On our first night we discovered that there were bats flying around at dusk over our cabin roof. They look just like small birds but have a more shaky flight pattern. Daily there was a truck that drove by in the street with advertisements being shouted out of a megaphone, not sure if these were for reggae shows or what. We saw hummingbirds eating the nectar out of the flowers surrounding our cabin courtyard, they are really small and fast…just like on the Nature channel…lol….brings my best David Attenborough voiceover to life…lol
We took a drive to the 9 mile beach, it was way too windy so we went to the lighthouse instead. This was ok…not too much to see as we couldn’t go into the lighthouse. Got some photos though.
For our last night we went to the famous “Ricks Café” that claims to be one of the top 10 bars in the world. It was a huge place and crowded with tourists when we arrived. The main attraction at Ricks is the cliff diving!! There is a tree about 15 meters high with a diving platform, this grows on top of the cliff which is about another 15 meters drop
Friday we packed our stuff and headed off early to drive 6 hours to Port Antonio, basically the other side of the island. The drive was energy zapping..so much to look out for. The roads don’t go around towns they go directly through…imagine driving through the centre of the Fremantle Markets (Perth) on a little wider road. In between towns it’s ok, just goats and other drivers to watch for. In the towns it’s slow going, probably less secure and so much to look out for.
Were off to Boston Bay, Blue Mountains next. Stay tuned for more Jamaica updates....