Well . . . we’re finally back home from Jamaica and I know many of you are eagerly awaiting pictures and details of the trip. FYI – I had planned on updating you all daily from Jamaica, but the internet access was down the entire week (yes, I did have some withdrawals. There were headaches and cold sweats, but eventually I made it through). So here we go . . . from start to finish with pictures and everything.
12-26: The plane ride (I’ll never fly US Airways again):
Well the trip started out a bit rocky. Let me start by saying that US Airways is probably the worst airline I’ve ever flown. Their people were rude and unprofessional, there was no in-flight meal (on a 3-hour flight!), they charged for everything and we they almost left without us.
OK . . . I’ll try to make this short (which might be possible since it’s 7 days later – had I written this the day after it happened . . . you’d be reading for days). When we got to the airport, we had to check our bags. We had 2 bags to check and we knew that each one would cost us $15 (for up to 50 lbs). Well, our bag was 12 lbs. overweight (yes, I know that was our fault), but do you know how much it was for that extra 12 lbs? $50 dollars. Are you kidding me? that’s more than the cost of the bag itself. Heck, I could have packed 2 more 50 lb bags and checked them at $25 each. Nonsense!
OK, so we paid the $50 because we were already running a bit behind and she gave us our tickets. Then, we board this tiny little plane where our flight attendants don’t even have matching uniforms. Then we find out that there’s no snack or on-flight meal plus it’s $2 for all drinks. No free water or coffee or tea or anything. Alright, so I’m thinking this is just the short flight before our layover . . . surely there will be a meal or a snack and/or a complimentary bevarage on the next flight.
So we get to Charlotte late because our 1st flight was delayed (with no apologies or butt-kissing attempts from the US Airways staff). We rush to the next gate so we can catch our connecting flight only to find out that they are not going to let us board because we don’t have a boarding pass for Zane and we haven’t paid his infant taxes (well how in the world did he get on the 1st plane?!!??). Rachel called the airline several weeks prior to our leaving and asked specifically what we needed to do since we would be traveling with an 11-month old. The airline told her that she needed to do nothing in advance, but that she would be charged infant taxes when leaving Jamaica. Since we’d never flown with an infant before, we took her at her word. A mistake that we’ll not soon repeat. So the US Airways lady taking boarding passes is very rude and snippy with us when she discovers that we don’t have a boarding pass for Zane. “I don’t care how old he is, everyone must have a boarding pass to get on this plane. If he doesn’t have one, he doesn’t get on.” Keep in mind, the plane is boarding at this time and scheduled to depart in about 10-15 minutes. She offers no solution, just a rude and arrogant tone. Finally she directs us to the service counter. We get there and there’s a line of 5 other parties with guess what problem . . . infants. None of them have paid their infant taxes and they are all waiting to get on the plane. So if 6 people all have the same problem, is it at all possible that it’s the fault of the airline in not communicating it’s policies sufficiently to it’s customers? I was livid. I went back and told that lady that she better hold that plane for us and that if it left without us, there would be hell to pay!
Fast-forward 15 minutes . . . the plane is still waiting on 3 people to board (yes you guessed it . . . Rachel, Zane and myself). The service counter has made zero progress. They finally tell all of us to give them our credit card info, board the plane and they’ll take care of the taxes while we’re in the air. What a mess!
OK . . . so we get on the plane and guess what . . . again no snack, no meal and a $2 charge once again for water and softdrinks, and to top it off, the flight attendants were not friendly, helpful or even professional in my opinion. So I have made up my mind. I will NEVER fly with US Airways again and I wouldn’t be surprised if their miserable company sinks within a couple years.
On the bright side, Zane did really well on the flight and enjoyed looking out the window as we flew over the ocean and into Montego Bay.
After we landed in Montego Bay, we have yet another little problem. (No, not our luggage. Thankfully, all of it arrived with us). We were supposed to have a rental car ready and waiting. We paid for one. We had the paperwork saying it was reserved, but when we landed and asked for our car. . . . alas . . . all the cars were sold out. So we had a driver waiting for us, but no car for him to drive. So we paid a taxi to take us (and our driver) to the villa 1.5 hours away.
Ok, from here things start to get better (I mean where else can they go?)
The Vacation Home
The vacation home where we stayed was a private home owned by my sister’s boss and she allowed us to stay for free in exchange for photography (i.e. – me supplying her with new images for her website and brochures). A pretty good deal and I have to say, the home was exquisite! So it didn’t really feel like work at all. Here are some of my favorite images of the property that I took throughout the course of the week.
12-28 – Swimming at James Bond Beach
On Dec. 27, we spent the day relaxing at the villa and took Zane for a dip in the pool. We found out quickly that Zane loves the water no matter how cold (and it was indeed cold).
Since he loved swimming in the pool so much, the next day (Sunday, the 28th) we took him to James Bond beach. It was fine, but kind of a rip off in my personal opinion. $5 bucks a person and the beach wasn’t even very nice. But Zane had fun.
12-29 – We Got Crabs!!
On Monday, we decided to get a fresh catch from the ocean to have for supper that night. So early on Monday morning, everybody (except for me, I slept in), went to fisherman’s beach to buy some fresh seafood. When the boat came in, they decided on fresh Crab. Here’s a few shots if the little critter when they brought him back to the villa.
12-29 – Family Photo Session
On Monday night, we decided to go out and do a family photo session at the beach. Since I already had my lights and stands and tripods and other stuff with me, it made sense to take the time to do one. Our driver, Chris, happened to know of this private beach (and he had a key to get us in), so he took us there. It was really nice, because there was absolutely nobody there. Just the 6 of us (and Chris). I set the camera up on a tripod and used the self timer, running back and forth so I could get in the shots. Here are a few of my favorites from the evening.
12-30 Zane made some friends
Well, if we’ve learned anything about Zane over this trip, it’s that he’s certainly not shy. The boy loves people and loves to flirt and he loves attention (gee I wonder where he gets all that from?). The cutest encounter was with a little boy named Antwon that he met at Prospect Plantation.
12-30 Brandy also made some friends.
Turns out Jamaican guys love Brandy. She got hit on at least 3 times that I can count. I don’t think Rachel got approached once. I guess Brandy’s just been looking in the wrong country. Here’s two of Brandy’s new “friends”
12-30 – Prospect Plantation
We took a tour of Prospect Plantation. They let us smell All-Spice leaves, and lime leaves and taste sugar cane and fresh coconut. Brandy got to climb a coconut tree and Zane got to pet a Camel. It was actually well worth the money. We all throroughly enjoyed the tour.
12-31 – Dunn’s River Falls
Rachel and I had climbed the falls before about 6 years ago, so we didn’t climb them again on this trip, but we did go into the park and see them again. It’s a beautiful place. It’s just a long series of waterfalls that eventually spill out into the ocean. It’s well worth the money, in my opinion.
All in all, it was a great, relaxing and much needed vacation. In case you’re wondering, our flight home was MUCH more enjoyable than the one at the beginning of the trip. But that’s because we flew home on Delta, not on US Airways. They gave us complimentary beverages and snacks on both flights and the crew members were polite and relaxed and funny and professional. I can’t speak highly enough about our experience with Delta. It was so great that I didn’t even really mind the 2.5 hour delay and plane swap that we had in Atlanta.
It’s good to be home though. Thanks for reading!