How Far Down Is That Anyway?
We got out of bed, ambled to the beach, tossed our books onto the lounge chairs, walked into the water and stood there, up to your neck if you’re Uncle Phil or one of the guys, up to your waist if you’re one of the women. After our fingers were sufficiently wrinkled we ambled out of the water and sat in our lounge chairs, reading. After another hour or so, we ambled over to eat the Jerk Chicken the chefs serve beachside every day we’ve been here.
Uncle Phil, my husband’s brother-in-law, figured it was time to shake off the ennui and get the troops moving so he arranged for a hotel van to take us shopping. (Uncle Phil is the first to admit that he likes to shop.) Max, our driver, dropped us off in Times Square, a shopping mall only a short distance from the hotel. We went into one shop after another, souvenirs, Blue Mountain coffee, jerk spices, Bob Marley’s face on everything from T shirts to wood carvings, jewelry and more.
After going in and out of about 8 shops my daughter Tory and I looked at each other. The merchandise was pretty much the same in every shop as were the prices. Not much of the merchandise was actually made in Jamaica though. China and India topped the list of “made in” labels. Jamaicans staffed the shops, but Asian Americans seemed to own them all.
Tory and I bought our $1 shot glass souvenirs in Times Square then we hopped into the van and Max, our driver, took us to a local open-air market where Jamaicans sell hand crafted goods. With a friendly smile, Max warned us that the shop owners would be persistent (I’d call it tenacious) in their efforts to get us to buy something from them. He also warned that we should not accept the first price proffered by the vendors; bargaining was the name of the game, and I found that I’ve really got to be in the proper mood to be even moderately successful at it! We opened the van door and were off! Tory and I stuck together, and the others fanned out. The shop owners, having seen us approach, were more than ready.
After cruising though 8 shops in about 30 minutes, Tory and I were exhausted. The folks were very friendly, but boy were they persistent. We bought a ring, two bracelets, two small carvings and an outfit for my great nephew. We practically had to send out a search party to find my son Max though! Finally, he reappeared, bristling with newspaper-wrapped packages. He, flush with success, showed us two hand carved faces (Bob Marley?), 3 turtle carvings, a hand-hewn-from-bamboo mug his Uncle Phil bought for all the boys and more stuff I can’t remember. He loved the shopping experience!
Not content to just stand in the ocean and shoot the breeze that evening, Mike’s brother-in-
law Rob finagled a boat (glass bottomed, no less) and crew to take us to Rick’s, a bar/restaurant where locals and visitors alike can plunge off any number of platforms and niches worn into the close-by cliffs and into the deep, deep water below.
Uncle Joe was the first in our party to take the plunge: 20 feet straight down. Patrick, his son, was next, then Andrew, Jeremy, and Max. The girls, Tory, Heidi, Katie, Maddie, Morgan and Samantha, jumped off the 10-foot precipice. . .numerous times. It was pretty unbelievable. It was a pretty dramatic ending to our day, for sure. On the boat trip back, everyone was jabbering about what they’d done, who else they’d watched and how much fun they’d had.
P.S. The Wi-Fi here isn’t strong enough to post the video I want to share with you: One of our kids taking the plunge off the edge of the cliff into the water, complete with parent shrieks in the background. When we return Stateside I’ll post it. We return to the United States tomorrow. Over and Out.