Jamaica Jim's September, 1996 Hedonism Trip Report


 

HEDONISM - AGAIN!
"Hedonism II!  The very name conjures up fantasies of ribald, raucous days and lewd, lascivious nights in a tropical paradise.  The facts tend to be a LITTLE bit less than that, but that's what a newcomer expects.  Rather than being a wild bacchanalian orgy, replete with men and women sating themselves with wine and wild merrymaking, the real Hedonism is quite different.

"Oh yes, some guests there might be seen reveling in the hot tub late at night.  And Toga Night and Pajama Party, both regular events each week, do tend to bring out the exhibitionist in some guests . But, Hedonism is more than this for most devotees of all inclusive vacations in the Caribbean.  As someone who has been to Hedonism close to a dozen score of times, let me tell you about it."

Yes, that was what I wrote - all those years ago - for Bill Fox, a friend who wanted something about Hedonism II for his travel agency's newsletter.

(By the way, I FINALLY met Bill at Hedonism this trip!  He was there with a lot of travel agents who were guests of SuperClubs for the twentieth anniversary of the company, parent company of Hedonism, Grand Lido, etc.)

It seemed so new and tropical and heady and yes, licentious, too.  I can still remember how I eagerly anticipated each and every trip to Negril and what I had come to call "Heavenism" - my Jamaican home away from home!  In fact, I finally got to the place when, at the end of a visit there, instead of saying I was going home, I'd say, "I'm leaving on an extended trip - to the United States - and after spending about six months there, I'll THEN come home!"  I hafta say - it worked for ME!

And, the anticipation extended throughout most of my time prior to a trip!  I would excitedly count down each day, scratching it off the calendar as the day was over.  I would even start the packing process sometimes as far ahead as three months!  I mean - I was anticipating the trips to Hedonism - in spades!

But, I digress!  Why?  Cause, I just returned from my nineteenth trip on Monday - the 9th of September!  Did I have a good time?  Well, does a fish swim in water??  Course, I had a good time - or rather, to put it into the vernacular of my native language, Southernese - I had an abso-damn-lutely fan-damn-tastic trip! I mean, we're talking mega enjoyment!  Let me expand and expound - and hopefully keep the narrative to a minimum and still try to capture the essence of....

Our Trip to Hedonism - Again!

Travel To Negril

We were lucky in that USAir now has a pretty good schedule into and out of MoBay.  The flight is non-stop from Charlotte and we only had a short commuter flight from South Carolina to make the connection.  And, upon check in at the USAir counter at GSP (Greenville Spartanburg Jetport), I was able to get assigned to the exit row seating for the MoBay flight!

(If you don't already know, the exit rows have more leg room than any other rows on a plane.  Just be careful - on equipment with two over-wing exits on each side of the plane, the forward exit row seats don't RECLINE ! And if you don't wanna sit bolt upright for an entire flight, steer clear of this row - unless your legs REALLY need the extra room to stretch out!)

The flight down was uneventful - and we arrived promptly on-schedule!  (I'll leave out any other flight comments, in that reading ALL the trip reports, I have found the details on flights - for the most part - a bit more than I wanna subject you to!)

We hurried into the terminal at Sangster International, quickly cleared immigration, went down and waited for our checked bags (I had brought all my scuba diving equipment, so checking bags was necessary) and passed through customs without even a pause!  (So much for the "Customs Agent from Hell" who "caught" me "smuggling" children's clothes into Jamaica as gifts for a friend's child - and they were used clothes - and charged me more in duty than all the clothes were worth!)

We went directly to the Timair counter in the transportation hall, where we were warmly greeted - and I was presented with my very own, personal Timair cap!  It's a "one-size-fits-all" red baseball cap - and it's the ONLY cap that I've ever had that fits - replete with the Timair name in yellow stitching!  (Thanks, Frazer McConnell - for the cap AND for continuing the CompuServe / Timair discount for travel forum members!)

We hurried out on the tarmac to our chartered plane and inside of a few minutes, we were winging our way West.  To the left were the verdant green mountains, while the azure blue Caribbean was off the starboard side and the winding road full of the "buses from Hell" directly below!  We were headed for G.N.A.T (my personally made-up acronym for the "Greater Negril Aerodrome Terminal"!) and Heavenism, Too!

As we made our approach to Negril's airport, we could see the beach to the port side, Sandals to the right and - that tiny runway stretching out into the Great Morass!  I always think the plane couldn't possibly negotiate a landing on such a short strip, but we always miraculously slow to a stop just before the swamp engulfs the plane! <sigh>

Home Again, Too!

We quickly had our bags (At Grand Lido, they have "luggage" - at Hedonism, we have "bags"!) loaded into a taxi and hied the couple of hundred yards to the gates that "spell relief" - and there's a planting on the far side of the circle that spells it out, too!  As we stepped out of the cab, my ol' friend Sidney Watson and the welcoming calypso band struck up Sidney's own composition - "Jamaica Jim - He Com Home!"  I tell you - it always brings tears to the eyes of THIS ol' mon - to be welcomed by friends like Sidney, and specially with Sidney and the fellows playing of my very OWN Reggae song!

As we walked up the steps to the lobby, we were met by Karin Thompson [76714,1311], who's also on The Caribbean Travel Forum on CompuServe!  It was great to see Karin again, since it was way back the end of in March that we had originally met her at Braco, when we visited there with A. J. and Gennie Hutchinson of Go Classy Tours.  Karin had planned to be at Hedonism while we were there, to be able to see us again, and to do a "fam" trip to the resort.

We quickly were checked in, but we were put NOT in the "Jamaica Jim Suite" - room 2175 - but in 2174 next door!  No problem, Mon - EXCEPT-- the first four days, every time I'd go to my room, I'd invariably attempt to enter 2175!  (Luckily, the key didn't unlock IT!)  Then, it wasn't more than two minutes before I had shucked my clothes and was out on the beach!  I was REALLY home again, NOW!

The "New" Nude Beach

The new nude beach construction / renovation had been completed pretty much while I was there back in May.  In addition to the new jetty, with it's extension of beach out to the end, they've also now planted some palm trees along the back side, to provide some measure of shade - at least when the trees get bigger.

The pool / Jacuzzi / misting pool / hot tub was not complete when we arrived, though Kevin Levee had assured me a number of times by phone that it'd be done before we got there.  In conversations with him during our visit, he indicated that it wasn't due to the local contractor, but to the supplier of the equipment - pumps for the hot tub and spray heads for the misting pool - not being shipped as he had been promised by the architect!  In fact, he was able to get an air bill number on Air Jamaica, but the airline told him that the number didn't exist!  So much for expediting shipments!

In addition, the original tile setter, who had been contracted by the architect and was to put the tiles in the swimming pool, arrived, took one look and left - with the plans!  Suffice to say that Hedonism and SuperClubs probably won't ever use THAT architect again!

Nina made a bet that the hot tub wouldn't be finished and I'd never be able to get in it prior to my leaving!  I asked Kevin (I'm no dummy, I never bet except on a "sure thing") if it'd be done in time for me to win.  He assured me it would be!  Bottom line - I LOST THE BET!  I believe that the pool complex will be fully complete by the end of - September! Just think - I was there the last week of May when the project started and the whole thing won't really be done until almost October - that's FOUR months - on a project that SHOULD'VE been complete in no MORE that six to eight weeks!  Oh, well, "Soon come, Mon!" <smile>

However, once completed, the whole nude beach pool complex will be super!  It will have basically the same hot tub as it had before, but that has been completely rebuilt from the bottom up.  They did retain the four leaf clover configuration, but from what I saw, it will be a welcome addition - or should I say re-addition - to that end of the property.

From the hot tub's location, heading toward the beach the next part of the complex is a "misting pool" which will have a central spray head that will envelop the entire pool in a cool mist.  The pool itself is designed to be shallow - I was told that it will have about twelve inches of water.  But, with the mist over everything, it should provide a nice, cool respite from the tropical heat.  The deck surrounding the misting pool is at the same level and contiguous with the one around the hot tub, so it'll be easy to step from one to the other.  How bout that - just a short couple of steps from the hot tub to the cool misting pool!  Cool!

The next part of the complex is a "therapeutic" Jacuzzi!  It will seat about eight folks and the overflow will create a waterfall effect down into the swimming pool.  I'll be interested to see the Jacuzzi when I next return.

The real swimming pool is next in line and it was almost complete prior to my departure.  It has tiled walls and the bottom has the Hedonism logo and name in tile.  The end closest to the beach has an portion of the new Nude Beach Bar - better known as "Delroy's" - that extends right into the pool ! Yes, Dear Hearts, now you can swim up to the bar and sample Delroy's many delicious tropical concoctions!  There are even bar stool permanently built into the pool, so you'll be able to sit at the bar while sitting in the pool!  And, there are permanent benches built into the walls, too, with tables built in also!  All in all, a super place!

In addition to being able to swim up to the bar, the other end is adjacent to the nude beach and guests can walk up to it for their liquid libations, just as they did at the old Delroy's.  And, there's a new grill about where the old guard shack was located, so snacks, burgers and sandwiches can still be had.  The old beach bar is to be converted into an enclosed massage room for the nude beach.

Where the graceful casuarina trees grew along the fence, there's now a stone wall.  And, right next to the misting pool is a "grotto" built into the wall.  Looked to me like it would quickly become a place for a lot of action once the place was totally operational!  And, they have even created nooks in the wall where tropical plants and vines will be planted.  I think it will be a credit to the resort - and a long awaited one, too!

Hail, Hail, the Gang's ALL Here!

I've already mentioned seeing Karin Thompson.  And on Friday, my good friends, Debbie and Doug Bach [[72530,12] (Doug is the graphics section leader for The Caribbean Travel Forum) arrived from Houston for the long Labor Day weekend - just to be with ME!  It was great seeing Deb ("Tequila Goddess") and Doug ("Ferrari King") since they had been at Hedonism with me back in May.  In addition, my old friend from previous trips and another Caribbean Travel Forum regular, Mike Rice [75053,24], was already at Hedonism when I arrived.  He hadn't realized I would be there, so it was a surprise to us both!

We also met many new folks - I never say "strangers" since there ain't no strangers, only friends I haven't met yet!  We met Susan and Larry from Atlanta, Linda & Bill from Los Angeles (Linda is another "transplanted" Scot and a lovely gal), Tom Morrison from Akron, Ohio and others either too numerous to mention - or I forgot their names)!  But, as always, a wonderful time was had by ALL!

On the second Friday, the day of the anniversary celebration, my old friend Robert Graves - the webmeister and the "B" of "Bengee'" Negril Today home page - paid us a visit, along with Judy and Le Bordelon [74277,671] (Le is section leader for the St. Martin / St. Barts section on The Caribbean Travel Forum).  I was able to arrange for all of them to come to Hedonism as my guests for a tour of the property.  Then, on Sunday, Judy and Le reciprocated by having us spend the afternoon on the beach at Grand Lido as their guests.

Also, I was delighted to see not one, not two, but three folks from the travel agency that I've used for a number of years now, Go Classy Tours!  Yes, Gennie, A.J and Andrea were all in Negril for the celebration!  Having these fine friends there really made the trip special!

The M/Y "Zein"

I had promised Deb and Doug and Karin that I'd see if it might be possible for all of us to take the sunset cruise aboard the "MY Zein."  The yacht was originally given by Aristotle Onassis to the Prince and Princess of Monaco as a wedding present. In fact Prince Rainier and Princess Grace cruised on it for their honeymoon.  The yacht is now permanently based at Grand Lido.  Kevin had called Sam James on Friday morning and made all the arrangements for our party to take the cruise on that afternoon, the day that Deb and Doug arrived.

I told the guys that I thought that the "uniform of the day" for us guys would be nice Bermuda shorts.  NOT ! We were on the pier at Grand Lido at the appointed hour, replete in what I thought was appropriate attire for a cruise.  Well, along came the captain and he made it clear in no uncertain words that, "On MY ship, the men aren't allowed to wear - shorts!  You have to go back to your rooms and put on long pants - or you can't go on the cruise!"  <gulp>  I tried to say that we weren't staying at Grand Lido and our rooms were way over at Hedonism!  "Well," he said in a very 'captain-ish' voice, "You better hurry UP!  We sail in twenty minutes - and if you aren't back, YOU don't get to sail!"  (So much for SHORTS being appropriate attire!)

I told the fellows that I had some long pants, so not to worry!  Actually, what I had were some 'beach' slacks, the ones that look like swim suits - with long legs and draw strings ! I figured they were 'one-size-fits-all' and would suffice, even if they really didn't 'look' like Grand Lido apparel! <smile>  We quickly changed, hurried back to the pier, and caught the last launch to the ship.  As we were ascending the gangway, the captain looked down from the upper deck and muttered, "They looked BETTER in the SHORTS!"

Anyway, the cruise was a huge success and as we disembarked the ship, I heartily thanked the captain and told him I'd be sure and put in a good word with the namesake of the ship, Zein Issa, the daughter of the Chairman of the Board of SuperClubs - which I DID! <grin>

The "Gifties"

Deb and I had engaged in a running "battle" - of words - on The Caribbean Travel Forum from early in July about my "giftie" to her!  Let me tell you the story - it's a doozy!

It seemed that Deb had made a promise back some time ago to Doug that she'd give him something, if he bought her a new car.  Well, Doug bought it - but Tequila Goddess NEVER paid up!  When we were down in May, Deb started telling Doug she wanted a new RED Ferrari - and she'd pay up - DOUBLE!  Doug told her, "No!"

I decided to put one over on Deb and I made a visit to our local K-Mart - specifically to find her a Ferrari - a "match box" one!  Much to my great surprise and amazement, I found a set - of FIVE - and they were ALL RED!  I figured that'd REALLY set her off!

Then, Deb started in that she'd gotten ME a gift, too!  Well, the night they arrived, we had supper in the pasta restaurant.  Deb presented me with what I can only say was ... something that she could REALLY "pull my chain" with!  'Nuff said on THAT!  I then presented her with the matched set of match box Ferraris - and she was totally wiped out!  The rest of the trip, she spent on the beach, playing with her "set" of cars, making "varoom" sounds as she "drove" around in the sand!  And, a fine time was had by ALL!

All too soon, it was Monday and Tequila Goddess and Ferrari King had to leave, but we really enjoyed seeing 'em again!

Beginning of the Day

My day usually started early - I've gotten to the place where I can't seem to sleep late - and I'd get up and go out to the beach bar and have a cup of coffee bout 7:00 AM.  That time of the day is really beautiful in Negril - nobody's usually up at that hour, and the water is calm and smooth as a mirror.

Bout 8:00 AM, I'd saunter up to the dining area for breakfast.  Even then, there aren't usually many people awake and up, so breakfast is a quiet time.

Scuba Diving

Then, it was down to the room, to get my dive gear ready for the morning's dive.  I didn't dive every day, but I did do eight dives out of twelve days.  In fact, it was on Thursday, September 5th. that I logged my one hundredth dive!

The dives were at Arches Reef (two times), Frenchman's Hole (one of my favorite dive sites), Richie's Gallery (two times), Gallery Reef and Treasure Reef.

At Arches, there's a sunken, wrecked light plane at bout 65 feet.  Each time I dive the "shallow plane," I make it a point of taking my dive knife and scratching my initials on the top of the starboard wing.  So, if anyone who reads this narrative happens to see a "JJ" on the wing, y'all will KNOW I was there!

By the way, I want to say something here about the entire dive team at the dive shop at Hedonism. T hese guys - Richie, Aston, Trevor, and especially Lindell, and the others - are all superb.  They are conscious of safety and yet they all go out of their way to see that all the divers have a good time.

And, the diving in the waters in and around Long Bay, while it's not world class like Belize or Cozumel or Grand Cayman, is very good . The reefs are in excellent shape and, even though there are not many large fish, the sea life is abundant.  The Negril Coral Reef Preservation Society, a not-for-profit organization, has done a wonderful job of installing more than thirty-five permanent mooring buoys at the more popular dive sites, so that boats won't harm the reef with anchors.  (By the way, I'm a paid up member of the NCRPS!)

As an aside, on a dive during the trip last May, I had a devil of a time clearing my ears!  Talk bout HURTING!  I thought it was gonna kill me!  On getting home, I even asked my doctor if it might cause me to hafta give up diving.  He told me to take one decongestant capsule a day - I use ornade - and that would probably solve my problem.  (I remember hearing other divers talking bout taking decongestants to forestall earaches when diving.)  I did as he directed and other than one dive, which I eventually was able to get to full depth, I had no problems.  So, if you've ever had any ear problems, you might consider the advice I was given.

'Appearance' On RJR Radio!

One morning, as I arrived at the dining area for breakfast, I spotted Zein and Muna Issa, sitting near a remote radio console, and where an announcer was conducting a remote broadcast for the morning "drive time" radio show on RJR, the island-wide AM broadcast station.  I chatted with the girls, and commented to Zein that I thought the radio program was a neat idea.  She asked if I would be willing to be interviewed!  Well, being as "reticent" and "retiring" as I am, it was a difficult decision, but what the heck - I said I'd do it!! <Big Grin>

I figured I'd be asked about Hedonism and what was the attraction to me that caused me to come back time after time! NOT!  It ended up that the host - Francois St. Juste - asked me what I "did" and when I said I just traveled to Jamaica and played on CompuServe, telling folks world-wide about Hedonism and Jamaica, the interview became totally devoted to my explaining what CompuServe and The Caribbean Travel Forum were all about!  I'll say one thing - I don't think there has ever been a better 'advertisement' for CompuServe given - and certainly not in Jamaica!

The Nude Beach!

There are many folks who would NEVER deign to be caught on a beach sans swimming suits!  These folks tend to have "hang ups" and nothing will do but they stay over on the prude beach.  Perish the thought of them ever taking it ALL off!  But, their prudery is definitely the cause of THEM not being able to experience what I have over the years - the pleasure of meeting some of the MOST interesting and erudite people in this world!

I've met - and maintain contact still - with folks from all over the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, South America, South Africa and even Australia!  It's such a shame to know that others let their concerns keep them away from what I've found to be a pleasant, enjoyable place to meet interesting and informed people.

Now, please don't get the impression that I'm a member of the nudist "lifestyle"!  Far from it - in fact, I don't think I'd wanna be a member of anything that had to set itself up as a lifestyle!  And, I'm positive that members OF the lifestyle would just as soon NOT have the likes of ME a part of THEIR thing!  But, at least nobody ever called ME a "prude"!

Yes, being on the nude beach at Hedonism does have it's better moments!   Okay, I'll admit it - I DO enjoy being able to look at pretty, young, nubile gals - in the all together!  What guy wouldn't?  But, it's not just being able to watch gals walking around "neeckid"!  It's more than that (or at least I keep telling myself that)! It's also - not having to walk around and sit around in a - wet swim suit! <smile>

Oh, and the gals may SAY that they don't look!  But, I'm here to tell you - they quickly realize that not all men are created equal - some guys are a lot more equal that others!

As I've indicated above, the beach now is better than it was - and getting better every day.  The three permanent rafts that used to be moored out from the beach - well, there was only one left!  But, despite the absence of the others, that one is still a neat place to go to sun.  And, there is a family of brown pelicans that has made the waters in front of the beach and that raft home!

It's marvelous to watch these birds - ungainly walking on the raft, but extremely agile when in flight!  They would soar in the air, peering in the water for their next meal morsel and then -- splash!  They would bob up with water straining out of the sides or those long bills and usually they had that fish for dinner!  And, they seemed to be totally unaffected by the people in the water.  Many were the times when their dive would be close enough to a guest on an air mattress to actually splash the guest!

SuperClubs SUPER Anniversary!

It so happened that while we were at Hedonism, the parent organization was to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of it's founding.  (Yes, Dear Heart, I did schedule this trip, knowing the celebration was being held!)  I will say right here, that SuperClubs and folks at both Hedonism and Grand Lido KNOW how to throw a PARTY!

The resort was decorated to the n-th degree, the grounds were all spruced up and everything was made to portray what a wonderful job SuperClubs has accomplished over the twenty years of it's existence.  There was a crew of fellows from the International Association of Sand Castle Builders there to construct what were without a doubt the most interesting sand castles ever built in Jamaica!

Tom Morrison, of Akron, Ohio, a firefighter - as were the other members of his troop - was delightful and showed anybody and everybody how sand castles OUGHT to be done!  The crew built a huge rendition of the "Nautilus" from the movie "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea," some scenes of which were actually shoot on Booby Cay, just off Rutland Point.  They also created a mermaid, a sand stature of Neptune and the SuperClubs logo with "Twentieth Anniversary" on it.

The entire staff of Hedonism, augmented by employees of Grand Lido, Breezes and all the other SuperClubs' properties turned out to work to get the beach set up for a seated dinner - for what looked like more than seven hundred people! I didn't find out what the gala cost but suffice to say that it was one helluva party!

There were numerous buffets set up around the beach, with every kind of meat, vegetable dish and dessert known to man being served! There were steaks, prime rib of beef, lobsters, shrimp -- you name it, they had it!

The dinner was by invitation only and there were numerous travel agents that had flown in as the guests of SuperClubs, as a token of the company's appreciation for all the guests that these travel professionals had sent to the SuperClubs' properties.  It's not hard to see why members of the travel industry have made the resorts run by SuperClubs some of the most often visited resorts in the Caribbean.  It's a fact that Hedonism has more returning guests that any other Caribbean property.

Distinguished Guests

We were seated not three tables away from the "head" table.  And, what a head table it was!  After most of the resort guests and the invited travel agents had been through the buffet lines and been seated, the Issa family - John, his wife Aida, his twin daughters Zein and Muna and his son Joey - arrived with the "special" guests of the evening.  Accompanied by the Issa family was Prime Minister Of Jamaica  P. J. Patterson, fourth-term President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe and his wife and the Deputy Prime Minister / Minister of Tourism of the Bahamas!  Yes, Dear Heart, your correspondent was sitting just three tables away from two heads of state and one deputy head of state!

The official party also consisted of nearly fifty people who were part of the retinues of the three prominent guests.  Security was tight and the personnel who were guarding the dignitaries were in full force.

Following the dinner, John Issa made a speech in which he expressed his appreciation to the Prime Minister for going along with the creation of what was Negril Beach Village, which was to become Hedonism II, all those twenty years ago.  He also spoke of the partnership that exists between the management of SuperClubs and it's employees.  John was followed on the platform by the Prime Minister, and it was easy to see why he has been re-elected -- the man has more charisma than any of the politicians back home!

After the Prime Minister finished speaking, all three of the Issa children surprised their father by mounting the platform and giving their comments of what it had been like during all those years while the resort was just beginning.  The recounted how all week long, they attended school in Kingston, but every weekend they were bundled into the family car for the ride to Negril, so that John could see to the management of the property.

Following the speeches, there was what was probably a real first in Jamaican history!  It is against Jamaican law to shoot fireworks anywhere in the country. But, SuperClubs had gotten government permission to put on a fireworks display and I'm sure that nothing like it had ever been seen in Negril before!  The fireworks had been set up on Booby Cay and staff members from Hedonism were in charge of setting them off.  They soared skyward out over Long Bay and were easily visible from the town of Negril and the South Point.  It was a beautiful culmination to a super celebration!

Meals and Entertainment

I won't bore y'all with the repetitive recounting of what I ate at each meal, since there have been plenty of trip reports that have covered that subject to the extreme!  I will say that overall the meals were good and I didn't see any evidence of complaints by any guest while I was there.  In addition, I think that the both the service and the quality of the food has improved, but I'm certainly not a gourmet, so I really didn't agree with some of the complaints that were previously posted by others.  The Pastafari Restaurant was a treat and I was most pleased with both the food and the service there.

The evening entertainment was about the same that I've watched over the years.  There were the usual cabaret shows featuring local Jamaica entertainers. These are good and the first time I saw them, I was most entertained. Now, I'm somewhat blasé about the shows - you see one "Jamaican Cowboy" and you really don't need to see another.

The piano bar was as usual - loud! I'm an "anachronism" - I liked the old Cheryl's Pub.  I really enjoyed the quiet times that we had there with old friends late in the evening.  But, that's a thing of the past and the new Veronica's Bar isn't a place to meet quietly with friends.  Suffice to say that I think the management is missing out - it's older folks like yours truly who pay the price and return time after time.  But, there's no place on the property for us older folks to gather.  The disco is for the younger guests and now, so is the piano bar . It's such a shame, cause the young folks come down for a trip, while us older folks have the money and the time to come back again and again.  Personally, I believe that unless the management addresses this, they'll lose repeat guests to other resorts.

Changes

The major change that I noticed was the institution of a towel exchange program, which I wasn't upset by, but which I feel is somewhat of an imposition on guests who are paying for a class vacation.  I realize that towels are a problem and that management is attempting by instituting the exchange program to reduce towel loss.  But, I think it's going to have severe repercussions when guests get tired of not being able to exchange the towels at the few places designated for exchange.  There's no reason that there shouldn't be towels available at all times and having to go, to the exchange points is a pain in the gluteus maximus.  'Nuff said!

Return from paradise

All too soon, that time comes when we all have to head back where we'd really rather not be!  But, over the years, I've found that, when it's time to return home, I'm ready to go.  Now, that's not to say that I don't love Jamaica and Negril and Hedonism ! I do.  But I guess it's a product of my age and having been there so many times that combine to make me ready to get back home when the time comes to go.

This trip, the time to leave came the morning of Monday, September 9th.  We had everything packed and I told Tony to be sure to pick our bags up promptly at 11:30 with the truck.  He did and we climbed aboard the truck - with me sitting in back on the bags - for the ride over to GNAT and our flight back to MoBay on Timair.

Upon arrival at MoBay, we quickly checked in with USAir, were lucky and again got exit row seat assignments and hurried through immigration and customs with no problems.  We met Judy and Le in the upstairs bar in the international exit gate area and had a drink with them.  Just before we were to leave to board our plane, Andrea arrived - I had offered to have her ride with us on Timair, but Andrea won't fly on anything smaller than a 727!  And, this is our travel agent -- who regularly books our flights!

Jamaican Departure Tax Receipt

The flight back to Charlotte was great.  We cleared immigration and customs at Charlotte with no problems, and were quickly on our way home to South Carolina!   All in all, this was a magnificent trip and I can only say that I look forward to my next trip back to -- Heavenism Too!

Jamaica Jim Jordan - 1996.

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