Awakening


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Central America Caribbean » Jamaica » Negril
December 13th 2009
Published: December 16th 2009EDIT THIS ENTRY

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Taking in the last of the views from my villa.
I awoke in a bit of a daze this morning after last night’s frivolities. I walked around my room and noticed a small card on the foot of my bed. Something from the hotel on checkout procedure I thought to myself last night. Then I read it. In fact, it was informing us that munchies were in the fridge, courtesy of the newlyweds. Sweet, breakfast.

After my breakfast, I went out for another swim, starting at the pool, swimming to the cliffs and back. I zipped through the first half, going through the current. The way back was a lot more strenuous.

Post-swim, I relaxed by the pool, reading some more. A short while later, Julia, Dan and Nicole Mascione and I went to explore the caves from yesterday. We casually swam out to the larger one. Wearing my goggles this time, I went in first and noticed something towards the surface of the water. I’m pretty sure I saw a dead shark, about eight inches long, floating on the surface. Getting a good look at it was tough given the volatility of the waves but I did see it a couple times. I’m sure it was a small
Neighboring villasNeighboring villasNeighboring villas

Villas 9 and 10 to my left.
shark. It looked like the ones we used to catch as kids in Ocean City.

The girls were already a bit more hesitant today about going in after I harassed Julia on the way out about sea urchins and someone else teased about sting rays earlier that morning. So I kept this to myself.

We swam back towards the high jump. On our way out of the water, I felt something pinch my left arm. I had passed some small jellyfish earlier so that could have been it. Nicole felt like she brushed against one, too. We both came out with just small stings and nothing hanging on us.

On the way back to the pool, I swung by Strohman’s place to see if he was still alive and married. After his performance last night it wasn’t a stretch to imagine that he wasn’t in either state.

The three of us recapped the night for a bit. I learned that after I left, Strohman puked in the vegetation outside his villa and again this morning in his bathroom. Bonny laughed it all off, except his foul puke breath. I also had a chance to see the
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The note on my bed after the wedding.
effect of his fall - a nice baseball-sized welt on his right side. He’s lucky he didn’t break a rib.

Back at the pool, I shared what I learned from Strohman about the end of his night and his subsequent recovery. Afterwards, I turned to reading. Everyone on the 11:30 shuttle (or train as I had gotten confused in my speech earlier) started to peel off. I pushed it until 11:00 and finally had to acquiesce and get cleaned up to leave.

On the shuttle to the airport I rode shotgun. For the entire stretch I just took everything in one last time, as we passed the resorts on Seven Mile Beach, small towns, beaches leading to multiple shaded layers of clear blue water, hills with emaciated goats, small food shops and abandoned buildings in the poorer sections. It seemed like many behind me must have done the same; there wasn’t much discussion. I’m not sure if anyone else noticed the near miss of a car that passed us, squeezing in front of us and missing an oncoming car by a matter of a couple feet.

Most of us parted ways at the airport and went to our respective lines to get our tickets and check bags. Anyone who has ever been to Jamaica can attest to the slow and care free attitude that typifies the culture. This carries over into the one area where time actually matters - travel. The lines for each airline were lengthy. Fortunately we were there plenty early. Even in US Air’s frequent flyer line it took me a good half hour to check in.

The flight home was uneventful. I read the whole way so it went by quickly. I awkwardly parted ways with Jon and Jamie, as well as Dan and Nicole, several times as we kept running into each other at various stages of leaving.

On my drive home I became very tired. I was tired from all the fun but it was the type of tired after too much sleep, when you just lie there and think about what you just dreamt. The trip was already a blur and I had hardly left the airport. I had been in Oz; the people in it were familiar but evolved, many that I hadn’t seen in years and others I had never met.

For the past few days, we were in a different world where we were oblivious to anything outside of it. No Tiger Woods, Barack Obama, government healthcare, fears of global warming (or climate change or whatever they call it these days), bailouts, spending… Even Christmas disappeared, if only for a short while. All we cared about were what to drink, to talk or read when at the pool, when to jump off cliffs, where to swim and the occasional obligation, which is far too harsh and negative a term to don on the planned events that functioned as the highlights of the week.

It was an incredible few days that I will carry with me forever.

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