Monday, March 30, 2015

Jamaica Morning Day 4--Heading Home

I'm up bright and early (0510 Jamaica time), and my taxi leaves the hotel at 0825 for the airport.  If it is anything like my trip here from the airport (also at rush hour), it will be at a snail's pace  Immigration on the way in was a mess...very long lines and not enough of them.  I saw at the airport, and then learned while here, of a "service" one could pay for that expedites the entire immigration process.  The front desk was happy to sell me a day's pass in order to expedite today's trip through the lines.

I have spent like a sober-drunken Sailor while here, largely because there was no "bill" waiting for airfare, lodging, and meals, as this was an all-inclusive trip and I paid the bill prior to traveling.  No, I arrived here with a zero balance, dammit, and I was going to do some damage.  My first rule was to be open to any upselling.  I ordered a regular room with an ocean view, but upon checkin was offered a "Junior Suite" with an ocean view for more money.  When I checked in for the flight today, I was offered (at a modest expense) an upgrade to Business/First--yes please.  I bought presents for the Kittens, I bought a bathing suit for me (the one I brought was falling off and I could cinch it no further).  I am quite certain I spent nearly as much since I got here as I spent to get here.

Yesterday was a good day, another day with lots of sun and lots of dark, threatening clouds interspersed throughout the day.  I enjoyed my breakfast in bed while I did some work, I confirmed the necessary arrangements to convey me to the airport today, I ate a good lunch, had a massage, did my PT, had a thirty minute walk, swam in the ocean, processed a ton of emails, took a bath while watching the Duke game, had dinner at the French restaurant and then relaxed here in the room for the evening.  Outside of the conversations I had in order to handle the logistics of the travel, and idle chit chat with people in elevators, I have not had a meaningful conversation with another human being on property.  Not that everything was simply transactional--the employees at the front desk are very conversational and they draw one into more extended conversation.  The females seem universal in their disdain for my having left "my wife" at home, irrespective of this being a working vacation.

Speaking of the females at the front desk.....there are clearly no laws against "face-ism" in Jamaica, as every woman working customer service in this place is fetching.

Let's talk language, shall we?  English is of course, the language of Jamaica.  Every employee at this property speaks it well, with the accent that immediately puts me at ease, whether spoken here or by a Jamaican in the cold of a Washington Metro station.  As soon as your conversation is over, they then turn to each other and speak "Patwa (patois)", which is this amazing English-like language in which your average whiteboy (me) can pick up one word out of ten.  It is spoken very, very quickly, and is nearly indecipherable to an English speaker.  It's actually kind of funny--to see a couple of bellhops going at it in Patwa as you approach, and then to have them stiffen up and speak Queen's English.  I had a chat with my cab driver on the way here (shortly after he had a Patwa chat at a stoplight with the guy driving the beer truck who stopped next to us) who explained all this to me.  It made me think about my flight down, during which I was seated next to two black women.  Very pleasant ladies, on their way to a wedding.  The funny thing was, as they chatted among themselves, they used a sort of "Patwa"--known sometimes as "Black English"--which while it isn't common among white people, we understand pretty clearly.  As soon as one of them would address me though, they went straight into standard English.  I wondered whether this were a conscious act, or whether this is done without thinking.

A heavy morning shower just passed overhead, and it is gone almost as soon as it came.  It's like that here in the Caribbean, unless of course one is in a hurricane.  I thought about hurricanes last night as I scanned "Caribbean Real Estate", as in the back of my mind I see a two bedroom condo on the beach somewhere in the Caribbean as a likely "investment" someday, a place where I (and the Kitten, should she wish to accompany me) can "winter".  I would love to pick up and move--November 1 to May 1--to the Caribbean.  I would care not a whit about what happens back where it is cold, but I would have high speed internet to allow me to observe it from afar should I become concerned.  I would drink strong coffee in small cafes, I would eat at local restaurants, I would take walks along the beach in shoes and socks (see Nixon, R),   The Kitten always puts the Kaibash on ideas like this, asking annoyingly logical questions like "what about the dogs?".  She also, raises the issue of whether such a place would keep us from going to other places--which I guess is a good question, except for the fact that we don't do a lot of going to "other" places now.  I'm a "plant the flag" kind of guy--buy it and you will come.  We'll see--this is a far horizon plan, say 15 years from now or so.

The sun has begun to come up, and I must do my PT if I am to remain on my rigid morning schedule.  I figure if everything I do here is late (Jamaica time), why then everything over which I have control should be disciplined and on time.  I'm sure eyes are rolling across the world reading this--"that dude sure is anal", but it is the little things that keep us sane.

Until tomorrow....

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