Wow - it's been a busy few weeks for us. Between our mini-vacation to Jamaica, the kids getting sick, a trip to Kings Island, fun at Kinman Farms and working out the plans for our trip to Dallas - we've been going non-stop!

I'll start with a post about our Jamaica trip. A few months ago I casually mentioned to Ricky that I thought we needed a vacation. With all of the stress we've been under since Aiden's birth I knew we were both running on empty and I figured if we were going to get away, it would have to be before his first surgery in November. So, a few phone calls later we were booked for a trip to Montego Bay.

Halfway to the vacation date, our travel agent called to tell us the resort was "overbooked" and she needed to switch our reservation to a different resort or give us our money back. I was hesitant to just say okay without knowing any details about the new place, so I logged on to the internet to find out what I could. The Sandals Grande Ocho Rios looked beautiful and she assured us that this was a $2300 upgrade from the Sandals Montego Bay where we were supposed to be going. Feeling rushed, I reluctantly agreed, figuring that it really didn't matter as long as it was a vacation.

Fast forward to the day we leave...

We had a connecting flight from Lousiville to Memphis, then Memphis to Montego Bay. I triple checked that we both had our passports, IDs, etc. at the airport. I flipped mine open and noticed that it still had my maiden name. Would this present a problem at customs? We called the travel agency's emergency line (since we were flying out on a Saturday, they weren't open). The thought of being detained in a Jamaican airport's customs department constituted an emergency to me! The verdict - yes, it was a problem. Great - we were in a slight panicked state thinking about having to cancel and head back home to babyville.

It turned out the solution was simple - change the name on my airline reservation (and my boarding pass) to match my passport. And even though this was in fact all we needed to do, I still felt like a criminal who had committed fraud and was secretly trying to board the plane as someone else.

We made it to Memphis and boarded the plane along with several couples heading to get hitched or celebrate their honeymoon. We even met an older couple going to party their (bare) heineys off at Hedonism. And let me tell you, George Clooney and [insert whatever Brazillian model he's now dating here] they were not. I'm still trying to shake that mental picture.

We sat in the plane for 15 minutes or so after the door shut when the captain came on to inform us the plane needed repair. We were deboarded. Wonderful. At this point, although it was only 10am we headed to the bar. (Hey, it was 11am at home...) After two hours and a few exorbitantly priced cocktails the plane was finally fixed and we were on our way. (However even the cocktails didn't ease my heightened fear of flying on a plane that had to be repaired.) It certainly hadn't been the relaxing vacation we were hoping for. We ordered up a few airplane size cocktails after take off and figured it could only get better from here.


Upon arrival to Montego Bay we checked in at the Sandals concierge room and went to help ourselves to the free drinks. The picture had shown a full bar. The reality was a broken Red Stripe beer tapper and cups the size of a thimble. We scooped up two each and headed to the bus. It didn't matter too much as we would be at the beach enjoying all-you-can-drink Daiquiri's in no time. One rickety bus and an hour later we were finally ready to depart to our resort. But not before the driver informed us that he wasn't employed by Sandals and he quite bluntly demanded we tip him right then and there. No worries mon'.

TWO HOURS LATER we pulled into the resort. Ricky went to check-in and I stood out by the bags. I didn't want to let those things out of my sight for fear that I'd somehow end up smuggling some home-grown "goodies" back to the States. I stood there and stood there. And finally made my way up to the lobby to find Ricky huffing and puffing at them saying we just wanted to check-in already. They kept telling us to sit down and wait, shooing us off like flys. What the hell? And why did most of the couples have complimentary glasses of champagne served to them, but not us? We were hungry and angry that it took us just as long to get to our "upgraded" destination as our entire flight from Memphis. And it was dark. Arriving two hours past our original plan, we missed having our first few hours of vacation in the Jamaican sun. We were irritated. A manager came over as we both started to politely make a stink and ordered the poor girl to just get us checked-in. Finally!

We went to grab our bags but were told not to. "This is Jamaica mon' - no worries - we've got it taken care of!" the bellhop said as I eyed him and thought to myself "Yeah, I bet you do." I know, I'm terrible. But remember, I'm an angry, exhausted traveller. Said bellhop disappeared with our stuff as we were ushered on to yet another bus to drive us down to the "Riviera" side where our room was right on the ocean. We got to our room and collapsed on the bed. Ricky went to take care of some business and I answered a knock at the door. It was the bellhop arriving with our luggage. "May I bring it in?" he asked. I said sure and he walked past me into the middle of the room. "Can I use your phone?" Now I thought this request a little peculiar so I asked him why. He didn't respond, instead, he walked past me to the side of the bed and picked up the room phone. He spoke in a different language briefly and Ricky yelled out "Taryn, is everything okay?" Upon hearing his voice, the bellhop hung up the phone, but walked out on his cell phone having the same conversation. He wasn't even using the room phone. Now I was really weirded out. He slammed the door as he left.

I immediately rang the front desk and asked for a manager, briefly relaying the sequence of events. The manager was at our room in about 2 minutes flat. She was very disturbed by what had happened, which only increased my level of concern. She said under no circumstances are bellhops to come into the room or use the phone. They are also not supposed to have a cell phone on them while working. I asked to change rooms, telling her I didn't feel comfortable in this one. I had such a bad taste in my mouth from the long day that my mind kept telling me the worst. What if he had phoned a friend letting him know a nice young couple with nice bags was just waiting to be taken advantage of. Or worse, it seemed as if he thought I was in the room alone and his abrupt exit when hearing Ricky's voice had me on high alert.

She apologized profusely and agreed to move us but said it would have to be the following day as they were all booked that night. Our hunger pains took over and we told her that was fine, now we just wanted to eat. Having skipped the orientation (the reason for the "sit down and wait" business upon check-in) we had no idea where the restaurants were so she personally escorted us to restaurant #1. The hostess at the desk said there was no room. Try again in about an hour.


Now I could be wrong, but wouldn't you think that if a hotel manager brought two frustrated guests to a restaurant they would get the message that we meant business? The manager pulled the less than bubbly hostess aside, whispered something, and came back to us with unfortunate news. On to #2. No dice. I was beyond irritated. How is it that we pay for an "ALL-INCLUSIVE" trip and have been unable to get a drink OR food on our first night there?

A different person from the first restaurant tracked us down and said he had a table for us. The manager looked just as relieved us we did. They sensed our impending meltdown and brought us a few shots before our butts were sitting in the chairs. With disappointment on his face, Ricky looked at me and said "This sucks." I pushed the tears back into my eyes, gulped my shot and we agreed to not let this become the vacation from hell. It really couldn't get any worse than this now, right?

Luckily, from that point on it was wonderful. I mean not a glitch. The manager also arranged for us to enjoy a day using a private cabana by the pool (normally $75/day) with cushy chairs, white terrycloth robes and personal butler service. They also gave us a discount coupon for the spa which I used to get a pedicure.

Our much-needed vacation started off a little rocky but we made the best of it and enjoyed ourselves immensely. Even so, it's still not quite the same relaxing getaways that we used to have before kids as we spent a lot of time wondering if they were okay, and between drinks, calling home to check on them. We both agreed that now that we've left the kids for the first time, another vacation is necessary so that we can TRULY relax and not worry :)

No comments :

Post a Comment