WanderingDan’s Weblog

Jamaica…No Worries Mon (my ass)
January 23, 2013, 1:14 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

All aboard was at 4:30…its 4:35….the four of us are sprinting back towards the gangway before they pull it up and we are totally screwed…

 6 hours earlier: I finish my last patient just after 10…sweet older lady from southern California. Apparently Gyorgy, Matt, Laila and Philipa are all waiting for me to get off. I rush to change and get all my things together, but it’s not until we are already off the ship I realize I didn’t pack my board shorts…oh well, I don’t know if I’ll need them anyway. Hello Jamaica!!! Our original plan, as discussed last night, was to find a way to get to Bob Marley’s house…but we are getting so many differing opinions as to how far it is and how to get there, we decide to check out the information kiosk. $220 for the tour out there the lady says…sheeeeeooooot, that’s not gonna happen. This is where knowing a local would come in handy, unfortunately we don’t. Back up plan: Gyorgy found online something about a famous waterfall about an hour away in Ocho Rios or something like that…with a beach too. Hell, why not. There are a bunch of large vans and safari type busses gathered at a turn-around circle at the end of the vendor’s market. We talk to another lady, who tells us to wait under a canopy outside while she finds the driver.

We don’t really know what to expect, which makes it a bit more fun. Keith, our driver, seems pretty cool. There are eight other people in the van from the neighboring cruise ship docked with us. We’re all in good spirits.

Fast forward a couple hours: we don’t read signs very well. Apparently you are supposed to go down to the beach, then hike up the waterfall from the bottom. We stumble into the waterfall halfway up, and go to the top, realize we probably missed a lot of it, and proceed to climb all the way back down to the beach, passing multitudes of groups as we go. Pip leaves us at the top to head back, she has to work at two. Now…I forgot my boardies, so I’m trekking through the water, up and down rocks, in my wornout, paper thin linen pants…with black boxer briefs underneath…with fifteen minutes my pants are ripped to shreds, which basically means I’m in tattered rags and underwear. The comments and odd looks from tourists and other tour guides are endless. Frankly I’m having so much fun I just start telling people I ripped it for extra air conditioning.

Eventually we make it down to the beach, where more vendors, the shifty kind, are hovering about. One approaches me, not more than fifty feet from a security guard, and tells me he has some high quality ganja for me. On our way back up to get some food, Matt fulfills his Jamaica dream of racing a local in a sprint…he races three, and wins. Pretty hilarious.

Food was marginal, but welcomed, as we are all starving…jerk chicken. Really though, it’s only barbecue chicken with jerk sauce and ketchup on the side. Like I said, marginal. After Gyorgy and I buy our much anticipated Bob Marley t-shirts (which by principle we had to wait until arriving in Jamaica to acquire), and wading through another pushy vendor market, we finally make it back to where Keith and the other people are waiting for us. Three o’clock, right on time. Now when we arrived, he told us it would be a forty-five minute ride back, which is why we agreed to meet at three. Somewhere along the line there was a communication breakdown…which we don’t realize until Keith pulls into a shopping mall area and announces where all the food and gift shops are. What??? What happened to forty five minutes? This is where shit starts to hit the fan. The other people in the van had been told to wait to eat till we got to ‘Mama Marley’s’. We were never told that. They agree to get food to go, because we HAVE to get back. Their ship doesn’t leave until a couple hours after ours. Ten minutes goes by…then fifteen…we are starting to freak out, especially Laila and Gyorgy. Finally, after hounding Keith, and the other passengers that our jobs are on the line, and the ship WILL leave without us, we get them in and head out. Tension is palpable, and communication between ‘us’ and ‘them’ doesn’t exist…there might as well be an iron wall separating the two groups. Keith, feeling the pressure to please both groups, and realizing how the tension is mounting as each minute passes, drives like a bat out of hell to get back. I swear he red-lines the van’s engine going up some of these hills. Time drags on in slow motion, and we are all sweating bullets. We think we are close, then pass a sign telling us Falmouth is still nineteen kilometers away…and the clock reads 4:10. We know our absence has been reported, and they are probably pulling our passports out to give to shoreside security…protocol in these situations” Right about this time ‘Three Little Birds’ comes on the radio. I laugh at the irony.

Finally we reach the terminal…the ship is still there…but as we pass the side Laila yells out in her high pitched Argentinian accent “oh f*ck, they’ve pulled the gangways already!!!” We spring from the van and sprint like our life depends on it…about five hundred meters through the vendor’s market. I am barefoot, Gyorgy has a pulled hamstring, and Laila is not a strong runner. Matt champs along in his flip-flops. As we round the corner, we are relieved to see that Laila was mistaken, there still is one gangway out, and we make it…late, and we’ll probably get slapped on the hand…but I don’t even care…we made it!




1 Comment so far
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This post…seriously stressed me out at the end. Glad you made it back. 🙂

Comment by wetrat

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