Jamaican Babymoon

by christy on September 16, 2008

(Complete photo set at my flickr site.)

We arrived home Saturday from our final vacation before baby (aside from possibly visiting a B&B somewhere in the mountains or Long Island for Christmas since I’m grounded as of mid-November and, sadly, the markets are open day after Thanksgiving so I encouraged my coworker to take it off before I’m gone). The day before leaving (Friday) I had to stay home from work – migraine and sick. Greeaaat.

As the first hurricane was hitting the east coast that Saturday, we fully expected to be stuck in the airport for many hours, and packed up travel Scrabble, cards, etc., and to have me feeling crappy. But I woke up feeling pretty decent, gave ourselves plenty of time for the airport, especially so I could waddle with my now bad back hips (oh yeah, they’ve gotten pretty bad these days), and ended up having just enough time to grab some food and magazines before boarding the plane and ending up in Jamaica on time, whoo hoo! From then on for the entire week, I only had one medium-bad headache and my hips only hurt if I twisted in the wrong direction (of course the morning after we got back, major headache and bad hips again – which I can only attribute to the fact we had to apartment hunt immediately and the stress of travel and finding a home just added up in my poor fragile body). We have also finally learned how to apply sunscreen: 50spf every time we got out of the water, or after 60 minutes or so. I got small burns on my legs and feet, as Jason got small ones on his feet and stomach, but otherwise we were great and I came back as tan as a redhead can after a week in the Caribbean!

Club Ambiance was perfect for us. Jason thinks I should go into business finding good vacation deals for people that don’t know how to use the internet because the entire trip, including the small adults-only, all-inclusive resort, airfare, insurance and taxes came out to only $1600 (and I really love to research vacations and daydream). Yes, it was small, but it was all we needed – a couple beaches, a pool, unlimited use of pool floats, snorkeling equipment, kayaks, and other water equipment, all you can eat/drink (including alcohol, though I couldn’t partake), and, although I love children, it was very nice to not have to deal with them running around getting our stuff sandy and wet, especially after enjoying an airplane ride with a few too many. We knew we were booking the trip during hurricane season but decided to risk it, as they take their time and give plenty of warning. Monday Hurricane Ike did hit Cuba which left us wet and stormy, but we were in the pool by 3PM and didn’t have a worry after, though we will donate to the Red Cross, knowing there are thousands of people who have many worries and hardships at this time.

The only trip we took off the resort was to Ocho Rios. We were glad we did it, but would not do it again. First, after having booked the shuttle the day before and speaking to the tour coordinator just before our 10AM departure, we were pulled away by another staff member. We finally got back just as our shuttle was pulling away, and they tried to call it back but couldn’t. But they did pay for a cab, a guy that stays on-site to take people around. We got to the main street which was full of shops and were greeted by a guy we thought was a tour guide, since he seemed to know the cab driver. He helped us out of the cab and told us to go explore and buy from the store on the corner that had lots of expensive jewelry, rum, coffee, etc, that we might want, and he’d wait for us. We (dumb Americans) thought “OK, cool”. We buy some coffee and follow him to the craft market. He leads us through it all the way to the back as poor vendors offer us everything from hair braiding, to pot, to jewelry. We get to the back and he shows us a booth and says “this is mine, take a look around and tell me what you want”. Wood wall carvings and cheap plastic jewelry abounded – um, no. We said no about 30 times before he got the picture, and then he led like a beaten puppy dog around a dark and deserted corner where, for a moment, I thought he was going to mug us or something, to his sister’s booth, where he left us. We told her no, and then had to walk through all the vendors again, only determined at this point to get out. We crossed the street to the strip mall where we found many of the exact same store that you find in any tourist destination – t-shirts, shot glasses, hats, etc. etc. Every store had someone following us around trying to get us to buy what we couldn’t afford (and we only had a total of $60 in cash on us in the first place). We went to a few different ones before I had to find a bathroom, and ended up far enough down the road at stores that didn’t harass us, but also didn’t have much of anything. In the end we made it out with 1.5 lbs of Blue Mountain Coffee (top of the line, at least $30 or $35 a lb. in the states), some rum cream to be saved until the end of my pregnancy (tastes like Baileys, my favorite!), and two baby bibs, one with a sea turtle and one that says “I’m a little beach bum” and has a baby’s fanny. That’s all we wanted, as we’re not too much into cheap tourist crap, no matter what the destination.

One exciting development, baby wise, is that Baby P is definitely kicking these days. Having Jason around all the time made it easier to sit and put his hand on my belly for 5 minutes or so at a time, and he managed to feel 2 or 3 fairly decent kicks. One night it was so much that we actually saw my belly move, which was very cool! (S)he seems most active when I first wake up or am going to bed, and when I was lying on my pool float floating around the bay or the pool, I really got to feel it. So nice and strange and awesome. I did have a couple panic attacks when I was there, only when I started thinking too much about the fact that we were in a poor foreign country and I was unsure if the cheese I had just eaten was pasteurized or not and would get listeriosis, or had what I thought might be new pains (even though I’ve had cramps all along and I really don’t think they were anything new to worry about). But panic attacks aren’t rational, and I just prayed, read my Bible, and practiced breathing, telling myself my throat was not actually swelling shut and my heart was not actually beating so fast it would give out and crash. My last one was on the plane home when I started thinking about the woman who died because the plane she was on had only empty oxygen containers. I’m going to ask my doctor if they’re really affecting my baby, but I think I’m doing much better now. I’ve gone through a few short periods in my life with panic attacks, but obviously I’m still here and (somewhat) healthy!

Really, it was just awesome to lie around and do pretty much absolutely nothing but be in the water or lie around the pool or beach and be with one another – and eat as much as we wanted (though towards the end our stomachs started bothering us and haven’t yet quite recovered – I think too much grease and fried food, but still pretty great). The people at the resort were nice, and we interacted some with the other guests, but didn’t take advantage of the midnight disco or many of the evening shows. It was just about us and relaxing and loving each other and looking forward to our new expanded family, and that’s what we got!

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