Friday, June 17, 2011

ALL about our honeymoon - Its Jamaica mon,' no worries!

Sandals Whitehouse Resort - French Pool from our balcony
At the Main Pool on our second day in Jamaica

YS Falls

YS Falls
Our private dinner on the beach - such a beautiful sunset!
For our honeymoon we went to the beautiful Sandals Whitehouse Resort in Jamaica! We left bright and early (and by that I mean 4am) the Monday after our wedding. Little did I know that when we arrived in Jamaica the bus rides were going to be an experience in and of themselves! Not only do they drive on the "wrong" side of the road they have the curviest and most narrow roads I have ever seen - when passing a vehicle (especially the 18wheelers, which was very frequent) you could literally stick just a finger out the window and touch the passing car (not that I actually tried this.) I have no idea how they didn't slam into each other or grind into the other vehicle every time. Now, I'm not ever one to scare easily when it comes to dare devil-ish experiences but I found myself holding my breath and leaning over into Andrew's lap to get away from the window and leaving nail marks in his arm from clinging to him; sitting on the other side of the bus wasn't much better, then you found yourself staring at the side of a mountain or a tree just an inch from the bus. At least I only held my breath when they passed, lots of passengers screamed out loud (to which the bus driver just laughed...nice.) Two hours later we were met by smiling resort staff giving us cool damp towels when we finally arrived at the resort we were greeted with a cool, damp towel and a pink champagne punch - they knew just how badly the first time Jamaican passengers would be needing them, I suppose! We were ushered into the gorgeous lobby and seated on a cozy love seat while they checked us in (I was stoked, it was at this point that I realized I wasn't going to have to do a dang thing alllll week long... perfection.) We were escorted to our room, which had an amazing view of the ocean and the pool area. We grabbed lunch at a beach front grill called Bluefields while the afternoon rain came through - Andrew discovered he really loved jerk chicken and I loved a Jamaican pastry called a cocktail patty (seriously... so good!) We spent the afternoon bouncing between playing at the pool and the ocean. Sandals is an adults only resort - which was divine - there was no screaming, splashing, sand-flinging, or rough housing, (outside of my husband dunking me, that is) and a swim-up bar that could make pretty much any drink you could think of and then some! The ocean was perfectly smooth, crystal clear, and warm - it was like being in a sandy pool! We were exhausted from traveling all day so we went for an early dinner at the Italian restaurant called Guiseppes. After our delicious dinner we stopped by the fire eater/dancer show (where I literally had to sneak and hide behind a tree because they kept trying to pull me on stage and I was so tired at this point I was nearly falling asleep standing up!) The next morning after breakfast we went to the main pool (yes, there were 4 pools on the resort) and spent the morning lounging and swimming until our 11 o'clock snorkeling trip! It was beautiful and the fishies seemed to be particularly fond of my shiney silver earrings because my face kept getting nibbled! We swam around pointing out all the tropical fish and cool coral to each other for about a half hour (which is when Andrew's back got nice a burnt!) My favorite was the blow fish, though I couldn't make it expand no matter what I tried! Just as our boat docked the rain started pouring again so we fled to Neptunes for lunch by the ocean, safe under an awning! After lunch Andrew had arranged for a special suprise for me (yup, my husband is the sweetest ever!) I thought we were headed back to our room to change out for some dry clothes to take a walk on the beach but he subtly guided us to the spa where he had scheduled us a couples "Champagne Celebration" - an hour long couples massage, a sea salt scrub, and then fruit and champagne served to us while we soaked in a jacuzzi tub! It was amazing! Although, the jacuzzi tub water was hot and after soaking for about a half hour we were both burning up, but we had been strictly instruced not to get out of the jacuzzi until the spa staff came back to help us - we thought maybe they had forgotten about us but they eventually showed up and finally "freed" us! We decided to try the Asian restaurant, Jasmine's, for dinner. The line to be seated was long so as we waited to be seated we made friends with another newlywed couple from New York and decided to sit together during dinner. Dinner wasn't quite what we had hoped (especially me... there was something blue in my food and I just couldn't bring myself to find out what exactly that was!) So, the benefit of staying at an all-inclusive resort was that we were able to go have dinner #2 at the Italian restaurant! We woke up early the next morning to grab some breakfast before we took our Southern Island tour - we went to the Black River, YS Falls, and Appleton Rum Factory. We floated down the Black River on a pontoon boat where we saw crocodiles, several species of native birds, and of course the plush greenery surrounding the river. At YS Falls we hiked to the top, took turns going off the rope swing several times, jumped off the second largest tier of the falls, and went under one of the water falls! At Appleton Rum tour we got to see the grounds that were established in 1749 and how they made the rum back then compared to now - we sampled 13 different rums that they make (not all of them were good either!) That evening we attended Sandals White Party by the main pool - they had a live band, a chocolate bar, and everything was, of course, white! We had a blast dancing for hours until I was way too hot to keep it up! Fortunately, a staffer had suggested that we wear our swimsuits under our white attire so we jumped in the pool (where I kept dancing!) The next morning we were up early once again to go zip-lining through the rain forest canopy! It was SO FUN! We did 9 zip lines, reaching up to 45mph on the longest line, and 1 repel that went straight down! The repel made me a little nervous but once my feet hit the bottom I was ready to do it again (unfortunately, the only way that would've been possible was if I was skilled enough to shimmy up the tree George of the Jungle style...) Andrew was quite proud of me for not being like the other ladies in our zip-lining group who were reluctant at every line and screamed the whole way across - I was running off the end of the platforms to go faster and the only sounds coming from me was laughter! As we rode the crazy bus ride back to the resort the afternoon rain rolled in like clock work. When we got back to the resort we grabbed a snack at Bluefields and relaxed in our room for a little while before our special dinner! We had a private four course meal on the beach, complete with personalized menus, flowers, a white-gloved butler, and the most beautiful sunset! I scouted out the locations on the beach that were options for the dinner and strategically chose the perfect location at the perfect time - it was one of the most romantic experiences of my life. After dinner Andrew had arranged for another suprise - when we walked into our room there were red and yellow rose petals scattered on the floor and forming two intertwined hearts leading to the seating area of our room, which was full of candles, and a bottle of champagne waiting for us. It was the perfect way to spend our last night in Jamaica! The next morning we had a breakfast delivered to our room and ate on our balcony, soaking up as much of the island as we could before we had to leave. After breakfast we had a little time before we had to catch our ride to the airport so we went to the pool and the beach one last time! When we went to the fire eater performance on Monday I saw people walking around with drinks in coconuts and was dying to have one but they were out; when we asked when and where we could get one we were told that it was only on Monday nights so we had missed out. However, a sweet staffer that overheard had the grounds keeper go climb a tree and get 2 coconuts (he did climb the tree George of the Jungle style - he asked if I wanted to get them myself, jokingly, and was quite shocked I said "heck yes!"I was bummed when I couldn't actually do it!) I saved the coconuts in the refridgerator in our room and as we were leaving I had the pool bar tender fix us our coconut drinks - the perfect way to say good-bye to the island! After another crazy bus ride, making it through customs twice, hours at the airport (we saw the guy who plays Tony Dinozo from NCIS in the Miami airport- I kicked myself for not running to catch up with him and get my picture made and an autograph!), two flights, and a long drive from the airport we finally made it home around 2:30am, dead tired and sad to have had to leave paradise but happy to know that we have the rest of our lives ahead of us for more trips just like it. It was the PERFECT honeymoon and memories we will cherish forever!

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