Jamaica and beyond

Sunday night, well, early Monday morning, I returned home from Jamaica, where I had been for my half-brother’s wedding celebration since last Wednesday. Our flight was supposed to leave Montego Bay at 5:45 pm and arrive in Chicago around 9:00, which would have given plenty of time for immigration, baggage pick-up, customs, shuttling and driving back to Milwaukee before a midnight bedtime.

However, the flight was delayed twice, so instead I collapsed into bed at 3:30 am, taking a long nap before waking with fear at the overly-sunny morning and realizing this did not mean I had overslept for work, but only that daylight savings had worked its magic.

I downed a triple-shot large latte and a few cups of black tea Monday morning, followed by a diet coke in the early afternoon, usually more than enough juice for the day, but I was still exhausted by early afternoon.

Jamaica was nice. My brother’s wedding was beautiful and I spent a lot of time wandering or reading with my feet in the pool. My favorite thing about the all-inclusive resort was going to dinner, ordering an appetizer, entree, dessert and a few glasses of wine and then leaving without even the thought or discussion of payment. The service was so exceptional many nights that we wondered if we should have left tips; we found out later, though, that the staff are not allowed to accept them.

The resort we were at was an hour and a half from the airport, and the mini-bus ride gave us the only real picture of Jamaican life. It’s funny how the more developing nations I visit the more they start to blend together. The highway through Jamaica looked a lot like the one I was on through southern India, speeding by palms loaded with strange green coconuts and tiny ramshackle huts where a lone vendor would sell 50 or 100 bananas or a dozen carved wooden masks. Many of the buildings along the way, half-finished, wire arms shooting toward the sky, concrete poured halfway up, painted peach and aqua and yellow, reminded me of Mexico.

It rained a bit every day. One sunny afternoon I got my suit on, grabbed a (free) rum-infused beverage, a book and a floating pad on the pool just minutes before the sky darkened and clouds tumbled over the nearby hillside. It poured for two hours. Sandals isn’t really for me, but I have to admit there is a certain appeal to spending days without touching money, and it’s hard to complain about hanging out in pristine surroundings with nothing on the agenda for several days.

I can’t believe it’s November. I haven’t even been wearing a coat to work yet, but that’s more stubbornness than mild weather I hate to admit. I still need to mow my lawn one last time, rip out my annuals and put away all my gardening tools. I haven’t made bread yet although I keep saying it’s one of my favorite fall activities. It seems unreal that in six short weeks I’ll be heading to Mexico to see Fermin for ten days and then return just in time for Christmas

And now I’ll end this random post with a simple, the end.

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