With apologies for having taken a week after our return to post same, following is our trip report for our first trip to Hedonism II, from January 16 to January 24, 1993. Our normal vacations recently (10 in the past four years) have been cruises, although we have also recently travelled to Aruba, and we previously stayed in Negril at the Negril Beach Club in July 91. We are in our mid 30's. Those of you who are regulars on the Hedo BB don't know us that much, as we normally hang out over on Afloat. I'm going to be posting a note over there also comparing Hedo to cruises, so I anticipate that some of those people might come on over here and take a look at this report, which will contain much information that you Hedo "regulars" will have to put up with as "old hat". Sorry about the length of this report, but I'm a lawyer, and naturally long-winded.
Before booking the trip, we stewed for many moments about whether to book our air on Air Jamaica. (We booked the land package through Go Classy Tours, of course.) Our choice on the air was either Air Jamaybe or American Airlines. Air Jamaybe was a direct (????) flight from BWI to Montego Bay--around 3 hours altogether. American Airlines was $80.00 more per person, with a change in Miami, including a 2 hour layover, and total time travelling around 6 hours. We decided--with much trepidation, which later turned out to be correct--to take the Air Jamaybe and hope for the best. Air Jamaybe turned out to be the only truly unenjoyable part of the week.
We left BWI (ON TIME--AMAZING!!--not so on the return flight, unfortunately) on Saturday the 16th around 10:30 and arrived at Montego Bay right around 1:30. Picked up luggage and were through customs by around 2:15. Waited around an extra 20 minutes for them to have enough people for a bus. By that time, we were wishing that we had decided to spring for the extra money for TimAir, but decided it was probably too late. Anyway, a guy who walked VERY FAST grabbed our luggage and told us to follow him to the bus. Needless to say, we hurried to keep up with him. Just by where the busses parked, both Hedo and Sandals had little stands set up for those taking the busses to grab a (free) drink to take with them on the bus. There was beer, soda, and rum punch. No need to pay the $1.50 or whatever the guys running around in the parking lot selling sodas wanted for their drinks. After we observed our luggage got stuck on the same bus that we boarded, we hopped aboard. This bus was a large, air-conditioned one and fairly comfortable. I got the impression, though, that getting the large bus was more a function of when you came in, as several others who came in the same day as we did got the minivan with no A/C. The bus ride was fairly uneventful, especially since we were seated toward the back and couldn't see the road. That's probably the best policy. There was also a jug of rum punch placed on board the bus and we made use of that to start our week of imbibing.
There was the obligatory stop at the roadside bar for some more drinks and a pitstop for the bathroom. Couldn't figure out why these people wanted to pay for a drink there when they could all they could drink free in about 45 minutes. One good thing, though, this driver was in a hurry to get there, as we were. About 10 minutes after we stopped, he was blowing the horn to get people back on the bus. Of course, he blew the horn at anything that moved! One lady joked to the driver that if the horn stopped working, he would probably have to park the bus and go no further because he couldn't drive without it. He did not seem to think her comment was funny. I thought it was fairly funny, but had already had two rum punches by then. On to Hedo!
We arrived at Hedo around 4:15 P.M., with a full regular-sized bus, plus a minibus full of guests arriving at the same time. It took a full 30 minutes for us to check in. I couldn't quite understand the system (????) they used for checking in. There didn't appear to be one, as far as we could see. It just seemed to be mass confusion, partially because there were so many people milling around, most of which were VERY unhappy whilst checking in, as many were protesting vociferously about being "stuck" on the prude beach. The resort was full, and, in fact, overbooked. We heard of several people for the first couple of days we were there, who were staying at Grand Lido and at the condos between Hedo and Grand Lido. At check-in, we filled out a paper with our return flight information, so the resort could call and re-confirm our flight reservations. This also helped them to know how many busses they needed at what times.
Don't know where to put this in here, so will stick it here, I guess. There is a "bank" by the front desk, where you can cash traveller's checks. HOWEVER, you cannot cash traveller's checks there for U.S. currency. They will give you only Jamaican dollars. We bought some stuff at the shops with traveller's checks and they gave us change in U.S. dollars, but I presume that you can't just cash a traveller's check there for U.S. money. Leaving Jamaica at the airport, you can change back any Jamaican money you have, but you HAVE to keep your receipt where you PURCHASED the Jamaican dollars to begin with, to get back U.S. money at the airport.
A word here regarding Lifestyles is in order, I suppose. I thought it was really odd when we were waiting for the bus at the airport in MoBay, that all these people kept walking up to each other and appearing to know each other. There had to have been around 30 people milling around who all appeared to know each other. We surmised from that that there was a large group who had booked for the week. We didn't know that the name of the group was Lifestyles till we had been at Hedo for a few hours. Anyway, there were probably 150-200 people from Lifestyles there for the week, and I would presume that almost all of them had requested the nude beach and most didn't get it. They were raising quite a ruckus at the front desk when we checked in. We had kind of resolved ourselves to the prude beach, at least until Sunday morning, when several people would check out. We had called directly down to Hedo about a week before our departure and requested a room in the block of rooms which was recommended by JJ and Denny and others, but since so many others were complaining that they had specifically requested the nude beach and didn't get it, we weren't real hopeful.
When we got our room (finally) the number was 2123, and we THOUGHT, but weren't sure till we got there, (as we had forgotten to take with us our list of the GOOD rooms) that we would have a good room. Well, we arrived at our room and Eric pulled open the curtain. The first thing that he saw was some guy parading by in his "altogether" and his face broke out in the biggest smile I had seen in a while! Our room was right on the "right" beach, just behind the carved stump by the volleyball court.
After checking out the "view" out our window, we took a walk down the beach and checked out the bar and the grill on the "prude" side, for the one and only time for the week. Since it was right around 5 P.M. and we had had only a rather small breakfast on Air Jamaybe, we were hungry, so a hamburger hit the spot till dinner.
Once we got our snack on the beach, as we were returning to the room, we saw the guy pulling up with our luggage on the tractor, so we went over to the room to get our luggage and unpack. Luggage is handled fairly efficiently. Once you find out your room number, you let the porters know. They mark the number (in chalk) on the suitcase and put the suitcase on their tractor driven cart for delivery to the rooms. Suitcases arrived outside our room around 30 minutes after we got to the room. We probably would have preferred that the bags be placed INside the room, instead of outside, but I guess most people who go to Hedo don't take too much valuables anyway. After dinner and a dip in the hot tub, it was time for some sleep.
We took WAY too many clothes. Eric took two pairs of resort-wear type long pants and wore neither pair. I took a nice pair of shiny-type slacks and wore those and we both wore the jeans that we brought, when we went horseback riding. I brought home several pairs of clean shorts, although not so many clean tops. Eric also brought home several unworn shirts and shorts. And we each brought home several unworn swimming suits. Most of the time, we found it was a lot easier not to wear the swimming suit, cause skin dries off so much quicker without that swimming suit!
One major problem with the rooms at Hedo for a clotheshorse like me is that there is almost no storage space. There are four VERY small drawers for clothes, plus about a four foot hanging rack (with about 15-20 hangers), with a shelf below the rack and one above it, and that was it! The next time we go, I guess we will know for certain not to take so many clothes and will probably do as JJ and others have suggested and take some laundry soap and just wash out a couple of shirts while there, so we can just take less stuff. The bathroom had about a four foot vanity top with one sink, but again, no storage space. The stuff that we needed out we sat on the vanity top and left it there. There were no plugs at all in the bathroom for shavers/hairdryers, etc. There was a retractable clothesline in the shower, which we used several times.
Rooms at Hedo are not what one would call "deluxe", compared to some other hotels. Ours had a king sized bed and was kept neat and clean and fresh towels supplied by the maid, but some things provided at some "deluxe" hotels don't appear--for example, complimentary toiletries, etc. There are no TV's or phones in any of the rooms, and we did not miss them at all. There are no balconies with any of the rooms at Hedo. All rooms are exactly the same, except for king-sized beds or twin beds, and the location. The price is the same for all rooms. We were NEVER in the room, except to change clothes, sleep and... well, JJ., you know what else!! Room numbers on the "prude" side start with a 1 and on the nude side, with a 2. Then if the room is first floor, the second number is a 1, second floor, the second number is a 2. I did not see any buildings taller than two stories and don't think there are any.
"Entertainment" at Hedo (at least, what is shown up on the stage) is not what most go there for. We saw only one "regular" show (other than toga night and the PJ party, which was the native floor show on Sunday. Actually, we thought that was pretty good, with Jamaican dancers, plus a limbo expert, etc. There were singers, etc., every night, but we never watched any of the other entertainment. As I said at the beginning of this epistle, we normally take cruises for vacations, and we don't watch the shows there either! We only went to the disco one night for the PJ party, and one other time for a few minutes one evening. I guess I'm getting too old, as I didn't like the noise there. We went to Veronica's a couple of times before dinner for a quiet drink and played a board game there for a few minutes before dinner one night, but only went there once while Ultimate was playing. Speaking just for myself, since Eric says he's still a young stud, I guess I'm getting too old for sing-a-longs also.
SO--the question is, what did we DO in the evenings? (Besides THAT, that is!) We spent most of our evenings after dinner in the hottub. Although, frankly, most evenings, we really weren't up that late after dinner. We kind of got into a pattern which is very unusual for us on vacation--getting up early (around 7:30-8:00) in the morning and going to bed by around 10 at night. About 3 nights, we were up till around 1 or 2, but for the most part, retired early. We normally spent almost all day each day on the beach (and in front of Delroy's, making liquor runs), so we were happy and contented by 10 P.M., so bed didn't sound bad at all! I think that really contributed to the feeling of relaxation for the week--we didn't feel like we HAD to stay up late and if we wanted to go to bed, we did.
Speaking of being happy, we were kind of surprised, and it may well have been a function of the crowd for the week we were there, but for the whole week, we saw maybe a half a dozen people who were absolutely plastered. Before I went, I would have imagined that one would see drunks staggering around all over the place, but was pleasantly surprised. Actually, I would imagine that that problem probably would be more pronounced the next week, as the week we were there the Lifestyles couples group from the West Coast was there. They were for the most part around our age group and had to come with someone. The next week was Lifestyles singles, which was a younger group in general and more apt to do silly things to attract attention. Also, we didn't have any problem with "spectators" at the hot tub or on the beach all week until Saturday evening, when this huge influx of singles came in. There were a few prudes walking through in front of Delroy's a couple of times, but nothing we considered obnoxious at all, and we did not observe anyone getting "de-pantsed" during the week. The crowd for the week was probably a little unusual, I would guess, as I would put a conservative estimate that 80 % of the people on the beach were on the nude beach and that there appeared to be only 10-20% singles.
The other thing we were pleasantly surprised with is that we smelled ganja maybe 3 or 4 times all week at the resort. When we stayed at the Negril Beach Club, sometimes you couldn't lay on the beach without getting high. Of course, the "entrepreneurs" were always coming by in their boats, just outside the buoys marking the edge of Hedo property, advertising. Their method of advertisement was to hiss through their teeth to attract your attention. Our standing joke was that "the guys with the leak are back", as they always sounded like an air mattress with a slow leak.
One of the things that I had been concerned about before leaving home, based primarily on the comments on the Hedo BB, was that I would be bored. Eric and I both have very high stress jobs, but I cannot conceive of any vacation in which I did absolutely nothing for a week, or even for a couple of days. For the most part, we spent maybe 4 or 5 hours each day laying on the beach, plus engaged in several water sports activities, horseback riding and ping pong and were never bored at all.
On Sunday the 17th, we watched the 49ers/Cowboys game in the disco, which was quite a lot of fun, especially since there were quite a few of each team's fans there, whooping it up. Since the game was a close one (and the Redskins weren't in it, so we didn't have a major stake one way or another) we had a great time. Along with three other couples, we created a major disturbance in the waters of the hot tub on Sunday evening before dinner. I guess that didn't come out right, but, for JJ and the other DOM's around, there were four SEPARATE waves created in the hot tub, not one LARGE one. After dinner, we watched the native Jamaican dancers floor show. Off to bed around midnight.
On Monday, we took the glass bottom boat ride at 9:30. It's offered twice a day--9:30 and, I think, 3 P.M. We were the ONLY ones on the glass bottom boat. We were fairly impressed, actually, that they took us out on the ride without anyone else. If they did cut the ride short because there were only two people on the boat, we couldn't tell. The glass bottom boat ride and most everything else at Hedo, is "just show up when the time comes". The only real exceptions to that we saw were the horseback riding and the sit-down restaurant.
After the glass bottom boat ride, we had a burger at McNude's Bar and Grill, then took a sailboat out for a spin. As it happened, we picked one of the best days for sailing, as Eric got the little Sunfish skimming along pretty well. He was pretty proud of himself, actually, as when we were ready to come in, he sailed the thing right on up to shore and beached it! There is instruction available (free, of course) for those who haven't sailed before. We saw several people who could have USED instructions for sailing. Later on in the week, we saw several people floundering around in about 4 feet of water, with their dagger boards out, and headed straight into the wind, who couldn't figure out why they weren't going anywhere. It was a shame that we were too lazy to get up and go get our video camera and tape this one guy, who took about an hour to get from where the sailboats leave to the end of Hedo's property toward Grand Lido. It was a riot, especially when the guy was leaning over PADDLING with both hands. Monday afternoon it clouded up and it kind of rained on and off from around 3 P.M. on, but no big downpours.
Monday evening we went, for the only time, to the pasta restaurant, Pastafari. The IDEA of Pastafari is excellent--to provide a sit-down dining experience for those, like me, who don't enjoy waiting on themselves for a whole week. The service was pretty good, better than the main restaurant, but not up to the level of a cruise ship. We took around 1 1/2 hours to have dinner, without dessert. About standard time for us, but I would imagine that some think that it takes too long. The major thing which needs improvement at Pastafari is the menu. There were four different kind of pasta noodles available (no lasagna, etc.) and four different sauces. However, the sauces were a selection of three fish and/or seafood sauces and one vegetable sauce. No meat-based sauces at all. The only other entre available was, I believe, either veal or pork. Eric had a pasta with seafood sauce and I had the pasta with vegetable sauce. Both were excellent. However, that limited selection of pastas and one other main course is just not sufficient. I would hope that they will be expanding the menu in the future. However, my understanding is that Pastafari has been open about three months or so, so I would presume that if they were going to add additional items to the menu, they should have done so by now. The courses included a choice of two soups, a single salad choice, the entree and two or three desserts. Toasted garlic bread was provided, which was very good and there was a choice of two red wines with dinner, plus either one or two white wines, which were not the same wines as served in the regular dining room, and in fact, were quite good. The garlic bread, soup and entree were all very good, but the experience as a whole was not as good as we had hoped. After the early part of the day spent in the sun and about six glasses of wine with dinner, we retired REALLY early on Monday.
Tuesday brought the return of Delroy. He had been off from Saturday through Monday. We passed an hour or two on a couple of stools in front of Delroy's and checked out the Prodigy scrapbook, as well as the other Prodigy pictures, etc. We talked for a while with Delroy, who asked us if we "knew" JJ. We replied that we had never met him in the FLESH, but felt we KNEW him just the same. By Tuesday or so, we had discovered the need for one necessary item that we had not read about on the BB--an insulated drink cup. We bought a couple of insulated drink cups at the shop at Hedo and had Delroy and others fill them several times, especially for late night trips to the hot tub.
After we checked out Delroy's, we went for the morning (11 A.M.) snorkeling run, and had a great time over the reef. I had a problem with my snorkeling gear, as the diaphragm for the snorkel wasn't working properly. They apparently had brought along extra masks in the boat, but I didn't know it. We had about 30 minutes in the water, which was plenty for me that day, as the water was pretty choppy.
Back to the beach and we got some rays, and watched the passing parade of small crafts, mostly from Sandals and Grand Lido, come to look at the peep show at Hedo. The guys with the water balloons made a rather huge coup, as they hit the Sandals glass bottom boat on the side, smack between the "N' and the "D". Then one of the Grand Lido smaller boats (not the yacht, darn it!) came by and they got a guy standing up in the front of the boat, square in the middle of his shirt. Great times, although after that, apparently the guys with the water balloons went home, as we never saw them after that day. Moral of that story is--bring your own slingshot and water balloons, so that you don't run out.
We saw some "interesting" rafts in the water that week, although probably not unusual for Hedo. One couple brought a pair of life-sized blow-up dolls, which they used as rafts in the water. Each of them used the raft of the other sex, of course, and sat on the rafts in a 69 position. They said that the customs guys had some interesting looks on their faces when they opened their suitcases. Another guy had a HUGE giraffe, which was basically a little boat, complete with a tail. There was also a little island, complete with inflatable palm tree, although the palm tree flattened out after a couple of days, and looked kind of weird.
Tuesday night was the PJ party and the only time we really saw something we thought fairly objectionable. This guy and girl were DOING IT, right in the disco, off to one side, standing up. They got thrown out, thankfully. There was what I would presume is the normal (????) assortment of various outfits, for which several cows gave their lives, among other things. There was also one of the more humorous things we saw for the week--a guy with a 4 foot long blow-up THING strapped to him, complete with a neon light ring on the front. He won some sort of a prize. Eric was taking videos and somehow didn't manage to get a picture of him. The PJ party starts at 11 P.M. and was over around 12:30. It was totally JAMMED in the disco, with no place to move or dance, without backing into someone's something, so we retired to the bar part of the disco and watched the awards ceremony. Some of the regulars were heard to say that they did not remember it ever being so crowded for the PJ party. I didn't particularly enjoy it after the first 45 minutes or so, as it was too crowded and hot. From viewing Denny's tape, it seemed that there were MANY more people there than there were in Denny's tape--too many to be comfortable. It was interesting seeing the outfits though. Off to the hottub for an hour or so to relax and ease the headache from the loud music.
Wednesday morning I had coconut pancakes for breakfast. Great! Actually, breakfast was, we thought, probably the best meal of the day, and the only meal that we considered better than you could get on a cruise ship. There were about 5 juices available every day, omelettes (which were WONDERFUL) and eggs cooked to order every day, and either pancakes or french toast. I don't know whether there were waffles every day or not, but they were available several mornings, and I enjoyed those a lot. There was bacon or sausage available every day, plus carved ham every day. There was generally some type of potatoes available. There were always oranges bananas and tangerines available, along with pineapple, and watermelon. Croissants, muffins, bagels, etc. were available every day.
Lunch at Hedo generally consisted, for us, of a something on the beach. McNude's Bar and Grill serves a good burger, hot dog, fries, nachoes and cheese, popcorn, and several other sandwiches. A couple of days we headed over to the main restaurant for lunch. One day we had Philly cheese steak sandwiches, which were really good. There were always sandwich fixings available for lunch, along with a couple of hot selections. There was a chalkboard at McNude's that told you what they had at the main dining room, so you could figure out if you were missing something by eating at the beach.
Dinner was the only meal that I was not satisfied with at Hedo. For the most part while on cruises, we eat buffet breakfast and lunch, but by the time that dinner rolled around, I psychologically expected someone to wait on me, I suppose. That probably contributed to my dissatisfaction with dinner. For dinner there were around 4 main entree selections, but usually only around two hot vegetables. I thought the selection of vegetables was not good enough and that the quality of some of the entrees was only OK. Then, of course, there were salads and desserts. Dinners were OK, but nothing to write home about.
Seating for meals is one of the best things about Hedo. Except for toga night, when most everyone stayed in the dining room for a long time, you just came in whenever you wanted, and sat wherever you wanted that wasn't already taken. There was never any problem with finding a table, except for potentially toga night. We also always got to the dining room by around 8 or 8:15. If one came at 8:30 or so, I don't know if you would have trouble finding a clean table or not. The resort was absolutely full, so I would presume that if there would be a problem with having enough tables, it would have happened our week, but we had no problems. Servers in the dining room were responsible for serving you tea or coffee for breakfast and dinner, as well as water for all meals, and wine with lunch and dinner. I never really asked them to bring me a drink from the bar, but got the impression that if you wanted a drink other than wine with meals, you needed to walk over to the bar (they have one in the dining room) and get it yourself. Servers also were responsible for clearing the dirty dishes. They generally did a fairly good job. We certainly never felt ignored, although a couple of mornings, we kind of felt like we could have used another cup of coffee, which didn't seem to be coming too swiftly.
Horseback riding is one of the very few activities at Hedo that have to be planned ahead of time. You need to sign up the day before you want to go, at the front desk. Long pants and closed toe shoes were required. There were four rides available each day, with two more advanced trail rides earlier in the morning, then two beginner rides later on. They took you to where the horses were in a little minivan. It was only around a 5 minute ride there. Busses left Hedo at 8:30 and 9:30 for the advanced rides and 10:30 and, I think, 1:30 for the beginner. We took the beginner ride, which really was beginner. We did no cantering at all, and did some occasional trotting, but none of any extended duration. Saddles were Western style, unless a person requested Eastern style. Our group was only two guides and five guests, a very manageable size. The ride was down through some trees and out on a couple sections of beach, with a small stretch along the side of a road. Very enjoyable. We left Hedo at about 10:30 A.M. and were back at the front desk by around 11:30, so it wasn't real long, just a nice length ride. You could ride every day if you wanted, but we didn't get back there. I was kind of wondering while we were waiting to go, if we were going to sweat to death on the ride, but the ride itself wasn't too hot. We were certainly glad to get back to Hedo and get those hot jeans off, though. What with the horseback ride and everything, we didn't get a drink on Wednesday till after 1 P.M. We were slipping!
There is a tour desk right by the front door of Hedo, which will arrange tours off the premises, if you like--for which you paid, you understand. A bus left every day at 4 P.M for Rick's Cafe. Cost is $8 PP round trip. Bus left Hedo at 4 and left Rick's at 6:15. We chose probably the best day of our entire week at Hedo to go to Rick's, as the sunset was really great. We haven't gotten our pictures in to be developed yet, but hopefully we should have some great pictures from there.
For those who haven't been there, Rick's Cafe is a real tourist trap, but we love it there. It's almost all Americans there. It's a large open air bar and restaurant. People go there mainly for the view of the sunset and to watch the occasional (idiot) jump off the rocks into the water. There were a couple of people jumping when we were there, but not many. Rick's does NOT take credit cards. I do not know if they will cash traveller's checks or not, as we did not try to cash any. For some reason--I guess maybe so the bartenders don't have to deal with money, all drinks at Rick's are purchased with tokens. Different kinds of drinks require different amounts of tokens--i.e., a coke is one token and a pina colada is three or four. Tokens cost $1 U.S. I'm not sure how much they charged Jamaican, but it probably was cheaper with Jamaican. There is a t-shirt shop there where you can buy shirts that say Rick's Cafe. We each bought one and they weren't bad--around $8 each, I think. We had eaten at Rick's before when we were in Negril, but did not this time.
Food is pretty good at Rick's, but we had also eaten at Xtabi (just down the road from Rick's) before when we were in Negril before and the food and service was better. We were hungry for a good steak and a sit-down meal, so we had our bus driver just drop us off at Xtabi instead of going back to Hedo with the rest of the bus. Xtabi DOES accept credit cards, by the way, as it is also a hotel. We had a great meal, served out on the terrace, as the last streaks of sun were disappearing, then finished the meal by our candlelight on the terrace and took a taxi back to the resort. Once back at Hedo, the reggae beach party started around 9:30 or so. We watched the dancing and listened to the band and singer for a while, then headed for the hot tub.
It was funny and kind of sad--when the bus driver stopped to let us out at Xtabi, several people on the bus said "Why are we stopping here?" They seemed to be frightened to death, like this heathen Jamaican driver was going to hold them up for ransom or something, by making this un-scheduled stop. Thinking back on it now, it makes me think of the note that was on the BB this past week, talking about whether you can have too many all-inclusives. I personally think it's a matter of attitude. I don't think that an all-inclusive should be an excuse to hide from the country where the resort is located. We had been to Jamaica several times before on ships, and had stayed in Negril before. We didn't feel a burning need to go outside the resort, except for this one evening excursion, and a couple of catamaran cruises, but we certainly weren't terrified to do so either. Some people thought we were crazy to spend money for a meal outside Hedo. However, we figured that, if we're spending $3200.00 for the week and one of the few things we're not satisfied with is the food for the evening meal, and we can greatly improve the quality of our satisfaction by spending $50.00 for an evening meal, plus get a great sunset thrown in, why not?
Thursday we had the first of our two cruises on the Great Eagle Catamaran. This is technically totally separate from Hedo, although the catamaran is apparently docked there most of the time. The cost was $30 PP. We had a relatively small, pretty laid-back group, with not much limboing on the way back, just everyone kind of mellowed out. The boat took us snorkeling (they provided gear--my mask seemed brand new and fit better than any I got at Hedo for the week), over some really neat reefs, then on to Joseph's Caves. On the Thursday trip, they told us we couldn't jump from off the cliffs. I presume that maybe the lady who got hurt there has sued Hedo or something and Hedo has told them they are not supposed to allow Hedo guests to jump off anymore. Technically, you could swim on up to the caves on your own and the guys there would direct you where to jump off if you liked. The current going in toward the caves is really strong, so unless you're a really good swimmer, you might want to grab one of the life vests to carry along, in case you get tired. Boat left Hedo around 10:30 A.M. and got back around 2:00. They took traveller's checks and even IOU's, if they were right ready to go and you came up late, as they didn't want to wait for you to head back to the room for money.
At about 4:30, there was the toga tying demonstration in the main dining room, which we attended, but still couldn't quite get this toga tying thing right. We did a fairly good job with Eric's sumo wrestler toga but definitely needed more instruction for mine, as Eric said that I should be in the running for "most virginal". Prior to the PJ judging, staff and guest talent show was held. There were a couple of really POOR acts, but a couple of the people must have been professionals, who were just vacationing at Hedo, as they were good. AND, ladies when the announcer tells you to go down front to see HAROLD, do it! I didn't go down front and wished afterward that I had! Eric got some pretty good video of the toga conga line, including the guy behind me who kept holding on with only one hand, and eventually dropped out, as he was worried about something ELSE dropping out! No one swam in the pool after the toga party that we saw, though. Most people apparently retired fairly soon after the toga party to their rooms or to the hottub for some, uh, relaxation.
On Friday, we started to think a little bit about having to head home soon. We finished taking most of our pictures, and went and bought some shirts to remember the trip from. It was cloudy in the morning, but no rain. We had checked with the guys from the catamaran on Thursday about going on the sunset cruise on Friday. They said that they were scheduled to do a cruise from Swept Away, but said that if we wanted to come along, we could. We said, "how much?" and they said "$15 each", so we were on our way! The boat left Hedo around 2:30 and we had a PRIVATE cruise, with just us and the crew down to Swept Away. This was great, especially since we got dressed appropriately as soon as we left the dock at Hedo. One of the guys from the crew came up to us and told us, very nicely, that we would have to put our bottoms back on, once the people from Swept Away got onboard. His opinion (which he stated to us!) was that "those people from Swept Away are full of shi__", but there was nothing he could do about it. We were fine with it, and there was no problem. We had wondered what their crowd was like, so we were prepared for such eventualities. Anyway, we went to Joseph's caves for a little swimming, then on around to Rick's and back toward Swept Away. It came up a downpour for about 10 minutes on the way back. We gave the crew anything that we didn't want to get wet, to put below, and they did. WHILE it was still raining, our friend the bartender from the boat, brought us out another of what we had been drinking, so that made it not nearly so bad. It quit raining soon and we were soon much warmer and starting to dry out. By that time, the crowd had started to loosen up quite a bit and there was some dancing and partying going back towards Swept Away. Once we unloaded the others at Swept Away, Eric and I got rid of those wet bathing suits and stood up and waved at the people who had just gotten off the boat. That was kind of fun. Actually we had talked to one lady, who seemed pretty nice, but the others seemed too uptight to worry about talking to. Then, again, our private cruise back to Hedo was really great, with just the crew onboard. After a little time in the hottub and an early dinner, we went to bed (to SLEEP!, JJ!!), really early, around 9. Too much rum earlier, I'm sure. Anyway, Eric woke back up about midnight for the bonfire on the beach, but I snoozed away.
Saturday morning we again took the snorkeling excursion. That's when we noticed the big influx of college-aged kids, as there were about a half dozen young girls on the snorkeling excursion, all of whom brought along their combs, beach bags, make-up kits, etc., etc., for the snorkeling trip. The waters were much calmer on Saturday and it was much more enjoyable. We got back from snorkeling and had decided to head in from off the floating raft for some lunch, since it was starting to cloud up. It then came a GULLYWASHER of a rainstorm, while we were standing by McNude's Bar and Grill. There were about six of us huddled together under that little side awning there, watching the guy cook our burgers, etc. and trying to keep our hindquarters dry, which we did, for the most part. Actually, it was kind of fun, especially since the downpour lasted only about 20 minutes.
After the rain stopped, it cleared up, then clouded up again, periodically, for the afternoon, but no more rain. Eric also managed to flash the college girls, even without really meaning too. There were three of them walking abreast (no comments, JJ!) down in front of Delroy's. Apparently they hadn't seen too many people on the "right" beach yet. Eric was getting drinks for us and turned around with a drink in each hand and almost bumped into them. All three of them turned red and said "Boy, are we headed in the wrong direction!" They turned to head back the other direction, then by that time, another fellow was heading toward them from the opposite direction. They looked like three pinballs, bouncing back and forth and not knowing which direction to head.
After dinner, we were thinking about having to head home the next day, and were on our way out to the hot tub and thought we would take a stroll out by the water first. We sat in a couple of chairs out by the ocean and just chilled out for a while. We couldn't figure out why we hadn't done that at night before. There were a few people walking by on the beach, but none could really tell (or much care, for that matter) that we were dressed for the hot tub.
Saturday evening we had our first really irritating experience with gawkers. We were sitting in the hot tub with around 20 other people, probably around 10 P.M., with about 10 people sitting or standing around fully-clothed, by the side of the hot tub. We (along with some other inhabitants of the tub) gave two single guys some heat, and told them there were two ways to do it--either they took their clothes off also and joined us, or they paid us to watch! Anyway, after some more coaxing, they finally joined us. They were pretty nice, actually. One of them said "Gee, we haven't been here 3 hours and we're already in the nude hot tub!" The rest of the watchers just stayed and gawked. We decided to vacate, as we wanted to get up fairly early to catch some more sun the next day before heading home.
Our plane was due to leave Mo Bay at 3 P.M. and our bus was due to leave Hedo at 11, so we got up around 7:30 on Sunday and had some breakfast before heading out for some rays. There wasn't a cloud in the sky Sunday morning, for which we were glad. We got the suitcase packed and set outside and stayed on the beach till after 10:30. Suggestion for any newcomers to Hedo--save yourself out a travel sized bottle of shampoo to shampoo your hair with on the last day! I had not intended to get my hair wet, but of course couldn't resist a last dip in the ocean and by the time we got back to the room, our suitcases, with the shampoo, were gone. Anyway, we grabbed a quick shower and I headed over to Delroy's with our handy-dandy insulated cups. We had Delroy, Jr. make us two vodka slushes for the road. It was great! It made the bus trip go faster, or at least, we didn't care about hitting a cow, etc, so much! After collecting our drinks for the road, we went out to the catamaran to say goodbye to our friends there. By the way, the bus for the airport leaves on U.S time, not Jamaican time. They said our bus was to leave at 11 A.M. and we were down the drive by 11:05. We almost missed the bus--not that it mattered, considering what happened with our flight!
We arrived at MoBay around 12:45 for our flight which wasn't scheduled till 3, on Air JamaybeAmerica. Standing in line checking in, we saw our plane was now scheduled to leave Mo Bay at 7 P.M. instead of 3. We tried to get on another flight or plane, without success. To make a really long story less boring, we, after lunch and dinner and about 3 hours at a hotel in MoBay on Air Jamaica, we finally left MoBay about 9 P.M. and had to fly to Kingston (which was not scheduled). We finally left Jamaica around 11 P.M. and arrived at BWI around 1:30 A.M. and a fairly long line at customs. After another delay as our suitcases, along with about a fourth of the rest of the passengers, didn't show up for about 45 minutes, we finally left the airport around 2:30 and got home around 4 A.M. Of course, we both had to work on Monday, so that was really lovely.
CONCLUSIONS AND SUMMARY--Anybody out there still reading
this??? We had an absolutely wonderful time. The trip was the
most relaxing vacation we have ever had. Other than the food
experience, which we considered not up to the level of our
expectations from previous cruises, we were satisfied with the
experience and would go again. Air Jamaybe is not our favorite
airline and we probably won't fly them again. If anyone has any
questions, we will try to answer, although we are certainly not
nearly the "experts" on the place that a lot of others here are.
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