Bob Marley has no American equivalent.
If you could meld Elvis Presley, George Washington, and Jesus (I know Jesus is not an American, but you get the idea), you might come close to the stature Marley has in Jamaica...maybe not even that close though, as neither Elvis, Washington, nor Jesus can be considered at all hip in the year 2007.
When there was no Marley playing over the resort speaker system (which was rare), the bartenders would give impromptu a cappella renditions of "No Woman, No Cry" and "One Love/People Get Ready"; In our room, we had Songs of Freedom playing nearly continuously through the CD player/clock radio. The room service attendants always seemed impressed by the music and would remark: "You got the Marley playing, Mon".
Perhaps most interesting, the terms "Marley" and "Bob Marley" have entered the Jamaican vernacular, and are used much like the word "Smurf" in Smurf Village. Shortly after we arrived at the resort, a bartender asked where we were from. After we told him, he got excited and said: "You have some great Bob Marley in California". It was not until after he asked if we were cops that I knew what he was talking about.
Here's a video Nicole shot from our room:
Speaking of our room, we had the best view(s) in the joint. Our corner unit, gave us four, count them four, fantastic views. The first is from the jacuzzi tub/shower. It will be difficult to return home (and to taking non-view showers).
I would have some cool underwater photos to post, except the sea conditions were too rough through most of our trip to scuba or snorkel. That was our only real complaint about the vacation (that, and the British guy who coughed on me, causing me to get sick for our last day of the trip). We did manage to get in some sailing (you can see our room behind Nicole--second floor, right side). Please click here for a previous review of the Hobie Wave.
And I learned to windsurf. Windsurfing is far harder than I had imagined. (Picture #2 is me being overpowered by the much larger 5 meter sail).
Nothing cures the pain of windsurfing like a little bit of rum. Here's Easton, delivering either a "Mai Thai 2000", or the drink right after that...which was "something with a lot of rum in it." If you have to ask what the difference between a mai thai, and a mai thai 2000 is...well, you probably shouldn't be drinking it.
After the sun when down, I switched to rum martinis. The pink thing is Nicole's cosmo.
I am certain that I have uploaded too many photos already (sorry, parents...you really should upgrade to DSL). Oh well, here's Nicole with a couple of parrots. The first one would not talk, but would occasionally laugh at us. The second one would say hello, goodbye, and not much else. Also, a photo of Nicole and Charlie, the resort's 100 year old turtle. Believe it or not, the turtle was better at following posing directions than was Nicole.
How about some proof that Nico and I were on this trip together? Here we are at Dunn River Falls.
Sorry for the size of this one, we'll use it for the next vacation, when the tour organizer demands a non-bicycling/non-sunglass photo. There was a cool sunset going on, but it appears we waiting just a little too long to have the picture taken:
While I'm on this picture uploading spree: Here's me in front of the Ocho Rios Pharmacy. If you can picture a full sized Rite-Aid, compressed down to the size of a Taco Bell, that will give you an idea of how cramped Jamaican pharmacies are. Like a Rite-Aid, each section (cosmetics, cold products, sun screens) had an employee asking if we needed any help...only due to the size of the store, they stood about three feet from each other. There was a long line to get to the pharmacist, so no interesting international RPh dialogue like in Mexico or Europe.
I was going to end with some hard hitting commentary about how the Jamaicans don't like us very much. I am actually not sure if that is the case or not...perhaps I'll think about it and post something later. If there is a Jamaican middle class anywhere in the country, we did not see it. We saw a few mansions, and many, many huts...many missing roofs and/or second stories. Here's one in a good state of repair.
Like my coworkers, those Jamaicans did like my last name; Lasco is like the Nabisco of Jamaica, or something. There were Lasco signs everywhere. And a hostess at one of the restaurants at our resort told us that we must rent Lasko Deathtrain.