Saturday, July 08, 2006

Congradulations, Congrateulations, Congratelations.


There, now we have THAT figured out, and we can move on, people.

Honestly, though, thank you to everyone who sent me congrats on my recent marriage, no matter how you misspelled it. We both appreciate every single one of you.

OK, I don't have my pictures back, due to a mishap with our carryon (we left it in someone else's car) and my personal photographer wanting to make things perfect before sending hers to me (damn perfectionists). But I thought I could at least write about the trip, and I will write about the wedding when the pics are in. Deal? Too fucking bad, I am doing it anyway.

We arrived, very early, at the airport on Wednesday. Because Bil reads this blog, I will say we arrived at MSP. We thought we would have a lot of check in to do, but the place was dead (it was 5am) and we went right through the queue to our gate. Only o find our flight had been delayed, and we would be sitting for a good two hours. Now, I am a morning person, but it is hard to be chipper at 5:30, when you know you should be on a flight to Jamaica, and instead you are in a friggin terminal. Anyway, they decided to switch planes, too, so we had to go to another gate to hop our flight. Late. Again. The departure time and estimated travel time meant we would be 5 minutes late for our connection in Memphis.

But what can you do? We hopped a DC-9, and we were on our way. I credit the pilot, as he said over the intercom "I know some of you have a connection, and you won't be late" "Pshhhaww", we all said, "we would be late." The two hour flight took one hour thirty five minutes. That was one fast mofo. And, considering he was flying a DC-9, which I am now convinced is the Winnebago of the air, double fast mofos all around.

We made it to the airport just in time to hear the final boarding call for Jamaica. Look folks, I know most of you weren't around for the OJ Simpson rent a car commercials. I wasn't, either, but I have seen clips, over and over, and I know what he had to go through. That was me, in the way all the way accrossed the airport. To all the children, old ladies, and attendants I knocked over, sorry. I made it to the desk and let them know I had people trailing. We made the flight.

The Jamaican airport turned out to be some guy's field. Honestly, goats were walking around. I am not kidding. And the air conditioning was broken. But that didn't stop them from making us wait in immigration lines for two hours. It was a fast two hours, though, I am sure. I should point out we flew to Jamaica on an A320 SR. It is a much nicer, bigger plane, and the wings do this cool fold up thing that impressed me.

So we get our bags and wait in the Sandals lounge. It was nice. Air conditioned, free booze, and we met another couple going to our resort, for a honeymoon. Some guy, not with Sandals, grabs our bags and brings us to our shuttle. We had not yet hit an ATM, and had nothing to tip the guy. He kept saying "it's customary, it's customary..." To which I could only reply, "If I had it, I would give it to you, man, now give me my bags." He was, needless to say, pushy. I would come to find they all are. We would make it a policy to only tip people who did not beg for it.

But we finally made it to Sandals Inn. The place is NICE. I mean, they had just updated it, and everything was brand new. We got an orientation in the lobby while our bags were brought up for us. And we got the best room in the house. Dead middle of the resort, top floor, overlooking the ocean. I was very glad we did not upgrade, because they gave us the room for free.

We met up with Carly's sister and her husband, who had already been there for three days, and they told us the lay of the land. Then we met Anthony. He is a "playmaker", which is Sandals code for motivator. He was in charge of getting us lumpy white people active. He was also the self proclaimed international champion of just about everything. Ask him, he will tell you. When we met him, he was just going over the five titles he held in pool volleyball. Mike, Hjalmer, and I would take that title from him before the day was up, but not without plenty of trashtalk, fanfare, and general merriment. The guy was hi-lar-ious. We instantly liked him.

We had a nice laid back dinner, once the rest of our guests (sans Erica and Chad, who would not be arriving until Friday) were all together. Some drinks at the bar, and an early night. We were all pretty tired. We booked some reservations, and that was that. Day one in the books. Later, I will talk about days two and three, then probably skip the wedding, talk about the rest of our stay, and get back to the wedding with photo illustration.

I do want to describe the grounds for anyone who stumbles upon this blog while looking for Sandals Inn reviews. The property is small, the smallest of the resorts. It has 52 rooms, and the best pool of all the ones we were in. It is not the largest, but was by far the cleanest, and most accessible. The beach is public, and the amount of locals will keep you from swimming there. No worries, there are private beaches at all the other resorts, and a shuttle will take you there for free.

The room is big, but not huge. The AC is on a switch that turns off when the door opens, so disable that right away, or your room will be sweltering. Big bay doors open up to a private patio, which is perfect for breakfast by roomservice (which we did about half the time). To the left of the resort proper is the bar, commons, and two of the restaurants. We never ate at the Carlisle, but Nibbles is awesome. Jack's jerk chicken will, as he tells you, "burn your ass lips off" Just keep telling him it is not hot enough, and by the end of the week he will have you crying. We ended up bringing home some of the sauce, special ordered from Jack himself.

The other restaurant, the bayfront, is located both inside and out, and has a nice variety of food. Be prepared for European portions, and you will be fine. This isn't Applebee's, the appetizers are for one person, and not meant to do anything but wet your appetite. The meal's are good, not spectacular, at the places that do not require reservations.

Try to do as much as you can, as often as you can, while you are at this small property. You can always go to the larger ones for more to do, so you might as well see everything this one has to offer right away, and make it feel like home, before shuttling accross Jamaica all the time. Meeting people is as easy as sitting at the bar, and this was the best place for that. We felt like a big family, and everyone knew everyone. The bartenders are all great, but Milton was the best. They will take the time to get to know your drink, if you have just one, and they are great to talk to when everyone else is passed out (early morning or late at night).

That's it, for now. I will review the other resorts on the other days, as we did not get to them on day one.

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