January 22, 2014

away we go: montego bay, jamaica.

as i am going through the 400+ pictures we took in jamaica, narrowing them down, editing and writing this blog post, it is brutally cold outside. it's snowing and there are no signs that the strong winds will let down. i am not so secretly wishing for another snow day so that yangkyu can work from home and we can both still recuperate from our trip. {update: there was no snow day. darn.}

it's funny because the keyword for our getaway was relaxation, which is exactly what we did. unlike our trip to maui {already four years ago} where we were constantly out and barely stayed at our resort, the only thing we did was stay in our resort in jamaica. i didn't want to feel tired, worn out and take in a bajillion different things to "get the most" out of our trip. just thinking about that mentality was overwhelming. instead, i wanted to stay by the beach, read, listen to music, sleep and eat. and even though we did just that, we were still so tired and i am still trying to get back in the swing of things back home. 
we stayed at the hilton rose hill resort for three nights and four days. it's a beautiful resort with friendly staff. i feel like that sentence just didn't do justice to how friendly the staff are at the hilton rose hill. i still remember the lady who came up to us during breakfast with a sing song voice and a radiating smile as she greeted us with "pleasant morning!" i have been to resorts and spas and restaurants where staff are nice but it's almost so professional {in the stiff kind of way} and detached. in jamaica, the people are just so warm and inviting. i have a close girl friend who has several jamaican friends and has a strong affinity for the people of jamaica. she was telling me this before my trip about her love for the people and their culture. i wondered if this warmth i felt was a small taste of what she loved so much. 
it was beautiful during the morning and afternoons while we were there, but at around 4/5 pm it rained. sometimes it was a downpour, but mostly it was light showers. i was afraid that it was going to rain the entire time we were there, but we most certainly had some amazing sunshine. 

i also had an unhealthy amount of a drink called the miami vice. i had it with no alcohol. i must've had like 20 of them. on sunday, yangkyu actually counted how many i had - 7. isn't that gross? but when i'm hooked on something, i milk it for all it's worth. i did have a mango smoothie here and there so i guess it wasn't all that bad. yangkyu on the other hand had all different kinds of drinks - the hummingbird, bahama mama, bob marley, blue lagoon. i can't even remember all of them. but that basically sums us up right there - i'm the plain jane that orders the same thing like plain slice of pizza and puts a song on repeat for days while mr. adventurer over here tries something different all the time. 
when we arrived on friday, we checked in, rested, had dinner and enjoyed the live entertainment outdoors. on saturday it was a little exploring on the resort grounds and then the rest of the day we were beachside. i never go in the beach after a scary incident in high school where i was caught in a wave and literally did multiple summersaults in the water {i thought i was literally going to die}, but this time around i went in. while i did manage to drink salt water from the nose and mouth, it was fun and the sand was so soft to the touch. 

sunday it was poolside all day. they had those floating tubes, which i love. i also brought with me mindy kaling's book, is everyone hanging out without me (and other concerns), which was a quick fun read. it was just what i needed for this trip - i was able to finish it while i was there. 

and what's a trip without racking up some embarrassing/clumsy moments. i had several. i mentioned the drinking salt water from the nose and mouth already. adding to that there are, scraping both my knees, jamming my toe in the sliding balcony door, walking out of the elevator with a cool strut only to have yangkyu say... "jane, that's the third floor" and having the people getting in the elevator give you a "it's ok" smile, getting ready to exit the shuttle van only to bang my head on my way out, then lose balance and awkwardly {while trying to use my leg muscles that shaun t helped build} and desperately try hard with all my might to not fall backwards, but do anyway and land on flat on my butt... with a dress on.... while having everyone else in the van not know what to do. yeah. that one was especially embarrassing. ouch. but clumsy is my middle name and i have those kinds of incidents everywhere i go. 
this getaway to jamaica was much needed. we were able to not think about our worries, de-stress and recharge. we're thankful that we had the opportunity to go. while i don't want to sound like i'm ending this post on a sour note, i did want to mention how i let some incidents almost ruin the whole experience. i don't mean to get on a soapbox, but i think when we travel we should all step out with our best foot forward. i was appalled by some tourists who had this pompous sense of privilege and behaved so rudely to the staff. i know tourists pay their pretty penny to go and relax but i don't think that is a ticket to be rude and bossy. there were several, more than i hoped to witness, people who were exactly that way and it just left a bad impression. but what did make up for it was the friendly demeanor of the staff. i almost felt bad thinking about how much of this nonsense they have to deal with, but was amazed how they still had a smile on their face. it wasn't a smile to say "yes walk all over me", it was a dignified smile as if to say "you can't get to me that way and i will still treat you with respect". i took that as a lesson for me to take back home. be nice but firm. and always with a smile.

thanks for reading about our little trip. it was nice to recap while everything was still fresh in my memory. 

37 comments

  1. A mellow relaxing vacation is so refreshing sometimes! Absolutely love your photos!

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  2. Jamaica is such a beautiful place! It's good to see your lovely pictures! I sometimes face small moment that gets in my head and ruin entire day, I will try to be nice and always smile like you said! stay warm Jane!

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  3. Your photos are beautiful. The color of the sky, the water, and the landscapes....magical! Makes me want to hop on a plane and just take off. Jamaica is on the list! I really appreciate it when hotel staff goes the extra mile to be friendly, it adds a special charm to the trip to be surrounded with good vibes. I hear ya on the clumsiness, that's me on all of my past trips. One time I decided to wear high-heel boots while walking on cobblestone streets, you can imagine how that went. Lovely post Jane!

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  4. Wow, that water is unreal. I've never seen anything like it! Usually I try to pack in as much activity on a trip as possible, but you're right---I get really burnt out (sometimes the first day!) and end up spending time napping or exhausted. The other tourists would get on my nerves too--that even happens when I'm at a restaurant & see people act rude to the staff. But I'm glad you were able to relax anyway! Sometimes you have to force yourself to:)

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  5. wow this photos are absolutely beautiful! I've always wanted to go to Jamaica...looks and sounds dreamy!

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  6. I have been bedbound for a long time now and your blog has been my escape. It's so lovely to read whilst relaxing, and who could resist piri?! :)

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  7. I know the feeling of when you're on vacation,
    and you feel obligated to do tons of activities
    and visiting places and to get the most out
    of it. But I need to learn the value of what
    relaxation means and I think you really did!
    The pictures are lovely and jealous making!
    And I'm glad to hear the hotel you've stayed
    (cute name!) was nice c:

    Xx

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  8. Ah so jealous you go to go somewhere warm! And your photos as usual are so beautiful and empty beaches how nice, how ever did you pull that off! And yes I know what you mean I have seen this kind of rude behavior, it is amazing how entitled westerners are.

    Allie of ALLIE NYC
    allienyc.com

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  9. Gorgeous photos - looks like you had a great time in Jamaica! Stay warm over there! xx Kat


    Love and Ace

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  10. Me and my husband are the same way...I'll try anything and he sticks to 'plain cheese pizza' haha :D

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  11. Such beautiful photos! I never think of taking a vacation during the winter months, but it sounds perfect. I may just have to plan a little getaway for us. Might help us deal with all this cold!!

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  12. Oh Jane! I'm so jealous:D The trip sounded lovely. Thanks for sharing the trip. And you know, I'm a clumsy person too so I can totally relate to what happened to you:)

    PS That Miami Vice sounds yummo!

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  13. Great photos, as always {made me feel like I transported to Jamaica}! I'd love to visit one day. I actually suggested that we go there for our honeymoon, but my fiance wants to travel to a foreign country :O

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  14. It all looks gorgeous! I'm off to follow you.

    www.GirlwithaNewLife2.com

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  15. Ah, my homeland! I miss being in Jamaica so much, it is such a stunning little island. Every time I visit it's always been to see family so I'd love to stay on a resort and chillax for a week or so some day! I have family who work in some big name hotels over there so I'm familiar with stories of that kind of behaviour. I think some people forget that Jamaica is no longer an island of slaves.... particularly certain people from certain countries... Is being decent to others really so difficult? sigh. Thank you for sharing these lovely photos :) x

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  16. OMG - your photos are making me miss the ocean dearly!! It brings me back to my vacay in Puerto Rico! So beautiful! Also, of course it's nice to be out and about on vacation exploring wherever you are, but sometimes, all you need is to just relax at the hotel all day! Plus, your hotel looked superb for just that! I'm so glad you guys had a great time in the sun! I've always wanted to go to Jamaica - now I simply must!! Welcome back to cold east coast! :)

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  17. I want to go to there. Sounds like you had a magical time, despite the clumsiness (which I TOTALLY HEAR, girl).

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  18. That is exactly the kind of vacation I have dreamed about, go there just to relax. I hate having to go 100 places to make a trip worth. It ends up with more stress than relaxation. Your vacation looked amazing and fun. Thank you for sharing these photos. I bet you are dreaming about the warmth and sunny Jamaica.

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  19. Ahhhh I LOVE all of these pics from Jamaica~ Relaxing, dreamy, & fun! And I know what u mean by very rude tourists. Being mean & disrespectful to workers says so much abt urself. If only we could really think before we speak & act and treat others how we would want to be treated!
    www.speakstyleandrock.com

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  20. what an amazing time it must have been. It sounds beautiful and relaxing just as you desired it to be. These photos are lovely and even looking at them makes me feel at ease...=)
    xo,
    nancy

    http://www.adoretoadorn.com

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  21. Oh my gosh, you trip looked like it was so nice and relaxing. Such beautiful scenery!

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  22. These photos are simply beautiful! I wish I could be there right now instead of this desk at work. Thank you for taking me away x

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  23. Jane, your photos are AMAZING! I really wish I was at the beach right about now! I need a vacation ASAP! It's freezing and it snowed today! In NC! That just isn't right! haha So glad to hear you had great trip, even if there were a few bumps along the way!

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  24. Beautiful photos, I want to go there!
    I have this bad addiction when it comes to food; If it's tasty, I'll eat it for like 5 days a week for an indefinite time (+twice a day), til I get sick.

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  25. No matter what you're going through, it's always better if you have people to share it with.
    love the place,have a sense of fresh feeling
    thank you for sharing this,love so much
    happy everyday and have a pretty time
    hope you can check my new post and share beauty:
    http://me-poppy.blogspot.com/2014/01/beautiful-coats-come-again.html#comment-form

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  26. Thanks for sharing your pics!!! I needed that warmth that oozed from all of these <3 I'm happy to hear you were relaxed and had lots of drinks (even if they were the same one!) Do what you want, I say!

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  27. Wow, what a fabulous vacation! I love laid back getaways with not too much planned. Gorgeous photos, and those red saltwater sandals are the cutest!

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  28. Looks like you two had a great (but horrendously short) stay in Jamaica. I once tumbled around underwater for about a minute in Mexico and also thought I was going to die. I came up without my bikini top!

    Wow, you sound quite accident prone. Maybe the next time you go abroad, you should bring a few extra bandaids :P

    I always try to be nice to the staff that work on resorts. While I can't always afford to tip them, I do talk to them with a smile.

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  29. Ive always been and will be your fan!!!Sounds like there was so much to learn and
    feel through this getaway!sooo happy for you indeed. Travelling always makes our burden on shoulders weigh less i guess!Wish i could leave to somewhere right away!

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  30. ahh this was so fun to read and such amazing photos! I too am the biggest clutz at the moment I'm sporting two bruised knees from an unfortunately incident in a kid's sized pool, lol lol. I love the last paragraph too. I love people that are kind and I think it's important to always greet life with a smile :)

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  31. wow the place sounds and looks really really beautiful! wicked pictures, talented girl.

    Katrina Sophia Blog

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  32. Green with envy! enough said..Ha!ha! Your photos are great!

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  33. Amazing pictures!!! The blue of the sky and sea is incredible and specially love how you compose the portaits. Sorry to hear about your bad experience with the sea I've never had one but I'm also part of those who enjoy more watching it at a distance. Kudos to you for your words of being nice, we also take special care to be kind to those people who are working hard to make you have a nice time, I will never understand rude people :) Btw, Saltwaters envy! ;)

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  34. This looks just amazing, Jane! I never knew Jamaica was so beautiful. So glad you've had a great time and was able to relax and recharge, don't worry about the awkward/clumsy/funny moments, they're the sort of things that you'll remember most about this trip!!

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  35. Sounds and looks like a really relaxing vacation. The annoying and unexpected things can really affect the trip. I remember an encounter with fellow travelers who were selfish and rude. We were really affected by it at first and then we later just let it go and focused on the fun we were having. Jamaica is gorgeous!

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  36. The place looks so fresh and clean, the resort looks pretty luxurious as well! I'm glad you had a good time, albeit with some clumsy moments (I can shake your hand there!).
    I feel sorry for the staff as well, I guess some people are just assholes. Pssh. But hey, atleast you guys were nice! :D

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  37. It looks like a perfect island getaway and WARM (most importantly). I would have been sipping those drinks right alongside you. And now you're making me want a warm weather vacay

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