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Thursday, 28 May 2015

The All-Inclusive Hangover

After spending 8 months backpacking like a zen nomad through India and Europe, with some hitchhiking and dumpster diving, I finally came back to Canada, but for just 3 days before heading straight to an all-inclusive resort in Jamaica for one week.
Give me a break! It was my sister's wedding and I wouldn't miss it for the world.
An oceanside wedding and dinner - congratulations Amy & Kris!
So much cheese... so much wasted after. I wish I could eat it all.
This was certainly not my type of vacation though. And upon arriving at the resort in Jamaica, I got the all too familiar feeling of being out of touch with my surroundings, as if I was floating above it but couldn't touch it, or if it was all a mirage. Or just one big hangover after my 8-monther.

The buffets seemed excessive, the food waste unbearable, the service overbearing and unnecessary, and the rooms too squeaky clean. The all-comfort at-your-service experience was in full force, but the cultural experience was non-existent, aside from the palm trees, Red Stripe beer, and Jamaican workers saying "yea mon."

But over the course of the week, I slowly got acclimated to my surroundings, and went on a few nice side trips, which really helped. I even convinced my parents to let me lead one of the side trips, and find an alternative to the door-to-door guided tours offered at the resort.
My family and I enjoying coconut water at the resort
I gave hitchhiking a try, asking tour buses in a tourist parking lot, and ended up negotiating a taxi, which was much cheaper than the guided tour rate. We did Dunn's River Falls without a guide, and watched as all the guided groups negotiated the tricky river and falls, walking in a line and holding eachother's hands, passing by without much chance to stop and take their time.

Later on, we went into Ocho Rios and witnessed the local street life. We were surprised how many Chinese and Indian locals ran the businesses there!

By the end, my dad was bragging to everyone about how we went to Dunn's River Falls and Ocho Rios, and did things our way and saved a lot of money. I let him have the credit, as it was a good opportunity for him to learn how I travel, and enjoy it too.
Dunn's River Falls, Jamaica
Irie Blue Hole, Jamaica
Amy jumping in at Irie Blue Hole

Back at the resort I relaxed by the beach, read my book, and, as usual, thought a lot. I also stayed active though, playing tennis, ping pong and beach volleyball. Without the activity, I think I would have gone crazy.

By the end of the week I managed to have a good time, but it helped me realize how it was in large contrast to the way I really love to travel. And after the week, I was definitely ready to go home! One can only lie on the beach so long.

My sister and I before heading out in a mini sailboat

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