Without Even Touching A Dollar

Some trips are an adventure. Marked by stress and the excitement of the unpredictable, these trips are something like work. At times, you might be able to appreciate an adventure when it is underway. Oftentimes though, in the moment, they can be marked with the discomfort of deprivation. Appreciation, really deep appreciation of an adventure, comes after it’s over and you’re able to safely look back on the totality of it. You might even have some stories that are worth telling. 

Other trips are a vacation. Less stress, less responsibility, and hopefully some comforts exceeding your routine. They are an escape, not necessarily to a different place, but from your usual worries. These are trips that are most enjoyable in the moment.  You have to appreciate these experiences in the moment, because good food, spa treatments, and relaxing on the beach aren’t going to do much for you in hindsight. 

This trip was most certainly the latter of those two options. I’m being simplistic here, as trips can obviously have elements of both. Our little getaway to an all-inclusive resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica was 100% vacation though. 

Crossing the threshold past customs in the Montego Bay airport is the closest we got to foreign travel on this trip. Sometimes, when you visit locations with very few tourists, the quantity of scammers and hustlers can actually be somewhat negligible. They’re just not prepared for your arrival. Visit just about any city where cruise ships make port routinely and you’re likely to have pickpockets, grifters, and all manner of touts. You don’t have to go far off the regular path to avoid those characters. When you roll off the plane in Jamaica though, all sorts of folks are primed and ready for your arrival. They have a very solid taxi hustle there. Any tourist that makes it from the airport in Montego Bay to a resort for the Wikitravel rates you see mentioned (~$10) has some solid haggling skills or knows the routine there. Otherwise, you’re looking at ~$40 for a 10 minute ride. One aspect that threw us off was the realization that local currency was not needed. Not needed, and actually not wanted, it seemed. There was a single functioning ATM that dispensed Jamaican currency. It had a huge line and lots of people made sure to let us know that we didn’t need it if we had USD. We actually went this whole trip without even seeing a Jamaican dollar.

One overpriced cab ride through the secure tourist enclosure of the “Secrets” property, and we were completely quarantined from anything foreign. Staff speaking with only the slightest of accents. All manner of international food selections, with “Jamaican food” relegated to small sections of buffets or a single restaurant among multiple. All shopping conveniently billed to your room in USD. You could easily pretend you never left the country. To be clear though, it was a nice getaway. Getting stranded in Turkmenistan after weeks of meals with mutton and horse on the menu had us feeling at capacity with cultural enrichment. At this point, sipping watered-down frozen umbrella drinks on a well manicured beach was a welcome respite. The thing is, it just doesn’t translate into a meaningful blog post. There just isn’t any unplumbed depth to a relaxing spa day or fighting over prime chairs on the beach or by the pool. And that’s about all I have to share for this little quickie getaway. I flew the drone all over the place at sunrise and sunset. We did some nice snorkeling. Otherwise, it was eating, drinking, and relaxing.

The next trip will be a bit more fast-paced, and it’s only a few weeks away.


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