Friday, December 15, 2006

the anomaly of drinking pina coladas in december

I am under no illusion that the "resort" Jamaica I experienced last weekend is the real Jamaica. I know that much of rural Jamaica is poor and not tourist-friendly (though the topography seems to be stunning no matter where you are). For what it was, though - a three night stay in a 5-star Jamaican resort - the trip was phenomenal. A tropical vacation in December makes it hard to remember that Christmas is only a couple of weeks away.

Half Moon Resort in Rose Hall (just outside of Montego Bay) sprawls over 400 acres along the Jamaican coast. The amazing thing is that this land spreads out horizontally to give the resort two miles of beachfront property. The occasion for the trip was a destination wedding of a good friend of mine from high school. He and his fiance booked a room in the main resort building on the beach. The rest of us stayed in villas near the east end of the property a couple of hundred yards up the road from the beach.

In my mind, a tropical "villa" conjures images of quaint hut-like structures with beach decor. Roomy, but humble. Maybe a grass thatched roof. Not so. The villas are 5, 6, or 7 bedroom white colonial manor houses, each with a private pool and two golf carts for driving around the resort. The only photo I have of our villa is below. Despite the darkness, I think it's still apparent that these were pretty posh accommodations.

As if this weren't enough, each villa is staffed with a cook, a butler, and a housekeeper. We took our butler shopping with us to help us get food on the first afternoon. Our cook, Paula, prepared and served meals that we requested at times appointed by us. We would leave little notes on the stove top at night that read something like this:
We would love to have breakfast around 9 a.m. - eggs, bacon, sausage, and french toast.
Thanks - see you in the morning!"
How is one supposed to feel about such an opulent luxury? Grateful? Guilty? It seems presumptuous, but at the same time it feels perfectly natural given the setting. In reality, is it over-the-top? Decadent? Oh yeah. But did we love it? Absolutely. I thought of my own squalid kitchen, still messy when I left it at 5:00 a.m. last Friday...and I laughed when I imagined transposing this waitstaff scenario to my own house in Richmond, leaving a note for my roommate:
I have to be at work at 9:00. Eggs and bacon would be nice, perhaps with a side of cereal. Save the buttermilk pancakes for later in the week.
8:15 would be perfect.

The wedding itself was beautiful, despite a rain shower two hours before the ceremony that threatened to dampen more than just wedding-day spirits. With about 50 people in attendance and the sun falling toward the horizon at 4:30, it was everything a destination wedding is supposed to be.

The only unfortunate piece to the whole trip was that I didn't bring my camera. Or, more accurately, I thought I had lost it before we left. At 5:00 in the morning, I couldn't find it at my house, and Erin and I even stopped by my office on the way to the airport thinking it might be there. It turns out it was in the mud room off of my back porch (NO idea how it got there), so I'm having to rely on pictures from others. I am really bummed to have missed such an incredible photo opportunity...but at the same time, not having a camera in my hands all the time really allowed me to enjoy the experience fully.

A few pictures are included below, and perhaps I can post a few more when/if I get them...


Anonymous said...

Chris - I would love to hear more about your trip to the Half Moon Resort. We are going in April to stay in a 6 bedroom villa.

My email is


lauren said...

dude. did you and erin intend to color coordinate your wedding attire? i am concerned. though you both look lovely :)

Anonymous said...

So good to see you this week, and glad to get the official blog update of Jamaica. Hang in there, my dear. ENjoy the holiday with your family! Love always, alyssa

Sarah K said...

But what if you asked Colin NICELY? :)