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Joined: 01/02/01
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Loc: Omaha, Nebraska
      #37401 - 05/28/01 11:36 AM (

Another three to American Airlines for their inflexible scheduling. We had originally bought tickets to fly directly from Aruba to Kingston on 5/16/01, then on Mo Bay and Negril all on the same day. About a month before we were to leave, Bobbie called AA to check on our flight plans. WITHOUT TELLING US BEFORE, they then informed us that our original flight to Mo Bay had been cancelled and we would have to go all of the way back to Miami instead, then on to Mo Bay. It was undeterminable how long all of that might take us and whether we could even make proper connections in Mo Bay for Negril. We decided to stay overnight in Miami (at our own expense, of course) and to fly on to Mo Bay the next morning. That worked out OK except for the extra expenses of the hotel in Miami.
On the way back, we arrived in Mo Bay at 8:30 AM to wait for an AA flight at 12:45. While waiting, we discovered that Jamaica Air Lines had a flight leaving at 9:30, but AA wouldn't put us on it (apparently because they didn't want us using another airline). The AA flight was delayed about 1 1/2 hours, so you can guess what that did to our connecting flights. We did get home about midnight and our luggage got delivered to us about 6:00 PM the next day.
We stayed at the Charela Inn and paid a very reasonable price for "bed and breakfast". The Jamaican dollar is very depressed, selling at 40 to 45 per US dollar, and our room was denominated in Jamaican dollars. The Charela was just as nice as ever and the beach was delightful. There is no drop-off just off the sandy portion of this beach, so a person can wade gently right into the ocean, which is about body temperature by mid-afternoon. At low tide, Bill was able to stand on the bottom clear out at the buoys which mark off the swimming area (about 80 or 90 yards from the shore). The rest of the time, he could only stand at about 30 to 40 yards. Our room was lovely, except for the absence of shower curtains or door (or anything) which caused us to get the entire bathroom wet each time we took a shower. Also, especially early in the morning, one had to run the hot water for 15 or so minutes before they got hot water, which sometimes turned cool while it was running.
One thing that did occur needs to be reported to all so that they won't experience the same thing. We ate lunch one day at a place called Margueritaville. We each had hamburgers, which cost about $7.00 US dollars. They were nearly inedible, apparently filled with mostly some sort of substance that WASN'T hamburger. While we were choking down what we could of these (I hesitate to use the word) hamburgers, a vey thin cat wandered by. I tore off a large piece of my meat? and gave it to the cat. He/she tried a small bite of it and left the rest. That's pretty bad meat when a hungry cat won't even eat it. We also tried their Margaritas, of which they advertise 52 flavors. They were OK, but filled to the brim with chipped ice, which, of course melted almost immediately and diluted the drinks. After that we steered clear of that place.

There are more peddlers roaming the beach than we remember from the last time. One guy came by selling Hashish; and about 30 feet behind him strolled 3 police. When we discussed that with the hotel security, we were told that the police don't want to arrest the peddlers because they have no money. They want to wait until some poor, unsuspecting tourist buys some drugs, then arrest him/her. They can make much more money that way.
The Jamaica departure fee has also risen to $23 per person, so it cost us $46 to get out of the country. Even though the beach at Negril is wonderful, due to the several minor irritations that we experienced, we will not be returning to Negril.

Addition to Our Previous Post

While the official rate of exchange is 41.5 to 45 Jamaican dollars (J$) to one US dollar (US$), most of the places post their prices in US$. Those that do post their prices in J$ and/or both, usually round the exchange to 40/1 and they usually also round up to the nearest US$. For example, we bought some items at a liquor store that came to 773 J$. They told us it was 20US$. We paid it because we didn't want to make an issue of it and, besides, the Jamaicans need all the foreign currency that they can get. We were told more than once by the Jamaicans that things there are tough all over, and I believe them from what we saw. Also, we didn't really want any Jamaican change since it can't be exchanged for US money.

Edited by Administrator on 6/4/01 01:00 PM.

"The power of compound interest is the greatest mathematical discovery of all time." - Albert Einstein

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