View from the Terrace
View from the Beach
View from the Beach
First of all, thanks to Meg for the title.
Due to my friend Pam's excellent foresight in choosing a spouse, My friends Pam, Meg, Anne and I had access to a stunning and luxurious villa in Jamaica for a long weekend to celebrate an upcoming Very Special Birthday. I will not go into any greater detail on that matter.
Having departed New York at the crack of dawn, we arrived at the villa in time for lunch. We didn't have much settling in to do, because the excellent staff took care of all that. First, Pam sat down with the house staff to discuss menus for our visit. Pork products were stressed. Then we changed into light clothing and headed to the beach cafe. We started with a round of Ting soda, sort of a sugary Fresca, just to get the blood sugar flowing. I had a salad with papaya and curried shrimp that immediately got me into the Caribbean mood. Anne had the same, Pam had an Asian chicken salad, and Meg had a terrific looking club sandwich that not only contained bacon but also a fried egg, with fries.
After that, we hit the beach. And here I can say I wholeheartedly recommend visiting the Caribbean in the off-season. The beach and the resort's bars and restaurants were quiet, but not entirely empty, so there was no jockeying for a lounge chair or a table. It was pure, unadulterated relaxation. One morning we had the beach all to ourselves. It was bliss. That afternoon we enjoyed frozen drinks at the beach bar -- your pina colada, your strawberry daquiri, your gin rickey. I will simply say that the bartenders did not pour with a light hand.
We followed this with Red Stripe on the terrace at the villa while dinner was being prepared.
After relaxing at the villa's pool, we heard for the first time the sound that we came to know and love so well during our time there -- the sound of the bell calling us to the table.
Dinner began with conch soup, which was creamy but had a nice spicy bite. We then had a simple salad served with a homemade ranch dressing. I'm not usually a ranch fan, but this was all natural and thus didn't taste like sour glue with a few herbs in it. Next, the main course was laid out buffet-style -- a fabulously juicy and spicy jerk pork tenderloin, with carrots, stringbeans, rice and beans, and fried plantains. I'm sure we had red wine with this, because I don't think we ever turned down red wine. After we'd done major damage to the jerk pork, we were surprised with a birthday cake arranged by Pam's mother-in-law, served with champagne. The cake was strongly flavored with vanilla, and tasted sweet and warm and just like a birthday cake should.
After dinner we collapsed in the open-air living room, leafed through magazines, finished our drinks, and gabbed. We've been friends since forever, and what's really nice about that is (1) you never run out of things to talk about and (2) if you do, nobody minds just sitting silently and companionably until it's time to talk again.
Then we slept the sleep of the just, while our husbands took care of the kids and/or our fathers looked after our dogs.