What day is it? I think it might be Friday. I’m on the balcony again, this time at the end of a day on the beach. A steel drum plays on the beach next door: a steel drum band for the second wedding held there in as many days.
Our days in Montego Bay have been mellow and full of smiles, just like the friends we’ve made on the staff here at our resort. Stretch, a 6’4″ entertainment coordinator found us under our tree on the beach yesterday and convinced our friend Amy to join the mid day dance class on the sand. He wasn’t able to persuade the rest of us.
Then Chocolate, an ebony skinned woman with braids to her waist came over and laid the guilt trip on us — “Look at Amy over there, all by herself.” Chocolate looked at the ground and I swear pulled up some tears. “She so sad none of her friends will join her.” At this point we had emptied quite a few cups of Bloody Marys.
While Laura and I resisted Stretch, we could not resist Chocolate. I fell in love with her when she looked over at Amy alone in the dance area and then gave us puppy eyes.
She and Stretch are very good at their jobs.
Laura and I got up and followed the moves of the fluid, one drop dancers. It was probably the funnest thing I did on the trip. So fun we did it again today. We laughed — a lot — at the moves they convinced us to do. “In Jamaica we don’t twerk. We back it up, mon.” The locals were amazing. I could watch them dance all day. Us vanilla girls, not so much. But they loved us for trying.
After dance class, Chocolate convinced Amy to be a judge in the Iberostar Awards show later in the evening. Resort entertainers performed an impressive dance show that included Beyoncé, Michael Jackson, and Queen impersonations, along with our favorite act showcasing the local dancehall moves they taught us on the beach.
Amy is a local celebrity now, at least among the staff. She and Chocolate are besties, high-fiving every time they see each other, and Stretch comes by to say hi on his rounds recruiting folks for various activities.
Tonight Laura has agreed to take part in a different show, and then I’m going to try to convince everyone to go to the disco late night. Cross your fingers for me.
Tomorrow we will park ourselves on the beach all day again. We’ll visit our other friend, Patrice, who is the beach bartender and who makes amazing Bloody Marys. She smiles a huge happy smile every time we bring our empty coconuts* to her for refill. She laughs with us and calls us baby and honey, and I’m glad we have one more day with her. She was upset with us today that we didn’t come see her again yesterday afternoon when we said we would. We won’t make that mistake again.
The sun is sinking now. I sit on the balcony listening to wavlets sighing, steel drums, and lilting Jamaican accents on the beach below while everyone showers for dinner.
I hope tomorrow we will see Cassandra at breakfast again. She hums and smiles as she busses tables and lays out napkins. When she filled our coffee cups this morning, her humming turned to words, and she sang to us as warm dark coffee streamed from her silver pitcher into our white ceramic cups. Her voice was clear and beautiful, and when she finished, she laughed a throaty, jolly laugh and and asked, “You enjoying Jamaica, ladies?”
“Yes, we are loving it!”
“Irie,” she said, with a warm smile, and moved on to the next table with a fluid grace.
I love the people here.
*Amy bought us insulated plastic coconuts for us to drink out of. They are basically adult sippy cups shaped like coconuts. The bartenders get a kick out of them.