Kindness Would Have Prevented the Bigotry

At the risk of sounding too liberal for the likes of homophobic bigots in Jamaica, I declare that the recent behaviour of a large group of school boys, in a once highly regarded high school in our capital, was abhorrent and should not go unpunished.

Much of our nation is up in arms about the insulting chants these boys projected, during their assembly, about the boys in another high school in Kingston.  And we should be angry, not only for the damage it does to the children in our country, but also the damage it does to the LGBTQ community the world over.  The immorality here is twofold: firstly, the phrase used by these boys, to pinpoint and insult gay men, is an age-old derogatory term, which we in Jamaica must obliterate.  Secondly,  the intention of the phrase depicts homosexuality as being a bad thing.

(By the way, the principal, the board, the staff and the parents are very much responsible for what happened.)

We Jamaicans wish to be modern, striving to have access to the internet and social media, using the latest smartphone and tablet.  We want our nation to be recognised internationally for producing great athletes, musicians, artists and scholars.  We boast about the beauty of our land and sea, enticing visitors to make Jamaica their number one vacation choice.  We travel abroad and proudly announce where we are from, flashing our passports to prove just how cool we are.  Yet, here we are, still behaving like intolerant barbarians from centuries ago.

Imagine what could happen when news gets out and reaches the international stage:  “Jamaicans are a bunch of small-minded assholes,” they might think.  “We’ll support and sponsor your star musicians and athletes, provided they denounce Jamaica, because we don’t want anything to do with a country where such atrocious acts are accepted or swept under the table.”  Not good for us, right?!

Wake up Jamaica!  We cannot have it both ways.  Stop picking only the cherries that suit your palate.  We are either living in the twenty-first century, or we are not.  If we want to be part of the first world and its luxuries, which we currently crave, then we must embrace it all and be tolerant of all religions, beliefs, sexual orientations, choices and every race.

It goes without saying that kindness must be the motivation behind everything.  In fact, think about it for a few moments, if kindness was considered before each action, the world would be rid of so many problems, bigotry included.

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Death Sucks!

Death is a sure thing in life, but we are rarely, if ever, prepared for it.

My grandparents lost their daughter in a car accident in the early 1970s.  She was in her early thirties, the older sister to my dad and their two younger sisters.  It was devastating for them all and I don’t know how they managed to carry on with life, but I suspect they did so because they had to.  They had to continue for one another and for the little people who were recent additions to the family.  Less than twenty years later, I was almost fifteen.  I recall my grandmother saying that no one knew what it was like to lose a child, unless you’d lost one yourself.  That was all.  No words could be used to reply to this statement, as her words had said it all.  She had lost a child.  My Dad and his sisters had lost their sister.  It was a chilling moment for me.  It still is.

The loss of any loved one is crushing.  The inexplicable pit you feel inside yourself leaves you confused and helpless.  There are no explanations, regardless of the cause of death.  Religious people say it’s “god’s will”, which seems to help some, but it doesn’t actually take away the pain of missing the person who has died, the pain of knowing the loved one was robbed of his or her life.

For atheists, like myself, the words “god’s will” are empty and can be maddening to those who are in mourning.  Sometimes, it is best just to acknowledge that the death of a loved one sucks.  It sucks.  Whether it’s your child, sibling, parent, grandparent, spouse, cousin, friend, colleague, or your ex, it sucks.

What on earth do you do next?  How do you move on from this?  No one knows, not unless they’ve had a similar experience, and even then, no two people nor situations are the same.  In fact, no two moments are the same, so what works for you one minute, might not work for you the next.  Each second that passes is another second you survived and it’s horrible, until one day it might not feel as horrible.  When does that day come?  You don’t know, until it does.

What can those of us around you do?  We can be there to listen, to talk, to embrace, to scream, to cry, to sit and just be present.  We can remember that after funerals and memorials, you are still mourning each moment you live without your loved one.  We can check in on you, for years to come.  We will be present when you need us and even when you say you don’t need us.

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emmadaltonbrown@gmail.com

Long Journey, No Matter How Short It Might Be

You should be celebrating, like everyone else, but you’re not.  They took out that benign brain tumour; they cut out the mass pressing on your spinal cord; they removed both of your breasts; they zapped or poisoned the lingering cancer cells; they prevented your heart from failing; they found drugs to keep your autoimmune illness at bay, sort of.  Yet you know it’s not the end.  It will never be the end.

So, the synapses in your brain are working overtime.  After all, your brain is in charge of everything you do, say, think and feel.  It speaks to every muscle, nerve and cell in your body.  Your brain is the control centre of you.  It is making you acutely aware of what is going on in every part of your body.  This is not the case for everyone, but when you’ve woken up inside the realisation that your body has failed to be what the healthy version of it should be, your brain suddenly becomes wise to just how precious health and life are.  You no longer give a fuck about a chipped fingernail, unwaxed leg hair, the fool who disagrees with your ethics, the argumentative colleague, the traffic jam, the broken plate…..you get my drift.

Everyone else is still celebrating, however.  You had a close call.  The outcome could have been so much worse.  You could have died.  You are still alive.  Yeah, they cured you!  And that is what other people see.  They are happy.  It makes them feel much better to know that you are okay.  And to be honest, that’s okay.  Why shouldn’t they get to feel good about all of this?  Why should they be burdened with a bit of realism?  You decide you will simply keep your mouth shut and play along with it.  Perhaps doing so will cure you completely.  You will remain in remission forever and nothing bad will come back, nor grow back.

Positivity and hope absolutely go a long way when it comes to making the most of enjoying each moment you are alive, and you can continue to have a wonderful and joyful life.  But the reality of medical science remains.  It should not be dismissed.  Prognoses have been studied and you cannot avoid how these make you feel.  You need the support of those who love and care about you.  They need the information, so that they may help you.  Hiding it all under the rug that rests beneath your bed is not realistic.  The mound of worry will soon begin to show.

It is not your responsibility to make everyone else feel better.  Trust me, they will survive this!  In fact, you will find that some people do want to be there for you, whenever and forever.  Be wise and let them be there, because your journey will be long, even if it’s shorter than you’d have liked.

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Be Wise: Let People Be There For You

emmadaltonbrown@gmail.com

 

Forced to Feel Like Damaged Goods

Some men are funny creatures when it comes to what they are looking for in a longterm partner.  They seem to be quite happy to have ‘slept around’ themselves, yet they don’t like the idea of their girlfriend/life partner/wife having an extensive sexual history.  The thing is, if these men have been sleeping with many different women, then from which pool of women, who have not had an extensive sexual history, are they choosing said longterm relationships?  Men, you need to get a grip!  If it’s acceptable for you to have had many sexual partners, then it’s absolutely fine for us women to have had the same.  Provided it has not been through force.

Well, of course I’m bringing this conversation back to what’s been on everyone’s minds, televisions, smartphones, tablets, etcetera, over the last couple months.  What do you expect?  Talk about something different, because you are all getting bored with the topic?

Oh, welcome to our world……the one in which we have been living for centuries.  You don’t think women are flipping out over the boredom we feel?  Boredom over the fact that we have been fighting this issue for decades.  Who would have thought that, in 2017, this would still be a battle we are faced with on a daily basis?  It’s a bit different now, however, because, while we have been courageous enough to reveal the truth, we are now threatened with the backlash of actually standing up and speaking up for ourselves.  So I have some questions…..

We are now having to justify our anger to some of you?  We are now being accused of putting men in a position whereby they don’t know how to act around women anymore?  Our cause is up for criticism because there are some women who might lie and make stories up about men, for the sole purpose of ruining their lives?  Men are so nervous around us that they are going to stop including us in business opportunities, for fear of us accusing them of sexual assault? (An actual discussion on BBC World Service, BTW!)

Oh, and just to really bring the attention back to men, some are saying, “Men get sexually abused by women also!”  As if to imply that women don’t care about every single person who is abused.  Of course we do!  Advocating one huge cause such as ours in no way implies that we are therefore excluding all other problems!  That said, the number of girls and women who have been sexually abused far outweighs the number of men.  The misogyny towards girls and women all over the world, throughout history and in present times, is second to none.  So, we fight for girls and women.  We fight against sexual harassment, molestation, abuse and assault.  We fight for our freedom because men simply will not stop.  Not only are you not stopping, you are pissed that we are demanding that you stop.  You are flinging insults about us deserving the abuse because of the way we dress.  You are flinging insults about us deserving to be raped because we like sex (CONSENSUAL SEX is what we like!).

The sad truth is, some women don’t even like consensual sex.  When you grow up getting raped, repeatedly, you get to the point whereby you might feel numb to sex.  You’ve been raped so many times that you’ve blocked off any emotion inside of you.  Possibly, you roll with a sexual situation, because that might be the only way to save yourself from getting physically hurt.

When women are called promiscuous, it is hurtful to us.  No one really knows another person’s situation and what’s happened to them.  If it is because we have been sexually assaulted countless times, who are you to judge?  If it because we willingly choose to be sexually active, why are you even concerned?  Surely it’s a better situation when women are in a position whereby we have freely and happily chosen to have sex rather than to have been raped and forced into feeling like damaged goods?  #StandUpSpeakUp #MeToo

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Self-Published Author……Ignorance Is Bliss

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So I did it!  I finally made the decision to self-publish my first novel, “Ignorance Is Bliss”, on Amazon.  It took me 3 years from when I wrote the first line of the book until I published it.

Truth be known, the book only took me 3 months to write – the first draft, that is.  Being new at novel-writing, the editing process has been laborious, to say the least.  Upon reading that first draft, my mother told me that there was too much sex in the book for her tastes, so I should probably get some friends to read it instead – this made me laugh!

So, I turned to two of my dearest friends in the world: Rachel, my Bajan friend who, like me, went to boarding school in England, university in London and then worked in London.  She returned to Barbados a few years ago; and Trisha, my Jamaican friend, who has lived in Germany for over a decade, but returns to Jamaica every year.  These two ladies read countless drafts, spent hours and hours, without any complaints to me, and have proven to be the most amazing friends.  Their input and advice were so valuable and if I ever become famous, it’ll be because of them!

There were others who read various drafts and gave me sound advice – Abby, Gayle, Sarah and Denise.  One of the biggest changes I made was the first name of my main character – Skyler Philipps was changed from Angela, because it was too old-fashioned, my niece, Sabrina, told me.

The excessive and unnecessary characters, who I had included in the beginning, as well as boring scenery details, were ex-ed, thanks to one of Writer’s Workshop’s editors, Philip Womack.  He also gave me some other excellent pointers: when starting a novel, throw the reader ‘in media res’ – into the middle of the matter, and he advised that I leave each chapter with unanswered questions, building up to climaxes, basically.

I, of course, read my book well over a hundred times, editing each time, not just storyline, but copy-editing.  Once I was satisfied, I went through the task of finding an agent.  Luckily, agents are very clear about whom they will represent, the genre, etc, and what they require.  Alas, I was unable to get an agent, even though all rejections came with positive feedback and encouragement.  I decided to lay this novel to rest and start on my second novel, taking into account all the advice I got the first time round.  I am now almost halfway through my second novel and I am editing as I write, both content and copy.

A few weeks ago, however, it dawned on me that I should, perhaps, take the advice of those who have been telling me to self-publish “Ignorance Is Bliss”.  What did I have to lose? I was unsuccessful in obtaining a publisher in the traditional way, so why not?  That’s when I went on Amazon and began the process of self-publishing.  It’s actually very easy, but I did make a few mistakes.  Firstly, I missed the part whereby you can check the exact format of an electronic copy before it is actually published.  I have subsequently made the changes and anyone who did buy the electronic copy beforehand can actually update their copy on Amazon by managing their devices and content, ensuring that the update icon is switched on.  I then decided to make a paperback copy available.  Amazon will print on demand.  Again, I missed the checking of what the inside would look like, because I was so concerned about the cover.  I was using my own acrylic on canvas painting as my artwork and I was worried about how it would come out on the paperback cover itself.  I ordered two copies of the book and I was thrilled with the outcome of the artwork.  That said, I had made the book too big (9 inches x 6 inches) and I had failed to change the double line spacing to single line spacing.  To be honest, this did make it easy for another needed copy-edit, but not the most ideal for carrying a novel in your purse.  I have subsequently made the necessary changes – the book is now 8 inches x 5 inches and has 381 pages.

I do hope that you will go on Amazon and buy “Ignorance Is Bliss” by Emma Dalton-Brown.  The electronic copy is US$4.95 and the paperback copy, ISBN 1973309246 is US$12.95.

*please note that you will see two paperback copies as the larger size (9×6 inches), which  I did create in the beginning, cannot be removed, though it does say that it is unavailable.

 

We all have one #MeToo story, or more, to tell…..countless times if we must!

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Everyone’s been talking about it, everyone’s been writing about it, everyone’s been posting #MeToo all over social media.  It’s about time…..

The other day, a friend informed me that she got a complaint about me and my ranting – this was ten days before the #MeToo posts went viral.  Apparently, I’ve upset some people with my persistent posts about sexual abuse.  It’s causing mayhem.  It’s upsetting people.  It’s bringing attention to myself.  It’s appalling.

AHEM!  Do these people think I give two hoots?  It is supposed to do all those things –  I want to cause mayhem.  I want to upset people.  I want to bring attention to the topic. And yes, sexual abuse is appalling.  Imagine my delight when I woke to see that everyone is now talking about it too?  I am thrilled.  It is about time the entire world get with the programme.  Force this topic into conversations.  Social media, I love you more than ever!

Seven weeks ago, I was told by a ‘friend’ (I use this term lightly, here, because she is no longer a friend) that she had been avoiding me for months because she was waiting for me to quieten down with the whole abuse issue and what had happened to me back in April.  She hadn’t wanted me to go on and on about it in any conversation I might have with her, so she had avoided me until I was back to normal.

I literally laughed in disbelief.  Still laughing, actually.

The mere thought of a female friend dismissing my feelings, dismissing what had happened to me, was and still is unbelievable.  I called her out on it, which was clearly not something she had anticipated.  She had honestly thought that I would say ‘I understand’ and that we could carry on with regular conversations, continue our friendship.

However, doing so would have made me complicit in the crime.  Pushing the issue under the carpet, for the sake of keeping the peace between us, would have been hypocritical of me, not to mention hurtful to myself and other women who have been sexually harassed, abused and assaulted.

The negative side of calling her out was this:  she told me that I was exaggerating, had made up the story to seek attention and material for a book.  She said that it wasn’t as if I’d been shoved in a bathroom, had all my clothes ripped off and been raped.  She told me that what had happened to me was ‘normal’ behaviour of Jamaican men.  Surely I knew what they were like?  I was accused of ruining this man’s marriage, making is family look bad.  Did I not know his position at work and in society?  How dare I speak out against a man like that?!  When I pointed out that I had never mentioned anyone’s name, she said that it was obvious whom I was talking about, as it’s typical behaviour of said man when he drinks.

Oh, so now it’s alcohol’s fault?  Alcohol made the man scream to me, ‘Come here woman, come yah so!  Yuh husband can’t afford material for a swimsuit?!’  It’s alcohol’s fault that, despite the fact I ignored this man, he continued to follow me and continued to shout, ‘Me say come here!  What kind of swimsuit is that? Yuh husband don’t have enough money for a proper swimsuit?’  The alcohol is also at fault for, despite me ignoring the man again, the man continuing to follow me, then said, ‘Seriously, what is this?’ as he stuck his hand inside the back of my bikini bottom, right on and inside my bottom?  I smacked his hand away and told him, ‘Get your dirty hands off me!’  At which point, the man said, ‘Why should I?  You deserve it if you’re going to wear a swimsuit like that!’

So, are we to say that alcohol was at fault for all of this?  I think it’s a little unfair to blame alcohol, who couldn’t actually defend itself at the time, and still can’t!!! Just saying…..

Let me tell you what the behaviour of this man was….PREDATORY.  An “alcoholic excuse” could have been used with blurting something stupid out, but then realizing you’re an idiot and immediately saying how sorry you are.  This was not the case.  Despite me persistently ignoring him, he still followed me and kept blurting out insults towards me, then sexually molested me and told me I deserved it.  THIS IS PREDATORY BEHAVIOUR.  Do you understand that?  Are you seriously going to say otherwise?  And yes, I will keep going on about it for as long as I keep hearing that someone doesn’t quite comprehend what the man did!  For as long as I keep hearing that someone thinks I ruined this man’s life.  For as long as you think that  I ruined his marriage and his family.  Do you really believe that I did that?  PUUURLEEEEZE!  The man managed to do that all on his own.

So, yes, this is just one #MeToo story that I revealed more than 6 months ago, but it seems that I must retell it countless times, because you’re not quite getting it, are you?!

 

 

Light Their Gaslighting Ego on Fire!

You know what transpired.  You are certain about how the conversation and events went.  Yet the second party to said discussion or event denies any of it ever occurred, says you are crazy and a liar.  This has happened in the past, several times.  It’s taking place yet again.  The proverbial penny begins to drop.  This is not right.  I know that this is so wrong on every level.  I am not a liar.  I am not going crazy.  This same person is putting me down, repeatedly, saying that I’m an awful person, saying that others think I’m terrible.  Oh, wait, now this person is praising me, telling me they never spewed the horrid insults.  Wait, what?  Okay, now I’m confused.   What’s going on?  I’m so exhausted.  I can’t fight this.  I give in.

If you relate to this, there is a strong possibility that you have been subjected to ‘gaslighting’, my friend.  Gaslighting is a form of manipulation whereby the manipulator will do the above and then have you, and others, convinced that it’s all in your head.  It happens within intimate relationships, usually spousal, but also within long-standing friendships.  ‘Victims’ of gaslighting might never really understand what is happening to them, though they will have many moments when they do feel as if something is off.  Gaslighters will ensure, however, that they give their victims something positive to hold on to, so that they don’t catch on to the underhanded behaviour.  The movie and book ‘Girl on the Train’, while it is not really about gaslighting, demonstrates gaslighting behaviour at the end of the story.

Why do people gaslight?  What sort of person does this?  Is it an insecurity whereby the gaslighter needs to have control, as is the case in some romantic relationships?  What a nasty way to get the upper hand. Do gaslighters even realize what they are doing?  Were these people bullied as kids, so now as adults they are simply re-enacting what happened to them?  Let’s face it, gaslighting is a form of bullying.

So, if you do find yourself faced with gaslighting, what should you do?  Don’t try and reason with the person, there is little point.  You have one option, in my opinion – WALK AWAY.  Any other scenario, which you might believe are possibilities, will not transpire the way you imagine.  These people come in various degrees of sociopaths and narcissists.  You cannot reason with them.  Don’t even try to have the ‘last word’ – your efforts will be futile.  Get satisfaction from the fact that walking away will light their gaslighting ego on fire.  By that simple action, you will have the last word.

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#Emmasadventures2017summer – Quao’s Village was a Trip!

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Having heard about this quaint and quiet river destination I had not yet been to, I knew that it had to jump the queue within my bucket list because I’d be damned if there was going to be even more people who got there before I did!  I won’t get jealous of friends feting without me, but I will be real green if I can’t experience a part of my island while others do.

Amidst a busy summer, Trish, my partner in ‘adventure crime’, and I had to find a time when the bigger part of our family could make it to Quao’s Village.  With Jamaica’s Independence looming ahead and, realistically, nothing to do because we are too old for those kind of parties and our kids are far too young, we decided to hit the road on the holiday Monday.

Thanks to my friend who lives up in the hills of Irish Town, we took the ‘shorter’ (her words!) scenic route up to Newcastle and down towards Buff Bay.  Now, while this was certainly not the shorter journey from Kingston, it was absolutely stunning.  Many people I know have been as far as Holywell, but few have been beyond and here is what awaits you……Imagine your granny’s gorgeous garden from when you were growing up, only this one is sprawled along for miles, entwined with green mountains all around and laced with a pristine river that anyone would wish to have at the bottom of their own garden?  Imagine not seeing one other vehicle, aside from a large truck that’s adorned with bicycles from the Blue Mountain Bicycle Tour?  Then, the faded sign ‘Quao’s Village’ suddenly appears on the left – so suddenly, in fact, that you could easily miss it and end up in Buff Bay.  This was not us, however, as my beady country eyes are well seasoned for these mistakes.  Not that it would have mattered much, as Buff Bay is only a couple miles away.

No photos I had seen previously did justice to what awaited us.  In fact, I am torn between promoting this place and the hospitality of the lovely man who runs it and wishing to keep it a secret from those who might decide to regularly visit this haven and bring countless friends along with them.  As I said, friends going to a session without me will not phase me, but if you go to a beautiful and secluded part of Jamaica and I am not included, I might lose it!

All I can say is this, bring your deck chairs, food, libations and music, set yourself up for the day and don’t budge, because from one spot you can wallow in the water or laze on the river bank, while you watch your kids swim and play amongst the rocks.  We literally did not move from this eternal bliss for the entire day, until it was almost sundown, when we opted to take the actual shorter route home, via junction.  This was, hands down and feet up, one of the best days we had this summer!

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#Emmasadventures2017summer – Kids Know How Smart Dolphins Are, Do You?

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It’s not often that my husband gets to join in our summer adventures, as most are planned during the week.  Boohoo for him!  Okay, I’m not that mean.  Honestly, it’s just the way it seems to fall and sacrifices must be made for the visiting foreign family.

So, when I broke the news to him that we were going to Dolphin Cove on a weekend, he had that hopeful look, the one where he’s fairly certain that he is expected to join us, but there is a slight doubt that he will once again be left out!  Truth be known, my husband is a team player and more than a good sport.  If he has to sit on the bench, allowing others to play, he will do so.  Equally, he will be the first to offer to take everyone’s kids and ensure they have a whale of a time.  In this case, our time was spent with a dolphin named Secret.

Sunday, it seems, is an ideal day to visit Dolphin Cove, mainly due to the fact that there tends to be no cruise ships in Ocho Rios.  It allows for a quiet and peaceful experience, heightened by the absolute serenity of swimming with dolphins.  Dante, one of the dolphin trainers, took us out into the water and smoothly orchestrated Secret and his tricks for each one of us.  As soon as one person surfed in on the board, pushed by Secret, Dante had another one of us lined up for hugs and kisses from Secret, while he asked yet another to swim out on the board, and so on.  The whole operation and interaction was executed efficiently and lovingly.  It is quite clear that these trainers adore the dolphins and, equally, they want their visitors to experience this feeling, as they patiently appeased those who were rather nervous about being touched by them.  In between, Secret was rewarded with fish, of course!

Dolphin Cove has much to offer visitors, as it’s also possible to swim with sharks (no thank you, for me, however!), handle the stingrays and go on a nature walk to pet bunnies, feed birds and whatever it is one is supposed to do with an iguana!!  At least the kids enjoyed holding the reptile!  There are ample areas in which to sit, or lounge, on the beach or deck, and there’s a few refreshing stream-water showers where you can rinse off the salt from the sea or simply cool down from the summer heat.  If you must get a really cold relief, go upstairs to the restaurant, which has AC, and absorb the breathtaking view of the ocean through the glass wall.

The most special moment for me was seeing the sheer delight on all four children’s faces, even the two who had had some trepidation, after they each rode on the boogie board that was pushed by the dolphin.  Their glee didn’t stop there, as there was much chatter among them about Secret slapping noses and toes, as if the dolphin could really have known what he was doing.  But then again, aren’t these cetaceans (mammals who live in water) supposed to be super smart?  The kids clearly know this!  #DolphinCove #TREMbleinFlipFlops

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#Emmasadventures2017summer – GO! Travel to Jamaica & Relinquish Control at Royalton Negril

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View of Bloody Bay from Royalton

The very same afternoon that we left Royalton White Sands in Falmouth, the six of us piled into my pick-up truck, once again, and drove 2 hours to Negril.  Anyone who tells you that it takes 1 1/2 hours must be driving at two in the morning!

Being from Clarendon and currently living in Kingston, I rarely find myself in Montego Bay.  Okay, I lie.  I never find myself there!  Not that I have anything against this city, I promise!!  It’s just far.  We reached the roundabout by the airport in the height of traffic, so we took the top road.  Upon coming down the hill to a busy set of lights, I had zero clue which way I was to go.  Inevitably, I took the wrong turn – left, and had to do a u-turn so that we didn’t end up in the heart of downtown Mobay.  Success.  I had managed to maneuver us in the right direction…….well sort of, as I realized that I was in the wrong lane…..I was trying to drive against oncoming traffic!  Nightmare.  I just needed to turn left and all would be well in the world again.  You can imagine the honks and road-rage shouts, as my not-so-small vehicle was causing more confusion in a mayhem of impatient drivers.  There was nothing I could do, except safely and apologetically make my way to where I was supposed to be.  We all lived to tell the tale, but I can only imagine what the Montegonians’ side of the story would be!

Needless to say, it was a relief when we reached Negril at 8 o’clock that night to stay at Royalton.  Greeted by extremely helpful staff, assisted with our bags, smoothly checked in and upgraded to two adjoining swim-out suites, which were more than perfect for us, we walked over to Zen Japanese restaurant for a late dinner.   The floor-show was in full soca swing, which added to the good mood our rooms had brought out of us!  Although the restaurant was close to empty by the time we got there, our server Andrean and Chef Ricardo were so obliging and gracious, as they took care of my deathly sesame allergy, my distaste for garlic and, most importantly, our need for some Sake!!!  Trish and I finally let the kids have their electronic tablets, as everyone was exhausted, but they gladly put them down for Ricardo’s culinary tricks, which kept us all entertained and then well fed!

Waking up in the comfort of a Royalton bed, with the ability to brew my own coffee right there in our suite, simply added to the heaven I was in.  I was even able to write one of my blogs at the desk in the room, before the children awoke.  I have to say, I would have thought that stepping out onto one’s patio and straight into a plunge-pool was a bit of a gimmick, but the reality of being able to do so is glorious!

Finally, we headed across the front of the hotel, which looks onto the serenity of Bloody Bay, and helped ourselves to what could only be described as a sumptuous spread of every breakfast variation.  So much so, I had to tell my 8 year old son, ‘Don’t overdo it,’ to which he replied, ‘Why not?’  Indeed.

Sadly, we were only there for one night, but with a few hours left before check-out time, we did not waste a second – lounging on the beach, swimming in the ocean and playing in the splash-park.  Had we known all what Royalton Negril has to offer for children and adults alike, we certainly would have booked to stay at least one more night.  I am certainly going to have to return, sooner rather than later.

All I can say now is Thank You, GO! Jamaica Travel, who had suggested and booked us in to Royalton Negril a few days previously.  This company’s reputation for being the Caribbean’s Leading Tour Operator is no joke.  Knowing that two mummies, along with their four children, were on an island tour in our own car, CEO Dave Chin Tung insisted that we stay in this lovely all-inclusive hotel, so that we wouldn’t have to worry about carrying food to feed the kids and ourselves.  To be honest, we had been quite prepared to lug a cooler of provisions and stay in a simple apartment, but the foresight of GO! Jamaica Travel actually saved us from much stress and what would have been a real headache, had we stuck to our original plan.  As it turns out, they could have organized every single step of our adventures this summer.  Alas, I don’t know much about tour operators in general because I am the quintessential organizer myself.  That said, now that I am aware of the excellent and personal service provided by GO! Jamaica Travel, I might relinquish some of my control next time!

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Cheers from Zen!

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Morning wake-up call

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Breakfast time!

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Fresh Local Fruit for Breakfast – Sweet Sop, Passion Fruit, Paw Paw & Pineapple

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Smoked Marlin, Smoked Salmon, Omelette, Ackee & Salt Fish, Callaloo & Bammy

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Playing on the Beach

No words necessary……

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