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      20.08.2008 01:24
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      yum yum jamaican food

      I have recently just come back from my amazing 3 week holiday in Jamaica and can honestly say it was absolutely incredible. I am already saving for the next holiday now. As my parents are from Jamaica, I have a lot of family over there so stayed with my grandparents in Mandeville for most of the time which was great as it's situated in the hills, it's a lovely part of the island.
      Anyhow, as i am Jamaican, i have the priviledge of trying much jamaican food, and i managed to taste food all round the island as we travelled to Kingston staying at Strawberry Hill in the Blue mountains (must say it was amazing, breath taking views etc.) We also stayed for quite a few nights in Negril and we also went to Clarendon and White House.

      The first dish that i sampled whilst in Jamaica was KFC!! yes i know, go all the way to Jamaica and eat KFC, but it is a lot better than the UK and USA obviously as it is the home of fried chicken, it is less greasy, and compared to the UK has lots more options such as BBQ, hot and spicy and also comes with scone/dumplin like cakes called festival or biscuit.

      After that was a lot of home cooked food, like callaloo, ackee and saltfish, yams, green banana, plantins, dumplin fired and boiled, different types of fish, rotie, curries, rice and peas and obviously lots of chicken! If you have any questions about these foods and how they taste, message me or comment.

      Sandals is a great place to go, however, if you're not in a couple don't bother because it will just make you feel sick with all the loved up couples and it isn't that lively! However, we had breakfast and lunch there and the food was delicious, it was an all inclusive so it was all included in the price which is great. However, if seeing couples names written in the sand is not your thing then definitely go to either beaches or riu or another resort! Although if you're in anywhere like montego bay or negril or ochi rios then i wouldn't recommend staying all inclusive as you miss out on all the local food and entertainment and Jamaican culture! It's so easy to use local taxi's to get places as they're so cheap, and it is safe around the tourist areas no matter what they say!

      So then after the first week, we went off to Negril, here we stayed at travellers beach resort, and honestly we were not pleased with the level of the presentation of our rooms! So we complained and they upgraded us with no problem to their superior suites. So although i probably wouldn't stay there again unless staying in those rooms, i do highly commend the staff as they are lovely and a really big help. However, the food at the hotel was not all that great, and apart from a fish dish that my dad had, none of us really enjoyed our food or drinks too much!

      Therefore, for the remaining nights we ate out. We ate at Kuyaba
      which is a restaurant that is highly recommended in all the brochures. We ate the peppered shrimp dish (not called exactly that) which was delicious! I also recommend the boiled lobster, jerk chicken (however only if you like spicy foods) the steak.

      The following we night we went to Ricks cafe where everyone goes to watch the sunset, this place i HIGHLY recommend, it's got a great atmosphere, there are people jumping off the cliffs into the water which you can watch, you can also dance as there is a live band. It's always busy at sunset, but take a swimming costume and you can also enjoy going for a dip in the pool, if you fancy you can even eat your dinner in the pool as there are tables and chairs in the shallow end which you can sit in. The views are amazing and so is the sunset, and as for the food, that was also great. Here i would recommend the steak or the combo with fish, steak and chicken, also the BBQ chicken and again the jerk chicken. Prices here are reasonable, most highly priced meal is about $20, however the cocktails were a bit small!

      The next night we went off to Irie for our last meal. This is another recommended restaurant. Here, a soup as starter is included in with the price of your main meal. Here i would recommend the lobster. The here was good, however the portions were very large, so it depends how much you can eat! The prices were pretty reasonable as well about $30 at most, but that includes the soup with bread, which was really tasty. The cocktails here were good, but i will do a full summary of drinks at the end.

      Lastly, we went to coco la palm every lunchtime, as it was situated on the beach and had a lovely beach. We also went there for breakfast. Here i would recommend for breakfast the full jamaican if you like jamaican food or the continental. Again prices are pretty reasonable. At lunchtime i would recommend the jerk chicken, it was the best jerk i ate for the whole time in Jamaica it was really great!

      We then went back to Mandeville for one day, and then went off to kingston for one night to the amazing Strawberry Hill situated in the Blue Mountains, many models such as Naomi Campbell and Elle Macpherson have all stayed here, and it was rated by grazia as one of its top 10 places to stay in the world! So it really is tip top. The food here was also very very very good. Really i can't recomment anything because it all tasted so good to be honest! The prices here really are quite expensive, but if you can afford it, then definitely make a trip up there because it is lovely and surrounded by amazing views, the staff are very friendly and there is an infinty pool looking over the whole of Kingston!

      So lastly we came back for a couple of days to mandeville and left at the end of the week. If you go to Jamaica you must try the patties and we rate them as follows.
      Number 1: Mothers patties
      Number 2: Tasty patties
      Number 3: Juicy patties

      we also rated the Strawberry dacquri cocktails and results are as follows
      Number 1: Coco la palm & Strawberry Hill
      Number 2: Kuyaba
      Number 3: Irie
      Number 4: Rick's Cafe
      Number 5: Sandals
      Number 6: Margharitaville
      Number 7: Travellers

      Fruit and extras
      other things to try! Sugar cane, coconuts fresh, oranges, ginnepes, advocado, go to any bakerys, KFC, vanilla sandwich biscuits, lays, bun and cheese, breadfruit, bammi if you want more contact me!!

      thanks for reading!

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      • More +
        09.09.2005 17:13
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        stress free holiday, with nothing to do but have fun

        I've just come back from a holiday in Jamaica with my husband, daughter and son-in-law, a holiday I'll never forget. We stayed at " Starfish Trewlawny " in Falmouth, where all inclusive means just that. The food was fantastic, with so much choice. Each night was a different theme - for example one night was american, one night Jamaican, one night Oriental just to name a few. But, if like my son-in-law you prefer basic food, every night there was also a salad bar and a section serving anything with chips. Each night the selection of desserts and fresh fruit was vast. I have been talking about the buffet restaurant, but there was three other restaurants to chose from including Japanese and pizza's. The complex has four swimming pools, four bars, tennis courts, table tennis, boating, daily competitions, bingo on the beach just to name but a few of the facilities on offer. A short coach trip away is Dolphin cove where you can swim with the dolphins, a beautiful experience none of us will ever forget, such gentle and beautiful creatures. all the staff at the complex were so friendly and helpful, nothing was too much trouble. We would like to go back sometime, but memories of our holiday will be with us for a long time. mosquito repelent is a must.

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          24.08.2005 17:15
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          A wedding to remember

          We had such a fantastic time in Runaway Bay, Jamaica, that I have had to write a review about it!

          When my husband & I decided to marry abroad we looked into many different places, but I had always wanted to visit Jamaica so the choice was mine. We wanted somewhere that would be close to heaven for obvious reasons, but also a fun loving place where you could “let your hair down” if you wished. We also wanted adults only, all-inclusive, close to the beach, entertainment, trips, etc etc. Not asking for much I know but at Club Ambiance in Runaway Bay, Jamaica, we found it all!!

          My 2 children wanted to be with us along with their partners and we all went to the travel agents to book what we hoped would be a holiday of a lifetime. We chose a Thompson’s holiday, which included the wedding package. Soon we were telling our friends of our plans and 3 other couples decided that they would join us to help us celebrate the special day!

          Anyway, lets get on to why I wanted to write this review.

          When we arrived at Runaway Bay it was evening and all we wanted was a long drink, something to eat and a welcoming bed. Club Ambiance provided all of this. There was a welcome drink on our arrival and booking in at reception was all done very efficiently. A porter carried our bags to our room and explained how everything worked. The room itself was like heaven. A four-poster bed with a beautiful swan made from towels on it. Air conditioning, luxurious bathroom, balcony overlooking the sea, coffee making facilities – what more could you ask for. The others in our party did not have such a luxurious room but they were extremely good. They were still serving dinner so we helped ourselves to something to eat before joining everyone for the entertainment that evening. Drinks flowed with many different cocktails on offer and that first evening we knew we had made a good choice.

          The next day we were greeted by blue skies and warm Caribbean sunshine. The breakfast was wonderful with a choice of cereals, cooked breakfast, salads, cheeses, fresh fruit, and beverages all cooked to perfection. You could even choose how your omelette was cooked and the ingredients in it. After breakfast was the obligatory meeting with the Thompson Rep who was absolutely fantastic. I’ve had reps before where you just want to yawn and go to sleep, but she made everything sound wonderful and exciting and with no pressure at all to do anything However we booked several trips and came away looking forward to going on them.

          There is a small handmade beach at Club Ambiance with plenty of sun loungers for everyone. There are also shaded areas for those who do not like too much sun. We decided on the first day to have a restful time and with the bar opening at 10am it was great to get a cool drink whenever you needed it. Also at 10am the entertainment staff began but there wasn’t any pressure to join in with anything. Caribbean music played most of the time during the day and as the holiday progressed we joined in with cocktail tasting, domino competition, bingo, exercise classes in the pool and terrace, “Mr Bunny” competition, dancing competition, bike riding, kayaking, volleyball and much more, although as I said before there was no pressure to join if you didn’t wish to.

          Our trips included: walking up Dunn’s River Falls, swimming with the Dolphins, rafting down the Martha Brae river. Others in our party had a trip up the Blue Mountain and horse riding along the beach.

          Dunn’s River Falls

          This is a must for all who visit Jamaica. Our coach took us to Ocho Rios where we caught a catamaran trip to the falls. Ocho Rios beach is fabulous and there was a huge ocean liner in dock. On the catamaran the drink was all free and flowed freely – non-alcoholic. Half way to the falls we stopped so any one who wished to go snorkelling over the reefs was able too. All equipment was provided with safety jackets and some guides. We then travelled to the falls and what a wonderful sight greeted us. Everyone is asked to hold hands in a chain then a guide takes you up the falls. The water is warm, a little slippery in places but as you are holding hands you help each other. It could be a little frightening for some but I found it very invigorating and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The guide winds you in & out, sometimes in deep water (to the waist) and others clambering over big boulders. You see some of the “locals” walking unaided up the falls, even with small children. It is a long way and I’m sure someone said it was over 160ft up. Halfway up you seem to turn a corner and suddenly you see the falls coming down at you and wonder is that all to come? Sure thing it is and my feeling at that time was I was so exhilarated I was glad we were only half way up. During your walk up you the guides are taking a video of you and your party for you to purchase at the end but there is no obligation to buy it. All too soon the walk up the falls is over although I think we were walking for at least an hour & half according to the ones in our party that didn’t do the walk. There is a walkway up the side for people to walk up if they do not want to go up the falls. We all agreed that it was an experience of a lifetime and would do it again. However, after our walk we were informed that one of the guides was killed on the falls the previous day when he slipped and hit his head on a boulder. If the falls had been in Great Britain they would have been closed down for investigations and we also thought that there would have been more safety features, like handrails etc. But that was an afterthought and it was Jamaica where everything is “No Problem Mon!” Then it was back to the catamaran for the trip back to Ocho Rios. This time the drink was flowing and it was alcoholic!! The music was pumped up and everyone was dancing on board. The sea was lashing over the front and the ones sitting there got soaked!! All too soon the day was over but what a day to remember!

          Swim with the Dolphins

          Here is another experience I wouldn’t have missed. Our dolphin was called Pepe. We were all put into groups of about 10 and were asked to put life jackets on. The water wasn’t too deep although I couldn’t touch the bottom (only 5ft 1in). When it was our turn we had to walk down some steps to get into the water and swim across to where Pepe was waiting. He did many tricks for us and we were allowed to touch him under the instruction of the trainer. We even had our photographs taken as Pepe “kissed” each one of us. There was also a video if you wished to purchase it. They are such friendly animals and a joy to watch. There was much more to see at the site but we were on a tight schedule so didn’t get to see much especially as we had to queue to get our photographs & video. If you ever get a chance to swim with dolphins it is an experience you will never forget.

          Martha Brae River Rafting

          We made this trip after the wedding and someone had informed them that we were just married and the raft was decorated with fabulous flowers. We were the first ones onto a raft (only 2 to a raft) and the “raft captain” took us off to slowly meander down the Martha Brae River. It was idyllic, so peaceful with large bamboo trees overlooking the water. The guide pointed out different things along the river, birds, trees, vegetation etc. As it was Easter time many of the locals, who normally try to sell their wares along the riverside, were not there so it was quieter than normal. Eventually the others from our party caught up with us and overtook us, some of their guides were singing! I think it had been arranged that we start out first but come in last because all the rafts overtook us!

          The Wedding Day

          If you ever want a wedding in the Caribbean I would highly recommend the Club Ambiance in Runaway Bay. For a start “Runaway Bay” conjures up romance. I went to have my hair done at the salon at about 9am. I felt so relaxed, not nervous at all. Then I met my daughter and daughter in law and we all changed into our dresses in my room. My husband to be went to my son’s room to do his bit. At 11am the wedding co-ordinator came to collect the 3 of us to take us to the ceremony. The others were already downstairs awaiting our arrival. My son was there to give me away; my daughter was chief bridesmaid and daughter in law matron of honour. We tried to do it like an English wedding. As I walked towards the gazebo, with our chosen music playing, there was my partner dressed in a kilt (he’s Scottish), which I didn’t know about! He really looked handsome! My daughter’s boyfriend was best man and all six of us stood on the gazebo for the ceremony. Our friends and many who were on holiday gathered round to watch. The Reverend Lawrence conducted the ceremony and everything went without a single hitch. They had prepared a special room for us to sign the register, all decorated, with wine flowing and a lovely traditional Jamaican wedding cake. The cake had a veil over it and the girls had to remove it (a Jamaican tradition). We signed the register, cut the cake and drank a toast. Then it was time for the photos, which were taken in the garden and on the beach. To top it all off the Club Ambiance had given us a secluded table for 12 to have our lunch at. I remember every single minute of that day and will treasure the memory for the rest of my life. The afternoon was spent relaxing on the beach in our swimwear or shorts and in the evening they opened the a la carte restaurant especially for us and we all dressed up again in our wedding gear. The menu was lobster and steak and we were served all evening with whatever we requested.

          All too soon the 2 weeks were over but everyone who was with us said that it was definitely a holiday of a lifetime, the best wedding they had seen at the Club Ambiance (there were about 5 whilst we were there) and something to remember for the rest of their lives. We have many photos and a lovely video to look back on. This is one place I would highly recommend to go, especially if you are thinking of getting married.

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