Ya Mon! We're back from Montego Bay J.A.

Normally, I try to keep a trip diary up-to-date while travelling however I somehow knew that the internet access at our hotel would prevent this. I was right as the pc's were locked up which prevented me from loading up pictures. Not only that, the internet fee at our hotel was $9.00US for 30 minutes (the special was $18 for a hour). It is really ridiculous to charge that much so not many people where using the 4 internet stations. If they wanted to make more money, they could reduce that fee and they would make a lot more money as people would consider it. Anyway since this trip report is really a post mortem rather than a diary, I will write about the different aspects of the trip by subject. For pictures and videos, if you have fast internet speed, use the start slideshow function and view in full screen.

The Resort
As I mentioned earlier, the Riu Montego Bay has only been opened for 3 months so itís still suffering some growing pains. Some of these pains are transferred to the clients.
1st Pain. We had pre-assigned rooms (4236-4237) and although we tried to upgrade they said there was no room. We were in building 4 which is far from everything but that wasnít the problem. When we got to the rooms, they had one king size bed. No problem for Myrna and I but Ron and Frank did not want to get that intimate. The problem with our room was that it smelled really bad, to the point of having a sore throat from the harshness of the smell. Ron and Frank got moved to building 1 (room 1006) and we tried to move but they said building 1 would only have room the next day. We moved into Ron and Frank initial room (4236) for the night since it did not smell. The new room in building 1 (room 1006) was bigger and had 3 large beds. That room was perfect except for one thing which becomes pain #2.
2nd Pain. For some strange reason, when they built this resort, they decided to use keys for the rooms instead of Card Key access. Room 1006 had only one key and they said they might have another by Monday. On Monday, they didnít have an extra key, so Frank asked to move to a room with 2 keys which was room 1224. They had to move everything from one room to the next for a second time. The good part about moving was that the fridge was restocked with drinks and beer which takes us to pain #3.
3rd Pain. The restocking of the fridge is supposed to happen every 2 days. This is even written on the fridge. We were in the room from Sunday and the first time they restocked the fridge with beer was Thursday although we called Tuesday and Wednesday. The front desk said they would supply us with the soft drinks but that they were out of beer. The bars were also Ďout ofí Sambuca for the entire week. Enough about drinking. Now let's talk about food which, as you guessed, was Pain #4.
4th Pain. The food in this report needs a lot of work. Whether it was because the resort was fully booked and they weren't used to having so many people. If you looked hard enough you might find something you could eat but we weren't lucky all the time. The jerk chicken hut was good but was only opened at lunch. The problem is that people looking for good food would keeping reverting to the hut causing a line-up. Some people were in the chicken line-up for over 45 minutes. Two days there was no line-up because the hut was closed, once day because of rain and the other because of wind which brings us to the weather. 

The Weather
The weather left a little to be desired but wasn't that bad. The first 2 days were super hot with very little wind. The 3rd day however was wasn't so good. Around 9:30 in the morning it started to rain heavily for about 3 hours and continued later in the afternoon. That day was also the day the wind picked up for the rest of the vacation. These prominent easterly winds certainly played havoc not only by closing the jerk hut for a day and dropping the water temperature about 10 degrees in the bay. Actually on the first days, beach water was actually too warm. The other place that the wind made a difference was the golf course. You can see the rain in the video here.

The Golf
Although this was basically a golf holiday, it was included as part of the package which is what we usually do. Instead, we decided to go for the 'cheap' all-inclusive package ($1297cad which is now over $1700) and pay for the golf separately. I had pre-arranged our 5 tee-off times which included one round at Half Moon and Cinnamon Hill and a 3 round package at White Witch. With the Canadian dollar under 80 cents during this week, the 5 rounds of golf came out to $1000cad (plus caddie tip) when all was said and done. Now for a rating of the courses.
Half Moon - 2.5 ball rating. It was an OK course but considering the price ($204cad) and the flat terrain and almost boring layout although designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. There is history behind this course but I would skip it all together considering the price.
Cinnamon Hill - 4.0 ball rating . This was the cheapest course at $160cad and was far better than Half Moon. It had 2 ocean holes including the spectacular 5th hole par 3.
White Witch - 4.8 ball rating. The most expensive course (at $210 per round on a 3 game special) this was quite a course. The only reason I don't give it a full 5 is the price and the green condition. As you can see by the pictures, the elevation changes on some holes rivaled Kapalua in Maui. It was challenging and the view of the ocean, albeit from a kilometer away were breath taking. Unfortunately, I was playing my worst golf of the year. I will blame that on being distracted from the views but my problem was my short game which in my case means anything inside 110 yards. I also couldn't putt which was unlike me. The wind didn't help either but the best part about the golf and playing at this time of year is that we felt like we were alone on the course most of the time. Check out the score cards here and you will see that not one game took over 4 hours to play which is great for resort courses.  

Overall vacation rating
Other than the growing pains of the Riu Resort and the iffy weather, overall this vacation was good. Most people in Jamaica are super friendly and everything is really, No problem!