Jamaica, man…

There is a Seventh Level of Hell and it is a place where a cruise ships dock and the 4,300+ inhabitants must disembark and attempt to board waiting travel busses to various excursions. I’ve invoked the term abattoir in this cruising experience and that feeling is no more prevalent when thousands of people are sardined in on staircases, waiting to pour out of a small hole in the side of the boat. Once the exit is achieved, the feeling continues as one walks into a giant room where lines are being formed to get on the travel vans.

The problem is, being short, one can’t always read the sign amongst the hoard of people. Oh yes, and it is somewhere close to 100° Fahrenheit. See, there is a limited time to accomplish this task of getting these 4,000 some-odd people to their destination and undoubtedly, there are going to be problems. In my particular case, I couldn’t find the group I was supposed to be with, but I found was similar so I just joined that group. The other big problem – yes, a BIG problem – is that because there is such a frenzy to hurry to get the paying tourists to their respective tour, accidents are bound to happen it is with great sadness that I have to report that with the hundreds of busses rushing to make room for more busses and more people, a local was struck and injured by a moving bus. It was not pretty…

That aside, being on an incorrect vehicle proved more interesting. I was supposed to go on a Grand Chukka Adventure that would include kayaking and traversing the jungle via a roped pulley system. I knew that the Canopy Adventure was part of what I had paid for and so I got on a bus that said “Canopy Adventure”. It turned out fortuitous in that the Grand Chukka Adventure involved an hour of kayaking and the traversing of only three of the jungle ropes, strung from tree to tree in the Jamaican jungle. The jungle itself was alive and beautiful and exciting. The staff, especially CrazyG and Kefir, were accommodating beyond the call of duty. One marvels at how they maintain their energy and vigor. We were suited up with harnesses, gloves, and a protective helmet and began the hike up to the first level of

Over the next hour-and-a-half, we would hike up to a tree-house like platform, get harnessed to some taut rope strung to the tree, and then push out to the next platform, sometimes hundreds of yards from tree to tree, looking down to the valley floor of the jungle below us. I saw gecko, goats, birds, and lush, wet, wildlife. It was great fun and being solo, there was a little game the guides were playing as to whose group I was in – sometimes I was the caboose of one group and then another group would come up from behind and kidnap me to their group. During the six passes over the jungle, I twice rode tandem with the guides. They were flirting and I flirted back, offering kisses of gratitude.

Once returned to the starting point, jerk pork and jerk chicken were provided for a minor fee as local feral kitties begged for tastes and the guides begged for an e-mail address. An adventurous day and quite fun, if not very, very hot, humid, and sweat-inducing. I got a bit scratched and bloodied from the tandem rides as the extra weight lowered us a bit onto the tops of some trees which scraped up my legs a bit. What I am proving during the trip is that each adventure is blood, bruise, or slightly injury-producing. But so far, no broken bones!

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