Yay, Jamaica. Good Feast.
I think that this was probably my most balanced Feast. As in, I managed to have more of a spiritual focus and less of a “what are we going to do today?!?” focus than in past years, although I was still not as successful as I would like. But, improvement is good. I also managed to sleep more and not stay up late, so that I could actually pay attention during services. It sounds obvious, but there have been past years where this was not necessarily the case. So yes, improvement.
It was really wonderful seeing all the Americans, Canadians and Irishman in Jamaica, as well as meeting the young Jamaican guys. It seems like every time I go overseas somewhere for the Feast, there is always a large Kansas City contingent. And they always bring diseases with them. In France in 2002 the Kansas City folk brought a cold with them which they happily shared with the rest of the brethren, and this year there was a nasty GI bug which caused people to expel fluids out of both ends. Apparently there was a similar thing going around Branson, which makes us wonder if both were Kansas City-based. Anyway.
It was also wonderful having Dr. Scott Winnail there. He was our one “big-name” minister, and his sermons really did stand out and helped to set the atmosphere of the Feast.
Overall, the resort was lovely. The rooms were nothing to write home about, but our view was awesome, and the pools (three of them) area was pretty posh. Free drinks everywhere. Palm trees. Trampoline in the ocean. Don’t get the salt water up your nose.
The food was extremely disappointing to me, and it stood out so much I find myself talking more about how bad the food was than talking about how great the Feast was. I work in food, I teach about food, I study growing food, my mind is food. Although they did have good pineapple.
Some of the activities we enjoyed, besides the spiritual food:
- Sitting around and playing in the pools
- Bartering at the crafts market. Charlie bartered for wooden carvings of a big fish and a giraffe. I bartered for a turtle. It was good for me, and I talked him down to $17! (Charlie showed the fish and the giraffe to a cleaning lady at the resort and exclaimed incredulously, “Can you believe I only paid like $500 dollars for these?!” He was joking. She stared.)
- Margaritaville, with the pool and slide in the middle, and the boys playing soccer on the beach. Jimmy Buffet is a genius.
- Family Day with the local brethren at the Cranbrook Flower Forest. The trail was like walking through a rainforest, and watching everybody play soccer in the mud was about as much fun as they had playing.
- H’Evans Scent. ATVing and INTENSE ziplining. We ATVed on a muddy course through tall grass and banana trees, then went through a series of three increasingly intense ziplines. We bought all 500+ pictures that were taken of our group, so they will be posted eventually. The best part about that experience, though, was the back story we got from Eric (the lone Irishman in Jamaica) on the bus ride back to the resort. The guy who owns the place obviously has large amounts of cash (his house on the top of the mountain was enormous and gorgeous), which he probably didn’t make from owning a zipline course. What we learned from Eric afterwards was that Mr. Evans was a aerobics instructor on TV in the UK in the 90s – named Mr. Motivator. How awesome is that. Eric actually recognized him and got a picture with him to show his friends back home.
- Hanging out at Javid’s awesome villa on the ocean and playing water polo in the pool
- NOT getting the pukey/poopey bug.