Jamaica is home and I am happy that my family instilled that in me from childhood. Each time I return, my love for Jamaica runs deeper. This year, I went to celebrate my mom’s 50th birthday. We stayed at the Grand Bahia Principe and everything was organized to perfection by Apple Vacations. It was the first time my whole family went on vacation together which was special.
Overall, I enjoyed my stay at the hotel. The resort is beautiful and grand. The food is absolutely delicious. The pool is expansive and I love that there are bungalows around the pool that are first-come, first-serve, so no extra payment necessary for them. The resort has over 7 restaurants but you can’t help but be attracted to the buffet, did I say the food was good? We watched the head chef do food demonstrations and learned how to make ackee and saltfish the first day we arrived.
The resort is lively. Music plays throughout the day by the pool, accompanied by fun activities. I took an amazing yoga class one morning and it was just what I needed to start my day. No resort is complete without a pool bar in my opinion. My favorite thing to drink is a strawberry daiquiri with Appleton Rum. A part of celebrating my mom’s birthday was forcing her to take photos to embrace her beauty and her life. Age 50 is such a milestone and I am so happy to have spent it, celebrating her greatness. One of the days in Jamaica, we took a day trip to Negril. For lunch, we had beef and jerk chicken patties from Tastee. Negril’s 7-mile beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. The colors of the ocean vary in different shades of blue. We started out at Margaritaville and made our way to Ricks Café. From there, we went to the Glistening Waters (Luminous Lagoon) where the freshwater meets the saltwater and the water illuminates brightly, due to all of the phosphorus in the water, when you disturb it. The final night in Jamaica was dedicated to my mom. We had a beautiful dinner in her honor at the Garden Grill Restaurant, which is a steak house on the property and listened to a reggae band play Bob Marley during the nightly entertainment. Traveling to islands is harder to depart because it’s aesthetically more pleasing and overall more relaxing. I love Jamaica and cannot wait to return.
The day of the wedding was so relaxing. Danielle, Kirsha and I decided to go to the beach across from the hotel which was absolutely breathtaking. The water was clear and the beach was alive and filled with cool vibes and fun tourist. I wanted to stay in the water forever, but the yacht to the private island where the wedding would take place was set to depart at 6PM and with 3-girls in one room, we needed more than enough time to get pretty.
The wedding was beautiful. I cried only 2-times (when the bride came down the aisle with her father and grandmother and when the groom said his vows). When the guest first arrived each of us said kind words in a video that they would watch later. I quoted Boyz II Men “You gotta believe in the spirit of love” One of my favorite quotes ever. After the wedding, all the guests took one huge picture before heading back to the reception. Cocktail hour was by the pool and the reception followed shortly after. Akilah and Rion’s union made me come to a lot of realizations in my life. For one, I was twenty-five and was literally messing with the wrong men and getting into the wrong type of relationships. My friends were getting married! Furthermore, I was ready for growth in my overall life. Snapping myself out of my thoughts, allowed me to enjoy why I was at the wedding in the first place, to celebrate my friend’s union, which we did all night. The reception was fun! We danced the night away to the latest songs and jumped into the pool with our wedding clothes on for the hell of it. The Bahamas was awesome!!!!!
Luckily, traveling back to NYC was a breeze. The only thing I needed to focus on was catching up on sleep. It took about a week for me to get into the groove of things, which also meant I was late to work just about every day when I got back. I didn’t realize how little we slept until I returned…geesh. Overall it was an amazing vacation and I am so blessed that I was able to share this memory with my closest friends. Cheers to #DOUBLEADAY
Saturday was supposed to be a relaxing day, as it was the day before the wedding. It was also the day that my friend Danielle arrived. I was so excited when she came. We got dressed and headed into town with the other bridesmaids.
After heading back to the hotel, we decided to meet up with the other wedding guests to visit the private beach and pool at Taino for a huge day-before-the-wedding-pow-wow. We stayed in the pool until the last water taxi was set to leave and played Man Hunt, Hide-and-Seek and a whole bunch of other pool games. We also had girls talk in the hot tub where we addressed, relationships, friendships and everything in between.
When we got on our ”yacht” back to the hotel, the captain took us on a tour of the island where we danced to 90s classics, 112 “Only You” and TLC “Baby-Baby-Baby.” It was so much fun to be surrounded by great people. We got ready for dinner shortly after, in which I fell asleep at the table. I was so deprived of sleep. We then went to the bars and got back to the hotel around 3am. I was finally able to catch what was left of my beauty rest.
The next day, we had a full-blown buffet breakfast which was delicious and then decided to head into town to hang out with the locals. We soon discovered there was not much to the town, but found comfort in a local boutique where the sales associate was so cool. We talked to her for an hour about everything ranging from Drake to Love & Hip Hop to relationships before we exchanged Instagram’s and said our goodbyes.
After shopping around and meeting other amicable Bahamian’s including Mama G who invited us to the strip club that night, we headed back to our hotel, where we met up with the rest of the wedding guests for an afternoon on the private beach of Taino resort.
I stayed up for about 23-hours without going to sleep on the day of departure. I had to go to work, then braid my hair, then pack and leave for the airport at 3am. My flight departed at 6:30am which meant I literally had no time to even nap.
The flight attendant put me in a window seat with no windows. I was pissed, but luckily slept the whole way to Atlanta; it didn’t bother me as much as I thought. I met up with my friend Kirsha who would be staying in the room with me. She’s an airline employee so she was first classing it, honey. I sat in the emergency row during the flight to the Bahamas which was super annoying but spacious. Honestly, I was so drunk with sleep, I could care less. When we finally arrived in Freeport we headed straight to the Pelican Bay Hotel to unwind and explore.
Port Lucaya was next door to the hotel so we explored the marketplace a little before taking a nap. Kirsha went straight to bed, but I decided to lay out by the pool and take in some sun before the beach party.
The Welcome Beach Party was the first event for wedding guests. Great music, great people and the food, oh my, I can’t emphasize the food enough, it was delicious. After crash dieting for a week, this was the first time I had actual food and I was just in heaven.
The beach party was eventually shut down by cops, so we made our way to the bars at Port Lucaya which comes alive at night time. As the night progressed we jumped into our hotel’s Jacuzzi and talked until the sun came out. The things that happened while in the hot tub were insane. Just when we started to talk about scary movies like “I Know What You Did Last Summer” a weird Eastern European man that we nicknamed, Ivan, appeared in the midst of the night and sat in front of the hot tub. He decided to smoke a cigarette as we watched him silently and he watched us silently. It was one of the most bizarre occurrences of my whole existence. Day One in the Bahamas was definitely one for the books.
August 11, 2013, Akilah and Arion invited their closest friends to a BBQ to announce their engagement and wedding date which would be in exactly one year. My friends and I were so excited. Finally, not only were our friends getting married but they were having an amazing destination wedding…AHHH we were adults.
Summer 2014, vastly approached and before I knew it the wedding was drawing near. 4-weeks before the wedding, my ticket was not booked. Life happens; I decided to take a 2-week vacation to Europe for my 25th birthday which set a sistah back. 3-weeks before the wedding my ticket was still not booked. I somehow hoped that the ticket to the Bahamas which was now a whopping $540 would decrease to $500 possibly? I don’t know; wishful thinking. 2-weeks before the wedding, I had no choice but to book with Delta Airlines, which at that point in time I had over 15k frequent flyer miles and ended up spending about $600 for my ticket. I made a mistake, waiting for the last minute but it’s a mistake that I take full ownership of.