I don’t know if I can top the chicken foot soup story, as far as Jamaica goes, but I can’t wrap up our trip without talking about our waterfall excursion. Negril is a tourist destination for one main reason – the beach. And that beach is incredibly beautiful – not to mention the water, which is the warmest and clearest I’ve ever experienced. So we were pretty content to lounge there for most of the trip, but we did read that the waterfalls in Jamaica were not to be missed, so when we heard about an excursion to Mayfield Falls that we could set up through the hotel, we went for it.
The falls were about an hour and 45 minutes away from our hotel. I don’t know that I was quite expecting the driving expertise that would be needed to get us there. The roads weren’t well maintained and if you’ve ever driven in Manhattan, you’ll be familiar with the feeling of seeing a car come within a half inch of hitting you – or a bike, or a goat…whichever. Add to that steep mountain roads that are used as two-lane but only about a lane and a half wide, and you’ve got yourself some adventure before you even hit the falls. It was really beautiful though.
And our driver was, again, awesome. He was chock-full of fascinating facts about Jamaica and he navigated the roads expertly. Before we knew it we were at Mayfield Falls – The Real Mc…Roy?
Okay then. We walked down a steep hill and put all our belongings in a locker. They allowed us to bring Colt’s camera but nothing else, so the following pictures were taken either by Colt, or by our tour guide. In case you aren’t one for details, his name is Michael. (Shawn’s name was on the back of his shirt, in case you were worried.)
Michael used to be a photographer (as did Flava – it seemed to be a popular previous occupation) so he jumped right in with Colt’s fancy schmancy camera and within 2 minutes of walking into the river, he was directing photos. The first ones were pretty normal…go sit there, where the water will massage your back. You got it.
But it started getting pretty funny, fast. Husbands – go hold your wife like a baby in the deeper water while she kisses you. Oh, yay – Tom LOVES posing for pictures!
I don’t know how Colt was feeling about the posing but Maggie seemed cool with it.
Oh and it only gets better. I don’t mean to diminish the fact that hiking in this river, climbing up falls, stopping to experience all the incredible natural curiosities – it was amazing and so beautiful – but it’s hard not to focus on the part where you reach the section named The Jungle and the guide instructs you to put some leaves in your swimsuit, and then stand in front of your lover while he kisses your cheek. Maggie thinks this should be our Christmas card. I’m pretty sure we can Photoshop the kids in.
So awesome. And don’t think we weren’t laughing through all this – we were – but Michael is very persuasive. When he tells you to look off into the jungle with a surprised face, you do it.
There were all sorts of little extra things they showed you about the falls – an underwater tunnel to swim through, or a ledge you could slip under to watch the water fall from the hidden angle.
(That’s Colt and Maggie, by the way – I have no particular feelings about the Utes, which is what Colt is proclaiming love for there.) The most surprising part of the hike was when we noticed the group ahead of us jumping off a platform, about 15 feet or so above the water. Most of the water throughout the river was fairly shallow but this particular section, although small, was deep enough for jumping. I’m not afraid of heights but I am not a strong swimmer so my only real issue was getting assurance that you didn’t need to swim far to be able to touch the ground again. After that, I was the first to volunteer. Despite the lack of butterflies on the way up, once I had to bring my right arm around from the safety of hugging the tree, I did get a bit of a flutter and had to pause for a moment. It wasn’t long though – the jump was really fun and I would have done it again if given the chance.
We all did it, despite some of our group being not so hot on heights, but in case you think we were brave, take a look at the next picture (you might have to click on it for the larger size) and notice where exactly Shawn was when he took his turn.
Craziness. Also crazy? The amount of pictures we have of us with our hands in the air. That was Michael’s favorite pose. We would be sitting in some area of the falls, all smiling and ready for our close-ups, when he would yell – “put your hands in the air!” We had no idea why we were doing it, but there was no arguing with Michael. He was a professional, after all.
The whole experience was awesome. I’m so glad that we picked The Real McRoy of waterfall tours as our one adventure excursion – totally worth it. And now we know the better alternative to “cheese” when you want to take a photo of Having an Awesome Time – “put your hands up!”
Jamaica – I can’t wait to see you again. Till next time…