I know that it has been awhile since Christmas Day, but I have been so busy that I am just now getting to go through my pictures. It seemed very strange to take a cruise over the Christmas holiday. Once we were on the cruise ship it didn't seem like Christmas at all. There were very few Christmas decorations on the ship. There was a Christmas tree in the lobby with a Menorah right beside it. There was also a Christmas tree near the casino.
DOCKED IN MONTEGO BAY JAMAICA
When we woke up Christmas morning we had arrived at Montego Bay, Jamaica. Gina had a hard time with the fact that it was the first time she had not celebrated a traditional Christmas. She made a quick ship to shore call to Baton Rouge. and felt better after she had talked to Cynda. It was a quick 2 minute call, because ship to shore rates are 7.99 per minute.
We had booked a tour for the day. We traveled by bus to the Croydon Plantation. The bus trip was breathtaking in more ways than one. The scenery was beautiful as we traveled into the mountains, but we saw several accidents on the narrow twisty roads. One of them involved a tour bus.
TOUR BUS SANTA
While we were traveling through the countryside we passed many houses that were very close to the road. The hillsides are so steep that the houses are right by the road, and the children play in or very near the road. On our tour bus was a man who had long white hair and a beard. He had spent the entire week on the ship wearing a Santa hat. As we were riding through the countryside, the children along the road would see him sitting in the tour bus, and their eyes would open wide, and they would run following the tour bus.
Croydon Plantation is a working plantation that has many different crops. It is set in the mountains with the hillsides covered with pineapple, citrus trees, coffee, and many other crops.
On the plantation they grow 17 varieties of pineapple. Here in the U.S. we mostly eat Hawaiian pineapple, and we are used to only one variety. Were were given samples of three different pineapple varieties, and they tasted quite different. A pineapple plant produces one pineapple, and takes 18 to 24 months to mature.
After we toured the plantation we were fed a home cooked meal of jerk chicken, fried plantain, rice and beans, and cooked local greens. We were also served world famous Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee. The trip back to Montego Bay was beautiful and enjoyable.
BACK TO THE SHIP
We were back on board ship a little before sundown. We were able to watch a beautiful sunset over Jamaica before we left port. The Royal Caribbean cruise ship was in port next to us.
MONTEGO BAY SUNSET
By the time we left Jamaica, the sun had set and the countryside was sparkling with lights. The cruise ship next to us looked beautiful as it sparkled with light.
CRUISE SHIP AT NIGHT
Our Christmas 2008 in Jamaica will be a Christmas we will never forget. It will probably be one we won't repeat. Next year we will be celebrating a traditional Christmas.
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I was born in 1956 in Madison, Tennessee, while my parents were attending Madison College. I grew up along the Front Range in Colorado, attending schools in Longmont, Brighton, Boulder and Loveland, Colorado. Two years after graduating from Campion Academy, I married my sweetheart, Regina. We lived in Loveland, Colorado for six years before moving to Mena in western Arkansas.
I love the people of Mena and the friendly easy going way of life here. I have owned and operated my own business since moving to Mena. I enjoy the natural beauty of western Arkansas and being out of doors.
My newspaper column in The Mena Star, An Arkie’s Faith, premiered on January 7, 2016. In March 2017, I published my first book, titled An Arkie's Faith, using articles from the column.