I have never taken the time to write a complete review, so after our 9th trip to CSA I thought that I should.
Our oldest daughter was married on November 20th and my wife and I thought that we would need a break. We were at CSA from 11/26 thru 12/3. We flew out of Peoria, IL on American. We had to go to Dallas and then on to MoBay. We arrived right on time, 3:30. The line at Immigration was long. It took us a full 30 minutes to get through. The good thing is, with such a long wait, our bags were waiting for us. We went right through customs to the Couples lounge, hit the bathroom and pounded a couple of Red Stripes. I put my wife in charge of the luggage as I went to the outdoor bar to grab six Red Stripes for the road. I had my Couples blue cooler to keep them cool. How bad do you want beer for the road?? It is vacation, after all, but $32.00 for 6 beers was a little steep!! Well I at least got ice for that price!!
The trip to the resort was fine. We stop just outside of Lucea for a bathroom break and a couple more beers—I was sharing, they all weren’t for me. It was right at 1 ½ hours by the time we dropped one couple of at Couples Negril. On to CSA. Check in was a breeze. We were staying in an Atrium suite. With the addition of the mini bars you can’t beat the price. We changed clothes and headed out to Patois Patio for dinner. I had the barbeque ribs, which were great. My wife had the blackened Mahi Mahi. It was ok, but it had a little too much spice for her. We finished eating and went back to our room. We had been up since 5 am and we were ready to sleep.
Saturday was beautiful. We were awake with the sunrise. I headed down to the Palms to get a pot of coffee. The coffee in the room never tastes as good as the coffee in the restaurants and room service may show up at 6:30 or it might be 7, so I always make the trip for coffee myself. We sit out on our verandah and watch the resort come to life. When we come to Jamaica we rarely have a schedule. We head to the beach about 9 am, we drink 4-6 bottles of water, with a touch of cranberry juice added (we recycle—we used the same bottles the entire week), we have the fruit kabobs, the drink of the day and then sit in the sun. Well, at least my wife does. She’s about 10 shades darker that I am. We usually set up near the ocean. We enjoy talking to the beach vendors. We have our favorites, Elvis, Paul (the shell guy), Mountain man (the wood carver) who’s real name is Junior, but pronounce Juner, since he was born in the month of June and new for this trip Kevin the cigar guy. We usually buy a few items from each one of them. We try our best to help the Jamaican economy keep going.
We usually try to watch the sunset and then head in to shower. We then go up above the Palms to the Martini Bar for a couple of pre-dinner drinks. When you sit up there people come and go, but there is always someone to talk to. We headed back down to Patois Patio for dinner. I had the sirloin strip steak and we always get the soup. I don’t recall what the soup was, that night, but it’s always good. Again we are not much for night life—off to bed at 9 pm.
Sunday was a big day for me. For my wife’s schedule (everyday) see above. I had been in contact with Jeff and Mary Beth, on the message board and we had planned to go to the Jerk Festival at 3 Dives, in Negril, by the cliffs. Jeff, his buddy Billy and I hopped in a route taxi and headed out to 3 Dives. We got there about 2 pm and were the first ones there. The jerk was cooking and they were setting up the sound system. Jeff plays in a band and went over to check out their system. I think that he said that they had 18,000 watts. Anyway it was loud. Not much was happening so we went next door to Xtabi and had a couple of beers and went exploring in their caves. I think that we headed back over to 3 Dives about 3:30. Since we were there earlier they didn’t charge us to get in. We had a plate of curried goat, jerk pork and jerk chicken. We were sitting a table with a couple of locals and one guy went up and got us each a cup of the fish soup. Not my favorite. It had a real fishy taste to it. I know it’s fish soup it’s supposed to taste like fish!! Our driver on the way to 3 Dives had given us his card and told us to have someone at the bar call him when we were ready to leave and he would be back to pick us up. True to his word, he was there within 10 minutes.
I met up with my wife. We watched the sun set and then headed to the Martini Bar and then to Lemongrass. I love spicy food. We had the appetizer sampler platter, the hot and sour soup. My wife had a chicken and rice dish I had the Pad Thai noodles—which were awesome. Again in bed by 9 pm.
Monday I was down at the swim up bar and met Randymon. He was in town to work with the people that were doing a photo shoot of CSA to revamp the website. What a great guy. He took the time to stop and talk with all of us. He and all of the other employees are what makes Couples the special place that it is. We did our beach thing and then went to the manager’s cocktail party in the room by the Aura Lounge. Ricardo, the CSA GM, was on vacation, so Gary Stevens, Couples VP of Operations out of Montego Bay was filling in for him. We had a few appetizers and then headed down to the repeater’s cocktail party, by the pool. The repeater’s dinner is nice, but it lasts too long, for us anyway. We had shrimp and steak. We did sit next to an interesting couple from Hungary. They were about our age and travel all over the world. They said that in all of their travels there is only one beach that they like better and that is in Thailand at Phuket. We were up way too late. I think it was 10 pm and dinner was just wrapping up. We slid out the back and went to bed and skipped the speakers.
Tuesday—another big day for me. Jeff, Mary Beth, Billy,his wife Kristy and I headed out to the Pelican Bar. Jeff had set it all up. He had hired a driver, who was great, to take us to the south side of Jamaica. He was a very safe driver and spent the entire day with us. We left CSA at 8 am. Rocky was very prompt he was there before 8 am. The roads beyond Negril are something else. Take an old country blacktop from the US, scatter several potholes and add goats, cows, semi trucks and bikes. I think that it’s only 60 km, but it takes you 2 hours to get there. Most of the time you are almost stopped going over the bumps. We ended up at Basil’s Marina (fishing dock with a bar). From there we got in a wooden, 25’ open boat ($10 per person round trip) to take the 10 minute ride out to the Pelican Bar. You can actually see it from land. It’s not very big, maybe 24 feet in diameter and one corner is taken up with the bar/kitchen. As we pulled up they had our lunch out for us to play with, live lobster and red snapper. They cleaned it and cooked in on charcoal grilles. The lobster was made into a kind of stew with potato, carrots, rice, etc… very tasty. The snapper was just grilled, also very good. We each had 5-6 Red Stripes. I don’t think that they really keep track. They just give you a bill when you are ready to leave. We had 6 meals between the 5 of us and a lot of beer. It came out to about $40 per person. We had originally planned to continue on to the Appleton Rum tour, but we were having so much fun at the Pelican we decided to have one more beer and head for home. It was a great field trip. I would do it again.
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday were not too exciting. Sit on the beach, lunch at Seagrapes, Martini Bar and dinner at Patois. We never did eat at Feathers. Patois is sooo good and the waitress never lets your drink go empty. I always have to tell her that we are leaving and not to bring us anything more. Big Chris, who has always worked at Feathers is now working the day shift at the Palms. Friday, our last morning, we had breakfast at one of his tables. His little boy is 5 and his little girl is now 2. We did have an afternoon snack at the Cabana Grille one day. We had a plate of jerk chicken. Spicy and very good.
Thursday afternoon we went over to the sports complex to watch the water sports guys take on the front desk guys in a soccer match. They play 6 on 6, half field with a 4’ x 4’ goal. The goalie can not use his hands. It’s a very fast game and a lot of the other workers were there to cheer on their favorite team. It’s fun to see what they do for entertainment. Couples not only takes care of us, but they also take care of their employees.
The good bye bus was coming for us at 8 am. We were the only ones on it and really could have waited until 9. We checked in at the American counter and went outside to sit in the sun for an hour. When we headed in we went up to Margaritaville and had a few beers and a burger. We ran into Randymon again and he gave me a little insight into the new flight service that is starting up. Randy said that they are cutting a special rate with them for Couple’s guests. I won’t spoil his news, so you will have to wait for him to announce the price!! The flight home was long. MoBay to Miami, where we had a 4 hour layover which is just enough time to clear customs, re-check your luggage, clear security, have a drink and get to your gate. From there it was on to Dallas and finally to Peoria and 4” of snow!! Not fun.
Well trip 10 is booked and is only 72 days away. I can’t wait to get back home again.