Detour: Montego Bay, Jamaica

by Angela on December 4, 2012 · 6 comments

Stop the (Word)presses!

For the first time, the three of us went on vacation, as a family.

Wait, you say. Aren’t you on vacation all the time? Weren’t you just pigging out in New Orleans and clubbing in Miami?

Well… yes! And no. Our daily life is touring, but it’s still “work.” Mike still has to show up to the theater in the evenings and matinee shows. As you know from this blog, we try to go out and see slash do stuff wherever we are. We know we are living a fortune-filled life. We are very grateful. But we are living it with a toddler and his needs, my side work, our large projects (including a start-up company and an original musical in the works), constant transitioning, and time restrictions. And even before the tour, when we’d travel with Max, it was specifically to see family. And we love our family… but we were ready for a real getaway. Our first.

So we made a conscious decision this year to forgo the yearly trip back East to see family, and fly off to the Caribbean. Well, that’s a lie too. It was my best friend Anita’s destination wedding in Montego Bay, Jamaica — so it was family time, but on the wonderful Half Moon Bay resort, with sunshine, beaches, dolphins, rum drinks and down time.

There were some tears, however; Max couldn’t stop talking about swimming with dolphins in the week leading up to our departure. When he actually got into the water at Half Moon Bay’s Dolphin Encounter with Mike and 350-lb. Pepe, there was certainly an overwhelming panic when Pepe leaned in for a smooch. For both guys, I think.

It took Max (a regular fish when in a heated pool) a couple days to get acclimated to the constant feel of the sand on his toes and the salt water on his face.

Anita and Mark really treated us royally; as part of the wedding party, we got to stay in these private Villas on the Half Moon Bay Resort, where we shared common space with our friends who had kids Max’s age. It was a party house of epic toddler proportions. Here, my friend Jen’s son Torin lazes on a raft with Max in our private pool.

During the BBQ rehearsal dinner (which got rained out on the beach, so we ate inside a ballroom), Max and Torin started canoodling — but so intensely, they actually lost their balance and fell over on top of each other. Max got pinned down and started crying, and for about a week after this happened, he would constantly recount his version of the story. “Torin and Max fall down. Accident. Hurt. Max crying.”

Before the BBQ, Anita’s cousin Sheela and sister-in-law Deepika hosted the Sangeet party, an Indian tradition during which the family and friends shower the bride and groom with dance, music, and laughs. We acted out short skits highlighting Anita and Mark’s courtship, and Deepika choreographed a dance medley.

Anita provided all of her close girlfriends with a salwaar-kameez (flowy longer shirt/pant/shawl) to wear for the Sangeet. Here I am in my favorite color. Isn’t Anita stunning?

We had family-style meals every day, cooked by our personal chef in the Villa. For our meal prior to the wedding ceremony, we munched on oxtail stew, rice, beans and salad. Below, I’m already in my sari for the ceremony, praying that I keep it safe from oxtail spatter.

I had the privilege of emceeing the ceremony, which was chock-full of Hindu customs. I had to explain traditions such as the Sambantha Male (exchange of flower garlands, establishing the joining of two families) and the Mangalya Dharanam, which is the presentation of a necklace from the groom to bride, like the wedding ring equivalent — but here, Anita and Mark chose to present each other with a mangalya, which they will wear always. You know I pulled an all-nighter rehearsing those pronunciations…

The low afternoon sun mixed in with the gentle, therapeutic breeze from the ocean had Max snoozing throughout the entire ceremony.

Mark and Anita also exchanged wedding rings, in honor of Western tradition. From the flower garlands to the mangalya (pendants) to the wedding bands and then these customized bracelets given to them by their families, they were sufficiently blinged out. I think they should have just gone that extra mile and bedazzled some fedoras to slip on each other’s heads. They did not take my suggestion.

If there ever were a more picturesque, vivid and beautiful beach wedding, this was it. The rain had been dodging in and out all afternoon, but managed to taper off an hour before the start of festivities.  Here’s a photo that their photographer snapped right afterwards. Gorgeous couple. Blissful moment.

After the wedding festivities ended, Mike, Max and I stayed one more day. My other best friend Alicia also crashed with us, and the extra day went by extraordinarily fast…

For our extra day in Jamaica, we moved from the Villas into a Junior Suite (which was a free upgrade on the Superior Room we had initially booked) on the main part of the resort called the West Cottages. We had a cute private courtyard sitting area…

Being oceanfront ain’t bad! The beach was literally 30 feet up from our door.

There was a cozy living area where they wheeled in a rollaway bed and crib so that Alicia and Max could bunk together.

The bedroom was simple and cheery.

We got around the sprawling resort in a golf cart. However, I never drove it, sadly — this photo is completely staged.

Along one of the waterfronts was this huge chessboard.

Alicia and Mike took a kayak out for an hour. My neck continues to give me grief, so I had to pass on the foray into the water.

For our last dinner in Jamaica, we went to Robbie’s Kitchen, a restaurant right on the resort. I got in another order of Oxtail Stew. Mmmmm.

Sweet potato bread pudding! With a peach ice cream! I think? It’s been a month, I don’t quite remember what it was exactly, but it was heavenly.

Max played on a pool table at Robbie’s while other customers oooh and aaaah’d his cuteness. One older woman in earshot (who didn’t know I was Max’s mother) said to her friend, “I want to take that little boy home.”

We had some troubles with our American Airlines flights coming back to San Francisco, including a delayed flight out of Montego Bay that marooned us in Dallas overnight. We went from having private chefs serve us in our Caribbean villa, to getting greasy take-out from Denny’s at 11pm and eating it in our motel room, exhausted and delirious. But hey! We had an event-filled tropical getaway in which we got to see good friends, swim with dolphins, and chase our toddler around an island. We are grateful.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Mama Tartler December 4, 2012 at 5:11 pm

Love, love, love…the choo-choos in the sand! Beautiful pictures of a beautiful family!


Janeen December 4, 2012 at 6:20 pm

Sweet vacation! You all deserve it!!


Mai December 4, 2012 at 9:01 pm

Hello, what beautiful photos you take! I found you blog by accident and have been reading now nonstop. thanks for sharing your family’s lovely adventures!


ANGELIQUE December 4, 2012 at 10:28 pm



Anita December 5, 2012 at 8:51 am

Wow, I am so jealous of your relaxing fun-filled day! Yee haw!


Darrell December 6, 2012 at 5:33 am

Mazel tov Anita and Mark!


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