Caribbean seclusion

Passport full of stamps vs. house full of stuff – that’s our motto, always has been. As we and the kids get older, we splurge a little more – and this trip was one of these. No more busy resorts or god awful cruise ships with lots of people – that was never our cup of tea – anxiety over which child will “accidentally” throw the other overboard is not my idea of vacation. Quiet and service is the way to go (with occasional crazy adventures in the midst of it for adrenaline hungry teenagers).

So Jamaica it was as it worked for multigenerational trip before. Babi and deda (mom and dad) travelled from Prague to join us and off to the Tryall club we were. We had some work to do on detoxing – right from the beginning as you can see.

The villa

The house was amazing, as expected. I basically stared at the pictures daily for months, half in disbelief we will be there for a week. While a little skeptic on property marketing vs. reality, this was not a disappointment. On the beach, so gorgeous breeze in and out, everything open so very airy, enough privacy for everyone yet tons of common spaces – beautiful garden and space for crocket (or cricket?! I don’t know one of those old British games that I kept mixing up).

The staff & the service and food

So this is the highlight of the vacation – very intentional. Cooking or even deciding what we will eat or where is a symptom of daily life – not here. I hate grocery stores as it is – so why would I even step into one on vacation? Fortunately, this is where Sean, Louis, Gina, Jennifer, Clavian and Peter come in – yes! 6 people to take care of everything we need. How does this work? So you sit down with the chef/butler and go through the various yes/nos, options and preferences for all week and then just leave it up to them – yep, that’s it. You just walk to the beautifully decorated (different every night) table and wait – and eat and drink – and play trivia in our case or discuss some TikTok video that someone, not just teenagers, saw somewhere.

The food was amazing, literally Mia thought of something and next day she had it – aka creme brulee, raspberry cheesecake, lobster 🙂 As usual she wrapped the staff around her finger which was a great contrast to the teenagers unpredictable mood, based largely on how much they slept or who said something on social media. The only miss – and the only real thing I requested – was the curry goat which is local delicacy but didn’t hit the mark (fatty and bony).

Back to the staff – some of them live an hour away and literally were there 13 hours, had kids, families. Some stayed on the property overnight. All of them went out of their way to anticipate what we need or want. Mom got a gardening lesson, I learned how to make ginger lemonade. It takes a while to get used being served on – I kept cleaning the kids rooms the first day so they dont think we are animals – but stopped quickly. It did help that we literally wore one set of clothes all the time – bathing suit – because we only left the entire property once. Which takes me to fishing!

Fishing trip

The only real plan we had and booked. We have done ocean fishing so many times so we were pros – or so we thought.

  • 615 am pick up – ouch – the lightning coming out of the teenagers eyes reached Cuba. Shot through me as I booked it.
  • Boat – not huge, way smaller than our other trips and it is 7 of us – small inside with benches to sit on and covered and then back to sit and watch the fishing rods and the waves from engine – on a pretty hot sun. Professional gear to fish though.
  • 60 mins later – mom is green and throwing up – literally the second the captain says “you guys must be regular boaters, most tourists are sick by now”. I, preventatively and smartly, took Dramamine b/c I had to give one to Mia, so figured why not. Best decision. Pretty much everyone at this point is quiet and probably thinking that sailor career is not in their future.
  • It is bumpy, waves not small, and most of us can’t keep our balance without holding onto something. Rods in the entire time we drive out to the ocean – pretty far out. 3 Jamaican young men as our crew, very nice – trying to make mom comfortable. They know how to do this as she was much better quickly. Word of advice – keep your eyes on horizon, not on the waves or floor.
  • 3 hours in, no catch but small whitings – disappointing – until – the boat basically jerks and one of the rods goes crazy. I mean like touching the water – we jump up and are looking for the fish around the boat – BUT the fish is like 200 meters behind the boat, up and down and humongous. My immediate thought was “how the hell are we going to drag it over here and who will do it – it’s so far away!”. Looks like we were all asking the same question, judging by everyone’s faces.
  • The Jamaican boys step in, we all sit down so we don’t fall overboard. At this point, we are hot, queasy stomachs and pretty wobbly. Things start heating up and the American/Czech boys pretend they are fishing – first Max – so he gets some harness or something around his waist and literally gets tied up to the boat and starts making the motions – rod out and back in, out and in – he is working it, sweating and other men are holding him in. Was the fish going to take us out – I was getting a little uneasy. Seriously, we are tying the fisherman to the boat – what exactly is at the end of this rod?
  • After Max can’t move and shakes all over, Lucas comes in, I shout out early on that I can miss this experience, Nope, I am good. Dad couldn’t keep his balance just standing (and has a bad knee) so also opted out, Brian took a turn and then handed it to the Jamaican kids again.
  • Finally, fish is coming onboard with some harpoon looking hook – but before it does – the Jamaicans take a huge bat or hammer and literally start hitting it with it – holy god – my face looked like the mask from Scream – what are they doing and why are they killing it – wouldn’t it die once we got it on the boat? I guess they didn’t want to risk getting poked because it had a huge spear. It was a marlin, not a swordfish and was apparently close to 200 lbs. I can tell b/c everyone who pulled him out has shaky arms, sweats and fingers are hurting.

So we go back home, leave the. marlin behind and take the tiny fish for lunch – 5 hours and we are exhausted, bit gray but full of experiences as you can tell. Oh, yeah, we also saw the cook buying fresh live lobsters and when we pointed at them, he basically pull their head off and I just had it with the sea life. A little too much reality.

The rest of the trip was literally, food, golf cart browsing around the complex, going to the large community pool and beach, kayaking and same thing around and around. Lots of family chats, games, eating and pretending we are “British” at 3 pm for tea/biscuits.

I almost forgot – of course, we were going to test the medical system – when don’t we? Max in particular b/c last time we were here he cut open his head and had 5 stitches. This time around, he had a ingrown toe nail – yes, you heard me right. He complained so much that we took him to the resort nurse – who called in a doctor and she then called in a podiatrist – oh my god! He was playing with his toes and tore it and $500 later, he had a band aid, some wrapping, whatever, 2 hours later when he heard he can’t go to the water, magic happened and he was fine – I almost charged him half the money from his allowance (settled on 10%). Two days later, I went to the gym with him, missed a step and my ankle went ouch – fortunately just a bandage, cooling and day later I was fine – but we do know what a lovely medical premises they have in Tryall. Highly recommended, sigh.

If you ever want real family time together where you don’t have to do anything – did I mention the laundresses who literally had all our clothes washed, folded in an hour. This is it. Heaven on earth.

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