Through the mountains from Montego Bay to Sandals Whitehouse

After our flight from Ottawa to Montego Bay, Charlie and I were both tired.  Still, we looked forward to the 1-1/2 hour drive through the mountains as we headed to Sandals Whitehouse.

Overlooking the grounds of Sandals Whitehouse, Jamaica

Overlooking the grounds of Sandals Whitehouse, Jamaica

I had read, on tripadvisor.ca, about the route to the resort and found many complaints of people who wished the resort was closer and the ride on the twisting road not so bumpy but since taking it was necessary, unless you hired a helicopter to take you there, we regarded it as part of our adventure. I tried to take pictures from inside the moving van and I apologize for the quality.

Going from Montego Bay in St. James Parish to Whitehouse in Westmoreland Parish is about 64 kilos, as the crow flies. By road, according to the mileage indicator in the van, it was 150 kilos.  The B8 highway traverses the high mountain range and with so many hairpin curves I almost got carsick. There were no shoulders and, In some areas, the road was bordered by either a high stone fence or meter high bushes.

Stone fence next to the highway

Stone fence next to the highway

The road was very narrow and you risked an injury if you dared stick you arm out of the window. We drove by oncoming cars and trucks missing them by inches. When our driver came to some of the curves he pressed the horn to warn oncoming cars that we were rounding the curve.We passed through small villages that were interesting to look at only because of how dilapidated were the buildings.

Some of the buildings long the way

Some of the buildings along the way

The bright spot were the children. All the girls looked well groomed in their white blouses and jumpers of blue or bright yellow, green or burgundy while the boys wore beige uniforms.

School children in uniform

School children in uniform

Some of the small houses along the road had the front practically touching the highway while the rear was perched on precarious stilts a few meters high. I wondered where they got their water from and since there was no space for an outhouse how they managed. Small houses were built next to huge houses secure behind wrought iron gates, doors and windows.

A house in Jamaica

A house in Jamaica

Large gated house

Large gated house

The vegetation was luscious and so tropical green. We drove up the mountain and I was surprised to suddenly come upon large orange groves. They somehow looked out of place along this mountainous road.

Orange groves in Jamaica

Orange groves in Jamaica

When the driver swung over to the opposite side of the road to avoid a huge pothole I held my breath convinced that a car would round the curve and come straight at us. My body vibrated as we bounced around and I almost got carsick as we zigzagged through one curve then another. I breathed in deeply and swallowed hard and knew that it would solve itself as soon as we crossed those beautiful lush mountains and got back onto a more civilized straight road along the coastline.

All went calm when we drove through the entrance of the resort. The flat land with its manicured lawns, flowering red and white bougainvillea bushes, tall palm trees and tropical plants made the ride worthwhile.

On the grounds at Sandals Whitehouse

On the grounds at Sandals Whitehouse

In a couple of weeks we’d’d do it all over again as we headed back to Montego Bay to catch the flight home. I wouldn’t have missed this ride for the world.

author – Lucy’s Road Trip – RVing Across Canada

ISBN 978-1-77216-006-2

http://bit.ly/1vGjta1

Co-author – Travel Dreams and Nightmares – Four Women Explore the World – ISBN 978-1-4759-8201-5

http://bit.ly/18vQOFi

Facebook  http://on.fb.me/1t93uQJ

http://www.louiseszabo.weebly.com

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Off to Jamaica. Leaving winter behind

I could hardly wait to get to Montego Bay in Jamaica. What I did hate was waking at 3:00am but I had little choice. Sandals Whitehouse waited for my arrival, and I had an early flight to catch.

Our plane was to leave the Macdonal-Cartier airport in Ottawa at 6:00am. When we got to the airport there was hardly anyone there. We were third in line and when we walked up to the ticket agent counter we handed him our passport and asked, “How much is an seat upgrade?”
“Fifty dollars each.”
“If you have any we’ll take them.”
“Do you want a window seat or an aisle?”
“Window please.”
The agent did his thing, handed us our passport and boarding pass and said, “That’s it folks. You can go.”
Charlie dug out his credit card.
The agent repeated very slowly, “That’s it folks. You can go.”
We walked away. It was a great beginning to our trip. The free upgrade meant more leg room, and a free breakfast and, if it hadn’t been for the early hour, we could have had free booze. We soon boarded and headed for the deicing station at 5:45 and were in the air on time.

Thank you Charlie for the Christmas present, Bose earphones. What a difference this made. With the noise reduction turned we could hardly hear the motor noise. Now I know why I always ended up with a headache when I flew. The quiet ride made the flight enjoyable.

When we arrived at the Montego Bay airport we were one of the first out of the plane. When we walked to immigration the place was practically empty. We whisked through immigration and by the time we got to the baggage pickup area our suitcases were already off the carousel and waiting to be wheeled away.

Twenty minutes after our arrival we were at the Sandals lounge. Greeted by their friendly staff we waited for other going to the Whitehouse in an air-conditioned lounge where drinks, including beer, were available. Twenty minutes later six of us boarded a van and headed for the resort. The ride would take 1 ½ hours as we headed for the south side of Jamaica.

The first leg of our journey was over. Maybe I’d get to sleep in the van.

author of – LUCY’S ROAD TRIP – RVING ACROSS CANADA
ISBN 978-1-77216-006-2
http://bit.ly/1vGjta1
http://louiseszabo.weebly.com