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Opinion

Wedding trip to Jamaica turns into unforgettable vacation

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February 21, 2013

Less than a month ago, I came back to school to embrace homework, studying and tests. All of a sudden I was away from it all.

Last week I spent my time down at a hotel resort in Jamaica. My whole family and I were there to watch my aunt get married. Other than that, it was pretty much a vacation, and a great one, too.

I found the plane rides to be quite enjoyable. It was my first experience on a plane. Looking at the world from an aerial view was awesome. Thankfully I didn’t get any motion sickness, but after getting sea water in my ears and air bubbles from the plane, it’s kind of hard to hear. Hopefully it will pass soon.

Going into a foreign country didn’t make me nervous, although it was my first time. However, the ride to the resort, which was over an hour away, made me concerned.

We had to take a shuttle to our resort and the driving was horrible. Though we got there in one piece, I thought I was going to die. Our driver was going an easy 55 to 60 miles an hour while less than 5-feet from the car in front of him. Since people there drive on the other side of the road, which was weird enough, I felt I was going to get hit.

I stayed at the Grand Bahia Principe and I felt like royalty for a whole week. Before I got there, I was under the impression that it would be some average hotel. I was so wrong. Everything was exceptional: the 24 hour room service, my own butler, and a fridge filled with champagne, soda, and beer. And it got re-stocked every day.

During my stay, I stayed away from alcoholic beverages most of the time. A couple of drinks around the pool and some champagne at the wedding, that’s how much alcohol I consumed. I felt that it didn’t make much sense to pay over $1,000 for a trip to stand around a pool with my family and get hammered. I didn’t want to spend my time like that when this could be my one and only trip to Jamaica.

I was able to experience a ton in Jamaica. Since I have lived in Wisconsin all my life, it was nice to see tropical trees, plants and sandy beaches. And it couldn’t be a vacation if I didn’t mention the number of gift shops I encountered. People in Jamaica hustled the tourists to buy gifts, and unfortunately I was one of their victims. I spent over $200 on souvenirs, but I have no regrets buying anything on the trip.

To make my vacation even better, it ended with a trip to the Dolphin Cove. Sort of like a tropical park, it featured a jungle trail where I encountered tropical birds. I also saw sharks and held a sting ray and Jamaican boa. However, that was nothing compared to swimming with the dolphins.

Encountering the dolphins by far was the best experience on the trip. They put on a fantastic show for me and my family. Watching them dance and sing to us was incredible. The best part was when each of us held their flippers and took us on a short ride in the water. We also had a chance to kiss a dolphin. It was probably one of the best kisses I’ve had in a long time.

I think I had the best time of my life in Jamaica. Everything was great there, from the hotel to the Dolphin Cove, but my lasting impression of Jamaica was the hospitality shown by the people. I’ve never encountered so many friendly people in my life in such a short period of time. It truly was an experience of a lifetime.

Adam Tilson is a student at UW-River Falls who is originally from Neillsville, Wis. He loves playing video games, watching movies -- especially classics, fishing in the summer and trying new activities.