Missing Out On a Honeymoon

One of the joys of getting married is knowing you are going on a honeymoon. However, many couples skip the honeymoon for various reasons and later regret it. There are 3 main reasons couples skip their honeymoon.
1. Budget
Couples often time will over budget for the wedding and end up with not enough for the honeymoon. Couples need to prioritize before planning anything involved with the wedding including the honeymoon. The honeymoon is a component of the wedding. Is your priority the wedding, the décor, the cake, the photographer, the band? I could go on, right? Make a list of everything you are going to spend money on for your wedding from the bouquet to the honeymoon. Then go through the list and prioritize the list. This is where you will want to spend your money and budget accordingly.

If funds are tight and you are truly doing the simplest wedding because you love each other and will not take a honeymoon, then fear not, there is a solution to you missing out on your honeymoon as you read further in this article.

2. Time
Time is so valuable and the society we live in today is so rushed and very work oriented. We think we are unable to miss work or miss out on work. Employers and Self-employers need to realize the opposite is true. Valuing our time, prioritizing and working smarter is the key to working. Realizing if you take time off to enjoy life and loved ones we would all be more beneficial in the workforce. Down time allows us to relax and let ideas flow to us. Time is precious and you do not get it back.

There are valid reasons for missing a honeymoon because of time. Maybe one or both of the couple has military obligations, just starting a new job or some other valid reason. Again, keep reading, you will find your solution and hopefully come to realize how precious time with loved ones really is.

3. Fear
Fear stops people from doing so many things. One is travel. Our world is not as safe as it once was and that is a reality that we must not let bind us. Fear of terrorism, fear of diseases, fear of flying, and fear of the unknown keep people from experiencing this beautiful world we live in. People avoid going on honeymoons for these fears and also because the fear of booking something so important can be overwhelming and they just let go and miss out on their honeymoon. For those couples who missed their honeymoon due to fear and have overcome whatever fear it was there is a solution for you too!

You miss it. You missed the honeymoon. You missed the fun, the intimacy and the experience of traveling together as a newlywed. Years later you realize you missed out on an incredible occasion to celebrate your love for each other. You can take what is now called a “Honeyversary©”. A Honeyversary© is for those couples that neglected their honeymoon for whatever reason.

The couples that are 1-10 years in their marriage and realize something is missing. The spark is a little dull maybe. There are kids involved now possibly. The date nights are few and far between. Maybe you have forgotten what it is like to be a couple. The answer is the Honeyversary©. A honeymoon on your anniversary!

You treat a Honeyversary© just as you would a honeymoon. You celebrate your love! You experience new things together. You become a couple again. A Honeyversary© can be as good or even better than marriage therapy!

Maybe you are a couple that DID take a honeymoon however you it was not what you really wanted. You can have a do-over! Maybe you are a couple that has lost their connection then you can take a Honeyversary© also!

Honeyversaries ©are the new trend.

Call your professional travel consultant to plan your Honeyversary©!

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Man up 3 Reasons Why The Groom Needs To Plan The Honeymoon

Many couples do not realize that the honeymoon is actually a part of the wedding.  The honeymoon needs to be included in the planning just like the engagement party, rehearsal dinner and all of the components of the wedding.
The entire planning process can be a bit overwhelming.  Brides today have access to so many options for planning.  Their brains are working overtime.  Most have had an image in mind of what they want the wedding to be like since she was three years old.  Today’s bride is checking out every magazine, website, Pinterest, Instagram and anything wedding related in every spare moment.  She has it right there at her fingertips.  Grooms what are you doing?  Are you smiling and nodding?  Are you actively helping with the details?
Traditionally it is the groom’s job to plan the honeymoon.  Somewhere in time, the busy bride has taken over this task. This is time for grooms to man up, take charge and plan the honeymoon.  Plan the best romantic honeymoon of her dreams.
Here are 3 reasons why you should:
1.  YOU CARE
You know that wedding planning is time consuming and along with school and/or work your bride is planning a wedding or talking with a wedding consultant about the planning.  Show her that you care and you want to plan the honeymoon on your own.  You will assure her that you know what you are doing because you care enough to hire a travel consultant to guide you through the process.  You will talk with her and find out her wants, needs and priorities.  This gesture will go a long way in showing what kind of husband you will be.  She may say no.  This is one time where you should insist on taking on this duty.  Let her know you will confide in her throughout the entire process. Show her that you can and will handle the honeymoon.
2. SHE IS STRESSED
A happy bride is a happy groom.  You know she is stressed.  She is trying to please everyone during this entire process.  Manning up and taking this task off her to do list will ease the stress.  Get involved immediately in planning this part.  You initiate the questions about the honeymoon.  Listen to her dreams and pay attention to the details of what she is wanting.  She is going to want to talk about this and by you showing that you care and want to be involved will help relieve her stress.  She will thank you.  She will have more confidence in you as her future husband.
3. BROWNIE POINTS
 Planning an unforgettable dream come true honeymoon will make you the best husband ever!  You know what those brownie points can get you! You know you will be doing something special for her.  Being in love and doing something for the one you love is one of the best feelings in the world.  She will be a happy bride.  She will be able to enjoy the honeymoon even more knowing you planned it.  She will brag to her friends and you will be in the #besthusbandevercategory. This is just the beginning of how you will show your love and devotion to her and your marriage.
Remember, you do not have to do the planning on your own.  Seek the advice of a trusted travel consultant that specializes in honeymoons.  Let them know you are doing the planning.  A professional travel consultant will ask the right questions for both you and your bride.  The travel consultant will guide you and plan the honeymoon of your dreams and make you look like the knight and shining armor that your bride thinks you are.
You got her to say yes to the ring, now get her to say yes to the honeymoon.
To set up your complimentary consultation with me to start planning your celebration get away click here.

3 Things To Know About Your Travel Professional

Back in the day (not that I am that old wink wink)  travel agents were basically the only way people were able to book airline tickets, hotels, rental cars, and vacations.  Storefront agencies were all over.  People would walk in, sit at the desk and tell the “agent” they want to go to (fill in the blank with your favorite destination).  Then the travel agent would get up and go to the “brochure rack” and  hand them to the client to look at. They would book airline tickets and PRINT them , call up Disney world or a Cruise line to book the reservations.  This was kind of like going to a “record” store and buying a new album.  Wow, have times changed.
Fast forward 25 years, the internet is here, there is an APP for everything.  There are people out there that have never heard of a travel agent!  There are people out there that do not realize the benefit and the value of using a travel professional.  I like to call them travel professionals or a travel consultant because we are more than an agent now! I’ll admit while this article pertains to most travel professionals this is truly about my personal passion for my job. Here are 3 things you may have not known about travel professionals.

1- Excitement...YES! They (well, I am and most are) are just as excited about this trip as you are.  You are not just data that is being entered into a search engine.  You are a real person and we are so excited to make this dream trip come true for you.  Personally, the favorite part of my job is “when I meet with a client to go over documents before they leave.  I feel like I’m going on the trip too!”-Shannon

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No Regrets Guide To A Dazzling Honeymoon

No Regrets Guide To A Dazzling Honeymoon

No Regrets Guide To A Dazzling Honeymoon
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The engagement party was fun.  The bridal shower was endearing.  The bachelorette and bachelor party were epic!  The bridal shower was endearing.  The rehearsal dinner was memorable and the wedding was a dream come true.  Now it is time for the Dazzling Honeymoon you have both been looking forward to!
For a no regrets and a dazzling honeymoon take note to these simple steps:
1-     Leave at least 2 days after the wedding.
 
 
Even if you have a day-time wedding you will be physically and emotionally drained from the wedding and all of the events that led up to the wedding.   Allowing you and your new spouse a day of rest before getting on a plane will
insure you arrive at your honeymoon destination rested and recharged for Honeymoon “festivities”.
2-     Have an open mind.
A hand writing Open Your Mind on a blackboard. A concept for having an open mind to new ideas,experiences and opportunity in our careers, education and personal lives 
This is a new experience for both of you as husband and wife.  Maybe you have travelled together as a couple,
however this is the first time traveling together as a married couple.  This trip may also be your first time together in a new country.  You want your honeymoon to memorable in a good way.  Keeping an open mind about things that may happen unexpectedly will keep things humorous and avoid unhappy feelings and memories.  For
example you may be expecting nice long walks on a beautiful sandy beach.  Laying out on the beach and soaking up the sun.  You arrive and see the beach is filled with seaweed!  Ahhh… you can’t walk on the beach, the smell is yucky.  So what do you do?  Pout?  Get mad?  Blame the resort?  The best thing to do is to keep an open mind.  Play at the pool, walk in the gardens, have a “do it yourself couples” seaweed wrap – haha! Make the most of the situations and you will have more “fun” on your honeymoon and more memories to cherish.
3-     Splurge – It is YOUR honeymoon. 
Many couples sink thousands of dollars into the wedding.  There are things that you think are important and a priority for the wedding and then hindsight you don’t remember those little things you spent the money on.  Will it really matter if you spent more money on a live band vs a DJ?  You will still have had your first dance.  Will it matter that you had an ice carving at the reception?  Gifts for the guests that they will aimlessly throw away after the party? Overdoing table décor when simple is sometimes just as nice.  The money spent on this things could be put into the honeymoon for you and your spouse to enjoy and cherish.  Make sure when you are prioritizing the wedding that you include the honeymoon.
Working with a travel professional will help you with planning and guide you to make sure you have no regrets!
The most important thing you do to make your honeymoon dazzle and have no regrets is to GO on a honeymoon and make the most of your time together in a new place!  Let the petty things that can and will happen when you travel go.
Experience new things, taste new foods, laugh and have lots of honeymoon sex!
To set up your complimentary consultation with me to start planning your Dazzling Honeymoon or romantic get away click here.
Negril, Jamaica Zimbali Retreat- The Food

Negril, Jamaica Zimbali Retreat- The Food

Negril, Jamaica Zimbali Retreat – The Food Tour (part 3)

After our ride and our walk around the farm, we made our way to the kitchen.  This is where we met Habba, our chef for the lunch food tour.  My husband and I are “foodies”.  We love to cook, entertain and eat.  We LOVE dining experiences.  Dining is not just about the food it is about the prepping, the cooking, the conversations and the enjoyment of consuming the meal.  This experience was off to a great start.

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Habba, chef extraordinaire greeted us with his charm and charisma.  Right away he asked about any food allergies.   Making sure our wellbeing and health were not compromised.   He invited us to sit, have a glass a wine and explained what was going to be happening over the course of the meal.  The kitchen is set up with a rustic feel with modern appliances and technologies.  There is even a flat screen tv that films the chef from behind so you can see how he is preparing everything at all angles.

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My husband is an amazing amateur chef so much so that many times I would rather eat at home than eat out at what some consider a nice restaurant.  Being on the other side of the stove with a creative chef while watching Habba in action is very entertaining.

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Our first course was a beautiful presentation of cooked plantains, green onions and black beans all set in an array of a flower.  As delicious as it is beautiful!

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Habba explains his methods of preparations as he prepares everything.  He tells of his history growing up in Jamaica and England.  He shares his passion of cooking.  Habba is so creative with his foods.  He figures out creative ways to make his food healthy and delicious.
The second course is an “untraditional” Jamaican meat patty.  We are huge fans of this popular dish.  Habba likes to make sure that his meals are not only organic but also healthy and delicious.  This meat patty was made with a homemade pie crust.  Habba made his pie crust from organic ingredients.  The “meat” was not meat.  The meat was made of lentils.  These lentils were cooked to perfection with the perfect texture and taste.  The taste and texture of meat, perfectly disguised to fool experienced pallets.   I am one that does not eat beans or lentils (ever)!  I despise the texture of them.  I was very grateful that Habba did not reveal his secret until I was almost half way through the tastiest meat patty I had ever eaten.

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The salad.  Veggies fresh and crisp.  Tossed lightly in oil and vinegar with herbs.  A refreshing taste of freshness.

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The main course we were given a choice of chicken, shrimp or vegan.  I chose chicken and Rich chose the shrimp.   Habba prepared both dishes with sides of vegetables cooked down in coconut milk. He showed us his process of making his own coconut milk.  The shrimp was filled with flavor and a little bit of a spicy kick to it.  The chicken was tender enough to cut with a fork and flavored with a delicious topping.  All of the sides were equally tasty.

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Oh and dessert.  We will never forget the dessert.   A yummy chocolate cake.  Chocolate is always yummy, right?  Well, this chocolate cake was just that and more.  Yumminess drizzled with honey. Accompanied by a mango salsa. Habba asked us if we could taste his “secret” ingredient.  We took a few bites.  Richard made a couple of guesses. Wrong guesses.  His secret ingredient was BLACK BEANS.  More beans that I was loving.

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This cake was so rich in taste.  I wish you could taste it.  You can if you see Habba at Zimbali retreat.

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After the lunch, I got a tour of the rooms of the resort.  Each room is nicely decorated with all of the comforts of home, clean bathroom, coffee pots and a breezy balcony with a nice hammock. Zimbali retreat is a great getaway if you are looking for something different.  If you are looking for an experience of real Jamaican culture, beauty, and taste.  This place has other interesting tours and activities that you can do including visiting the Rastafarian.   I will be returning personally.  For a night of romance, tranquility and peace.

For more information about booking your romantic trip to Zimbali or any other destination contact Shannon at 225-303-2240

www.paradisevacationescapes.com

Negril, Jamaica Zimbali Experience Part 2 of 3 – Now That We Have Arrived – Sound, Sight, Touch and Taste –The Farm Tour

Zimbali Experience Part 2 of 3 – Now That We Have Arrived – Sound, Sight, Touch and Taste –The Farm Tour
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Stepping out of the car I take in the beauty that surrounds us.  The first thing I notice is the sound that I hear.  The sound is stillness.   I even found it a little awkward and I was not sure why.  I then realized that there are no sounds of cars, there are no sounds of people. I was reminded quickly that I had not heard the sound of stillness and quiet in a very very long time.   In our day to day lives, we hear traffic sounds, radio, phones vibrating or alerting.  In our homes we hear ceiling fans, air conditioning running, computer fans running, so many sounds that we have become accustomed to and we think it is quiet. Quiet is the absence of all sound.  I could hear tranquility.  I could hear myself breathe.  This is what you hear after you shut your car door at the Zimbali retreat.  I was present.
I could feel a peacefulness within me, immediately.
Walking through the bamboo gate we were immediately greeting by the beautiful Alecia.  Alecia is one of the owners of Zimbali Retreat along with her husband Mark.  Alecia escorts Richard and I to a waiting area, we are given a refreshing drink of fresh ginger and pineapple juice.  The time of the year we visited was late July so the temperature is probably around 90 and the humidity was pretty high but not nearly as high as it is in our home state of Louisiana.  We sit in the waiting area which has big ceiling fans to cool us off, and a balcony view of the land.  The land is filled with deep tropical, lush trees.  Sipping on my drink I take it all in.  I look at the surroundings.  I see and hear some birds.  I see a beautiful hummingbird.  I see butterflies fluttering through the leaves.   I walk around and explore more. I see a shelf filled with books!   I am an avid reader so I am drawn to see the collection.  So many books, I could just imagine myself lost at this retreat in nature reading from their inspirational library.  It was at that point that I knew I would be returning.  I go back to the balcony and sit with Richard.
Then I hear laughter.  Laughter of children.  Two adorable children named O’Dane and Sol, giggling about who knows what?  Sol is the daughter of the owners, Mark, and Alecia, she has the most mesmerizing eyes. O’dane is the son of Clifford one of the farmers.  Clifford is also Alecia’s uncle, he has been with them since they started the creation of Zimbali.  Sol runs up to me with a smile that goes from ear to ear.    Her eyes light up, giving her reason to have the name, Sol.  Sol asks me if I want some candy and she holds out a bag.  I happily take a piece of the red candy.  The candy is cold to touch, I ask her what kind of candy is it.  Sol’s “candy” that she generously offers to me is frozen berries.  They were very tasty too.
Alecia, announces to us that Clifford, better known as “Fudd” is ready to take us on the farm tour.  We set off without hesitation with this stranger and his machete into the mountain area of the farm.    Where else do you feel safe enough to go with someone you just met on a tour in the mountain with a machete?
When I hear farm I envision row after row of crops planted, is this what you have in mind?  This is not the typical farm here.  The farm and retreat is set nestled on about 7 acres of land nestled nicely in the mountains of Negril.  The farm is spread out behind the retreat.  There are okra plants growing almost 6 feet high, varieties of banana trees scattered.  Mango and coconut trees are plentiful on the farm.  There are peppers, pineapples, broccoli, star fruit, breadfruit, and beautiful avocado trees.  There are herbs planted throughout the farm area also.

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As Fudd takes us throughout parts of the farm, I am thinking to myself that I wished I would have worn tennis shoes instead of flip flops.  I look at Fudd’s feet and he is wearing flip flops, his are not blinged out in décor like mine are.  I decide to “suck it up” and keep walking.   We have the farm dogs that join us on our short journey.  As we walk on our tour, Fudd tells about his life in growing up in Jamaica.  How he lives off of the land and always has.  His children do also.  He is “green”, he lives and eats organically because this is his way of life, has been and if it is up to him I do believe it will be for many many years to come.
Fudd walks through the land with his machete, knocking down a few brushes here and there to get through.  Pointing out trees and plants that are native to the land.  Richard being a landscape architect was filled with questions about everything growing.  Fudd knows the answer to every question and more.  Fudd takes his machete and reaches up in a tree to cut a mango down.  I’ve never seen a mango so big. I think the mango was almost the size of a football.   Fudd uses the machete to peel and cut it.  He hands Richard and I piece of mango to share.  Fudd did not wash this fruit off before we took a bite.  There was no need to.  They use no pesticides.  We took turns biting into the mango, juice bursting out and sweetness like you have never tasted.  Fresh, clean and delicious.  Fudd throws the peeling and the seed down on the ground, the dogs eat some and what they do not eat just cycles back into mother earth.  Just a few more steps away and he is chopping down a coconut for us.  I personally do not really care for coconut water unless it is the chocolate flavored one, however since I am in another country I am being open and I am surely not going to turn this offer down from our gracious guide.  I take the first sip, a very small sip, then another larger sip, then another gulp.  Wow.  Amazingly tasteful and thirst quenching.  I finally pass the coconut to Richard.  Fudd explains how the coconut is sweeter as it gets older.  He chops us another coconut down and opens this one up to give us the “jelly” of the coconut. I had never heard of the jelly of coconut.  I tasted this jelly by scraping it with my finger.  100% of pure yumminess.   I have only known of coconuts to have either water or the meat that you shred for coconut cakes.  This was a new taste of the coconut for us.  Fudd explained to us the growth span of a coconut and how they farm them and use them at The Zimbali Retreat.

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The tour was mostly shaded, however, the heat was getting to me, maybe the altitude and maybe the fact that I am not accustomed to being out in the heat walking around for an hour.  I was sweating, I dare not complain.   I was truly in awe of what has been created here by Mark and Alecia and by God. Fudd and the other workers do this on a regular basis year round.  I think I have the luxury of working in the air conditioned office and these workers, well I think they have the luxury of being in nature to work.  It is all a matter of perception.
We venture back to the retreat center to get ready for our food experience. That is part 3.  The taste of the Zimbali Retreat.

Negril, Jamaica -Zimbali Retreat Experience Part 1

Zimbali Retreat – (part 1 of 3)
The Drive-
 Politics, People & Potholes
Michael was his name. He had the warmest sincerest eyes you will ever seed.  He exited his car with a simple sign that said Zimbali.  He was our guy!   This is the man that would be our “cab driver” to take us on our excursion we were going to do from the luxurious Beaches Negril.  Being the gentleman he is, he opened my door to the car.
The journey began with a friendly hello, an introduction from him and that he would be taking us to our destination.  Courteous and friendly is an understatement for this man.  He proceeded to tell us that the drive would be approximately 30 minutes and for us to relax and enjoy the ride.
Negril is a beautiful part of Jamaica with lush tropical gardens and one of the most pristine turquoise beaches that you will see.  It was easy to enjoy the ride with the views of the beach.  However, I changed my view and looked across the street from the beach and paid attention to the people and the homes along the way.  Michael was very engaging in conversation and asked about us, our families and where were we from.  We reciprocated with questions about him, his family and his country.  He proudly spoke about all three.
Michael told us about the people in the area.  How they have to fend for themselves.  They set up shops outside of their homes to sell things to each other and to the tourist.  He says not many in the area work often or have steady jobs so they have to get creative on ways to make a living. He said that even though the people may not have all of the luxuries that people in America have that they are very happy people. This was humbling.  To see subpar (according to our standards) homes, clothing and transportation and to know that they are still happy people.  So many lessons learned in 1 hour drive (30 minutes each way).  We asked about one home in particular we passed that really stood out among the smaller simpler homes.   This one was extravagant, on hill, landscaped, with a fence.  We asked who lived here.  Thinking it would be some one of significance.  We were corrected.  He said it was a local man.  This man was one of the first men in the area to have a car.  Because he had a car he would take people to where they needed to go and charged them or accepted donations.  He saved this money along with the money he made from his job and built the house.  Michael said this man was so grateful to be able to help the others here and that he was a very proud and kind man.  He said he still helps people when they need it.  I think this is just a normal trait of the Jamaican’s, always helping each other.
As the ride continued, Michael kept us up to date on our ETA.  We turned off of the main “highway” to a small dirt road through a sugar cane field.  Being from south Louisiana this was a familiar sight to us.  We talked about how they harvest their crops and compared it to the way it is done in Louisiana.  Basically the same.  However, there were no big large tractors or machinery in their fields like there are in Louisiana.  Instead, there are people with machetes, harvesting with good ole man power.  They harvest sugar cane year round in Jamaica.  While one patch of farm may be peaking at the crop, the other patch next to it is just getting ready for planting.  The patch next to it is maybe half way through growth.  (I giggled to myself thinking of the ever popular Facebook game – Farmville except this was for real)  The year round tropical climate in Jamaica allows for this.
As we ventured up in the mountains of Negril, he told us we were 13 minutes away from Zimbali and though its only three miles away the dirt road is a little rough so we would take it slow.  Little bumps and swerves to miss the big bumps kept the ride fun!  We approached a man on a motorcycle at the start of the road.  Michael pulled over, rolled down the window and spoke to him with his beautiful Jamaican dialect.  We were not sure what they said to each other however the guy on the motorcycle smiled really big and handed Michael a newspaper.  As Michael took the paper and we drove off, he told us that was the paper guy and he wanted to help him by saving him a trip up the mountain. Again, the hospitality of Jamaica is always heartwarming to me.
Somehow, we got on the subject of politics with Michael.  I don’t recall if it was on the way there or on the way back.  We asked what he thought about their Prime Minister.  Why not?  Right?  I remember he chuckled and rubbed his head.  He said…. “Ahhhhh…you know …its politics…they are all the same”.  Then he told us something that really stood out to both my husband and I.  He said he was 50 years old and he had never voted.  He said might one day.  Another humbling moment.  I guess he thought his voted didn’t matter.   Jamaica only became an independent country in 1962.  Michael was 3 years old when this happened.  He is from there originally and is so proud of his country and their people.
It was on the way back and I was gazing off in the side windows thinking about our lives and how blessed we are.  The ride is slow as Michael dodges the pot holes and then we came to stop.  I look to the front to see several men working.  Michael said there was road construction.  The men working were dressed in t-shirts, jeans or slacks and no shoes.  No safety vests, no hard hats.  There were no signs that said “under construction”.  We asked “what were they doing” Michael said they are widening the road.  I looked closer.  Yes.  They were widening the road.  They had their shovels.  They had wheel barrels.  They had men throwing the big “clumps” of dirt off to the side.  They were digging and getting ready to pour concrete yet there was not a concrete truck in sight.  They were going to pour the concrete manually.  Now there are parts of Jamaica that does have the machinery for jobs like this and the infrastructure is up to par.  This is in the outer parts where not so many tourist venture.  The time frame takes much longer….years.
Michael was so friendly we wished the ride was even longer.  We quickly approached our resort.  We thanked him and shook his hand.  We felt blessed to have Michael as our driver to share with us his story, his views, and his country. He drove away.  I wish I would have hugged him.  We felt even more blessed as he dropped us off that our family can experience the luxury of the resort we are staying at.     We felt humbled and grateful all in the same heartbeat.  We looked at the employees at the resort in a different light.  We appreciated them even more.  We looked at this Paradise that they share with us and relished in the beauty of the land and the people even more.442171f6-75bb-4aa3-8295-0fc088952372