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Boy, were we ever lucky !   Just outside of Jamaica in the famous seaport of Montego Bay we saw a terrible ship wreck caused by cruel pirates !  Just a few minutes earlier and the pirates might have attacked us instead. There were men floating in the water everywhere, but fortunately we were able to pull them on board and save them. Nothing will prepare you for the sadness of a sailor who has lost his ship to a pirate ! I am not kidding. They were so mad they were crying. Those old salts really took a licking !

After dropping the humiliated sailors on shore, we had a chance to take a look around. Jamaica is absolutely, breath-takingly beautiful. In addition to being a total rain forest, Jamaica is also quite mountainous. There are peaks and valleys and rivers running from the mountains to the sea. Sadly as beautiful as the country is, it is also dirt poor. Unlike the Cayman Islands, you could see poor people.  In fact you could see plenty  of poor people ! They were just about everywhere you looked.

The people of the nation are almost 90% black with their roots mainly traced to Africa. Although English is their language, the vocabulary appears to somewhat limited. The Cruisers concluded you could get by with 4 phrases.  Heymon : come here. Arramon :   how are you doing.  No Problem : say this whenever possible. All Right : Goodbye.   Now you can speak Jamaican.

Do not get Jamaica confused with Cayman. Cayman is flat, Jamaica is rocky. Cayman is rich, Jamaica is poor. Cayman became the Switzerland of the Caribbean with tax shelters, international banking, and some say money- laundering institutions. Jamaica popularized Reggae music, bobsledding, dred locks, and marijuana.

The national economy appears to be nearly totally dependent on tourism. Everywhere we turned someone
was thrusting something in our face to buy, handing us something and standing around waiting for a tip, or dealing drugs. I was offered a "smoke" twice. The sales people were without a doubt the most aggressive I encountered on the trip. I got off the bus in downtown Montego and in an instant no less than 3 people came up to me and more or less tried to drag me into their store.

Don't get me wrong. I really felt sorry for these people. It was just a little hard for me to enjoy my stay when I could see so much poverty.

I went on a river rafting tour. To a person, every Cruiser I talked to said something about the roads !  They are so narrow two buses cannot pass each other. The margin for error is so slim one bus has to stop while the other passes slowly just inches away. To make things more interesting, the roads wind around mountains and lush foliage. There were constant Dead Man's Curves where cars would come screaming at us from nowhere. I clutched the seat in front of me in terror for the entire trip. The guide reassured me we had the best driver in Jamaica. I believed her. Darwinian Selection had clearly already eliminated the worst drivers from the gene pool.

The rafting tour was a bit of a disappointment. I hoped we could get in an inner tube Guadaloupe-style and float down a gorgeous mountain stream. No such luck. Instead we were placed on a bamboo raft with a Jamaican mountain man, dred locks and all, who poled us down the river. We could see young, powerful Jamaican men actually walking these rafts back up the river, a task that takes 3 hours ! I could only shake my head, but to mechanize the job would probably put many of these people out of business. For cultural education we received a 30 minute lecture on Bob Marley, the deceased reggae singer who is now a god-like legend to his people.

Along the way, various other Jamaicans magically appeared on the side of the river and our raftman would mosey over to check them out. One lady had some punch. One dollar tip. One man had a  floral bouquet. One dollar tip. Another man had a tropical fruit. One dollar tip. After paying $70 for the trip on board our ship, our raftman asked for a $10 tip at the end of a 30 minute ride. My guilt and my outrage fought a constant inner battle with the guilt winning most of the time. Somehow between my abject fear on the bus, my disgust in the city, and my psychic struggle I was able to pay enough attention to see some of the most gorgeous scenery I have ever experienced.

On the way back  to town, our bus just happened to stop 3 times.  As tourists, we were forced to take a minimum of three mandatory opportunities to spend money and boost the national economy. Margueritaville was one such place which featured some full monty dancers as part of the entertainment. Let us just say that getting back on board the ship was easily the most satisfying moment of my  entire trip.

Yesterday' s Trivia Question :

What  lovely SSQQ lady appeared in a Hollywood movie starring as a spiked-haired biker babe along with costar Mr Octopus ?

None other than the lovely Alyssa Lengyel  !

Alyssa had a cameo in a Titanic-style ocean romance sexploitation James Bond flick
starring Mr Octopus as a suave undercover underwater secret agent in the

"The Spy Who Loved 8 Biker  Babes Simultaneously",
sub (as in submarine)  titled "Octopussy". 

Do not ask me to explain the plot.  Do not fish in these waters !

Alyssa is unquestionably the quietest lady I have ever met. I do not believe she volunteered one piece of information about herself  the entire trip.

However Gary, who misbehaved badly on the trip but received transactional analysis immunity in return for dirt on other people, offered Alyssa up to save his own neck.   He whispered to me, "Hey Rick.  I heard Alyssa was in a biker movie once ! "

Unlike certain Presidents, Alyssa did not attempt to cover up the truth. In response to my question, she answered without 7 months hesitation,

"Yes. It was true. I had one scene where I was romantically involved with Mr Octopus.  It was so disgusting !  He had the biggest lips I've ever seen, he had fish-breath, when he kissed me he almost sucked my face off, and worst of all he had his tentacles all over me !  I screamed !  I refused to do the sequel."

Tsk Tsk. Well, there you have it.  The things a girl has to do to climb to the top in Hollywood...  

Today's Trivia Question :

What lady single-handedly won the big Trivial Pursuits showdown?

Alyssa's big kissing scene with the star,
Mr Octopus !

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Alyssa, Beth, and Renee.

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