…these are the first words you will see when you visit http://www.rockhousehotel.com, the website for the Rockhouse Hotel on West End Road in the town of Negril in the parish of Westmoreland on the island of Jamaica in the Caribbean Sea. The photo complementing these words depicts an idyllic thatch-roofed hut made of stone and perched over the clear blue-green water that made the Caribbean notorious. The scene looks like it could be out of a storybook or a painting come to life…like when Mary Poppins jumps right into a chalk drawing.
By the time I arrived at the Rockhouse Hotel, 50 hours after I had locked my front door, I truly understood the remoteness hinted at in the phrase “in a house on a rock…” And then when I stood over the cliffs of the hotel for the first time, the sun shining and my body tingling, the water sparkling and my one and only by my side, I was blissful. Just like Mary Poppins, I had magically stepped into my very own fairytale.
This trip was a dream come true. I’ve traveled all over the world, from Laos to Peru, but I had never been to the Caribbean. And not for lack of desire, because I’d been dreaming of the Caribbean since my childhood obsession with the Beach Boy song, “Kokomo.” (Feeling sentimental, I made sure that “Kokomo” was the first song that I listened to on my iPod in Jamaica.)
The location aside, the trip was a dream come true because of the company and the timing. James and I wanted to run away together and share in a bit of adventure. Like in “Kokomo,” we had to get away from it all. We’d both been experiencing busier and higher-than-usual stressful times at work. Our business travel schedules were forcing us to spend some time apart. Seattle had quite the harsh winter and our bodies were craving warmth and Vitamin D. The global economic crisis leaves a heaviness in the city air and we wanted a break from the recession. In short, we needed to decompress.
So, we escaped to Jamaica. We rubbed sunscreen on one another and lounged in the sun. We had lazy mornings and late-afternoon naps. We took photos of the captivating scenery and of each other. We ate tropical fruit and gourmet meals from the Rockhouse Restaurant (rumored to be ranked #2 in the Caribbean). We jumped off of cliffs and bridges into the bay. We navigated the crystal clear water with our snorkels, swimming in and out of caves and underwater tunnels. We wondered through the hotel’s maze of lush gardens. We ordered room service. We drank champagne and ate dessert. We read magazines and books and worked on our screenplays. We watched the sunset. And we left more in love than ever.