Nick and Estelle's Honeymoon

Sandals Dunns River "Ultra All-Inclusive" Resort, Middlesex, Jamaica.

Absolutely F A N T A S T I C. Couldn't have asked for anything to be better, with the possible exception of the 9-hour flight being shorter, but that's just the way the world's built. Each flight had 3 movies, 2 meals, 1 fasion-show (where the stewardesses did a quick-change at the back of the plane somewhere and strolled up and down the aisle wearing trendy caribbean stuff), and an aerobics session (or as much as you can realistically do whilst seated and without much legroom).

Other than that, it was great. You wander up to a bar, or even FLOAT up to one of the pool bars, and order anything you like (there's large coctail menus to inspire you) without paying a thing. the staff are even wearing big badges saying "NO TIPS!".

Same story with the restraunts, except they're not open 24h/day, you have to go at mealtimes, and one of them had a dress-code, and one ofthem needed you to book in advance.

Same story with the watersports -you just wander down to the beach and say "I wanna go sailing", and they say "do you know how to sail, or do you want lessons?", and you say "yeah mon, irie mon, no problem" (having had your "learn to speak jamaican" lessons the day before ;-), and they say "sure, find lifejackets your size on that rack, then take that boat there for as long as you want. don't go near the reef".

You want to go snorkelling, you go to the dive shop and they say "sorry, the 1pm boat is full, come back a bit before 2", and you do so, and they ask your shoe size, give you some flippers and a mask, and you get on the glass-bottom-boat and they take you out to the reef, and they even give you some bread so you can feed the tropical fish right out of your hand. If you've not snorkelled before, they give you some brief lessons. They even stop off at a beach on the way back, one where a lot of James Bond was filmed (odd-job on the beach, etc), and you can paddle in the waterfalls and take photos and stuff.

Scuba, too, if you're not certified, you spend about half of one day being taught about the equipment, the procedures, safety information, stuff like that, then you do some tests in the pool - prove that you can swim, prove that you can breathe, prove that you can clear your mask underwater if it gets waterlogged, find your mouthpiece if it gets lost behind your back, some stuff like that, then the day afterwards, they take you out the other side of the reef (otherwise you've only got about 12ft of water at the most), and you do your first real dive, only a day after you first set eyes on the equipment. They show you around the reef a bit, again you get to see loads of tropical sea-life. According to my meter-thing, I went to a depth of 42ft, which obviously isn't huge, but it's still 2.4 atmospheres of pressure!

Then they have the "playmakers" who organise things like the "learn to speak jamaican" (raatid mon, me troat dry, I waan sintin fi drink, gimme a bokkle a red strarp), "poolside fun + games", beer guzzling competition, "drinks mixology" (where you basically have to drink samples of lots of coctails and guess the ingredients, and you end up drinking loads of shots of tequilla if you get them wrong, fail to answer questions, peek or touch the cup before you're supposed to down it, or basically every few minutes anyway), competitions, races, pool volleyall, basketball, jeopardy, etc etc etc, and you get points for each activity you take part in, and more if you "win" any of them, and then if you get enough points, you get 1 to 3 pairs of exclusive miniature leather sandals necklaces, then a certificate signed by all the playmakers, then a well deccorrated cap. Estelle and I got ALL of these (although admittedly 2 weeks is longer than average, most of them being american, newlyweds, with 1 week stay and only 1-2hr flights), AND got about halfway towards doubling the total even after that.

And then there were the really top-notch shows in the evenings. Really high-quality stuff, jamaica's best performers. Singers, dance troupes, fire breathers, drummers, show bands, snake charmers, and even a limbo dancer who basically set up 4 burning poles on a frame where each leg was 1 coke bottle, IE it was well under a foot high, and he limbo-ed underneath it!

> I hope you aren't both too sunburned!

Nah. We wore SPF60 and/or waterproof SPF45 sunscreen, and even then we hid in the shade a lot, and avoided any particularly exposed activities an hour or 2 either side of midday.

This stuff is maintained by Nick Waterman - Email Me