A Freelance Writer’s Life Abroad: Inside Peek at My Life as an American Living in Negril, Jamaica for a Year, Part XXVI

I can’t believe I’ve been here a month already (as of yesterday). Time flies when you’re having fun, for sure. Although, it’s not all fun and games. I work – a lot! – just like when I’m back home. But it’s nice to have a career that allows you to work from practically anywhere. I’m constantly grateful for this.

Note: See links to all posts in this series.

Gonna Make You Sweat, Baby!

I finally got settled into my apartment, even though it’s still hot as heck as I discussed in the last post in this series.

October has been unusually hot. Usually, it’s a pleasant month to visit, but I’ve been one big sweat ball since I’ve landed. And, when you take into account that I’m pretty sure I’m going through “the change” as I mentioned in this post, all I do is sweat, sweat, sweat (remember this song?).

But it’s all good – I’ve sweated off some pounds. I’ve literally lost about 7 lbs in the month that I’ve been here. A lot of that has been regular training for the marathon, but some of it is due to just good ole fashioned Caribbean heat.

Speaking of the marathon …

Training for the Marathon

The Reggae Marathon – one of the main reasons I’m here this time – is just over a month away. I’m doing the half marathon. This will be my 10th marathon; to date, I’ve done 7 half and two full ones. Training has been going really well. My goal is to beat my best time for a half, which was 2 hours, 16 minutes back in 2009 (click graphic to see race times for all marathons I’ve participated in).

Yuwanda Black: Marathon Race Results

Note: In 2011, they listed my results twice in the 2011 Reggae Marathon – just in case you’re wondering why there are 10 race times already listed, when next month will be my tenth one.

Getting in Some Beach Time … but You Have to Pay to Play

In addition to marathon training, I’ve been going to the beach regularly. Sunday is family day in Jamaica, so you’ll see a lot of locals at the beach, unlike during the work week.

Pictures: Life in Negril

Like Inkwell Editorial’s Facebook page to see some recent pics, eg, parasailing, glass bottom boats, sunsets and other scenes from beach life.

FYI, I took most of the shots you’ll see there from my beach chair at Beachcomber Resort because I was just too lazy to get up and chase a shot. Why at a resort for beach day?

Well … most of 7-Mile beach consists of hotels and there’s not really a whole lot of space to hang out where there are trees and shade UNLESS you set up at one of the hotels. This can cost anywhere from nothing (rare) to $15 or more per day.

So sad in my opinion because most locals can’t afford this.

There is a spot for locals to enjoy the beach without paying, but it’s way down the beach and usually it’s not the cleanest (on the beach area). Also, there are no beach chairs or umbrellas. You can bring your own though, but I have YET to find a place in Negril that sells beach chairs and umbrellas.

So that’s why I usually pay a fee at one of the resorts when I go to the beach. At Beachcomber, it’ was only $500J (about $5 U.S. dollars). Of course, if you stay at the hotel, it costs nothing.

What to Do in the Evenings/at Night in Negril

There’s not a whole lot of after-dark activities to do in Negril. There are places to listen to music, eg, like the Italian Café Restaurant in the FB pics. But there’s no movie theatre, bowling alley, art galleries, etc. like you’d find in a big city.

Speaking of Italian Café …

I love this spot; it’s not typical of Negril in that you just don’t get this type of “atmosphere” in most places. Reminds me of home (America), I guess you could say.

They have a SLAMMIN’ DJ — even during the day, the music is hot (all kinds, lots of R&B, hip hop, neo-soul mixes, reggae). It’s just great music! At night, it could be classified as a cozy night club. They have cabanas in an open-air environment, which kinda reminds you of a cool lounge.

The food is good and reasonably priced, eg, calamari for $10; garlic cheese bread $3; rum punch for $3.50. After one of our beach days, my sister and I hung out here and did some work.

Did I mention that there’s free wifi?

So be sure to check this place out when you come – it’s way cool.

What’s So Special about Negril, Really?

I tell all my friends and family who’ve never been that Negril really is just a tiny little country beach town – literally with one road winding through it. But as the pics show, the beauty is everywhere – and that’s what makes it paradise.

Like right now, I’m sitting at Canoe Bar – about 12 steps from the ocean working. It’s 4:35 pm on a Friday and I’m about to have a rum punch. They have live music here sometimes, and it’s right down the street from my FAVORITE bar in Negril, Natural Mystic Bar (aka Susan’s).

I’m at Susan’s almost every night; it’s become kind like a Cheers for me in that I know almost every one who comes in – if not by name, then at least by face because most of us can be found perched on our favorite stools every night.

Rum punches at Natural Mystic: $200J (about $2.00) and Susan has a STRONG pour (can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to say “Add more punch please”).

One more thing that makes Negril special is you feel like you’re part of a community here because it’s small, you get to know everyone – again, if not by name, then at least by face. Also, if you walk everywhere (most people don’t have a car, you take a taxi or walk), you get to “know” Negril.

Although, there are some spots I go to when I hang out with some of my Jamaican friends that I never would have found on my own.

And that’s the latest from Negril. FYI, if there’s anything you want to know about Negril, just email me and I’ll do my best to answer. If I don’t know it, I can easily ask someone.

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