Jamaica 2013 – Day eight

I awoke on Sunday to the familiar situation of no wifi. It really would have been nice to sit at breakfast and read Helen the news fiom Blighty. As we tottered to breakfast we were glad we’d booked a couple of days extra over the week, but there was also an impinging awareness that our time would soon be up here.

After breakfast we went to the desk to enquire politely about the bloody wifi. The lady who l now recognised as a supervisor said she was just fixing it, and give it half an hour. Miraculously, half an hour later it was working. I refined my understanding of what they meant by ‘the engineer’ to mean ‘just as soon as one of the staff who knows how to fix the flaky wifi gets round to doing it.’

Lying by the pool, I was checking the football scores on the Nexus, and talking to one of the staff who, sadly, is a Man U supporter. He asked if I was going to watch the Man U v Chelsea game on the Nexus, and I wondered how I was going to explain that I couldn’t run the Sky app because Sky won’t let it work on a rooted device. I rooted my Nexus so that it would run other apps that are more useful, although it’s really annoying that the consequence is that I can’t watch Sky on it. Just as I was tying myself in knots, Helen interjected with the revelation that the reason it wouldn’t work was because I was an Arsenal supporter. I’m not convinced that Helen has an entirely firm grasp of the technical principles behind such matters, but it was enough to cause the staff member to try to throw me into the pool.

At lunch outside on the terrace, we won the movie quiz, and received a bag of Blue Mountain coffee as a prize. Helen knew most of the answers, but I also acquitted myself honorably.

We returned to the pool after lunch. Why is it that despite the fact there’s an entire poolside of free sun-loungers, some other couple decides they have to come and sit next to us? Don’t they realise that we really don’t want to listen to their banal conversation? Maybe they’re actually hoping we’ll chip in with some advice as to how to heal the rift between Aunty Enid and Uncle Harry. It was certainly tempting to offer advice of a sort.

Early in the afternoon the wifi stopped working again.

We moved down the steps to the beach to escape from the louder music, and the boisterous American conversation at the bar. It’s been windy every day since we arrived, and so there’s been no snorkelling from the glass-bottom boat, or kayaking or pedalo. With the exception of the trip to the doctor, and the upcoming return journey to the airport, we’ll have seen nothing of Jamaica. It’s a shame in a way, but we really only came here because of flight availability. We just wanted somewhere warm where we could lie around, and we achieved that goal. We also won’t have seen inside the disco that opens at 11. Way past our bedtime.

The hotel itself has been a conflicting story. The room we ended up in is fantastic. The facilities are good and varied. The staff are all friendly, and the entertainments team is excellent. The food has been OK, if unexciting, and the drinks have been very good.

On the minus side, having asked in advance about quiet, that didn’t really work out, what with the cats, disco, machine room and music in general. The ongoing saga with the wifi has been an issue. It’s now one of the mandatory qualifying factors for hotel choice. I’m sure it must be for others as well, and can only become more important over time. The increasing use of cheap (and not so cheap) ultra-portable tablets and phones will ensure that. The staff weren’t great at replenishing the coffee supplies in the room. Just three items on the debit side, but ones that matter to us – or at least to me. It’s hard to stand out in a service industry, and the message here is, be honest with customers, and if you offer a service, make sure it works well. If you don’t think it’s important, don’t offer it.

The wind was so strong that we moved from the beach to our balcony to drink coffee and read.

On the way to the bar in the evening we stopped by the desk to enquire about the wifi, just for something different to do. The evening shift was on, who reassured us that the engineer would be there this evening or tomorrow morning.

‘More likely tomorrow,” I said.

He considered this. “Yes, more likely.”

For pre-dinner drinks we went to the bar at the end of the pier, and chatted to Melody, the bartender. She’d been working at the hotel for six years. She told us that the plans were for it to become a ‘lifestyle’ resort at certain times during the year. I’m a little hazy on the concept, but it seems to be about people wandering around with no clothes on, and getting off with each other. I think. I wonder if it will be confusing for that to operate some times and not others. It could lead to some unfortunate misunderstandings.

After a relatively late dinner, at which the usual boiled egg starter was missing, we staggered back to the room, not entirely due to Helen’s condition. We sat on the balcony and put on some music using my fantastic little Jawbone Jambox bluetooth speaker. I did of course ensure that there was no-one around to disturb. It was lovely.

We fell asleep to thoughts that the next day was our last full day at the hotel, and wondering whether there actually was a manager to talk to.

<Day seven                                                                                                                                                                               Day nine >