For me it was when Walter Becker died. Don’t get me wrong, listening to Petty makes me want to take a knee, even before he passed. Now that he has, I’ve half a mind to put on my noise cancelling headphones, retreat to the wine cellar and listen to American Girl over and over while reminiscing the day away. But Becker & Fagen (Steely Dan), man, that was my desert island band. I wore out the grooves on my copies of Countdown To Ecstasy and Pretzel Logic. 

It makes you wonder dread who’s next in line. I told Happy Wife that when Fogerty goes I may as well too.

We’re back from Jamaica, Mon! Truth be told, over three weeks ago now. We stopped in Atlanta for a couple nights to de-compress first. Spotted this guy at the Georgia aquarium giving us the Gimlet Eye

For the longest time he (she?) didn’t move. I thought it might be plastic. Eventually it did.

I could’ve watched the seadragons for hours. If there’s an evolutionary explanation for these creatures it escapes me

Happy Wife crawled through a tunnel on her knees for her chance in the “Penguin Bubble”

It was also the first aquarium where I saw Beluga whales in captivity. Ordinarily, if we want to see Beluga whales we drive down the road a bit from Anchorage, usually in September, and watch ’em in Turnagain Arm chasing silver salmon.

My favorite exhibit was the Ocean Voyager. Huge!

If you enjoy watching animals eat, poop, and lounge about in a predator-free sanctuary, this aquarium is for you. Recommend.

Our first night in Atlanta, jet-lagged though we were, we Googled a wine bar and headed out. Being we are by nature pedestrian and like to explore, we set out on foot. No biggie, except 1.8 miles in wedgies with 3″ heels proved a bit much for HW’s feet, and who could blame her, neither of us is used to the heat and humidity. Two thumbs up, though, for the Inman Park area. Lots of restaurants, bars, and pretty-faced millennials. We squeezed into the Barcelona Wine Bar (reccomend) and eventually came to rest on two stools, jawed with the bartender, enjoyed some novel eats, emptied several glasses of wine, eavesdropped some conversations, then Ubered back to the hotel, where we slept like dead people.

The next day was the aquarium, followed by more walking about, then by late afternoon it was time for a Margarita (which turned into two, given it was Happy Hour). Then back to the hotel, short nap, shower, etc., then we Ubered back to the Inman Park area and dined at Sotto Sotto. Decent Italian food, generous service; the Barolo was delicate with notes of rose petal and fresh soil, the way I like ’em, albeit it was a tad expensive for the bottle. Then back to the hotel via Uber for a short night of sleep. By 6 am we were up again, showered, packed up, and out the door to catch Uber to the airport – off to Jamaica, Mon!

By the time we landed at Montego Bay it was stinkin’ hot outside. We made our way to the Couples Resort counter, checked in, and before we knew it were whisked away, bags ‘n all, to a large van waiting outside ready to convey us to Negril, a 1.5 hour drive west along the coast. They’d jammed around fifteen of us into a van, which was, blessedly, air-conditioned, so it was “cozy” to say the least. Soon after we got underway a couple wedged into their seats to my left – she sporting tattoos half-covered by a flirty tank top, he with intentions unknown behind his wraparound black sunglasses – pulled a full bottle of vodka from a beach bag and decanted a healthy pour into each of their plastic cups. The party was on! For the next hour and a half we heard Bob Marley’s entire body of work blare over the speakers. By the time we arrived in Negril I felt a little withered from all the travel. The vodka bottle, I noted, was near empty.

I handed the very nice man at the Couples check-in counter a credit card for incidentals, though wondered what that could be given this was an all-inclusive resort. Another nice man gave our group the lowdown on all the restaurants, bars, and activities at the resort (including the dos & don’t of the adjacent nude beach), and then another nice man whisked us and our bags off to our room, a second floor garden suite with a peekaboo view of the ocean. We unpacked and tested the firmness of the bed… no, not that way! Then we showered, slathered each other with SPF 35 and were out the door to explore the property

Pretty expansive. Three restaurants, numerous bars, activities galore. All free, all the time. Want your Mai Tai made with Meyers Rum instead of the house rum? No problem, Mon, just ask! Don’t want to get up from your beach chair and take the long walk to one of the bars – no problem, Mon! Just put your red flag in the sand next to your chair and one of the nice staff will arrive promptly, take your order, and deliver it to you! Any time of day.

Tired of booze all the time? No problem, Mon. Belly up to the juice bar and these ladies will take care of you, any time of day, no charge.

Too hot for the beach? No problem, Mon. Hop in the pool for a rousing game of volleyball, then continue to cool off at the swim-up bar

Left to Right: HW, Andy (groom), Me, Kelly (bride), Hannah & Taylor (nieces), brother Steve (Elvis on the photo bomb). Sister Gail? Why, I don’t know where she was just then. Possibly the nude beach?

The rest of the days were pretty much copy & paste. The hospitality was amazing. Never before been to a place where you’re waited on hand and foot pretty much 24/7.

One day we left the resort and shuttled over to Rick’s Cafe. Where, among other activities, you can jump off cliffs. Yeah, Mon. Don’t remember who, but somebody caught me mid air

It was higher than it appears! The nice man on the jump platform strongly urged entering the water with arms tightly at your side. Ta-da!

Another day many of us boarded a large catamaran and visited a very cool swim up cave, one with lots of bats, though they didn’t seem to care we were there. Fun was had by many who braved  a turn in The Net

HW, Elvis, and Andy. Nobody spilled their drink!

Overall we had a blast. Congrats Kelly and Andy. Recommend!