Sunday, April 05, 2009

On your marks, Get set!
Booking for 2010 Ratdog Daze in Jamaica is opening up!!

Scott and I can't think of a negative thing to say about our experience at Ratdog Daze 2009.
The resort was laid back, everyone was there for and drink were available at all hours.
I spent most of my time in water- sea (warm) pool (clean) jacuzzi (hot!) and the HUGE tub (with jets!).

Here's a mini account of how we spent the first half of our time there-

Monday- Red eye to Miami, met an acquaintance-also RD Daze bound in the check in line.
Tuesday- Arrived in Miami, met about 4 fellow travellers on the way to RD daze at that airport!
Arrive in Montego, there's even more friends-fellow fans picking up baggage and checking into the Lido Lounge.
Our bus to the resort arrives and we are all giddily on our way to Negril. The scenic ride passes thru a few small towns.
Many colorful huts and goats are spotted along the way.
About 2/3rds of the way the bus pulls into a bar-cafe. Fellow riders enjoy a 10 minute break to get a drink and refreshen up. I head straight to the grill and try out the much dreamt of Jerk Chicken. It is hot, spicy and everyone gets a taste.
Back on the bus and soon we are @ the Lido. We walk by swimsuit clad friends who have been at Lido for several days attending the LittleFeat festival. Ellen tells me my hair has already begun to curl up due to the humidity.
Checked in and then follow a bell boy to our lovely beach front room. We quickly change out of our travel threads into beachwear, then off to tour the premises. We don't get far til we run into friends and at that point it's sort of a pub crawl around to the resort's various bars.
There is a huge main bar (the grand palazzo) which also serves as a dance venue and dining area for the breakfast & lunch buffets. In the back there are slot machines, a disc and a computer rental place. On a different level of this area are a few of the resort's restaurants. Scott and I decide on the Italian place. As soon as we are seated, a friend comes by and joins us, then another and then a couple we know comes in and hangs out as well. And so it goes with friends coming and going and boy, it sure was fun! I think everyone was extra happy that all the food and drink was already paid for in the all inclusive price of the resort. Pricy but completely worth it!
The rest of the evening was spent drinking (dirty Bananas), schmoozing and dancing to house band in the Grand Palazzo.
Woke early and scampered to the Palazzo to get some coffee. Enjoy the breakfast buffet (huge) and people watch the folks leaving from the Little Feat fest as more folks arrive for the Ratdog Daze.
I cash in on my included manicure and pedicure. I find the spa offices and am brought to the beauty salon where I meet some new people and run into a friend or 2 as well! My feet looking pretty, I have a few corn rows put on each side of my head to keep my crazy frizzing hair from mushrooming out. Festive and manageable.
Return to the suite to get in to a swim suit and go to the beach for most of the day.
Throughout the day info drifts my way that begin with a rumor that MK will be playing the Opening Jam...with every person I run into, the rumors expand to include various band members also sitting in for the jam. Day turns into night, and everyone ( only 420 guests plus about another 50 from the overflow resorts )is assembled in the Grand Palazzo. The Opening Jam features Mark (he sang with a voice so strong it's hard to believe he just whipped throat caner last year!). Various Ratdog band mates join in, each having a shining solo spot thru assorted songs and melodies..and then there's Bobby! The crowd is just a sea of smiling, dancing people- some of whom have just arrived at the resort suitcases in hand.(snowy conditions caused major transportation snafus for many ). It's a big fun opening jam!!!
My routine is established, I wake before Scotto, head to breakfast with my netbook in hopes of skyping my kids.
The internet was a bit sketchy but I was able to chat with my kids, my friend Kemmie and my oldest son who was (still is) working in Jerusalem. Over breakfast, I am able to share video taken the night before with a variety of friends and passer byers. Everyone is friendly. Eventually, Scotto joins me.
Back to the room to get ready for the beach & pool.
Swimming and floating and thinking pleasant thoughts is my newest favorite vacation activity. After hours of this, I regroup with Scott & our new best buddy, Steve. We take a walk down Bong Alley to find the poolside grill- located on the nude side of the resort. There are some naked people around but not so many at the grill. The best chops and jerk is here. Also, they have french fries!! Poolside Grill is now our favorite lunchy-snack stop. The guys vow to wear sunglasses so if they forget to stop staring, no one will notice.
I'm back in the sea before sound check starts. Did I ever dream I'd be watching Bobby sing AND be floating in the Caribbean simultaneously??? It was awesome!
After soundcheck, I hung with friends and as it was getting late, ran back to change into dinner & show attire.
The show was on the beach, not much trumps dancing barefoot in the sand to my favorite musicians!
The post show scene was at the Far Bar- there was a feast of grilled yummies there. Everyone and that includes most of the band, crew and significant Ratdog others came out (no Bobby-he & his family were staying off the resort somewhere I imagine more child friendly)and it was a warm relaxed and heady time.
Again, early to rise and off with a bag of electronica to the Palazzo! I never tired of coffee in the Grand Palazzo. The openess and the friendly feel of it , folks breakfasting with friends reminded me of the Student Union in college .
On the entry level of the Palazzo, by the front desk was a whiteboard where the daily events were noted.
Friday was a stand out day as there was a Golf Tourney hosted by AJ and Jeff Chimenti. Later in the evening there was a Poker Tourney hosted by Charucki. I was sorry to miss a visit (arranged by Heather/Evening Moods) to a local school. I had wanted to go but hadnt been sure of the time to meet up and so missed out. There had been a school supply drive for RD fans. I had enjoyed packing a bag full of items but again missed the pick up time for the bags. I gave my bag to the front desk and they promptly lost track of it. Next year, I'll be more careful about the school items and visit as it seems very important that the kids in Jamaica receive as much as they can in terms of school supplies.
Dinner was awesome at the Reggae Grill . We moseyed around some and discovered the disco!!! The disco was very small but the music was quite loud. It was deserted until we realized that a Live Warrior game was on a flat screen TV in there! Scott and his buddies settled right in ....