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Faith Kaplan

Half Moon Bay, Jamaica


By Faith Kaplan, January 12, 2011

2010 was a wonderful year filled with transatlantic travel, Adam’s safe return from his travel adventures, Yael’s playing university basketball, many new and interesting people, an introduction to Joseph Pilates, the opportunity to reflect on the values and people important to me, the redirection of my volunteer energies from high school (Gray Academy) to university (Hebrew, in Jerusalem), the wonder of a friend’s new baby boy and the excitement of community renewal.   Tempering the positive were the losses of some truly wonderful and generous people who made our community a special place, and whose legacies live on through their children.   

And always the inquisitive mind –“ why?” is my favourite question,- I solved a several thousand year old mystery.  How did such a momentous discovery occur? It’s a long and winding story, so bear with me.

Years ago we were faced with the decision of whether to buy Aunti Zi’s cottage at Winnipeg Beach when she offered it for sale. We loved being at the Beach with the kids and our friends, and had enjoyed Zi’s cottage for 10 summers, but we realized that if we were going to create other wonderful family memories it was time to travel. Ever the prairie consumer (value driven), we enjoyed off price summer holidays to winter locales -  a Caribbean cruise, Disney World, Mexico,  and the children’s bar and bat mitzvahs in Israel during the intifada travel slump.  The intifada was a coincidence; Adam’s bar mitzvah in Israel was a done deal when he was born. There was a great deal on London one summer, and we enjoyed 10 days of torrential rain in July. The sun shone for 7 minutes in total.  We even managed three winter vacations to Cuba and Jamaica before the children determined that we were boring and they would no longer travel with us on a beach holiday.

I say “Job well done Mom!” because Hart and I were freed from school winter break vacations. We could hit the fancy resorts before the prices increased and we have discovered a place that epitomizes gracious hospitality – the Half Moon Resort in Montego Bay, and we have just returned from our third visit.
This resort is spectacular: 400 acres of lush, tennis courted, beach-fronted, horse stabled, spa centred, international calibre golf coursed paradise. There are several swimming pools, including a lap pool, but we prefer the beach. And the food is amazing. This is what our typical day looked like: up in time for a 7:30 yoga class on the beach. Hart would follow yoga with a quick tennis lesson; I would follow yoga with the National Post and a coffee while waiting for Hart to finish tennis. Pina Colada service on the beach began at 11 am, sandwiched between a resplendent breakfast buffet and an a la carte lunch. Lunch was followed by a nap followed by  a second yoga session followed by a spa treatment.  A languid shower and slow stroll to dinner, surrounded by the music of the pounding surf and either the calypso band or the elegant old lady on piano, flowed into after dinner drinks by the sea. Really, there’s just one word for Half Moon in Hart’s company, and that’s PARADISE.  

I was up every day for a 7:30 yoga class on the beach. This is noteworthy because it is remarkable that I was up at 7:30 on a vacation. The class took place in a pavilion on a pier over the ocean, with the breeze  coming up between the floor boards and the walls  open to the view on three sides.  Afternoon yoga classes by the koi pond at the Spa were a good reason to get up after our post lunch nap. I was finding the poses challenging but I was able to do them, even with an old knee that doesn’t bend completely.  This was encouraging and I felt quite motivated to continue,  even after a  rather bad yoga  fright.  Feeling fairly nimble after two days of twice a day classes, I attempted a modified headstand.  Remember when you were a kid and you put your feet up in the air and held yourself up with your arms braced on the floor pushing against your back? It was a grown up version of that pose.  I slowly straightened, balancing carefully on my head so as not to snap my neck, when gravity, stretched out yoga pants and visceral fat conspired against me. I was horrified.  This is why serious yoga practitioners are very slim! What a wake- up call ... for new yoga pants.

Hart and I kept to ourselves, enjoying the time to catch up and slow down. We’d explored the resort on foot and by bicycle on previous trips and were content to wander between the spa, the beach, and the restaurants.  After six days in paradise, with the only major decision each day being whether to have a regular or light Red Stripe beer, we had exhausted the usual topics of conversation.  Keep in mind that we have been together 29 years, and speak to each other regularly on a daily basis.  It wasn’t really surprising that I realized why Eve ate the apple in the Garden of Eden. 

Paradise? Been there. Coasty decision making? Done that. Running out of stories to share and problems to solve?  Check. When the snake came along tempting   “Apple, little girl?” Eve thought “Oh good, someone new to talk to.  This will make a good story for me to share with Adam.” She did not intend to disrespect or disobey God.  I would go so far as to say that her decision to snack on the forbidden fruit was not original sin, it was original BOREDOM! She needed  a new experience to share with the only other person around.  Mystery solved.

Would Hart and I return to Half Moon? Maybe.  It’s an easy trip to make, and very comfortable. But I would like to go with other people. With so many different activities for everyone to do, a recap of the day’s activities over dinner would provide sparkling and lively fresh conversation. The resort offers villas with a butler, housekeeper, and cook, a private pool, and full access to all amenities. Doesn’t a group or extended family trip sound like fun? Then again, there are so many other places to explore, and the children have indicated they would join us if we went somewhere exotic.  I’ll keep you posted.

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