February 16, 2001
A guide accompanies each couple. (There were six of us on horses, and three guides.) This is not for safety, but because the unemployment rate in Jamaica is so high that these men come along so that they can be tipped. Throughout the ride, our guide was trying to convince my boyfriend to hire him at his bar in Canada. ("You seen Tom Cruise in 'Cocktail,' man? I'm way better.") The guides also snapped photographs of the tourist couples, and made sure we didn't try to gallop away from the herd.
When we arrived at the beach, we got off our horses for a refreshment break. They took the other couples into the ocean on horseback first, while my boyfriend and I waited in the hot Jamaican sun, grooving to the Bob Marley tunes that were being played in honour of the legend's birthday that week.
After twenty minutes or so, they set us up on our horses and took us into the sea. This was the real adventure. In the water, we flew. Our guide was whipping his horse with fervour, and the horses were loving the speed. We ran through the ocean on horseback for a good fifteen minutes, then WALKED ever so slowly back to where the resort bus was waiting to pick us up.
From journal Storming the Tropics