Friday, August 22, 2014

Day 3 - Sunset in Negril

Day 3 – Negril!

We started off the morning with a traditional breakfast of ackee (fresh from the tree in the backyard) and saltfish, plaintains, breadfruit and bammy. And yes, I did get a picture this time…after my cousin Andrea yelled –uh – reminded me to do it. :-) 

After breakfast we put on our swimsuits, got ready, and headed out for a sunny day of lounging on the beach, right? Wrong! Jamaica had been experiencing a drought for several months, but the rain everyone had prayed for finally arrived as we made our way down the coast. No worries, though. Even in the rain, Jamaica is still beautiful and we had a great time singing along to Beres Hammond’s soulful hits as we drove. Here's a sample:
One of my favorite parts of this road trip was going through Holland Bamboo in Saint Elizabeth’s Parish. Tall bamboo trees stretch out above from both sides of the road, creating a beautiful tunnel that will leave you in awe.
Holland Bamboo

The rain stopped by the time we got to Negril and that little resort town was alive with activity. People were milling about, shopping, eating, or just "liming." Of course we had to go to the famous Rick’s Café, where the brave dive off of tall cliffs into deep blue water and you can watch one of the most breathtaking sunsets while being serenaded by a reggae band.

Andrea and me at Rick's Cafe


Sunset in Negril
A couple of hours later and we were back in Mandeville, tired but feeling good. I was anxious for the next day – a trip to Montego Bay to see Rose Hall, once home to one of the most notorious women in
Jamaican history – Annie Palmer!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Day 2 - Relaxing in Mandeville

Day Two – Mandeville Town Centre!

I woke up early (Jamaica is one hour behind, but I still got up at around 6 a.m.).  I went back to bed when I learned that nobody gets up that early unless they have to.  No problem, I can rewind it. 

Up at around 8:00 a.m.  After breakfast, we headed to the town centre of Mandeville, which is the capital of the Parish of Manchester. It was laid out in 1816, and still maintains much of its historical charm. Walking around, I imagined where my grandmother might have sold her produce in the open market or the library my dad would’ve stopped at on his way home from school. It’s a bustling town, and I can see why it’s a favorite destination for returning expats - cool climate, friendly people, all the conveniences you need and some sweeping mountain views to boot.

Back home for oxtail and rice and peas. It’s amazing I stayed awake after eating that meal (sorry folks, again, I was too greedy to take pictures). But, stay awake I did and it was back down to Mandeville Town Centre to check out the night life. We ended up at Mojitos Café Loft, an upscale lounge managed by the laid back and friendly Dermot.  If you want to know where Mandeville’s professionals go, this is the spot. The vibe is easy here, where white furniture and cool martinis set the scene for winding down the evening and Dermot makes you feel right at home here.

My cousin Andrea and Dermot of Mojitos Cafe
Hanging out in Mandeville was a great way to begin this vacation before we started to explore the island. I was ready to hit the road though, so first on the list for tomorrow…Negril!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Day 1 - The Caribbean is calling me!

Caribbean life…Jamaica bound!

Day one of my long awaited vacation found me up at an ungodly hour heading to the airport so that I could arrive in Jamaica in the morning. Well worth it! Even though it’d been so long since I’d been to Jamaica, I felt an easy familiarity as soon as I made my way outside the airport to find my cousin Andrea waiting to greet me.

The ride home along the coast was beautiful, but the trip up the mountains to Mandeville, my dad’s hometown, was amazing. Seeing all those stunning homes nestled in the hillsides almost made me forget the drive up on those narrow winding roads to get there (yikes!).

A delicious dinner of curry chicken and rice and peas awaited me when I arrived at the house (sorry, I was greedy – no time for pics). But before that, we went out in the backyard and picked up a few things for breakfast: ackee and avocados (look at the size of these!).

It was a long day, so we wrapped it up by enjoying a glass of wine and the cool mountain air out on the verandah. Island living - I could do this.

Next post...the Mandeville town centre!