Tropical gem of African-level poverty
Jamaica Irresistible young ladies
Jamaican private-schooled young ladies pride themselves in their strong English with fine British accent
Jamaica, a tropical gem of African-level poverty with lavish villas and an extremely friendly population, used to be an English colony and retains a strong scent of its colonial and slavery history. The scent is not only in left side driving and a sound British accent of private-schooled young ladies, but in ways the native population treats a tourist.
Moondance villas resort did not hang orchids on our necks in the airport, but sat us into the car with chef’s tropical creations on a huge white plate. What a smart move—irresistibly delicious, unforgettable, little touch will change forever one’s definition of hospitality. I must confess I thought I’d seen it all and my definition wasn’t too easy: formed when, after landing on a jet for The London Economic Forum, we, four passengers, were met by four limos even though there was a couple among us and we were staying in one hotel; our passports were taken for the custom and brought back into limos. Moondance’s delightful trick topped it all.
Read: Pure Mexico
Our destination along Seven Mile Beach, Negril, took an hour to reach. We neared the end of the island and drove along the ocean but couldn’t see anything past walls, gates, dive shops, and Jimmy Buffet’s semi-deserted Margaritaville.
The open air lobby of Moondance villas allowed the breeze to flow unimpeded through arches, gardens, pools, waterfalls, gazebos and charming walkways. Beyond, the ocean crashed on cliffs, apparently liking its rocky ending, because it kept doing it.
Jamaica Irresistible chef
Every villa boasts its own chef. And bartender, and concierge, and maid.
The chef surprised with a traditional Jamaican breakfast of sailfish with ackee, the national fruit, introduced in the Eighteenth Century by Captain William Bligh, with Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee.
Jamaica Irresistible food
Back on the road. Past countless the ever present little bays maintains its solitude Fort Charlotte, constructed in 1746 to protect against invading navies. Horatio Nelson and Captain Bligh visited the fort. Blocked stone, well preserved, quartered 50 soldiers. Cannons, artillery stores, and a circular base for one of the armaments rose above grassy rocks that harboured a family of graceful storks.
Read: Pirate Heaven
A slave plantation that we passed between Negril and Montego Bay had been transformed into a golf course but retained its waterwheel, although the jungle took everything back the manicured greens hadn’t. Jamaica’s skinny, barefoot, patched-pants poor sold wood carvings while the tourist intellectuals brainstormed a model Caribbean economy for this impoverished nation that included plenty of international banking, as sugar and gypsum with bananas certainly wouldn’t do, interrupted by a stop at the town square in Montego Bay. A man with a beard pointed at a statue.
Jamaica Irresistible outside
British colonial design, native wood and Caribbean sea green airiness, the Moondance startled with tropical generosity at every sight—enormously sized villas with four to five bedrooms, where each bedroom is as big as an American urban apartment, Jacuzzis on every floor, TV screens everywhere, fully stocked kitchen, ginormous blue billiard
Jamaica Irresistible massage
table, desktop computer and cell phones for each visitor with free calls to the US. But this is only the beginning. To kill European tourist board competition, in addition to this, each villa boasts its own chef, bartender, concierge and maid… add a massage under the gazebo with the ocean crashing at your feet.
“Look at him. Samuel Sharpe. National hero. Led Jamaican Baptist War. Slave rebellion. This is how I make living. I tell you about Samuel Sharpe. I dream about him too. You got change. I know where you can get it.”
We moved from the town square to the beach. The most angular African kids on holiday ran to a photographer; they wobbled, lobbed, bobbed, laughed.
“What’s your name?” “Ariana.” “Yours?” “Shinagee.” White smiles halved black glowing faces.
Skinny dogs. Far from American canines. “It isn’t about wealth here,” the driver says. “It is about happiness. Are you hungry? I can call ahead and they will have your meal prepared at your villa.” Unemployment rates hover around 35 percent in Jamaica.
Jamaica Irresistible waterfall
Jamaica Irresistible waterfall
Dunn’s River Falls cascades from
mountain to sea; romantic couples climbed them, probably to take a
glimpse at their future reality with a
prospective partner while taking on a
challenge; families, already knowing
it all, reclined beneath cascading
torrents, chattering. Singles hiked past,
grabbing on the rails. Green, yellow,
black jackets, blankets, socks, neckties
and hats adorned the craft market on
the way out.
Jamaica Irresistible view
After passing sugar processing and gypsum dock facilities next, we ended up at Discovery Bay where Christopher Columbus’s crew disembarked from ships anchored offshore. We walked past an ancient rusted sugar cane mill, steam train tracks before automobiles rendered them trash; an artist painted on a wall above the bay native people peeking through parted leaves at ships carrying their future. Hello new world. My name is Christopher. In Christ we come to make thy world better. Accept our Lord for we wear royal robes, and do you see our cannons?
And, yes, Jamaica houses crocodiles. The biggest of them once spent their days terrorizing boys fishing with nets and cattle. The largest living monsters now reside languidly at Swamp Safari. That’s why Live and Let Die filmed the Roger Moore crocodile scene here. Though 007 wasn’t let into the cage, having a stunt double, I was.
Fully aware that this would be a once in a lifetime chance, I laid three yards from the six-foot monster, scared, anxiously seeing him watching my every move and, I had a feeling, judging my character, with a yellow eye turned on me like I might eye a steak, and finally, oh yeah, my green baby, giving me a classy monstrous yawn for my better angle.
Closer to the evening it was discovered that a Jamaican bar is a very healthy thing: one of the biggest attractions, Rick’s Cafe, has nothing special but a high cliff. And a line of volunteering cliff divers attached to it for a tourist’s amusement. One in a couple of dozen will rip a loud sigh and earn applause. Followed by live reggae.
Jamaica Irresistible boat
Live and Let Die filmed the Roger Moore crocodile scene here. Though 007 wasn’t let into the cage, having a stunt double, I was.
Read: Bonaire In 3D
Glistening Waters At Martha Brae River Mouth
On the flat ribbon road, wrapped obliquely along the mountains and meadows, before heading into Montego Bay, passing a mangrove lagoon, the driver slowed to insist on showing some “mysterious waters,” but I was dead tired after my rich on emotions photo shoot with the green model and hopeless attempts to put this country’s immense beauty on an indispensable background of destitution into my camera.
“You gotta see this. The water here’s like lightning bugs.” “What??” I woke up.
Hot tea on the dock, trying to engage in a mystery, driver negotiating, gesticulating, lips mustered. A Jamaican, Earl, art and fashion designer cum moonlighting dock master, requested a business card. He disappeared with it into, back out, an office before my eyes flickered. “Come, enjoy.”
The mystery ship filled with 20 thrill seekers. Have you ever heard a stoned captain’s lecture? “The water isn’t deep, mon, but your feet will sink four foot into mud. Four foot. No sharks. No. No crocodiles. None. None.” He distinctly enunciated each English word.
He cut the engine soon in the middle of the eerily quiet water. If it hadn’t been for the stoned urging, I’d never have lived heavenly, even if only momentarily, within the warm water at the mouth of the Martha Brae River that gleamed, speckled, dripped, dropped, drabbed, and opened up swallowing every morsel of each body without discrimination. A girl from Eden floated past, splashed up electrical trickles. Up close phosphorescent organisms flickered. I don’t know how and don’t know why, but I never felt more revived than after that swim.
Bob Marley reggae filled the trip back. A Spanish woman sang a duet with the captain about the Rasta who shot the sheriff John Brown but did not shoot the deputy.