Saturday, 31 March 2012

Fun with Corrie and Colin

So I've just said goodbye to Corrie and Colin at the airport to board their plan to go back to Toronto. (It's apparently -2 there, what a welcome.) We've had 2 weeks of various adventures, lots of beach and pool time, and just a few rum and pineapples. The pictures are all from Corrie's camera, with the photographers of herself, Colin and occasionally me.  Enjoy and book your tickets to visit now! :)

Sunrise in Mobay from the upstairs bedroom - the adventure starts now!

The tropical scenery by the pool chez Julia's.

Friends who like to share the pool.  (Its body is 2 inches long, for perspective!)
Corrie and me in Negril - no, we weren't sharing the Redstrip, there was plenty to go around.

Zen Colin

A great location for a post-beach cup of coffee...
West End of Negril in technicolor

Yummy Jamaican food (and some french fries too)
There were just a few beverages on this adventure, and sometimes even in classy places like Coyaba's Hotel at happy hour with live jazz.

Sometimes we just drank like the locals at Dead End Beach Bar, where you can dangle your feet in the sand.

Colin and Corrie with something cold and fruity

More wildlife sightings - they mostly come small and skittery here in the tropics!

A moment of calm.
Corrie and George, who works where I live.  He is the source for much local knowledge, including how to cook a breadfruit.
The required boat ride - "Ahhh, now we understand why Julia goes on and on about sailing."

Captain Phil, who was so kind to take us out on the boat.

All good things must come to an end, I suppose.
Thanks for the great shots, Corrie and Colin.  Come back soon!

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Happy Spring!

I know that we're now officially into spring, but it pretty much looks the same here in Jamaica as it has over the last 6 months.  The almond trees on the road down to the Yacht Club turned bright red and lost all their leaves, but there were new green buds waiting to unfurl as soon as the old leaves got out of their way. The red flowers that attract the doctor birds outside my patio seem a little less abundant, but the fushia bourganvalia bush on my walk is blooming as furiously as ever.

Just pictures this week - enjoy!

View from the cupola on the Kingston Yacht Clubhouse

Stepping "stones" to get to the restaurant kitchen door.

Fossils in the coral rock.

And now I'm more or less sitting on the fossils.  In Negril's west end.

Requisite sunset picture.

Corrie and Colin, friends from Toronto, are visiting for two weeks and it's been fun having adventures with them. Thanks to Corrie for showing me cool new camera settings!

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Trivia and trivial

Nine interesting facts about Jamaica (courtesy of My Island

  1. Apart from the United States, Jamaica has won the most world and Olympic medals
  2. Jamaica stands strong in 3rd place on the list of countries to win the Miss World titles the most. The only countries to have won it more than Jamaica is India, Venezuela and the UK, but consider the size of Jamaica and you get a better perspective!
  3. Jamaica has more multiple (two or more) live births than anywhere else in the world.
  4. The Manchester Golf Club in Jamaica, established in 1868, is the oldest in the western hemisphere.
  5. The 'Doctor Bird (Trochilus polytmus) -a national symbol of the country- lives only in Jamaica.
  6. 2006-2007: World's fastest man and woman in the world were Jamaicans [Asafa Powell and Sherone Simpson].
  7. Jamaica has the second largest butterfly in the world: the Giant Swallowtail.
  8. Jamaica was the first tropical country to enter the IOC Winter Olympics. The bobsleigh team's efforts inspired the film ‘Cool Runnings’.
  9. Jamaica was the first British colonial territory to establish a postal service (in 1688). 

Interesting facts about Julia:
  1. Julia sailed on Sunday and we won all three races.
  2. Julia has been in Jamaica for more than 6 months now.
  3. Julia acquired a basil and a cilantro plant and is looking forward to a more successful venture in growing her own herbs than the last time she tried it (which was in a north-facing apartment, not a tropical climate).
  4. Julia is looking forward to having house guests from Canada next week - welcome Corrie and Colin!

ummm, so it hasn't been the most riveting week, as you can see. Promise the next post will be more interesting - or at least have some pictures!

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Having cake and eating it

The last few weeks have been busy (at least by Jamaican standards) and have included lots of socialising.

On Valentine's Day, I went to a party hosted by a local matriarch, who is now over 80.  She lost two husbands in the month of February, so now she remembers/celebrates every year by throwing a party.  Even more impressive, she had made no less than 4 cakes for the event, along with other food.  I tried 2 out of 4 and they were excellent...

The cake buffet at "Aunty Jean's".
On other socialising fronts, my good friends Kate and Scott took their sun vacation in Jamaica this year, and it was a pleasure to have them.  In addition to sending them down to the beach here in Montego Bay, we rented a car and drove down to Treasure Beach, a quiet hamlet on the south coast side of Jamaica. We visited some waterfalls and went on the Black River safari, which involved a boat, some mangroves and crocodiles!

The south coast of Jamaica is a lot less touristy, and very quiet. It reminded me a little of being in the desert in southern Arizona - at night it was sooo quiet - almost too quiet! Fortunately there was a donkey that hung about, along with some goats, and the donkey's braying every once in a while broke up the silence!

YS Falls - there were several layers of these cascades...

Black River, where the river opens up to the sea

This may have been Margaret, then again it could have been Erika - all the crocodiles have territories and are named by the guides.
My favourite part of the south coast weekend was a trip to Little Ochie for dinner.  This is a well known restaurant in Alligator Pond, a south coast community.  The restaurant is right on the beach, and the fishing boats pull up alongside and you can check out the day's catch.  To order in the restaurant, they take you to 2 chest freezers, which aren't turned on, but they contain whole, fresh fish (one has fish and the other has lobster and crab and conch and whatever else they've caught).  You pick which fish you want to eat, and how you want it cooked and what sides you want with it.  So someone picks out the fish from the pile, weighs it (you pay by weight), and then sends it in to the kitchen.  Doesn't get any fresher than that!

At Little Ochie - one of the huts you can sit in to eat.

Little Ochie was a family place, with lots of kids horsing around while waiting for their dinner.

On our way back to Montego Bay, we drove through the windy roads of cockpit country.  (Thanks to Scott's off-road driving training, we did fine!) We also stopped to visit the caves at Ipswich, which once had been a well established tourist attraction on the railroad line.  The last trains stopped running in the 1980s, so today it was rundown and very isolated.  It was an interesting opportunity to see some of Jamaica that is off the beaten track.
The railway station at Ipswich, remarkably well preserved. (Photo credit to Phil)
The last weekend in February I spent sailing in Kingston harbour. My boat didn't place particularly well, and we had a spectacular broach, but I had lots of fun and learnt quite a bit by sailing with some new people and in a different place.

After all that, this weekend has been quiet in comparison: a little grocery shopping, a little bit of household chores.  But have no fear, I have more adventures coming up soon!