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!

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a grand time! I definitely like the fact that a crocodile and I share the name Erika and that railway station is positively begging me to come take more photos of it!!! Lovely... :)