Friday, October 30, 2009

Reflections on our trip to Jamaica

Graffiti is the most effective way to communicate with the people of Kingston. And not the ones who live in the mansions on the hills behind the gates and guard dogs.

Sally and I just got back from a week in Jamaica. We went to attend the 50th wedding anniversary of close family friends. And yes, I got in some really hot weather running for the Reggae Marathon December 5.

It was my first time 'bak a yaad' in over 10 years and Sally's first. We had a blast! But were constantly reminded of the divide between rich and poor. The gap seemed larger. My memories of growing up in Kingston haven't dulled with time. But the current economic and political realities of Jamaica in 2009 play out very starkly on the streets.

Some other reflections from our trip:
  • Driving on the streets of Kingston is a...bit exciting! Not for the faint-of-heart. "Type A" personality from even little old ladies once they get behind the wheel.
  • Car horns! Used liberally. In greeting. In anger. In frustration. Get used to it.
  • Where do the wild goats on the streets come from?
  • Where do the wild dogs on the streets live?
  • Yes you can still go to a very safe, family beach in Kingston. We did and had the BEST fried fish and festival ever cooked. I can still taste the 1 lb Red Snapper! Sally loved hers done up as Brown Stew.
  • Buses pass cars. Even on the tight, narrow, winding road up Mount Diablo on the way from Kingston to Ocho Rios. We took the Knutsford Express Luxury coach and learned a lot about 'overtaking' Jamaican style.
  • Jerk Chicken and Jerk Pork taste best in Jamaica. We make it better in Canada but nothing beats the taste of Jerk eaten with fingers right from the grill. At the Jerk Centre in Ocho Rios Sally and I worked our way though a tasty meal within hours of landing
We left the activity of Kingston for a couple of days of real R&R in Ocho Rios. It was exactly as I remembered. Busier of course (the car horns never stop) but just as beautiful.

From our condo window at Fisherman's Point we had a panoramic view of the crescent of white sand. I didn't run along the beach (too stressful on the joints) but did manage some road runs up the coast to Dunn's River Falls.

Can you say HOT? Even at 7:30 am in the morning the blazing sun got my attention. Seriously! Already thinking about how to better prepare for the Reggae Marathon in 4 weeks.

Despite the 'challenges' we observed, we had a great time. Can hardly wait for December 2 when we come 'bak a yaad' for the Reggae Marathon.

And if you haven't got round to it yet, there is still time to donate. Follow this link for instructions:

Until next time...


  1. great travelogue!

  2. I want to go back!! How hard do you think it would be to plan a family reunion there?!?

  3. Thanks for sharing your impressions! I hope to get to Ocho Rios within the next two years. Your account makes me even more determined and excited to go.
    R. Tillotson


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