Jamaica 7/07

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Jah mon...

Press play for Bob Marley's "No Woman, No Cry"

Fuzzy & I on Bob Marley's Mt. Zion Rock

A funny thing happened on my way home from a Dallas business trip - I stopped for a long 'sanity' weekend in Jamaica. The dates coincided with the beginning of the world's biggest reggae festival, SumFest, in Montego Bay. I took the opportunity to listen to a lot of good music, see Bob Marley's birthplace, home & mausoleum, tour the Blue Mountains and climb up a 3/4 mile waterfall.

Saturday July 14th

My flight landed at Montego Bay at 2pm. After glacially slow customs and immigration, I checked-in at the Ritz Carlton in Rose Hall at 4pm and took a long walk around the grounds (first picture below). Then I headed downtown for a sunset dinner at the iconic Margaritaville (second picture below). A short trek along Montego Bay's "Hip Strip" enduring non-stop hassling taught me that the "dangerous" reputation of Jamaica is well deserved.

Gettin wet halfway up Dunns River Falls

Sunday July 15th

I started the day with a beach walk and then reading and writing on my balcony while sipping some excellent Blue Mountain coffee (third picture above). There was a nice backdrop mixture of reggae bands and waves crashing on the shore. I took the Ritz shuttle to the "haunted" Rose Hall Great House (fourth picture above and first & second pictures below) and did the tour there before heading farther up the mountain to the White Witch Golf Club to catch the view (third picture below). I grabbed a late lunch at an Irish Pub near the Ritz - authentic except for the Red Stripe beer instead of Guinness - before relaxing the rest of the afternoon on the beach and at the pool. As the sun went down I set up my tripod to snap the fourth picture below.

Monday July 16th

After coffee on my balcony, I met my driver (Philbert Gordon (876) 375-7903 x5656023) for a day-long tour of the Blue Mountains and north coast of Jamaica. We headed east along the coast through Falmouth toward Runaway Bay. Along the way we stopped at a crocodile farm where the 1973 movie, "Live and Let Die" filmed a famous scene with James Bond running across crocodiles while the building (first picture below) burned. We then cut south along the twisting roads up the Blue Mountains to Nine Mile, home of Bob Marley's birthplace and mausoleum. I had a very good authentic tour with a Rastafarian guide named Fuzzy (large picture top of page left sitting on Bob's meditation stone). The second picture below show Bob's first piano with a collection of his gold records on top. The third picture below shows Bob's single bed from "Is This Love?"

 

I wanna love you and treat you right;
I wanna love you every day and every night:
We'll be together with a roof right over our heads;
We'll share the shelter of my single bed

We'll share the same room, yeah! - for Jah provide the bread.
Is this love - is this love - is this love -
Is this love that I'm feelin'?

Continuing back down the mountain past occasional bauxite mines (fourth picture above) we hit the coast at Ocho Rios where I ate lunch at the Hard Rock Café before doing Dunns River Falls (first & second pictures below), which is just a few minutes west. Dunns River Falls is a 3/4 mile shallow waterfall starting at the ocean that you can climb all the way up. It's not a hard climb, but it was a bit challenging in places (large picture top of page right & third picture below) because the rocks can be slippery. It felt good to do a bit of exercise and to climb up something. I must have been a goat in some past life.

After a nice drive back to the Ritz along the north coast, I finished the day at the beach, snapping the fourth picture below as the sun set. Having declared myself once again relaxed and sane, on Tuesday morning I hung around the hotel pool before heading for my afternoon flight home.

Home Up Aruba 5/14 Aruba 7/13 Aruba 4/09 Aruba 10/04 Cancun 5/07 Costa Rica 4/06 Costa Rica 7/04 Costa Rica 11/12 Curacao 2/05 Grand Cayman 12/00 Jamaica 7/07 Panama 12/13 Puerto Rico coasts 7 & 9/14 Puerto Rico & Vieques 12/08 Puerto Rico & Vieques 9/08 Puerto Rico 12/07 Saint Kitts 2/06 Virgin Islands 12/03

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