Many things have kept me from playing with ROJ lately - some frustrating and some most pleasurable.
Travel being in the pleasurable catagory.
Being a bit of a James Bond fan, Jamaica had always been on the list of places to visit – so at half-term we spent a most enjoyable two weeks experiencing the island.
I wasn’t sure what to expect – I know parts of Kingston can be pretty rough – but then there are parts of any city in the world that one wouldn’t venture into after dark. (the only time I’ve ever felt really threatened was in Vancouver!)
In fact we found the people really quite friendly and gentle. Yes we got hassled on the beach to buy trinkets – but unlike anywhere in North Africa, when you asked them to go away, they did.
We spent the first week ‘living like locals’ with a Jamaican family in Ocho Rios Richard and Marcia were very keen for us to experience the Jamaica that most tourists don’t see. We ate local food, discussed local issues and politics, drank lots of Red Stripe and Wray and Nephew, and were taken to some stunning places.
Jamaican driving is a thing to behold. Part of the driving test curriculum must be a thorough study of the films of Vin Diesel. Fast and Furious could have been filmed on any normal day on the island!
Although I didn’t get to see Goldeneye, we did spot a few locations from Dr No and Live and Let Die – including driving under the bridge where Roger Moore lost his top-deck.
I went for a dive off Port Antonio, but the sharks and barracudas had taken the day off. Not so the crocodiles in the Black River and ‘The Farm’ where 007 did his croc running trick.
Stephanie was keen to visit Firefly, the home of Noel Coward, and I could certainly see why he lived there.
I think what surprised me most about seeing Jamaica from the perspective of a middle class family, was how aspirational the people were. There were lots of good competitive schools; excellent health care some very attractive homes – mind you I just loved this type of typical Jamaican house.
The local food was fine if you know what to buy and where. Richard took us to a touristy place called Scotchies for Jerk chicken – but it was excellent jerk chicken – unlike the tough, charred racing chicken we were served at Boston Bay.
Roadside grilled yams and sweet potatoes were good.
We were very sad to say goodbye to Richard and Marcia for our next adventure – living like Tarzan and Jane at Great Huts at Boston Bay. http://www.greathuts.com/
Behind a magical bamboo gate lies an enchanted world where the Caribbean sea pounds the rocks 100 feet below the balcony of your hut. The service was superb and the food delicious. We stayed in ‘Sea Grape’ – with our own secluded outdoor tub overlooking the sea. I loved it!
We spent our last few days in Luxury in the hills above Port Antonio at the Mocking Bird Hill Hotel – as the only guests.
All in all a very restful and relaxing break, and i would recommend it to anyone.