A 4 day raw Jamaican travel experience!
May 10. 2012.
I believe that was the highest cliff I have ever jumped off of. Not saying I have jumped off many, but after today I can say I became certified in risk taking. The 50+ foot cliff at Ricks in Nigril Jamaica was definitely a breath taker. For the amount of time I was in the air on the way down I probably could have wrote this entry. Good times in Jamaica mon! Prior to this jump, our adventurous day had started at the Blue Hole. Which is about a 35 foot jump into a beautiful hole in the earth down into a natural mineral water pool. Down there we enjoyed the additional spa treatment from the local Blue Hole business boys who showed us a great time. They got the mineral, Lime, from a whole down there in the rocks and exfoliated our skin with a nice mud mask on our whole body! Well, most of it. I made him do my feet! Best back wood experience of my trip! After that we cut up a fresh picked mango that was perfectly ripened and shared it while we watched the professionals do their tricks. On the way to this "blue hole", we saw all kinds of culture, animals, nature, and just raw Jamaican life. Very cool! Huge hogs were being fed as we passed a swamp... Most likely being fattened up to send to the butcher shop. It's the kind of place that will make you want to be a vegetarian! There are lots of wild goats roaming the land too. Cute little goots. They use them for a their meat and I guess use their skin to make instruments. Sad, but true. I played a drum that was made with goat skin. They don't use them for milk or cheese, which I thought was odd!
May 12. 2012
Well yesterday topped off the trip with a few more cultured Jamaican experiences. Let's summarize what we did here in a matter of 3 days. First off we arrived off the bus at the Samsara hotel, deep in Nigril, West about an hour and a half away from the Montego Bay airport. It was a beautiful drive in by Clifford,our driver, or as we called him, "mister Red bull." Don't remember why but it was an inside joke at the time!
When we arrived, it was on! Jessica, my good friend who I met a few years ago, was waiting for us on her red motor scooter. She was gleaming with her glowing skin and Jamaican good spirits. She is now what we call a Jamerican. We talked for a lickle while in the lobby, (Lickle is the J slang for little) made friends with the hotel staff, upgraded to have air conditioning, changed, and then the adventures began. We were off right away to Ricks Cafe where we saw the cliffs and the guys jumping at sunset, which they do a good job of. Flipping, twirling, handstands, and all that crazy ish they do for good clean fun! This was the same Cliff I ended up jumping off 2 days ago! My courage was strong in Jamaica mon! We grabbed some jerk chicken outside the entrance where there was a guy cooking it up for a good price, and an amazzzzing taste!! After Ricks, we rode over to Jessica's place where we experienced some outdoor craftsmanship that her husband is very much into. She lives in the communities of Nigril. Her husband, Nigel is the creator of Almond World. He makes almond drops, almond oil, and just plain almonds that he finds in the Almond trees of Jamaica. He is always coming up with new things to make out of the almonds. Fresh mon! After Visiting with them for a while, meeting the neighbors and partaking in Jamaican activities...which involved baby chickens, fresh caught crabs, dirt bikes, kerosene, bare feet, dancing, JB's rum and a spliff. we decided to go back to the hotel and get some sleep for our big next day.
Next day was the water day. ===7 Mile Beach===baby! This beach is very well known for its stretch of relaxation across a white sandy beach with crystal clear aqua water. Extraordinary. We were there for about 2 hours baking in the sun so I could finally get a tan and look like I went to Jamaica! When we first got there it was very quiet, and then crowds began to flood in and then the party got started! We decided to take a glass bottom boat tour and go snorkeling. Or as they sounded when they said it, "Snarkeling." Gorgeous water, gorgeous fish and coral, perfect temperature, perfect day! I enjoyed that very much. We picked up some chicken and beef patties for energy before we headed out. Patties are a very common and likable dish for Jamaicans. They are like a meal on the go with protein and carbohydrates to keep you fueled for a while. And might I say, deeeelicious! They sort of look like a big empanada.
Our boat Captain, Marlon and co captain O'Brian (The black Irish man) were very entertaining and helpful on our boat tour. We learned a lot about the ocean floor. And came to the conclusion that if you ever get bitten by anything, just have someone pee on you. Even if its not a jellyfish. It will cure any bite. Silly.
On the way back we caught a few raindrops, but the good thing about it is that the sun comes right back if you just keep smilin! I picked up a pound of fresh Jamaican coffee on the way out to give to my mom for Mothers Day and a few other souvenirs. Then we headed to a mans house named "Thunder."
Interesting character to add to the bunch. Very stereotypical rasta man. Basically lived in the jungle where we hung out and sat on chairs made out of trees, played his goat skin drum, his untuned guitar, and chatted about random stuff. He used to live in Jacksonville, Florida and New York, where he met his wife and brought her over to Jamaica. Then he gave me a pot leaf and a coco bean said "dare ya go muh girl." haha. I love meeting new cultures. Its just so mind opening. He invited us to come back later on for a cook out and party. He was so excited he got to start a fire for us and entertain the American girls. He was a very genuine person and sincerely generous with his pot leaves and coco beans. hahaha.
1. An almond tree has leaves with a rounded edge and small brown pockets that you crack open! The shells turn from green to brown and thats when you know they are ripe!
2. Sea grape trees AKA Coccoloba uvifera, are all over as well. They use sea grapes for eating raw, cooking into jellies and jams, or fermenting them into sea grape wine.
3. Ackee is a fruit. The edible portion of the fruit is cooked, drained and sautéed with seasonings and codfish to make the national dish.
4. Mother crabs that are pregnant go into the ocean to wash away their eggs and the babies all crawl back to the bush to grow up. At this time there are millions of tiny crabs marching towards the bush, which I witnessed. It looked like a sea of red as they marched together. That's why they call it the crab march.
We got to experience actual crab hunting the next night when we went to the bush with Nigel and a few of his friends. The night was young as we sped our dirtbike of 3 passengers to a random entrance to the bush and entered at our own risk! The rubbish was intense at some parts. Like briar patches and such. But we got through it and ended up catching about 24+ crabs! Catching crabs in Jamaica takes some skill. We all had flash lights but I could barely see to walk much less understand how these guys would see a crab scattering about. We would be walking and all of a sudden they would just dive, grab it by the middle and throw it in the bag. Very paleolithic style. They are big blue crabs. And after they scrub Each one very througlly, get them ready for cooking, and marinate them jerk style... They are ready to boil up for a nice crab fest for all to enjoy in the neighborhoods of Nigril! All of the people here are very friendly, welcoming, and stay true to their roots. Very real people with stories to tell and live their days working hard and partying harder. It's all about the rewards life has to offer. Weather it be a relaxing finish to he day in a natural mineral pool, or time spent conversing with their family and playing some music. Their are no worries in Jamaica. That's why they say "jamaica No Problem." because their really aren't any problems here. They live a simple life, so there is no need for drama and extra baggage.
Overall, the trip turned out to be a success. I was sad to leave, but there must be an end to every story. Or just an intermission. Where will Kgonext?
Jamaican words and phrases:
Ley Ley-waste Time
"Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, because none but ourselves can free our minds." -Bob Marley
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