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Weekly Photo Challenge: Winter

Snowy backyard, Harlem, NYC

It’s difficult to think of winter – the topic of this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge — when the temperature’s nearly 80 degrees and I’m looking at the sea. I’m glad that I had these photos in my collection.

Lately, with changes in weather patterns, winters are not as severe as they used to be. Sometimes, weeks pass without snow and we get spoiled by so -called ‘good’ weather. We experienced a period like this in March. Then towards the end of the month, we woke up one morning to some ‘white stuff’ — a dusting, really. I was surprised, though I shouldn’t have been. It was still winter.

An unexpected dusting of snow, Harlem NYC

An unexpected dusting of snow, Harlem NYC

Now this is winter!

The third snow fall on January 27, 2011 brought total amount to 36″ and made it the second snowiest month in New York City.

Snowy trees, Harlem, NYC

Snowy trees, Harlem, NYC

Looks pretty, doesn’t it? Until you have to go out in it. Especially when it starts to melt.

Snowy window, Harlem NYC

Snowy window, Harlem NYC

On December 29th, Jamaicans Elected a New Prime Minister

Jamaica's new PM designate, Portia Simpson Miller, photo via the Internet

Yesterday, December 29th, Jamaicans went to the polls to elect a new prime minister. Former PM and Leader of the Opposition, Portia Simpson-Miller and the People’s National Party won handily – 41 seats to 22.

Jamaica's new PM designate, Portia Simpson Miller, photo via the Internet

Jamaica's new PM designate, Portia Simpson Miller, photo via the Internet

Only time will tell if the PNP will be any different than the outgoing Jamaica Labor Party (JLP). No better herring, no better barrel, is the Jamaican expression that comes to mind. There have been allegations of corruption on both sides. It’s an open secret who’s involved in what, who’s doing what illegal thing. No one’s clean. I hope and pray the new administration will try to put the country first or at least above party or their own personal agendas.

What I hope the new government will do:

  • Continue to bring crime down – business will not thrive in an environment where crime and corruption are common and where ordinary people have no faith in the justice system.
  • Fix the roads – most of the roads, especially those just beyond the “tourist areas” are in deplorable condition. They need to be fixed.
  • Fix the tax system – the only way to get rid of the 17.5% GCT is for the administration to be able to collect income taxes from all working  Jamaicans, and corporations that do business here. A fair and equitable tax system is needed.
  • Fix the educational system – an educated population is one of the lynchpins of development. People must be able not just to read, but to think critically, reason and analyze.
  • Create an environment where business can thrive, one which will be attractive to businesses that want to invest.
  • Be open and transparent. No scandals – financial or other.

This list is by no means comprehensive…..

 

Travel Photo Thursday: Sunset at Rick’s Cafe, Negril, Jamaica

Boats getting into position, waiting for the sun to set

Rick’s Cafe, in Negril, is one of the best places to watch the sun set in Jamaica. It’s an event I always look forward to see and I’ve done so on many occasions. Each time, the colors with which the sun paints the clouds as it falls behind the horizon look different, deeper and more intense – purple, orange, blue.

Boats getting into position, waiting for the sun to set

Boats getting into position, waiting for the sun to set

Sunset at Rick's Cafe

Sunset at Rick's Cafe

Sunset at Rick's Cafe

Sunset at Rick's Cafe

Sunset at Rick's Cafe

Sunset at Rick's Cafe

Sunset at Rick's Cafe

Sunset at Rick's Cafe

This is my submission to this week’s Budget Travelers Sandbox Travel Photo Thursday series. Be sure to check out other photo and story entries on their website!

Rick’s Cafe, Negril Jamaica

Rick's at night

Rick’s Cafe has been a fixture in Negril’s West End since 1974. That’s when Richard Hershman, after whom the bar is named, decided to put a bar on a slice of land with a beautiful cove. Rick’s Cafe was the first establishment of its type in the West End and soon became the place where mostly visitors meet, drink and watch the spectacular sunset for which Rick’s Cafe is now famous.

Rick's Cafe cliff jumper

Rick's Cafe cliff jumper

When arrived at Rick’s Cafe just after 1:00 p.m., only a few tables were occupied.

Rick's Cafe cliff jumper

Rick's Cafe cliff jumper

However, by the time we finished our late lunch and had a few drinks, the place was crawling with people. Most came to watch the divers —  local guys who began taking headers off the cliffs and performing acrobatics at Rick’s as a way to make some money. I was surprised to see that visitors are now cliff jumping as it can be very dangerous for the inexperienced and especially for anyone who’s been drinking. I wasn’t close to the jump area or watching those who did to see if they had had anything to drink prior to jumping. To their credit, one of the lifeguard/divers did warn people loudly not to try a hand walking stunt as it could be dangerous.

If some come to watch the divers, the overwhelming majority visit Rick’s Cafe to watch the sunset. And it’s breathtaking. It’s always amazing to watch how quickly the sun seems to drop behind the horizon. I’ve promised myself that the next time I’m at Rick’s Cafe, I’ll just sit and watch the sun set instead of catching glimpses of it between shots.

Once the sun sets, the house reggae band takes over the stage and those who want to, can dance or just vibe to the music. Rick’s Cafe is available for weddings, reunions and corporate retreats for up to 300 people.

Rick's Cafe's cove

Rick's Cafe's cove

Seeing Rick’s Cafe now, it’s hard to remember what it looked like back in the early days. Harder still to imagine that this bar has been destroyed by hurricane twice (Gilbert, 1988 and Ivan, 2004) and rebuilt, bigger each time.

Nighttime at Rick's Cafe

Nighttime at Rick's Cafe

Getting to Rick’s Cafe

Rick’s Cafe is located in the West End of Negril, about an hour’s drive from Montego Bay. Open daily it serves typical seaside and bar fare. In addition to beer, it also serves drinks with suggestive names like Sex with Rick, which is recommended for women and Front End Lifter (for men) 876-957-0380. No entry fee.