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Archives for February 2012

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Jamaica: Glistening Waters Luminous Lagoon

Almost everyone I talked to said I had to see Glistening Waters Luminous Lagoon but when I asked why, the universal response was, see for yourself. As we drove from Montego Bay to Falmouth, I found myself questioning my decision. I hadn’t had time to do much research so I was flying in the dark. And at 7:00 p.m., it was also dark.

Glistening Waters Luminous Lagoon

Glistening Waters Luminous Lagoon

We bought our tickets a few minutes before departure and were handed a glass of rum punch. So this is the kind of tour it’ll be, I said to my friend.

At 7, we joined several visitors on a small boat and set off. A few yards into the marina, which is formed from the confluence of the Martha Brae River and the Caribbean Sea, and the boatman stopped and killed the lights. It was pitch black.

Jeffery – I think that was his name – our tour guide, explained that the brackish marina water, which is only between 3 and 8 feet – contains millions of micro-organisms (dinoflagellates) that live and thrive where the layers of salt and fresh water meet. When the water is disturbed, they cause it to glow. Think fireflies.  Sure enough, as the boat moved forward, the wake became a luminous blue while everything else around us was inky black, I couldn’t see the person next to me.

When we stopped again, Jeffrey asked if anyone wanted to take a dip. Only a few people did. We couldn’t see them but as each person moved around the boat, we could tell exactly where they were as the water glistened. They looked like snow angels.

As Jeffrey continued to explain, this luminous water phenomenon is found in only four countries, the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Indonesia and Jamaica – Jamaica’s apparently is the brightest.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able take a photo. The luminosity is best viewed when it’s dark and the flash on my camera popped up automatically as soon as I touched the shutter. I tried holding it down but I didn’t catch much and I couldn’t see to fiddle with the settings. But here’s one I grabbed from their website.

Glistening Waters Luminous Lagoon, photo via the Internet from

Glistening Waters Luminous Lagoon, photo via the Internet from

In addition to the lagoon, Glistening Waters has a restaurant that serves fresh seafood, bar and boat marina with full hook-up for daily, weekly and long-term rentals, as well as charter boat rentals for deep sea sport fishing.

Glistening Waters Luminous Lagoon is located in Falmouth, Trelawny, which is roughly a 45 minute drive from Montego Bay. Tours start at 7:00 and 9:00 p.m. and cost US$20 per person, inclusive of rum punch.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Indulgence

The first thing that popped into my head when I saw that this week’s photo challenge is indulgence, was, of course, food. But there are so many other ways to indulge and fortunately, I was able to find one non-food photo that captures it.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Indulgence

Weekly Photo Challenge: Indulgence

Weekly Photo Challenge: Indulgence

Weekly Photo Challenge: Indulgence

I really couldn’t leave out a food photo.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Indulgence

Weekly Photo Challenge: Indulgence

This is my entry to this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge organized by WordPress.

Soulful Sundays: Rolando Alphonso

Jamaican tenor saxophonist, Rolando Alphonso, was born on January 12, 1931 in Havana, Cuba.  He was brought to Jamaica by his mother when he was two years old.

Rolando Alphonso, photo from the Internet

Rolando Alphonso, photo from the Internet

In Jamaica, Alphonso learned to play the saxophone and worked as a studio musician, backing performers such as Jimmy Cliff, the Wailers, the Maytals and most of the other leading performers of the 1960s. Alphonso also worked for two of the most influential music producers in Jamaica – Duke Reid and Clement “Coxsone” Dodd. It was while working Dodd’s Studio One that he and fellow musicians, Don Drummond, Tommy McCook, Jackie Mittoo, and Jerome Hinds, among others, formed the ska band, The Skatalites. Ska was the new music at the time in Jamaica. The Skatalites disbanded a little more than a year after they formed and was re-formed in 1983. They continue to play.

Alphonso was awarded the Order of Distinction by the Jamaican government in 1977.

He moved to the U.S. in 1980 and lived in Brooklyn. He died from an aneurysm in Los Angeles in 1998.

Here’s Alphonso on Jah Shakey and Guantanamera.


Greenwood Great House

Greenwood Great House has the best collection of Victorian-era furniture, musical instruments, and china in Jamaica, perhaps even the Caribbean.

Part of the 84,000 acre estate that belonged to the wealthy Barrett family whose relatives were the British poet, Elizabeth Barrett Browning and her aunt, Sarah Moulton Barrett, who was also called Pinkie. Moulton Barrett was born in Jamaica and was immortalized in the painting, Pinkie, by the British artist, Thomas Lawrence. Both Pinkie and Thomas Gainesborough’s Blue Boy, hang in the Huntington Gallery in San Marino, California. A copy of Pinkie’s painting can also be seen at Greenwood.

Not only does Greenwood Great House have the best collection of antiques, it is one of a few great houses that were never burned during the 1831 slave revolt that destroyed most of Jamaica’s great houses. It has also been occupied continuously since it was built in 1790 by Richard Barrett, a member of the family and a former speaker of the Jamaican House of Assembly.

Greenwood Great House - china cabinet

China cabinet

Greenwood Great House - Step ladder

Step ladder

Greenwood Great House - Step ladder unfolding

Step ladder unfolding

Greenwood Great House - Step ladder chair

Step ladder chair

Greenwood Great House - antique furniture

Antique furniture

Greenwood Great House - screw-press

Screw press

Household linens were put between two pieces of flat board. The top piece was then lowered all the way down by a screw, that way flattening and smoothening the clothes.

Greenwood Great House - chamber pot

Chamber pot

Greenwood Great House - bed

Antique bed

Greenwood Great House - Wind organ

Wind organ

Greenwood Great House - Rosewood inlaid piano

Rosewood inlaid piano

This rosewood inlaid piano was built by John Broadwood, who also made pianos for Beethoven.

Greenwood Greathouse is located in the community of Greenwood, St. James. It is 15 miles from Montego Bay and 7 miles from Falmouth. Open daily from 9-6 p.m. Guided tours cost US$20 per person.

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.