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Weekly Photo Challenge: Together

Weekly Photo Challenge: Together

When I saw this little boy walking with a bucket almost twice his size to the nearby river, I was puzzled. Why was he going to the river, I wondered. Isn’t he too small to be going into the water by himself? These questions popped into my head as I watched. Other people were around – adults and children – some of them in the river bathing and playing around, but none of them his size. No one seemed to notice.

Just as I walked past, he waded into the shallow part and plunged the bucket into the water. I kept walking but I kept looking back to see what he was going to do.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Together

Weekly Photo Challenge: Together

As he struggled with the now full bucket, water splashed from the sides and ran down his foot. Finally, he reached the horse, his father’s, I was told. He gently set it down and the horse dunked its head into the bucket. He waited patiently for the horse to finish. When he felt it’d had enough, he picked up the bucket and splashed the rest of the water on the animal then walked back in the same direction from which he had appeared. I smiled.

This is my entry to WordPress’s Weekly Photo Challenge. This week’s theme is together.

Soulful Sundays: Derrick Harriott

Derrick Harriott, photo from The Jamaica Gleaner

Singer and producer, Derrick Harriott, has been in and around the music business in Jamaica for well over 50 years. I hadn’t thought about him until a few days ago when I noticed his record shop in Kingston. I was surprised.

Derrick Harriott, photo from The Jamaica Gleaner

Derrick Harriott, photo from The Jamaica Gleaner

Harriott is one of the pioneers of Jamaican music — one of its movers and shakers. He had his own label, Crystal, and produced several well known artists. At one point, he even had a show on one of the local radio stations. Harriott has several albums, including compilations, to his credit.

Give a listen to Walk the Streets and Close to Me. I also stumbled on to this interview he did last year.

Enjoy!

 

Bacchanal 2012 – Jamaica Carnival

Bacchanal 2012, Jamaica Carnival

Approximately 30 minutes before Bacchanal 2012, Jamaica’s Carnival, which had as its theme, Future Shock, made its way to where I was standing near Devon House, the skies opened up. Despite the fact that it had looked ominous all morning, I had left without an umbrella or rain slick.

At first, I tried to stare it back  – how could there be rain on carnival day? But as the drops got fatter and began pelting my head and shoulders, with some insistence, I reluctantly admitted defeat — my willpower was no match for a tropical shower — and shamefacedly begged a woman nearby, who had found some thick cardboard, for a piece to cover my head. Then I waited. I didn’t know how long the rain would last, or how soon the parade would appear, but I’d been standing too long to give up and go home. Sometimes, I surprise myself at how pig headed I can be!

Unlike many other Caribbean islands, Jamaica does not have a carnival tradition. However, students from islands where carnival is an annual event who attend the local campus of the University of the West Indies, began staging their own version of carnival long before Byron Lee started it in the island. That carnival, I’m told was bigger and even made it beyond Kingston to Montego Bay. Unfortunately, the music and the revelry stopped after Lee passed away. The current event has been around for 24 years and is now the only vehicle for anyone who wants to jump carnival in Jamaica.

Bacchanal 2012, Jamaica Carnival

Bacchanal 2012, Jamaica Carnival - Putting up the barricades on Old Hope Road

After maybe 15 long minutes, the rain let up. A truck appeared and men began unloading barricades. (Roads are blocked long enough to let the parade through.) I was relieved. The party, though wet, wet, wet (instead of hot, hot, hot) was still on.

Bacchanal 2012, Jamaica Carnival

Bacchanal 2012, Jamaica Carnival - Getting ready, Old Hope Road

Then this SUV arrived and the driver, who was wearing a T-shirt that read ‘Field Crew,’ got out very official-like. He walked to the rear of the vehicle, looked at something, walked back to the front, got into the driver’s seat and drove off.

Bacchanal 2012, Jamaica Carnival

Bacchanal 2012, Jamaica Carnival

Another long 15 or so minutes passed before we heard music in the distance. Then I saw the crowd.

Maybe because of the rain, things had become a free for all. Folks in costume who were playing mass, as well as members of the public, a few people on bicycle, and street vendors, some with push carts, were all now part of the road march.

Bacchanal 2012, Jamaica Carnival

Bacchanal 2012, Jamaica Carnival

Isn’t he just so regal?

When the last float inched past me I checked my watch. Less than 30 minutes had passed. I was surprised. Surely, this couldn’t be the end? Maybe the rain sent some people home.

I felt cheated. I discarded my makeshift rain hat and decided to follow. I walked for about 10-15 minutes when I felt raindrops again. This time, I had nothing to protect me. I dropped my camera in my bag and headed towards Devon House.

I was soaked by the time I got there. More than getting wet, I was disappointed with Bacchanal 2012. It was smaller that I anticipated and looked disorganized. In fairness, that could have been because of the rain. So next year, I’ll go early and I’ll go to mass camp.

Bacchanal, Jamaica’s carnival parade, takes place the weekend following Easter.

#TPT: A Tour of Jamaica’s King’s House

A Tour of Jamaica's King's House

I’m not sure why it’s called King’s House as no king has lived there but the official residence of the governor-general, the Queen’s representative in Jamaica, and the home of visiting royalties and heads of state, is known as King’s House.

Jamaica's King's House

Jamaica's King's House

The current King’s House is the third governor’s residence. Although Jamaica has had governors since at least 1661, there was never an official residence. They had to find their own accommodation. This changed around 1690, when the first residence was established in Port Royal. By 1762, however, a new King’s House was completed in the colonial capital, St. Jago de la Vega or Spanish Town, as it is now known.

Jamaica's King's House - The Official Entrance

Jamaica's King's House - The Official Entrance

In 1866, when Sir John Peter Grant, the governor at the time arrived, he set about to make radical and far reaching changes in the country, which was almost bankrupt. Sir John, who was quite private, lived in the governor’s residence in Spanish Town for three weeks before moving to the home he bought in the Port Royal Mountains, where the climate was more to his liking.

Jamaica's King's House - First floor reception area

Jamaica's King's House - First floor reception area

Sir John thought the capital should be in Kingston and by 1870, the government had acquired Somerset Pen, the 190-acre property that for 46 years, had been the residence of the Anglican Bishops of the Diocese of Jamaica. Sir John stayed at Bishop’s Lodge, the bishop’s residence on the property while construction of the new King’s House took place. Two years later, the capital was moved to Kingston.

Jamaica's King's House - Ballroom for official dinners and functions

Jamaica's King's House - Ballroom for official functions

Unfortunately, the house was destroyed by earthquake, and a fire in 1908 that destroyed the stables, a coach house and some of the manservants’ rooms. Some of the features of the old house were incorporated.

The current King’s House is three stories covering approximately 16,000 square feet, and includes a 60-foot indoor swimming pool, which is fed by a natural spring. The pool, which was part of the original house, was frequently used by Sir John, who had a habit of lying on a sofa or in the bath while doing his paperwork.

Jamaica's King's House - The drawing room

Jamaica's King's House - The drawing room

Jamaica's King's House - The chandelier

Jamaica's King's House - The chandelier

On the ground floor are the official entrance and reception area and a ballroom where ceremonies are held. Also on the ground floor are portraits of past governors, governors-general, kings and queens.

Jamaica's King's House - The morning room

Jamaica's King's House - The morning room

The second floor houses the drawing room, where the governor-general meets guests, including visiting heads of state. It is decorated by gold leaf hurricane globe chandeliers that were brought over from the house in Spanish Town. Also on the second floor is the morning room, where the governor-general’s wife greets her guests, has meetings, etc. It has a fine collection of silver which was owned by the British West India Regiment. Living quarters are the third floor.

Jamaica's King's House - Back entrance to carriage way

Jamaica's King's House - Back entrance and carriage way

An exceptional feature of King’s House is the mile-long driveway, which was known previously as Governor’s Road. It is now called Palm Tree Avenue. Several trees, some planted by visiting dignitaries, can be found on the property: a cotton tree which was imported from South Africa in 2009, mahoe and banyan trees from India, and flowers, ferns and plants from all over the world.

The lush grounds are the venue for the annual ceremony on National Heroes Day when the governor-general presents honors and awards.

Jamaica's King's House - The dining room, formerly Bishop's Lodge

Jamaica's King's House - The dining room, formerly Bishop's Lodge

Interestingly enough, Bishop’s Lodge, which has been around since the 1800s, has never been destroyed.

Jamaica's King's House - The key to Bishop's Lodge

Jamaica's King's House - The key to Bishop's Lodge

When you arrive at King’s House, it’s hard not to miss several nests on the portico. Those belong to swallows, that are now dubbed King’s House Swallow, that seemed to have followed the governor from Spanish Town to Kingston.

Jamaica's King's House - The secretariat

Jamaica's King's House - The secretariat

During his time in office, Governor-General Sir Howard Cooke (1991-2006) started a vegetable garden, which still provides vegetables and fresh fruits to hospitals in Kingston.

King’s House in the Movies

King’s House was a shooting location for the 1962 James Bond film, Dr. No. In the movie, however, Bond calls it Government House.

How to Schedule a Tour

Guided tours of King’s House are available by appointment from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday to Friday. Apply in writing to:

The Office of the Governor-General
King’s House
Hope Road
Kingston 6

Or email kingshouse@kingshouse.gov.jm

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.