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Archives for June 2012

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Staying Hydrated During Your Next Flight

We rarely think about staying hydrated while we go about our daily routines but once we board a plane for a long flight, if we haven’t been hydrating we could begin feeling uncomfortable, or worse, almost right away. That’s because the air in the cabin is a lot dryer than outside and that dry air causes our bodies to lose water.

Dehydration can cause dry nose, dry skin, and scratchy eyes. In the extreme, it can also cause light headedness, fatigue and confusion. Some people have even passed out from being dehydrated.

photo: icethim

That’s what happened to me recently. Two hours after we took off, my nose became so dry, I kept taking short breaths thinking that would make me feel better. It didn’t. I needed water, and I knew it.

So what can you do to stay hydrated during your next flight?

Drink Lots of Water: If you have a long trip coming up, start drinking lots of water the day before and continue drinking at least a glass for each hour of your flight. With strict regulations on the amount of liquids allowed on flights, many people have had to ditch their bottled water at the checkpoint. At many airports, however, there are concession stands after the checkpoint where you can buy water and water fountains where you can refill an empty water bottle. It is not advisable to drink the tap water on the plane.

Pack a Good Moisturizer and Eye Drops: Bring a good moisturizing lotion and apply it often to protect your skin, especially your hands and face. Use eye drops to relieve your scratchy eyes.

Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine: Both alcohol and caffeine absorb water from your cells so you’ll end up feeling more dehydrated. Avoid them all together.

Staying hydrated during a flight is easy if you follow the steps above.

What tips do you have for staying hydrated during your flights?





photo by: Muffet

James Bond and Jamaica Mark 50 Years

James Bond, the British super agent with a licence to kill, was introduced to the world, in 1962, in the now classic thriller, Dr. No. Bond, the brainchild of the British author, Ian Fleming, was ‘born’ in Jamaica. Fleming had visited Jamaica and fallen in love with the island. In 1946, he purchased a property and built Goldeneye, his Jamaica home. It is here that he escaped, every January and February, to write the Bond books. He has been quoted as saying he doubted the books would have been written had he not been on the island.

James Bond, Dr. No

photo: johanoomen

Dr. No, the first of the books to be adapted to the screen, was also set in Jamaica, and was filmed entirely on location on the island.

As you might imagine, the filming of the first James Bond movie was a big deal in Jamaica at the time. There were almost daily reports in the local paper, The Gleaner, of movie-related news, for example the arrivals of the stars, Sean Connery, Ursula Andress, the location where filming would take place, etc.

Several locals, including the men who played Three Blind Mice, the photographer, Freelance (Miss Jamaica 1961, Marguerite LeWars), as well as the band, Byron Lee and the Dragonaires, appeared in the movie but the real “star” was the island. Filming took place at different locations in Kingston, Port Royal and Ocho Rios, most notably:

  • Palisadoes Airport: James Bond makes his first appearance in Jamaica at Palisadoes, which is now known as the Norman Manley International Airport.
  • King’s House: In the movie, Bond goes to Government House though he actually went to King’s House, the residence of the Governor General, the Queen’s representative in Jamaica.
  • Morgan’s Harbor Hotel: Byron Lee and the Dragonaires are seen playing that infectious number, Jump Up, Jump Up, at Morgan’s Harbor Hotel, which is still located on the airport road.
  • Dunn’s River Falls: James Bond and Quarrel hide from Dr. No’s machine near Dunn’s River Falls in Ocho Rios.
  • Laughing Waters: Probably one of the most eye catching scenes in the movie is when Urusla Andress walks out of the sea at Laughing Waters near Ocho Rios
  • Reynold’s Bauxite Terminal: Dr. No’s lair at Crab Key is actually Reynold’s Bauxite terminal in Ocho Rios

Filming on the island wrapped after about six weeks with the remaining scenes done in Pinewood Studios, London. Several months later, on August 6, 1962, Jamaica went from British colony to an independent country (More on Jamaica’s anniversary in a later post).

Dr. No was released on October 5, 1962 but didn’t have its premiere in Jamaica until September 17, 1963, it was till playing a year later.

Live and Let Die and The Man With The Golden Gun both have scenes that were in Jamaica, however Live and Let Die was the only other James Bond movie to be filmed here.

Fifty years later, Bond is as popular as ever. In November, the franchise will release its latest installment, Skyfall. I cannot wait!

Set Your DVRs!

Now, if you are as passionate about James Bond movies as I am, I’m happy to report that on July 1, Encore is marking the 50th anniversary with an all day marathon of James Bond films. It’ll start at 7:00 a.m. with Dr. No and end with Never Say Never Again. Following the marathon, every Thursday nights in July, beginning at 8:00 p.m. they’ll show other Bond films uncut and commercial-free. Set your DVRs!

Other Bond Events

‘Designing 007 – Fifty Years of Bond Style’ opens on July 6. Tickets cost £12.


photo by: brava_67

#TPThursday Bamboo Rafting in Jamaica

Traveling down a river on a bamboo raft is possibly one of the coolest experiences I can imagine. I have to imagine it as I arrived too late to make the trip. What I got instead was a mini demonstration of raft making and a lesson from a raft captain on what they have to do to maintain their crafts.

Raft making, Jamaica

Bamboo Raft making, Jamaica

First, a little background. Rafting started with the Rio Grande River in Portland. Back when banana export was a major money earner for Jamaica, Portland farmers used rafts to move their produce down the Rio Grande to the wharf for shipment overseas, mainly to the US and other Caribbean islands. Boats taking bananas out would bring visitors into Port Antonio, Portland’s capital and rafts began doing double duty: ferrying visitors on a languid ride down the Rio Grande as well as carrying bananas to market. Over time, the idea was transported to other areas of the island that had large, navigable rivers.

Raft making, Jamaica

Bamboo Raft making, Jamaica

How Rafts Are Made

Rafts are made from mature bamboo canes that are cut in lengths of approximately 30 feet, then lashed tightly together. Two or three layers of bamboo are tied together to form the floor of the raft, and a seat is created for up to 2 passengers. Another bamboo, cut several feet long, is used to steer the raft.

As rafts can get pretty heavy, pulleys are used to lower them into the water and hoist them back out again. A raft can last up to 6 months after which time it has to be replaced. Each captain has at least 2 rafts. Captains are trained to maneuver the raft.

Bamboo Rafting, Jamaica

Bamboo Rafting, Jamaica

Where to Go Rafting in Jamaica

Rio Grande, Portland: The Rio Grande rafting tour is the granddaddy of rafting tours in Jamaica. The 7-mile trip from Berrydale in the Blue Mountains to Rafter’s Rest near Margaret’s Bay lasts 3 hours.

Martha Brae, Trelawny: The 3-mile journey down the Martha Brae takes about an hour. If you wish, you can even go for a swim.

White River, St. Ann: If you’re in the Ocho Rios area, check out the 45-minute trip down the White River. Following the trip, your guide can take you to Mahogany Beach for parasailing and other beach activities.

Lethe, St. James: This hour-long rafting trip takes you down the Great River.

Raft trips are accompanied by knowledgeable raft captains who will explain the flora and fauna of the area or entertain you with stories while you meander down the river. If you’re interested in doing a raft trip, your hotel or cruise line can schedule one for you.

I’ll write a follow-up when I have my own rafting experience.

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.

5 Reasons to Get Out of Negril and explore Westmoreland

Negril’s legendary 7-mile white sand beach and its laid-back attitude draw thousands of visitors annually. Most are content with relaxing on the beach that straddles two parishes, Westmoreland and Hanover, but there are several reasons to get out and explore what lies beyond the sand on the Westmoreland side.

The eighth largest of Jamaica’s 14 parishes, Westmoreland takes up the south western end of Jamaica. It was first settled by Taino and Ciboney Indians, remains of whom have been found in Negril and Bluefields, which lies several miles up the coast from Savanna la Mar, the capital. Christopher Columbus stopped in Bluefields, known then as Oristan or Oristano, and a settlement was formed there in 1519, making it one of the oldest settled areas in the island.

Westmoreland is also home to a large population of the descendants of indentured laborers who came from the Indian subcontinent to work on the island after slavery was abolished.


Royal Palm Nature Reserve: Part of the 10,000-acre Great Morass, the wetland area extending from Westmoreland into the neighboring parish of St. Elizabeth, this 300 acre expanse of towering Royal Palms, is the largest stand in the world. The half-mile boardwalk allows you to see up close many of the more than 300 species of reptiles, birds, and butterflies, and over 114 species of flowers. There are also extensive deposits of peat. Open daily, 9-6. Cost: $15 adults, $7 children. Located in Sheffield, a few miles from Negril. 876-364-7404

Mayfield Falls: Billed as Jamaica’s #1 eco-tourism destination, Mayfield Falls boasts waterfalls, 21 natural pools, 52 varieties of ferns, and flowers, butterflies and birds. 876-610-8612

Roaring River Park & Cave: The park and cave are located on the Roaring River Estate that was once owned by the Hay and Beckford families and later taken over by the West Indies Sugar Company (WISCo). The property gets its name from the river that provides water for much of the parish of Westmoreland. The limestone cave and a blue hole, which sits on private property, are both major attractions for the area. Guided tours of the cave and community can be provided by residents of the community for a fee. Located near Petersfield, a visit to Roaring River can be paired with a trip to Abeokuta (below) a few miles away.

5 Reasons to Get Out of Negril - Abeokuta

5 Reasons to Get Out of Negril – Abeokuta

Abeokuta Private Nature Park: When slaves came to this part of Jamaica, they brought with them the memory of the place in Nigeria where they had come from. To them, this small corner of Westmoreland reminded them of it and they named it Abeokuta. Now a nature park, it was officially opened in 2003 by the Nigerian High Commissioner to Jamaica. On the grounds are the ruins of an old great house, an aqueduct, which channels water from a river a quarter mile away into a near Olympic-size pool. The pool is possibly one of the oldest swimming pools in Jamaica. From Abeokuta, you can see as far as the coast. 876-891-0837 Located near Dean’s Valley.

Blue Hole Mineral Spring: I have not checked out this spring yet but it looks very inviting. Pool and mineral spring. Wabba 876-860-8805 Near Negril.


Negril Hills Golf Club: 18 holes, par 72, 6,333 yards, tennis court, pro shop and restaurant. 876-957-4638. Negril


Seaford Town: One of Jamaica’s best known German communities, Seaford Town, welcomed immigrants from Germany in the 1830s. A small museum documents the history of this community.

Hilton High Day Tour: A day tour of Hilton Plantation can be combined with a trip to Seaford Town, a few yards away. The tour includes a buffet lunch of roasted pig. Enjoy a relaxing stroll around the plantation, which is located in Westmoreland’s Montpelier Mountains.

Although Seaford Town and Hilton Plantation are located geographically in Westmoreland, they are best reached from Montego Bay.

Heritage Sites

Manning's School - Thomas Manning Building, photo from website

Manning’s School – Thomas Manning Building

Manning’s School: Although not a tourist site, Manning’s, founded in 1738 on land bequeathed by Thomas Manning in 1710 for a free school, is the second oldest high school in Jamaica. Its main building, now a library, is a Georgian structure that was constructed of timber. It has a vented gable roof, a cupola with fixed jalousie to provide ventilation, and deep verandahs on the sides. Located in Savanna la Mar, the capital.

Negril Point Lighthouse: Built by a French company in 1894 on a 14 foot deep tank which is filled with water to keep the lighthouse stable in the event of an earthquake. The lighthouse is painted white and rises 66 feet above ground.

Negril Hills Golf Club

Negril Hills Golf Club

Chebuctoo Great House: This Georgian style great house was declared a national monument in 2008. Chebuctoo, which is located on a pimento farm in Cave (near Bluefields) got its name from the Indian name of Halifax, with which Jamaica had significant trade in the 18th century, especially in salted fish.

View of the Caribbean Sea from Chebuctoo Great House, photo from the Internet

View of the Caribbean Sea from Chebuctoo Great House


Peter Tosh Memorial: A few miles up the coast from Bluefields is the community of Belmont where a monument to Winston McIntosh, popularly known as Peter Tosh, a founding member of The Wailers and a son of Westmoreland, is located.

Note: My roots go deep in Westmoreland. I also graduated from Manning’s.