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Archives for August 2012

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#TPThursday: An Eyecatching Jamaican Church

I love when I happen upon a beautiful Jamaican church such as this one, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, in St. Ann. My cousin and I were taking the kids to the beach when she spun the car around and said she wanted to show me something.

I jumped out of the car before she could come to a complete stop. Thankfully, I had my camera — I hardly leave home without it.

Our Lady of Perpetual Help, St. Ann

Our Lady of Perpetual Help, St. Ann

The eye-catching Spanish-style church was built between 1939 and 1943 from local timber, and cut stone, some of which came from the Peter Martyr Catholic Church. Construction of Peter Martyr began in 1534 at Sevilla la Nueva, the first Spanish settlement in Jamaica. Only the walls were completed when the capital was moved from Sevilla to Spanish Town and Peter Martyr was abandoned.

This is my submission to this week’s Travel Photo Thursday series, which is organized by Nancie at Budget Travelers Sandbox. Hope you’ll head over and check out more photos from locations around the world.


The Blogger Relay – My Top Three Travel Memories

I’ve heard it said that travel changes lives but I didn’t believe it applied to me until I had to choose My Three Favorite Travel Memories.

I realized that each trip has altered my life in significant and not-so significant ways. Most importantly, traveling has made me more appreciative of what I have, and also expanded my circle of friends. Traveling for me is both therapy and education – it’s my antidote to boredom and malaise.

I have so many favorite memories of my travels, it was very difficult to narrow it down to my top three. Hopefully, you’ll see why I decided on these.

This post is part of The Blogger Relay that is sponsored by LowCostHolidays. The goal is to keep this chain of stories going and the team with the longest chain of travel stories by September 28th wins.

Bronze – Mérida

Mérida was my first trip abroad. I had spent the year before I started university teaching basic and intermediate Spanish to 10 and 11 year olds. When we heard about a one-week immersion program in Mérida that was organized by the Ministry of Education, another Spanish teacher and I decided to participate. in a one-week Spanish immersion program in Mérida and became chaperones for three of our students.

All the arrangements were made through a travel agency contracted by the Ministry of Education and we turned over newly minted passports so they could obtain our visas and tickets and arrange our accommodation.

But when we made the 4-hour drive back to Kingston for our appointment to get our documents, we learned that our passports had been destroyed in a fire at the agency. No one had bothered to alert us and there was no way for us to get new passports and visas in time to leave with the rest of the group. We wouldn’t be going to Mérida. We returned home feeling disappointed and defeated. But that was not the end of this story.

A few weeks later, the travel gods smiled and with new documents in hand, we were on a direct flight to Mérida. Since we had missed the immersion, we were free to do whatever we wanted to do.

The first thing I noticed was how different the Spanish in Mérida was. It sounded like an entirely different language than what I’d been studying since primary school. I could pick out one or two words but the rest sailed right over my head.

At the market the day after we arrived, I met Mario and his friend, Belgio. Between my version of Spanish and his limited English, I agreed to go with them to the beach at Progreso.  (I wouldn’t have done that now!)

We spent a great afternoon swimming, and exchanged phone numbers when they took me back at the hotel. If you think trying to understand a language when you’re face to face with someone is hard, try doing the same thing on the phone. But there’s no mistaking Belgio when he called later that evening and declared, “Te amo. Te adoro.”

‘I love you’ in any language gets your attention. Said in Spanish with Belgio’s intensity and passion, it was a bit romantic. But I couldn’t stop giggling. I was a cynic even then. But what did I really know about matters of the heart at that age?

[Read more…]

Capturing the Colors of Jamaica

Thanks to Cathy from Traveling with Sweeney, Marlys from EasyHiker and Renee of A View to a Thrill for tagging me for TravelSupermarket’s Capture the Color contest.

I can say this now, but I felt quite intimidated by this contest. None of the photos I wanted to share looked ‘right.’ It took me weeks to decide on these five. It was great going back through the photos and reliving the memories.


King’s House official residence of the governor-general, the Queen’s representative. The house was built originally around 1870 but was destroyed by earthquake. It was rebuilt and this old carriage entrance was retained.

Jamaica's Kings House

King’s House


Earlier this year, I took a guided hike up Jamaica’s Blue Mountain. I didn’t make it to the top like I wanted to and I haven’t been back like I promised. But the mountain’s there when I’m ready again. Narelle, who blogs as Hakea, told me the Blue Mountains in Australia, where she lives, got their name from the blue tint that comes from the eucalyptus trees that are found there. There are eucalyptus trees on Jamaica’s Blue Mountain though I’m not sure if that’s where the name was derived.

Blue Mountains

Blue Mountains


I had friends visiting in February and we decided to visit Falmouth in Trelawny. When we were leaving, our driver suggested we check out Glistening Waters Lagoon. The red on this row of warehouses near the harbor drew me in.

Falmouth, Trelawny

Falmouth, Trelawny


This spot yielded lots of color — the red of the warehouses and the yellow on this boat. Oh, and the water? It was actually glistening.

Glistening Waters, Trelawny

Glistening Waters, Trelawny


Trident Castle, Portland

Trident Castle, Portland

Trident Castle is probably the most unexpected property in Jamaica. As you come up on it, you can’t help feeling as if you’ve suddenly been teleported to Europe. Trident Castle was built in 1979 as a private residence for a German baroness. It’s changed hands and is now owned by a wealthy Jamaican, Michael Lee Chin.

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

Top 7 Holiday Destinations in Asia

Asia is a beautiful place, filled with such diversity and the most sumptuous cuisines in the world. If you’re planning your next holiday to Asia, be sure to check out these unforgettable holiday destinations.

Delhi, India

India is known for its rich culture, along with a strong spiritual and religious belief system. If you want to experience the most ornate temples in the world, you must visit India. Delhi acts as a gateway of discovery to the rest of the country, with many temple tours departing from the city. Buddhism and Hinduism are both prominent religions throughout India, with both devout followers and tourists making their way to marvel at the beauty of the temples and shrines in this country.

Langkawi, Malaysia

A tropical island paradise, Langkawi is situated just off the shores of the mainland of Malaysia. Home to some of the most spectacular beach views in the world, it is easy to see why Langkawi continues to grow in popularity. World class resorts line the shores of the island, providing the most sumptuous seafood cuisine to holidaymakers.

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Culturally significant to many countries around the world, Vietnam is a must visit Asian destination. Ho Chi Minh City is a vibrant destination, home to endless shopping precincts and ‘hole in the wall’ restaurants that serve up some of the finest foods in Asia. The war memorials throughout Vietnam are a must see when travelling through the country, a tribute to the soldiers who fought in the Vietnam War.

Koh Samui, Thailand

While Phuket and Bangkok may be the first destinations that come to mind when you think of Thailand, Koh Samui provides a more relaxed island destination, filled with secluded getaways and tranquil beaches. Koh Samui holiday packages are very affordable and often include some great perks including days of water sports and bookings at some of the finest restaurants on the island.

Harajuku, Japan

The fashion capital of Asia, if not the world, Harajuku attracts millions of international visitors each year. You’ll find all styles of fashion amongst the streets of Harajuku, including gothic, vintage, glam, cosplay and even girls dressed as your favourite fairy tale characters. Most of the people who call Harajuku home will love a photo opportunity, so don’t be shy to ask, particularly if you see little-bo-peep or a Japanese rock god.

Ubud, Bali

Located in Central Bali, Ubud is the heart of music, dance and art in Bali. Visitors to Ubud can escape the hustle and bustle of touristy destinations like Kuta, to experience the quaint village lifestyle of the Balinese hinterland. Almost everything you can purchase in Ubud has been made by hand, including meticulously carved stone statues, standing metres high in the air. Beautiful, handcrafted jewellery stores can also be found throughout Ubud, along with a variety of market stalls selling home wares and traditional Balinese trinkets.

Shanhaiguan, China

Possibly the most well-known tourist attraction throughout all of Asia is the Great Wall of China. The eastern most section of the Great Wall begins in Shanhaiguan, leading to the further most western point of Lop Lake. If you’re travelling through China, a visit to the Great Wall is not to be missed. Holidaymakers can choose to take a day tour to the wall, great for some photo opportunities, or a trek of the entire wall, which can be as long as 7 days. This enormous structure was built and rebuilt over hundreds of years and while much the wall has withstood the tests of time, some areas have collapsed or been eroded by rivers and other natural formations.

Whether you’re looking for a cultural experience, a tropical beach getaway or a step back in time, Asia quite literally has it all. For a holiday to remember, take some time out and experience the wonders of Asia.

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photo by: seanmcgrath