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Time for Church!

Ephesus Seventh-Day Adventist Church

I’m fascinated by churches, especially their design. Sometimes they’re simple, almost stark, other times elaborate.

If I have my camera and can stop, I’ll take photos or I’ll get my camera and return later.

Whatever their design, however, churches inspire reverence.

The Parish of St. Agnes Cathedral

St. Agnes Cathedral, Rockvile Center, NY

As I waited at the Rockville Center station for the train to Long Island a few years ago, I saw this church in the distance. I couldn’t believe how beautiful it looked but I couldn’t get close enough without missing my train. Interestingly, the first mass was celebrated in a blacksmith’s shop with an anvil serving as the altar. St. Agnes has come a long way since then, hosting Mother Theresa in 1986.

Ephesus Church

Ephesus Seventh-Day Adventist, New York

I used to stand on the corner opposite Ephesus in Harlem and stare up at the steeple. At 37 stories, it seems as if it could touch the sky. After doing that on several different occasions, I went back specifically to take a photo of it.

A fire in 1969, damaged the original steeple. It was replaced 35 years later with a new one which weights 7,000 pounds.

The Second Reformed, Hackensack, NJ

Second Reformed Church, Hackensack, NJ

I spotted this church on a side street in Hackensack, NJ. It wasn’t the one I set out to photograph but I liked the quiet elegant look of it. Researching it later, I discovered that the stained glass windows in the sanctuary were designed by Tiffany.

Capuchin Monastery Church of St. John

Capuchin Monastery, NY

I’m not sure how many times I walked pass this monastery near Penn Station, New York before I noticed the sign. Except for the statue, little else about the building says religion.

When I got home, I Googled the name and discovered that the Capucin Monastery Church of St. John is an Order of Friars that arose in 1520. It is part of the Catholic church.

This is my submission to Travel Photo Thursday, which Nancie at Budget Travelers Sandbox organizes. Be sure to head over and check out more photos from locations around the world.

 

The Jamaican Cherry

Cherries, cherry drink

The Jamaican Cherry has red, sometimes yellow skin, is yellow inside and has two to three small oval seeds. It is slightly sweet, slightly tart and juicy, and is used to make juices, or washed and eaten just picked from the tree. The cherries are low in carbohydrates and are packed with vitamin C, vitamin A and folate.

Lone garden cherry on a tree Jamaica

Jamaican Cherry

The Jamaican Cherry is native to the Caribbean, southern Mexico, Central America and south to Peru and Bolivia. But it has also been found as far away as India and the Philippines. The Jamaican Cherry is known by several names, including Panama berry, Singapore cherry, and manzanitas.

Garden Cherry Jamaica

Jamaican Cherry

Cherry pits Jamaica

Pits

Flesh of a garden cherry Jamaica

The Jamaican Cherry is also a flowering tree. The flowers can be used as an antiseptic and also to relieve headaches and colds.

I took this flower, which I’ve magnified several times, around November. Since then, there has been two crops of fruit – cherries are in season again.

Flower of a cherry tree, Jamaica

Cherry flower

The trees are beautiful in season with specks of red peeking out from among verdant green leaves. The fruit can be picked individually or shaken from the tree, which typically grows no more than 6 or 7 feet tall. And since the trees are not very large, they can be found in the backyard gardens of most Jamaican families.

Cherry Drink, Jamaica

Jamaican Cherry Drink

During the season, it’s possible to get dozens of cherries – more than enough to juice. I usually freeze them and use them sparingly until the next crop. For color, I add some to my homemade fruit juices.

The Jamaican cherry is in season now so if you’re visiting or planning to visit soon, you should try the fresh juice. Ask at your hotel or guest house if there’s some on the menu, or if they can get some. I know some of the smaller establishments will gladly oblige.

The juice is quite easy to make. Put cherries in a blender, add enough water to cover the fruit and blend. (You can also add a bit more water if the juice is too thick.) Strain, add a little nutmeg, lime or ginger, and sugar to taste. Serve over ice or chill before serving.

 

This is my submission to Travel Photo Thursday, which is organized by Nancie at Budget Travelers Sandbox. Be sure to head over and check out more photos from locations around the world.

 

The Jamaican Pineapple

A Photo Review of 2013

I’ve been eating pineapples all my life but it wasn’t until about a year ago that I discovered that there are different varieties. On a recent visit to Croydon Plantation (more on that later), I tasted the Cowboy, Ripley and Sugar Loaf.**

Ripley Pineapple

The Ripley

Some Pineapple Facts

The pineapple was brought to Jamaica from South America by the Tainos, the island’s first inhabitants. The Spanish took it to Spain, then to Hawaii and the Philippines, and other countries.

Five golden pineapple can be seen on the red cross on the Jamaican Coat of Arms, which has been in use since the 1600s.

Jamaica Coat of Arms, pineapples

Jamaica Coat of Arms

Pineapples are cultivated island-wide but the main growing areas are in the parishes of St. Elizabeth, St. James, Westmoreland and Portland, and the main reaping time is from May to July. Most of the pineapples grown here are consumed locally.

Besides being delicious, the pineapple is an excellent source of Vitamins C, B1, B6, copper, manganese and dietary fiber. It can be eaten fresh, baked, juiced, or even grilled.

Fresh pineapple juice can be used as a meat tenderizer.

The pineapple can also help to prevent inflammation.

All of the fruit, except for the top, which can be replanted, is eaten here. We combine the peel with ginger to make a delicious drink (recipe follows).

**Del Monte scientists have developed a new strain of pineapple variety, the MD2, which is sweeter, grows to a uniform size, ripens evenly, and has a longer shelf life.

How to Peel a Pineapple

Using a sharp knife, cut from top to bottom.
Remove the eyes by cutting a long V-shaped channel diagonally down through the centers of the diamond
Remove the crown and the bottom end.
Cut into slices and remove the core from each slice, or leave the core in. (I eat the entire slice, core included.)

Pineapple Ginger Drink

Peel of a fresh pineapple, washed. You can also use the fruit but the peel holds more of the flavor.
2-4 ounces of fresh peeled ginger
4-5 cups water
Reserve a few chunks of pineapple to garnish
Maraschino cherry to garnish

Bring water to boil. Add pineapple and ginger to a metal pot or large pitcher that can withstand heat (you don’t want to use anything that would leach into the drink). Let steep overnight. Strain off the juice and add sugar to taste. Add ice. Garnish with pineapple chunks or a Maraschino cherry.

Did you know that there are different varieties of pineapple?

 

This is my submission to Travel Photo Thursday, which is organized by Nancie at Budget Travelers Sandbox. Be sure to head over and check out more photos from locations around the world.

This week, I’m also linking up with the Friday Daydreaming series organized by Becca at Rwethereyetmom. Hope to see you there!

A Tour of Falmouth Pier

Entering Falmouth Pier

If I had my way, there wouldn’t be a Falmouth Pier. Heck, there wouldn’t have been even one cruise ship pier in Jamaica, period. But of course, no one asked me – they never ask the people, the ones who really matter. Anyway, it’s here now but believe me, there are more than a few disgruntled residents in Falmouth.

Entering Falmouth Pier

Entering the pier at Falmouth

Falmouth, capital of the parish of Trelawny, is located on Jamaica’s north coast about 30 minutes from Montego Bay. The town is home to approximately 4,000 residents.

Falmouth was founded in 1769 by Thomas Reid, an English planter. During sugar’s heyday, the port was the major shipping point for sugar, molasses, rum, coffee going to England, and slaves coming to the island.

Falmouth Pier's stores

Stores and immigration building, Falmouth

After the trade ended, the once booming town, which had piped water before New York City, fell on hard times. But with its extensive stock of Georgian buildings, the largest in the Caribbean, the town is experiencing new interest.

The Pier opened in 2011 following a nearly $200 million construction of a new deep water pier that can accommodate the largest ships in Royal Caribbean’s fleet. These 16-deck mega ships can transport 6,000 passengers and 2,000 crew.

On cruise days – Tuesdays to Thursdays – sometimes two ships dock at Falmouth Pier. However, even with the many historic Georgian structures in the town, the majority of passengers are bussed to Montego Bay or Ocho Rios. A small number do a walking tour of the town.

Falmouth Pier's immigration building

Immigration building, Falmouth

The US$100 per person that cruise ships passengers were projected to inject into the local economy hasn’t materialized. And when construction is completed at the Pier, Royal Caribbean will have practically duplicated the historic town and even fewer of its passengers will need to leave the pier.

One of two berths at Falmouth Pier

Berth for Royal Caribbean’s big ships

The building of Falmouth Pier changed the coastline and has caused considerable damage to the mangroves and coral reefs. When ships are in port, residents complain that there’s less water coming from the taps as they refill before leaving.

Despite how I feel about cruise ships, however, I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to tour Falmouth Pier. I had to see it for myself.

Royal Caribbean's Craft Market at Falmouth Pier

Craft market, the pier at Falmouth

On the day we went, no ships were in port – only construction workers and a few employees were around so we had unobstructed views. The pier has customs and immigration offices, stores, restaurants, and a Margaritaville, which is under construction. We were told that Falmouth residents will have access to Margaritaville when it opens.

Falmouth Pier seen from the Courthouse

Falmouth Pier seen from the Courthouse

Royal Caribbean's ship docked at Falmouth Pier

RC Ship dwarfs the town of Falmouth

Storyboards that tell the history of Falmouth line the main walkway and there’s a performance area where cultural groups to put on shows for passengers.

Of course, what I’ve written here was not part of the tour. But it’s difficult to see Falmouth Pier and not feel a bit sad. Once again, we’ve sold out our beautiful island and swapped one master — sugar planters, bauxite companies, other multinational organizations, etc. — for another.

What are your thoughts on cruise ships and the impact they have?

This is my submission to Travel Photo Thursday, which is organized by Nancie at Budget Travelers Sandbox. Be sure to head over and check out more photos from locations around the world.

This week, I’m also linking up with the Friday Daydreaming series organized by Becca at Rwethereyetmom. Hope to see you there!