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Treasure Beach, Featured Post

I’ve been featured in the Cheapflights blog in their Travel Bloggers choice series. Take a look at why I think Treasure Beach, Jamaica is a destination everyone should visit.
Treasure Beach

View from a villa

Cheapflights is the UK’s leading flight deals provider and if you haven’t already booked your flights to Jamaica, take a look at their site.
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Since my arrival in Jamaica, I’ve been soaking up everything around me, especially flowers. Many, like this one, the Shrimp Plant, are new to me. Some I know but have forgotten their names.
Shrimp Plant, Jamaica

Shrimp plant

I’m surprised how many fruit trees I don’t remember. I know the popular ones, like the mango, banana, coconut. But guava, naseberry, starapple, for example, if they’re not in fruit, I’m lost. So I’m also getting re-acquainted.
While I’m doing that, please take a look at my post on Treasure Beach and a few of my previous posts on Jamaica.

A Jamaican Cherry

I noticed this lone cherry on the tree yesterday and couldn’t resist taking a photo.

Jamaican Cherry

Jamaican Cherry

I was told that this was the last one of the latest crop but I noticed a few buds of flowers so I imagine there will be another one in a few weeks. I can’t wait.

 

Travel Photo Thursday: Noni

A few years ago, Noni was all the rage. Everyone was buying and drinking the juice for its health benefits. When I returned to Jamaica on vacation during the heights of its popularity, a friend pointed it out to me — I had no idea that it grew wild here. Locally, it’s known as “Duppy Soursop.”

Noni

Noni

In Jamaica, a duppy is a ghost and since the Noni does look a little like a soursop, another tropical fruit, but in a weird and unusual way. It stands to reason that if it looks like a soursop, something people are familiar with but is weird or strange, it must belong to the other world, hence duppy soursop.

Soursop, courtesy rarefloweringtrees.com

Soursop

Noni is said to contain nutrients such Vitamins A and C, niacin, iron and potassium. Like in other countries where it’s grown, in Jamaica, the Noni fruit and its juice, leaves and root are used for a variety of ailments from diabetes to menstrual cramps.

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!

 

Can I Leave the Person I’ve Become Behind?

One of my uncles in Florida always reminds us whenever we travel to Jamaica that we must leave the US behind. By that he means that we have to remember that many of the things that we’ve become used to – service and its efficient delivery, the availability of certain items, etc., will be irritably slow or sometimes non-existent.

But is it really possible to leave the person I’ve become behind?

We are the sum of our experiences. When I left Jamaica for Canada in the early 70s, I took with me all that I was then. I saw and experienced Canada through the prism of that person and it, in turn, shaped and prepared me for my pretty near seamless transition to life in the U.S.

Travel has also provided indelible experiences that I’ve added to my reservoir of knowledge. These too inform and dictate how I view the everyday, and the world.

The person who’s now returned to Jamaica is the same and different. I fall back on my Jamaican-ness but my foreign-ness sees the glaring contrasts, sees what’s missing or what can be done better, faster, more efficiently.

From the garden

Flowers from the garden

Like the day I went to get my phone. As soon as I walked into the store, an agent, who was on the phone sorting out an issue for a customer in line, mouthed that she’d be with me in a few minutes. I was pleasantly surprised. I wasn’t expecting this level of attention. Clearly, she took her training in customer service to heart.

However, when I wanted to add minutes, or “top up” – pre-paid phones are very common in Jamaica – I was surprised by the antiquated method that was used. The agent pulled out a clipboard with a sheet of paper, asked me for the number, wrote it in one column, then the amount of minutes I was buying in another. (Sometimes, the customer is asked to write the number instead.)

When I handed her the money, it was just put in a drawer, the change returned to me. My number and amount of minutes I purchased were then keyed into a machine that looked like a small cash register. Immediately after, I received a text acknowledging the top up.

There must be a more efficient way to do this, I thought, as right away, I spotted several different ways in which mistakes could be made.

A few days later, I discovered how easily. I had purchased an international plan (1,000 minutes for about $15 – a steal!), and approximately $5 worth of local minutes. I was surprised, when during a local call, I got a message that I had only a minute left.

Where did my $5 go? I called the store but got nowhere so I went in person to sort it out. When I saw the clipboard for that day, my phone number and money were recorded but the confirmation number they would have received after the amount was keyed in was not there.

I’m glad I got the money credited but I shouldn’t have to spend my time chasing $5. I could have used it to do something else.

In the end, none of us can totally leave who we are behind. My hope is that a little of me will rub off, that my being here will be of benefit.