Doors cover entrances. They provide protection, separate one space from another, and allow free movement in and out.
They can be small or large, ornate or plain, narrow or wide, keyed or sliding, swinging or revolving, open or closed. They can even be false.
Doors can be made of wood, iron, glass or mesh, and have knobs, handles, pulls, plates or nothing at all. Whatever their composition or design, they describe motion. They also tell us something about their owners and about the places they guard; some even inspire narratives.
Automatic doors test our faith – will they open when we approach?
Glass doors sometimes propel us beyond the immediate moment, causing us focus on the inside, our destination. Have you ever walked into one? It snaps your attention right back to the present.
Entrances and doors have been used as metaphors for hope, opportunity and inspiration. An open door suggests welcome. We recall happy times, laughter, and loved ones. A closed door piques curiosity. There’s mystery there, or is there? It can also suggest a missed opportunity. There’s no mystery, however, when one’s been shut or slammed in your face.
Our lives are a series of entrances and exits.
How many entrances and doors will you walk through today?
One of the smallest parishes in Jamaica, St. Mary has been home to the powerful and the famous. James Bond came to life in the St. Mary home of his creator, Ian Fleming, and Noel Coward lived and entertained at GoldenEye.
St. Mary is located next door to the parish of St. Ann, and is approximately 2 hours from Kingston.
Its capital, Port Maria, was the site of the most serious rebellion in Jamaica’s history. The 1760 revolt spread almost island-wide. Five years later, another rebellion in the parish was suppressed.
St. Mary was also the location, at Rio Nuevo, of the last battle between the English and the Spanish, who fled to Cuba after their defeat. A monument commemorating to the English leader, General Doyley and the last Spanish Governor, Don Cristobal Ysassi, was erected to commemorate the take-over.
Following the decline of sugar production, the parish turned to bananas and began shipping them from Port Maria, Annotto Bay and Oracabessa as early as 1887, making Jamaica the first commercial exporter of bananas in the Western Hemisphere.
In addition to bananas and its famous former residents, St. Mary is also known for the beautiful James Bond Beach, and White River and Wag Water Rivers.
St. Mary is also the location, at Boscobel, of Jamaica’s third international airport, named for Ian Fleming. It was opened in January, 2011.
Brimmer Hall – Located in Port Maria, Brimmer Hall produces bananas and coconuts. There’s a pool, gift shops, restaurant and a bar.
Castleton Gardens – Established in 1865, Castleton Gardens was once the most richly stocked botanical gardens in the Caribbean. About 400 specimens from Kew Gardens in London were transplanted there. Castleton is located approximately 20 miles from Kingston. Admission is free, however tips for the guides are welcomed. Combine with a visit to the Wag Water River.
Firefly – Noel Coward fell in love with Jamaica in 1948 while on holiday at Ian Fleming’s GoldenEye. He eventually moved from his first house, Blue Harbor, which had become a popular spot for his celebrity friends, to Firefly, the house he had built. Coward is buried at Firefly. The property is now a historic site owned partly by the Jamaica National Heritage Trust, and the Noel Coward Estate.
Golden Eye – The former home of James Bond’s Ian Fleming, Golden Eye is now owned by former Island Records owner, Chris Blackwell, who has kept it furnished as Fleming left it. Unfortunately, bus tours are not allowed.
Wag Water River – The Wag Water originates in the parish of St. Andrew, flows through St. Mary, and empties out into the sea near Annotto Bay in the parish. Combine with a trip to Castleton.
White River Rafting – Take a leisurely rafting trip down the White River to Dunn’s River Falls. Your hotel can arrange a tour with a rafting company.
Less than 20 minutes from the Montego Bay International Airport, we ditch the car and begin what turns out to be a 50-minute hike up into the hills overlooking the second city.
Within minutes of leaving the main road, we are surrounded by dense vegetation. All around are mahogany, cedar, mango and other trees, many of which no one in my party recognizes, small clumps of sugar cane, succulent and creeping plants, moss and vines. The trees grow close together and straight up in an effort to find the sun. Their leaves form a protective canopy.
It is cool here – at least a degree or two below what it is in town. The air is fresh and clean.
We leave the feeder road and take a path that is wide enough for one person, or a donkey, the only mode of transporting heavy loads in these remote areas.
Pipes taking potable water stop at the road. There’s no electricity, and the only people we see are the ones in our party.
Each careful step takes us higher into hills, further away from the noise of the city. Except for the sounds of the birds chirping above, it is peaceful here. I have to remind myself that another Jamaica exists just beyond the trees.
We spot a neat little house, fronting a lush vegetable garden, its doors and windows open but not a soul, not even a dog is in sight. Sometimes, when his farms is in a remote area, a farmer will build a hut nearby with a bed and a kitchen in case he gets trapped by rain, but this isn’t a hut. I wonder how people find these places and how they decide to build where there are no modern conveniences. Not even cell phones work.
But it’s the view that captivates. Through the clearing, we can see directly out to the airport and the hotels at Freeport. It feels like you can just reach out and touch them. We watch a plane descend slowly over the Caribbean Sea until it comes to a stop on the tarmac.
Men Are in Charge of the Cooking
By the time we arrive at our destination, cooking is well underway. It’s the men who typically do the cooking here in the bush. It’s their domain.
There’s curried goat, (the goat had been killed a few days before, cut up into chunks and left to marinade in curry, onions, thyme, garlic, pimento, salt and Scotch Bonnet peppers), rice and peas, roasted yam and breadfruit, dumplings, fried chicken, boiled green bananas, and yellow and white yams. All this will be washed down by copious amounts of JB (affectionately called, Jamaica’s Best) over proof rum, that promises to ‘come in like a lion but leave like a lamb, a Trojan horse in reverse.’
Between now and the end of the year, the bush around the island will come alive with events like these as Jamaicans begin to celebrate the holidays.
This is the Jamaica that visitors rarely see.
Hiking or running shoes are advisable here. We also wore long pants, and packed hats and mosquito repellant but there were no mosquitoes or bugs, and the trees provided shade.
Celebrated primarily in the U.S. and Canada, Thanksgiving is a day set aside to give thanks. In the US, it’s celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November; in Canada, the second Monday in October.
As with all celebrations, food figures prominently, more specifically, turkey with stuffing, accompanied by cranberry relish, macaroni and cheese, string beans, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin or pecan pie. We’re not big fans of turkey, so in our house, we usually serve some of our favorites: fish, seafood, pork, mutton.
Unfortunately, I have no photos of past meals, but I do have several of meals I’ve had during my travels. Some were in restaurants, others were at friends’ homes.
So in observance of the holiday in the U.S., please enjoy this selection.
Direct flights from Central Europe to Jamaica to begin soon
Tourism Minister, Dr. Wykeham McNeill announced recently that Transaero, Russia’s second largest carrier, will begin non-stop service from Moscow to Montego Bay starting January, 2013 and run for three months. Discussions continue to extend the flights into the summer.
Service has also been confirmed from the Czech Republic, Stockholm, and Paris.
Readers of Check In Magazine Vote Jamaica ‘Favourite Worldwide Destination’
Jamaica beat out more than 70 other destinations to take the ‘Favourite Worldwide Destination’ in the British Travel Awards’ (BTA) new online Check In magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards.
Swimming is fun, and swimming in pools with such amazing views will make the dip a lot more inviting! Whether you want the jungles of Serengeti and Selous or the white sandy beaches of Zanzibar, there are swimming pools out there that are destinations in their own right.
And here, JCCE Tours & Safaris Ltd presents to you Tanzania’s Top 8 Luxury Villa Venues with Plunge Pools in no particular order. Enjoy reading!
AMARA LUXURY TENTED CAMP – Selous
Located in the heart of the Selous Game Reserve, a mere few minutes’ drive away from the Simbazi airstrip, Amara Selous promises a taste of the extraordinary – an experience that is unique and revitalizing.
At Amara Selous, nature is merged with extravagance to provide lavish comfortable and secluded luxury in the middle of the African bush.
Twelve spacious air-conditioned suites are complete with private rock plunge pools, opulent bathrooms and outside showers that offer views over the Great Ruaha River and the perennial wilderness beyond.
Amara Selous remains beautifully remote, amidst the pristine wilderness of Africa’s largest game reserve and one of Tanzania’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It’s where one awakes to a daily symphony of hippo snorts and birdsong.
Approximately 5,000 couples get married in Jamaica each year making it one of the sought after locations for destination weddings.
With miles of white sand beaches, historic great houses, and beautiful gardens, it’s no surprise that the island has been voted among the most romantic wedding destinations, and counted among the Caribbean’s and world’s leading honeymoon destinations.
Jamaica makes it simple for straight couples planning a destination wedding. There are no residency requirements, however, couples must have been on the island for 24 hours. No blood tests are required.
Couples who have been granted a marriage license by the Ministry of Justice can be married on any day of the week, however the nuptials must be performed by 6 p.m. (or by dusk) on any day of the week, and must have at least two witnesses, aged 18 or older, present. Continue reading “Getting Married in Jamaica”→
Green Globe announced the recertification of the Tryall Club Resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica. For the past few years, Jamaica’s premier private club has taken a proactive role in preserving and protecting nature in all its forms. Tryall Club’s community outreach and social responsibility programmes did outstanding work, promoting awareness and educating locals on environmental practices on all levels. A long-term Sustainability Management System is in effect at the Tryall Club, and the property was one of the first in Jamaica to introduce a recycling program. A special Green Team, formed of a group of employees from different departments, monitors the progress of green measures, shaping and realizing the resort’s environmental goals. To complement the existing eco-friendly ground management system, the Tryall Club is currently developing an organic garden. – From JTBonline.
Disney Cruise Line to Dock at Historic Falmouth
Following an eight-year courtship spearheaded by the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ), Jamaica has sealed a first-ever call by Disney Cruise Line into Jamaica’s Historic Falmouth Cruise Port beginning October 2013. The 1,754 passenger Disney Wonder will visit the island’s newest port in Falmouth as part of the ship’s latest seven-night Western Caribbean itinerary. “As we’re constantly seeking opportunities in an array of target markets, Disney’s arrival will further strengthen Jamaica’s positioning in the family market. Our Historic Falmouth Cruise Port was built specifically for the island to have the capacity to receive mega ships, which has resulted in substantial growth in our cruise passenger arrivals,” said John Lynch, Jamaica’s Director of Tourism. – From JTBonline. Continue reading “Jamaica Travel News: Green Globe Certifies Tryall Resort”→
Rockfort Mineral Baths is located in East Kingston, at the foot of the Long Mountain. It includes an historic military fort which gave the area its name. The complex operates as a subsidiary of the Caribbean Cement Factory.
The fort was constructed around 1694 to defend the island. Though it has been around since the 17th century, the mineral spring was discovered only in 1907 following the earthquake which caused extensive damage to Kingston and took 800 lives.
Mineral springs occur naturally and produce water that contain minerals or other dissolved substances that alter its taste or give it therapeutic value. The water at Rockfort is piped from a cold spring into a swimming pool. It contains sodium, chloride, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron and copper. To avoid overexposure to the minerals, patrons are advised to spend no more than 45 minutes in the water. Continue reading “Jamaica’s Rockfort Mineral Baths”→
The municipality of Kingston & St. Andrew is the second smallest parish in Jamaica and its political, cultural and business capital.
Located in the south-eastern corner of the island, Kingston is surrounded by the Blue Mountain, Red Hills and Long Mountain. It faces Kingston Harbour, the seventh largest natural harbour in the world.
While most visitors to Jamaica head to the beaches of the north coast, there are several attractions in the capital that make it well worth a visit. Here are some of my favorites:
National Gallery – Located in the Kingston Mall, the National Gallery houses works by Jamaica’s premier artists. Tues-Thurs, 10-4:30 pm, Sat 10-4pm, Sun 10-3pm. 12 Ocean Blvd, Kingston. 876-922-1561 Admission: J$400/Guided Tours J$3,000.
Hope Botanical Gardens – At 200 acres, Hope Botanical Gardens is the largest green space in Kingston and home to the most popular collection of endemic and exotic botanical collections. The gardens were established in 1873. Open 876-970-3505
Rockfort Mineral Bath – Sitting at the foot of the imposing Long Mountain in East Kingston, Rockfort Mineral Bath has been refreshing Jamaicans and visitors since its discovery in the aftermath of the Great Earthquake of 1907. The waters of the bath flow from cold-water springs in the surrounding mountain range. Many patrons credit healing and good health to the radioactivity and saline content of the water. Bathing is limited to 45-minute sessions. Open 7-5 pm daily. J$350 adults/J$250 for children and seniors Continue reading “5+ Reasons to Visit Kingston Jamaica”→