My Year of Travelling Jamaica, Part I

As 2012 draws to a close, I’m eagerly anticipating another year of travel and discovery. But before I start the New Year, I wanted to look back at my year of travelling Jamaica.

Since January, I have logged hundreds of miles around the island. Sometimes I traveled solo, sometimes I was with friends who were visiting. Each trip though, brought me face to face with intriguing individuals, or took me on explorations of interesting and historic places, or opened my eyes to things I’d missed or just hadn’t paid attention to before.

The best times during the year though, were the simple ones. At those times, my camera felt intrusive. I didn’t want to break the flow of conversation or make notes. I only wanted to savor the moment that I was no longer observing and reporting, the moment I felt a part of the story.

Here’s some of what I experienced.

Sunrise over Negril Jamaica
Sunrise, Negril

At dawn one morning in February, friends and I walked the beach in Negril from our hotel near the center of town to well past the Hanover border. It was the first time I’d done that and I loved the near emptiness of the beach and the pinkish color the sun had painted the sky as it climbed above the horizon to start the new day.

Herb vendor, Jamaica
Herb vendor, Negril

The first person we saw was this guy who was walking the beach selling various herbs. After chatting with him, I bought a bag of ground bissy or kola nut. Bissy came to Jamaica from West Africa and is used to help digestion, and fight fatigue and hunger. It’s also good for the heart.

Tall and cruise ships, Jamaica
Two ships docked at Freeport, Montego Bay

Two, sometimes three times a week, ships dock at Freeport in Montego Bay. Usually, it’s a ship from the Carnival fleet but early in 2012, I spotted this tall ship. It looked impressive even from a distance and I watched it almost all day.

Pink skies over the Blue Mountains Jamaica
Blue Mountains

In March, I fell short by a few hours in my attempt to hike to the top of the Blue Mountains, Jamaica’s tallest, to greet the new day. I was very disappointed but on the hike back, I was able to see what I had missed in the 2:00 a.m. walk up. These views almost made up for the sunrise I didn’t get to see.

Coffee Beans on the Blue Mountains Jamaica
Coffee Beans, Blue Mountains
Clouds and house on the Blue Mountains Jamaica
Clouds on the Blue Mountains

One day, I visited King’s House, the official residence of the Governor General who is the Queen’s representative in Jamaica. A few days later, I was at the former home of Bob Marley, the King of Reggae.

King's House external view - Jamaica
King’s House
Bob Marley Museum Jamaica
Bob Marley Museum

Two places of worship caught my attention during my travels: Holy Trinity in Kingston and Our Lady of Perpetual Help in St. Ann.

Holy Trinity Cathedral, Jamaica
Holy Trinity, Kingston
Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Jamaica
Our Lady of Perpetual Help, St. Ann

In July, I discovered Fay who still practices the (almost) lost art of making peppermint candy by hand. I also found out that it was a skill my paternal grandmother had.

Fay, the Peppermint Candy Lady, and her family
Fay and members of her family
Peppermint candy swirl Jamaica
Peppermint candy mixture

It was fascinating to watch Fay’s mixture turn from brown to white then, as she added coloring, to red and white. (More about Fay in an upcoming post.)

Hope you’ll check back for Part II of highlights from my year of travelling Jamaica.

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.



26 comments on “My Year of Travelling Jamaica, Part I

  1. Your descriptions of the sights and foods of Jamaica make me want to visit. My son is recently engaged and is planning a destination wedding. He’s thinking of St. Lucia but I’m pushing for Jamaica so I can experience what you’ve written about and with luck even meet you.
    Happy New Year.

  2. Thank you, Aleah! It’s definitely back on my list for 2013.
    Looking back now, it feels like a full year but there were days when I felt I wasted too much time.

  3. Hmmm, that’s a difficult one, Leigh. I’m glad I don’t have to choose.
    If you’re going to TBEX in June, maybe we can meet then.
    Thanks! Wish you all the best for the New Year.

  4. What a great wrap-up, Marcia! I love virtually following you around Jamaica and I have learned so much from your posts. Great seeing some wonderful pictures all in one post. Looking forward to Part II and learning more about Fay. Wishing you the best and more travels in 2013!

  5. Fay’s story’s definitely on the agenda for the New Year, Michele. Please stay tuned.
    Looking back, I did have a great year though at times I felt as if I wasn’t doing enough.

  6. Thanks, Mary, wish you the same in 2013.
    It was great looking back and seeing what I accomplished — many times I felt I wasn’t doing enough.
    Glad to have had you along with me, Mary.

  7. You’ve shown us so many wonderful and diverse aspects of Jamaica throughout the year. I’ve enjoyed following along with your travels on the island. Do you think the ground bissy really works? I wonder where I can find it!

  8. I’ve enjoyed your travels through Jamaica.

    Hey, here’s an interesting idea. I’ve just discovered in a meaningful way that you can view other places on Google Maps.Like you’re walking up the street. I’ve known for ages now that I could do that, but I’ve only given it a cursory glance in the past. But today I really saw it. And I have just thought, if you give us the coordinates or the address in your post, we could probably go thereon Google Maps and have a good look around.

  9. Jamaica is majestic! Your experience in Jamaica got me wanting to go there. I think it’s the perfect vacation for people wanting to escape the city life. It’s definitely going on the top of my list on places to visit.

  10. Wow, these are fantastic highlights from your year! I’ve so enjoyed getting to know more about Jamaica through your blog, and hope to be able to visit myself someday soon!:-) Cheers to a happy 2013!

  11. Sounds like such a great place to have fun and refreshment. I never been in Jamaica but as far as I know the place are really great.

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