Sunday, 27 November 2011

Goat's Head Soup on the Beach

It is not even December and I have been to my first Christmas party. The Jamaica Hash House Harriers (JH3) had a change of venue and time this year and opted for an afternoon party on the beach at The Boardwalk near Fort Clarence. A good time had by all!

A few hours of sunning, swimming, dancing and drinking beer and rum - yes, that is together and it is called a "steel bottom".  One does not want to have too many of those and remain vertical. And just when you are hungry they serve "Goat Water", which is the local term for Goat's Head Soup. Nothing like a hot, steaming, cup of Goat's Head Soup on a hot day. Very delicious, though one might be prudent to leave the grisly bits with hair attached in the bottom of the cup. This was followed by the tasty meal of curried goat (there are a lot of goats here), rice, and some kind of chicken (a meal is not a meal in Jamaica without some kind of chicken). Erin found some onions in the line, but I missed them so she shared hers with me - very good. 

As the sun went down, I suspect some were off to an after party that may have continued to dawn. My continuing-to-dawn days are over, so Sats and I were very pleased to hitch a ride back to Kingston with fellow hasher, Louise. 

The story is in the pictures . . . 

My new JH3 Christmas shirt - I always take the pictures, so am never in them!

More shirt

Some managed to hitch rides to the beach, but Sats and I were relegated to the bus. Took bus from New Kingstonn, 15 minute walk from homes, then changed at The Parade (downtown bus terminal area) to #1 to Hellshire. This is The Parade on a Saturday morning..

Hustle and bustle of The Parade

Amid the hustle and bustle, a beautiful church and beacon

The Parade is awash with hawkers (locally known as 'higglers'). These little girls sat with their Grandma who was selling penny candy, etc. It is a long day for them and a very hard life.  I bought some peanuts from their Grandma

Waiting for the bus

The Jamaican Urban Transit Corporation (JUTC) has an excellent, advanced bus system. Buses are new, air conditioned, clean and the drivers are exceptionally helpful - if you are not at the stop, just wave your hand and they will stop for you! This is where Sats and I got the #1 to Hellshire, stopping at Fort Clarence for the party at The Boardwalk

The Boardwalk

The Boardwalk - note Erin, already dancing it up,  on the far right. She got there early and I think well into the party before we arrived

Samar and Erin enjoying the 'soca' music. This is all new to me.

Proof that the JH3 really is a drinking club with a running problem. Except no running today; just a lot of standing in the ocean with suitable libation

The Boardwalk bar and restaurant

Beach at The Boardwalk

Sats and Erin in serious conversation

Kim, Maree (president of the Canadian Women's Club - CWC), and Del

Samar with her JH3 Christmas T.

Boats at The Boardwalk

These boats are not derelict. They are active fishing boats.

The girls serving Goat's Head Soup and other delicacies

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Llanrumney Hash

It is Sunday evening and home from a great day hashing with Kim, Samar, Erin, Del and Stats. We went to Llanrumney on the north shore, St. Mary's parish, and very near Port Maria. 

This is about a 90 minute drive from Kingston and no buses go over The Junction, so we pooled our resources and rented a Suzuki Vitara - it had lots of room in the back for our spare clothes, dry shoes, packs, etc. However, it was a little crowded in the back for Sats, Erin, Kim and Samar; I was driving; and Del was my navigator (he only missed one turn and that was early and easily backtracked). 

Trip over the junction was picturesque but very steep, twisty and extremely narrow. This was exacerbated by the reams - hundreds! - of cars and small buses (vans) hurtling towards us and racing to Kingston. And this with everyone dressed in the bright green of the ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), hanging out of windows, riding on tops of cars, waving flags and hooting horns.  Del really wants one of those horns for an Ottawa Senators game. We surmised that they were heading for a political rally in Kingston - political rallies here are HUGE - but found out at the end of the day, when we took Sats home, that many of them were at the residence of Prime Minister Holness (maybe they went there after the rally). 

Anyway, it made the drive much more than its usual challenge but we made it safely.  Though a pedestrian along the way, who was walking on the road around a sharp bend, is lucky to still be ambulatory. All corners, and they were continuous,  were greeted Jamaican style, with honking of horn to warn that we were coming. I'm getting quite good with the one hand on the horn and one on the wheel. 

The hash was it's usual fun with the usual share of adventures such as fording two streams, ankle deep mud, avoiding the quicksand, under one fence and over another, dodging cows, and trying to find a trail when it appears that there is none.  After and 1 1/2 hours we were all back safely and enjoying our beer and a quick snack of jerk from the Buccaneer Jerk & Juice before we headed back to Kingston. It gets dark by 5:30 now and I didn't want to drive over The Junction in the dark - maybe next time. 

I think a good time was had by all - certainly by me!  Thanks, friends and fellow hashers.

JLP rally takes over the road in Stoney Hill. It is difficult to take pictures while you are driving - good thing we were stopped.

Digicel is everywhere, even the smallest hamlet in the mountains

Houses on the hillside on the other side of the gorge. You have to take a footbridge across to them.

We made a pit stop at The Junction, but declined the menu . . . .

. . . though Del did opt for some OFC, thinking it might be a change from all the KFC in Kingston.

We arrive at the meeting place for the hash.

The hares and the hash master give instructions. Coincidentally, the hash master (on the right) is the chair of the board of directors at the CVSS, where I work. I don't have to call him Mr. Bernard anymore, I can call him Owen.

There's Del, fording the first stream. A few less than hardy souls backtracked at this point.

We start to string out as we go along.

Sharing the pasture with some very fine cows.

This is the trail. Really.

More trail.

Sats crossing the second stream.

After crossing the second stream we can to climb a bank of mud, avoiding the quicksand at the bottom.

Was very glad that I wore my hiking boots and wool hiking socks. And was even more glad that I had nice dry Tevas to change into afterwards.

Sats getting his initiation as a first-time hasher from Emile.

Del's turn to be initiated . . . 

. . .  and Erin's too.

Cooking the jerk at Buccaneer's.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Beat Diabetes Walkathon

The Council of Voluntary Services (CVSS) and the NVC organized a Beat Diabetes Walkathon, that we hosted today in Emancipation Park. We had a good time: great support from volunteers and sponsors; good turnout of walkers; perfect weather; and, of course, is support of a very worthy cause. Jamaica has one of the highest rates of diabetes in the world and is a very serious problem here, particularly for young people.

Walking starts early here, as it gets too hot for most by about 8:30. So the walkathon went from 6 am to 9:30 am; which meant I was up at 4:45 am to get tot the park for set-up at 5:30 am!  I worked the registration table.

Many thanks to everyone at CVSS/NVC who worked hard to make the event successful, with particular thanks to Mickel and Sammy (and Malik!).

Entrance to Emancipation Park, with famous - and somewhat controversial - statues. The park was opened 10 years ago and is a very lovely oasis in New Kingston

Setting up the information table and the fruits/waters/juices.  There were also some good displays by sponsors and free blood pressure and blood sugar tests by the Diabetes Foundation.  Pleased to report that my blood sugar is fine and my blood pressure is low!

Reporter from the radio station on the left and Lamar (right), from the Boys Brigade, who helped me at the registration desk

Mr. Vinroy Whyte (right), CVSS Treasurer, and his friend. I couldn't resist the Canadian shirt!

Some of the walkers. There is a good 500 metre fitness track, shaded by big trees, that is very popular with walkers and joggers. The park opens at 5 am and closes at 11 pm - it is well lit and has security on site.

The Lions Club had a strong team and a lot of fun.

Jamaica Football Club joined the cause.

Thanks to the team and one of our sponsors, Wyndham Hotel

Terry (left) of the CVSS and Mr. Easton Daley (right) of the Boys Brigade volunteered for the day. Mr. Daley and his boys did a wonderful job of bringing and setting up all the tables, chairs, etc. and clean-up.

Mr. Owen Bernard (right), CVSS President and head of the Jamaica Diabetes Foundation, with three of his volunteers.

Thanks to another team and sponsor, National Commercial Bank (NCB)

Our leader, Mrs. Winsome Wilkins, CVSS CEO,  joining the fun for the warm-up aerobics.