Once more, home from a wonderful weekend exploring in Jamaica. Headed up to Portland Parish on Saturday morning, traveling over The Junction (again!) and through the delightful towns of Annotto Bay, Buff Bay, and Port Antonio on the way to the San San Tropez. San San Tropez is across the road from Frenchman's Cove - tried to get reservations there, but place was book. Though if you stay at San San Tropez, you ca use Cove beach. Actually, I prefer the San San beach (see September blog) as it is more sheltered with better swimming and snorkeling.
I enjoyed an afternoon at the beach and a real treat of linguine carbonara for dinner. The owners are Italian with Andrea (male), with significant dreadlocks, being the porter, clerk, gardener and cook. The spanish omelette for breakfast was equally tasty.
Then off on Sunday to Charles Town, a maroon enclave in the Blue Mountains. If you are interested in the maroon culture - runaway slaves established themselves as guerillas in the mountains beginning in the 1600's - the history is most interesting and I am sure there are many online links that you can find. I had done a fair bit of reading on the maroon culture before I came to Jamaica - hoping to hike the old maroon trails in the mountains! - and refreshed my knowledge with some good beach reading on Saturday. The maroon culture is alive and celebrated in several mountain communities, some in the east and some in the west.
Another installment in my bi-weekly Sunday addiction to fording rivers, climbing steep hills and coming down again on slippery stones, often on a trail that is unrecognizable as such. And safely back with no broken bones or twisted ankles, which is a miracle.
Lots of pictures and some stories attached . . .
San San Tropez Hotel
The patio off my room.
Pool, which I did use as enjoyed the beach across the road.
Gardens at San San Tropez where I spent several hours reading in the shade.
Beach at Frenchman's Cove. Note villa on top of bluff, which is one of the cottages available for rental.
Port Antonio. A lovely town in Portland Parish, the 'garden centre' of Jamaica.
Trident Castle which was originally built as an estate, then failed as an hotel and is now, I believe, vacant and falling into ruins.
Start of the hash.
The asafu yard, or meeting/ceremony compound on the left and the Maroon Museum (in blue) on the right. Many of us arrived early to visit the museum. Usually we hash right from our meeting place, but this time we car-pooled to the beginning of the trail about 1 1/2 miles away - the hash was longer than they intended and we wanted everyone back before dark! But there wasn't much parking at the trail head so we had to share. It is quite usual to see many people in the backs of Japanese pick-up trucks on the streets of Jamaica, often waving orange or green banners! It is unheard of to see such a sight when some of the faces are white: there were nine of us crammed into the back, receiving many stares from the locals. Of course, I would never let my children or grandchildren so that but when in Jamaica . . . alas, no pictures as could not move to find camera.
This gentleman, a maroon from Charles Town, stood at the entrance to the asafu for hours, simply watching us come and go.
Of course, he had his machete handy just in case . . .
House in Charles Town, with bicycle proudly parked at the front gate. If you look closely you will see that it is comprised of parts of at least five different bikes put together to make a whole. I love it.
These little girls, "Nana" on the left, loved having their picture taken. Little Nana later took part in the dancing.
These lads were having a wonderful time using dried banana branches as hockey sticks! They had a great game going.
Sundays in Jamaica are the day to put on your best dress.
House in Charles Town. It is a hard scrabble life.
This is where our post-hash tasty meal was cooked. Really. Note there are a few chickens scratching under the tree. After the hash there were noticeably fewer chickens. Curried chicken was on the menu.
Colonel Frank Lumsden, the leader of the Charles Town maroons, calling everyone together with the abeng (cow horn). Not sure of what he is a colonel. However, a very nice chap and a fine artist. I bought two prints of his work.
Hashers watching the drumming and dancing before the hash. Notice how clean and dry they all are.
Where there is music, you will find Erin in the middle!
Why does the hash invariably begin with fording a river, ensuring that we have wet boots and socks for the rest of the hash?
Erin on her way up a waterfall - you can just see Danielle (in red) up top - both soon to be joined by Delphine. They went swimming in the pool at the top. Convinced that discretion was the better part of valour, I stood in the river and took pictures. This fall was about 3/4 of the way up the trail.
After an hour's climbing, we came to the top of the trail and the ruins of an old coffee plantation from the 1700's. Many buildings, walls, steps, and roads all overgrown by the tropical forest - and all of it originally built with slave labour. Almost inconceivable when you see it, understanding that all the stones were brought to the top of the mountain for the structures.
Ruins of the slave quarters.
It is spring in Jamaica and the forest flowers are at their best.