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saying hello after long absence. My trip to Jamaica

saying hello after long absence. My trip to Jamaica

Old Mar 13th, 2020, 10:10 AM
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<<Hi annhig, so nice to see you. And thank you for saying so- I'm such a novice that I don't really know if it is an acoomplishment. The guide laughed at me when I didn't want to list the turkey vulture as the first bird we saw. There were so many amazi g moments, though.>>

I hope I didn't give you the impression that I'm an expert birder [aka "twitcher" in the UK] but I have loved the time we have spent looking at birds when we've been in places like Sri Lanka and the Gambia so i was interested to see what sorts of birds you saw in Jamaica, nothing more. Glad you were able to celebrate your birthday with friends.
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Old Mar 13th, 2020, 03:48 PM
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I have still had no contact with the person who invited me to Jamaica.

Thanks for noting that. You know I've been curious all along about that part of your story!! I just couldn't wrap my mind around someone planning out a trip like this with someone then standing them up, leaving them stranded, alone, without explanation.

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Old Jun 7th, 2020, 07:40 PM
  #123  
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Today marks 5 months to my return from my trip to Jamaica. On January 5, when I was ready to leave for the day of birding, I let the manager know I had decided not to stay additional nights. I let her know I was packed and asked if I could be dropped off at the bus depot, which was on the way, instead of the hotel. She agreed, and in the nicest gesture she made suggested she could hild the room for the afternoon and I could come back and have a shower and a nap first, and leave my things in the room.

I returned from the day, and iasked my driver and guide if I could offer them a beer, and ran down to my room. My hosts at my previous guest house that I was a little nutty to buy 2 6-packs, but it came in handy. They grinned as I handed them each a cold one along with their tips.

Two hours later, we barely made it to the depot, because the driver was so late, palmed him an American bill as I ran from the depot to the bus,
but I was on my way to Montego Bay!
I breathed in and out deeply and tried to cool down and just enjoy the scenery and savor the memories of the bird-watching day.



Last edited by ninasdream; Jun 7th, 2020 at 07:50 PM.
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Old Jun 7th, 2020, 09:41 PM
  #124  
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After resting a bit, I knew I had to try to book a hotel. I had been going through hotels, the ones my hosts recommended to me were all booked. I had meticulously gone through reviews. I couldn't go by the stars or the good reviews because after a while you would indeed find some recurring issues and complaints. I know this is boring. I had found one I really liked in a decent location, but due to connectivity issues, I never got the reservation to complete and confirm online.

After 3 attempts on the bus, I finally confirmed a room for 2 nights in the hotel from mt research, hooray! I could sit back and relax the rest of the long bus ride. I did not look through the photos on the website. For once, I'm glad I didn't, because clearly they were taken when the place was new or newly redecorated. It didn't look like that any more, and the evening entertainment little "club" was no more, just the restaurant, but it was still cute and charming. I wanted a place where could walk to everything I wanted to see, and that had AC, a pool, a restaurant, and a nice bathroom (running water!). I just wanted to leave the drama of the rest of the trip behind for the moment.

When I got to the hotel, the front desk sent someone to drag all my stuff up the flight of stairs down the long hallway. Remember I had this huge suitcase because my intended host told me to bring all these dressy clothes for parties and going out dancing, and I had had to pack gifts for my hosts, and all the aunties, and several shoes for walking. Anyway, the man came into the room and set everything up, and then insisted on changing the little half frig because he felt it should have been cold by then. The AC was cranking. The frig was terrific! He also brought me a big bucket of ice. When I was leaving days later, he helped get everything downstairs, and hailed me a taxi. I gave him a beer too with his tip.

I put all the liquor in the freezer, popped any food in frig. I took off everything I was wearing took a few beats to fold it up very small and put in the zip bags and stacked in the laundry bag in the closet. Usually, after a trip, I usually don't want to see those clothes again for a loooong time, which really works well if you come home to a different season. I jumped into a nice, long hot shower.

I took a walk to see what was around, avoided a few touristy bars and came back at dusk. I got into a bathing suit and went for a nice long swim, showered again and dressed for dinner.. There were only one or two tables occupied, and I wanted something light, maybe just veggies.The waitress went back and forth to the kitchen, and said the chef would make me up something and she listed a few ingedients and I said fine, though it sounded dull. She brought out a plate of beautiful vibrant vegetables, very flavourful. Chef Courtney came out to talk to me a d I commended him for making it so special. After dinner I walked across to the front balcony and sat there for a while; this was where guests waited out sudden rainstorms I would come to discover. I returned to my room, laid out my clothes for the morning and afternoon, and read and listened to music until drowsy. I'll post more photos tomorrow. On the "mackerel rundown" fish in coconut milk with red onions and peppers, rundown is a sauce reduction. I have the ingredients to try to replicate this at home. I guess I will try first on canned mackerel but was holding off- 750 mg sodium per serving. Ouch! That's 1/3 of a day's max allowable for me.

Sweet mirror is just one detail in my pretty room.

Lovely little pool. Steps on left corner a challenge for my still new knees.

Sculpture garden next to pool and chaise lounge patio.

More adventurous on day 3, with a traditional Jamaican breakfast of plaintains, a bowl of the slaw that I had served to me all over the country. In center is "mackerel rundown" fish in coconut milk with red onions and peppers. "Rundown" is a sauce reduction.

My beautiful off-menu sauteed veggie dinner. Chef Courtney took my request and ran with it! There are spring peas and baby bok choy in there.

Last edited by ninasdream; Jun 7th, 2020 at 10:33 PM.
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Old Jun 8th, 2020, 02:45 AM
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looked as if you lucked out with that hotel booking. I'm all for a bit of travelling on the hoof, but think you are brave to do it in a new country. Glad it paid off.
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Old Jun 8th, 2020, 08:14 AM
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Thanks so much. How fun to get to read more about your Jamaican adventure. That hotel (and your veggie dinner) look very nice.
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Old Jun 8th, 2020, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by annhig View Post
looked as if you lucked out with that hotel booking. I'm all for a bit of travelling on the hoof, but think you are brave to do it in a new country. Glad it paid off.
Hi Annhig- I really had no choice!
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Old Jun 8th, 2020, 09:19 AM
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Originally Posted by suze View Post
Thanks so much. How fun to get to read more about your Jamaican adventure. That hotel (and your veggie dinner) look very nice.
Hi suze - thanks for your help before the trip and your encouragement. I just have 2 days left of of local exploration to report on - the crafters market and the Hip Strip - I had a few gifts to buy, and a walk around the little Fort park, and the local park across from my hotel. ANd then some final thoughts and impressions.

Carved owl for my birding friend. It is carved and paintedcwith great detail.

Thiscis the cotton shawl I bought for my director. It is really big.

A mini xylophone for my friend from work who works with kids.

The decorated exterior.

Last edited by ninasdream; Jun 8th, 2020 at 09:37 AM.
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Old Jun 8th, 2020, 11:54 AM
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I was thrilled to see this pop up again, and continue the story. Would love to hear more about Montego Bay. I've only ever been thru the airport there on my way to Negril, never spent time in the city. And also looking forward to your overall thoughts and impressions about Jamaica!
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Old Aug 7th, 2020, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by suze View Post
I was thrilled to see this pop up again, and continue the story. Would love to hear more about Montego Bay. I've only ever been thru the airport there on my way to Negril, never spent time in the city. And also looking forward to your overall thoughts and impressions about Jamaica!
Hi suze and all! Hope everyone's summer is going as well as can be expected. I will be posting the end of my trip and some updates and photos. I lost that little travel journal pictured up above at the breakfast table with the cutout of the bicycle on the cover. I didn't sit down and try to recall off the top of my head. I have found the little journal, and will update this over the weekend. It' s only been 7 months today isnce my return!

After not having any contact with my "host", I discovered he had not yet competed his degree and was appointed into a position where I would be having direct contact with him for at least the next 5 months. While my director was away on vacation, I invited this man to a Zoom meeting for a preliminary planning meeting. He said he liked my haircut, I said I like your beard, and that was it. From that point, we discussed the Fall 2020 calendar and proposed events. Last week, I wrote up a spotlight on Jamaica, whose Independence Day is August 7 (yesterday). I emailed him and invited him to be a student of the week" to celebrate Jamaica and his new position. I wrote a profile of him, and requested a photo and some fun facts. I put it in our weekly newsletter to our international students that went out today, and on our Facebook page. The virtual meeting and the pandemic resolved any awkward situation where I would have to step back out of the range of a hug. because I can tell you quite definitely that we are not on hugging terms. I can be cordial for work, though.

Here are a few photos from the last days of my trip. I admit they are nothing remarkable, but after all the commotion on this trip, sitting quietly on my own in a park was just perfect. Little did I know that in a few months, that is the only activity acceptable - at a distance away from everyone.


I call this sunset baby hooray. The little park across from my hotel in Montego Bay.

Montego Bay

Montego Bay park late afternoon

Montego Bay sunset.


Chicken foot soup for lunch.

at the breakfast table with the cutout of the bicycle on the cover. I didn't sit down and try to recall off the top of my head. I have found the little journal, and will update this over the weekend. Here are a few photos.

Last edited by ninasdream; Aug 7th, 2020 at 11:34 AM. Reason: wrong photo
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