A funny thing happened on
my way home from a Dallas business trip - I stopped for
a long 'sanity' weekend in Jamaica. The dates coincided with
the beginning of the world's biggest reggae festival,
SumFest, in Montego Bay. I took the opportunity to
listen to a lot of good music, see Bob Marley's
birthplace, home & mausoleum, tour the Blue Mountains
and climb up a 3/4 mile waterfall.
Saturday July 14th
My flight landed at Montego Bay
at 2pm. After glacially slow customs and
immigration, I checked-in at the
Ritz Carlton in Rose Hall at 4pm and took a long walk around the
grounds (first picture below). Then I headed downtown for a
sunset dinner at the iconic
Margaritaville (second picture below). A short trek along
Montego Bay's "Hip Strip" enduring non-stop hassling taught me that the "dangerous"
reputation of Jamaica is well deserved.
Gettin wet halfway up Dunns River
Sunday July 15th
I started the day with a beach
walk and then reading and writing on my
balcony while sipping some excellent Blue Mountain coffee
(third picture above). There was a nice backdrop mixture of
reggae bands and waves crashing on the shore. I took the Ritz
shuttle to the "haunted"
Rose Hall Great House (fourth picture above and first &
second pictures below) and did the tour there before heading
farther up the mountain to the White Witch Golf Club to catch
the view (third picture below). I grabbed a late lunch at an
Irish Pub near the Ritz - authentic except for the Red Stripe
beer instead of Guinness - before relaxing the rest of the
afternoon on the beach and at the pool. As the sun went down I
set up my tripod to snap the fourth picture below.
Monday July 16th
After coffee on my
balcony, I met my driver (Philbert Gordon (876) 375-7903
x5656023) for a day-long tour of the Blue Mountains and north
coast of Jamaica. We headed east along the coast through
Falmouth toward Runaway Bay. Along the way we stopped at a
crocodile farm where the 1973 movie, "Live and Let Die" filmed
a famous scene with James Bond running across crocodiles while
the building (first picture below) burned. We then cut south
along the twisting roads up the Blue Mountains to Nine Mile,
Bob Marley's birthplace and mausoleum. I had a very good
authentic tour with a Rastafarian guide named Fuzzy (large
picture top of page left sitting on Bob's meditation stone).
The second picture below shows Bob's first piano with a
collection of his gold records on top. The third picture below
shows Bob's single bed from "Is This Love?"
I wanna love you and treat you right;
I wanna love you every day and every night:
We'll be together with a roof right over our heads;
We'll share the shelter of my single bed
We'll share the same room, yeah! - for Jah
provide the bread.
Is this love - is this love - is this love -
Is this love that I'm feelin'?
Continuing back down the mountain
past occasional bauxite mines (fourth picture above) we hit
the coast at Ocho Rios where I ate lunch at the
Hard Rock Café before doing Dunns River Falls (first &
second pictures below), which is just a few minutes west.
Dunns River Falls is a 3/4 mile shallow waterfall starting
at the ocean that you can climb all the way up. It's not a
hard climb, but it was a bit challenging in places (large
picture top of page right & third
picture below) because the rocks can be slippery. It felt good
to do a bit of exercise and to climb up something. I must have
been a goat in some past life.
After a nice drive back to the
Ritz along the north coast, I finished the day at the beach,
snapping the fourth picture below as the sun set. Having
declared myself once again relaxed and sane, on Tuesday
morning I hung around the hotel pool before heading for my
afternoon flight home.