Birthday Discoveries–cont’d

The journey continued… I must admit that we got lost a few times, but even the dead ends had somethings worth experiencing. The hillsides were garnished with escallion farmlands. Then it dawned on me,  St. Elizabeth was the first parish in Jamaica to have received electricity in 1893.

We drove for a few miles, the laughs were endless and I was tired as I hadn’t slept the night before my birthday as I was too exited for the day ahead. Ultimately we came to another stop. Instantly  my heart stopped beating, I froze from reading a sign on location that read J. Charles Swaby Black River Safari. The Black River Safari, the countries largest navigated river is known for its natural habitat of over 100 species with its most famous residents, endangered crocodiles. A tour recommended for nature lovers like myself but my fear of this kind of reptile would not allow it. I was adamant that this wasn’t how I imagined my birthday and I wasn’t going on the Safari. Call me lame, but I believe that some fears are not meant to be encountered.

And so we left… 😂
The drive was long and I still wasn’t sure where we were going, I just still knew it had to be somewhere awesome. The last things I remembered was rain and some roads that I never knew existed and a sign that read, Welcome to Savanna-la-Mar. I was fast asleep. By the time I woke up, we were already in another parish St. James.

The rains had stopped and it was sunny bright… I thought to myself, what will we be doing in Montego Bay. We hadn’t stopped for food in awhile and I was starving. But my appetite was filled from all the adventures experienced and those that were waiting.

We stopped briefly to check in where we would spend the night, my first airbnb experience.

Once again we were on our way to a destination unknown. Again he uttered the words, “close your eyes” which I did being as I am “obedient”. We drove for a few miles along a road way I’ve never been. Suddenly the place felt cool and I somehow knew we were driving close to a river. Then there was the sign, Welcome to Martha Brae River Rafting.

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I couldn’t contain my excitement, I had never gone rafting before in my life and this was about to be the ultimate experience.

We checked in, changed and headed to the river for our one and a half hour rafting session. We had one awesome captain, he was very informative and made our experience worthwhile.

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Yup and there I was, with the captain, teaching me about the rafting techniques. Just to mention, it is waaaaay harder than it looks. By the time I was through, my arms were tired.

The stretch of river was tranquil. Vendors displayed their art at different sections along the strip.

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Some water frolicking was definitely happening and they thrilled us with their skills as we passed them by. A gentleman further along was fishing, we spoke briefly and he hinted that he was trying to make a catch for his Sunday dinner.

This was the relaxing part of the celebration and I got to share it one of the most amazing person in my life.

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I must admit that I cannot swim but the water was so tempting that I atleast had to get my feet in. Yes the water was green from all the lush greenery but I trusted this, somehow.

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To top it off, it began to rain, in that moment I couldn’t have asked for another memory. We weren’t concerned about the rain, because it made the trip everything it was intended to be.

At the end of the session there were many rafts from the days activities at Martha Brae. We were the second to last ones for the day before it was closing time. We stood at the little restaurant and waited for our ride back to the top. The rains pounded on the zinc covering and were in awe of the many rafts that were floating in their parking area. An amazing skill given to mankind to manufacture a floating water navigator from dried bamboos.

To be continued…

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Birthday Discoveries- cont’d

The road continued through a little fisherman village, we were no longer in the belly of devastation.

My stomach churned for ackee and saltfish with boiled bananas. We drove for more than 5 miles to try and find it. The sceneries were country like and peaceful, yet busy as people hustled to the market on this sunny Saturday morning.

At last we arrived at a corner food shop somewhere in Mandeville  just around the corner from one of Jamaica’s finest seafood spots Little Ochie Seafood Restaurant and Bar. But to my disappointment the corner food shop just ran out of ackee. But that didn’t filter our excitement for the journey ahead. We continued on, depending on our GPS to take us where we were heading… All the back roads that led to somewhere beautiful! We stopped briefly in Junction, St. Elizabeth, hoping that this fast food outlet would have what I wanted. Everyone gazed, they didn’t say a word, but their faces could tell we were not from there. Inside the restaurant, I asked if they had ackee, she smiled and asked, “you’re not from here are you?” I smiled and told her we were just passing through. We ordered our meal and we were on our way.

St. Elizabeth was beautiful. The greenery that ignited the parish was picturesque. The farmlands were well cultivated. I had only been there twice before in my life, but this time was different.

I could tell we were close to our destination as he uttered, “close your eyes.” I knew were going up hill, but I couldn’t guess where. I pondered for awhile if he was taking me to Alligator Pond, but I figured we wouldn’t be going up hill, we would’ve been on the flats or heading downhill. Soon we stopped and I opened my eyes. Still not sure, I jumped out of the car and gathered myself. He held my hand and we walked across the lawn. We were at Lovers Leap

Lovers Leap. I remember telling him that I had never been there, and I wanted to experience it.

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We made our way up the walk way and through the restaurant area. He asked me what I wanted to drink and I ordered my favourite beer, Heineken. What greeted us on the other side of the restaurant only had me repeating the words, Jamaica Nice. I was standing 1,700 ft above a vertical drop down to waves crashing below. And beyond that was the beautiful Caribbean Sea.

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Soon, I realized how high I was standing and my fear of heights kicked in. I was surrounded by barriers but was still afraid to go close to the edge where I stood from the restaurant. It was windy and I was lightweight. This was one process I was not trusting… Lol. I held on to the posts trusting only them and the beauty that surround to keep me safe.

We reminisced on the tales we read about Lovers Leap when we were younger and we imagined what the sunset would look like from the view we had. We walked around the property, it was well manicured. Just to the front we stumbled upon a wooden sculpture. Yup, we had missed it when we were going in. These two:

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Well, three now… As I stood beside them to get their side of the story. I wanted to know why they jumped, but time wouldn’t allow it, as there was another destination on the itinerary.

But this shot, was my favourite.

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To be continued…

My Blue in Blue Ridge

Sunday road trips with my little family is always worthwhile. We discover some of the most beautiful places.

Whenever we came to a Y or T junction there has never been confusion as to where to turn. We just followed our hearts and it’s guaranteed to never disappoint.

We came to a section of road that I probably would call a fork  since there were three roadways now ahead of us. There were several signs hanging from a post signaling where to go. Being as it may, our eyes and hearts wandered up the hill, along with everything else. All our attentions were then fixed on another set of the Blue Mountains in a distance, the peak hidden within the clouds, it was a sight to behold.

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The very curious minds were excited to see that the road continued where we had stopped, and further learnt that Blue Ridge was right ahead of us… We tackled the terrain on foot… Soon, we were at Blue Ridge Restaurant and Cottages.

Nested in the Blue Mountains Jamaica, Blue Ridge is a treasure. It over looks the greenery of an entire community, the cloud kissed mountains which are apart of the Blue Mountains, winding roads with dusty paths, only to be discovered.

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The scenery was next to heaven. The restaurant area had little signs that encouraged adventure! I believe we were in the right place

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This sign was at the entrance, and I was delighted to find out what adventures awaits.

The staff was warm, friendly and accommodating of our curiosities. She asked what we would like to have. My response, “I want something to make my mouth blue”. She chuckled and handed me the drink options  hinting at The Blue Hot Chocolate. I wasn’t hesitant, yes it is summer, but my mission was to leave Blue Ridge with a blue mouth.

Growing up in the country, when my mom made hot chocolate  it was just as the name says hot and chocolately. I barely imagined that my chocolate would really be blue. My order was the first to arrive, and all mouths at the table dropped open. Blue Hot Chocolate in all her glory.

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It tasted amazing! It was probably the blue, though I’m not sure, but this cup of hot chocolate was everything! Everyone at the table tried it, and ultimately had their regrets for having not ordered this cup of pure awesomeness… Soon enough my mouth and my teeth were blue, so was everyone else’s, but mine more defined, and seemed liked it would last for ever.

Soon enough we were finished and another destination awaited…

If having a blue mouth would make you happy, then get one!

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Birthday Discoveries

This year, I became a year older and wiser. Some things became less important and my desire to discover untouched places was ignited… I wanted to go places I’ve never been and do things that I never did, and so it was.

By 7 am July 28th we were well on our way. Cladded in matching attires we set out (yes babe and I). He knew exactly where we were headed, but as for me, clueless. I only knew there would have been water, eventually…

We were on a very single lane road that not even Google maps registered, no phone signals, just a surprised face and a man determined to fulfill my birthday wishes. We were on the very south coast. Not the regular route traversed by motorists,  the route where if we died, no one would find us. It was all up hill. Then we came to a sign, and all I remembered was the word “Alligator”, much to my surprise, they were tanning to my left as we continued along a route with barely any evidence of tire marks. We were in Alligator Hole.

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With knowledge that I’m afraid of Alligators he suggested, “Let’s get out of the car to go look”. By this, my eyes were filled with tears as I looked him dead in the eyes. I refused to be the birthday cake on my birthday. There were no barriers between us and these reptiles  who were very much unbothered in their homes, no thanks.

With a very long trek (because that’s just how it felt) ahead of us and reptiles with the most obvious agenda to our left, we were excited to see what was a head. And what greeted us was a most beautiful body of water, I called it “Pretty”.

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Pretty laid still meters away from someone’s property, a back yard kinda vibe.

Soon we were on our way. The road became wider, enough for two cars to pass, and so it was, another car heading in the opposite direction. By then the view of mangroves ceased to exist and the sea was in plain sight. The sun was out and I had a hunce it was going to be a beautiful day.

To be continued…