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and life along the winding road

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Carnival Cruise - Jamaica

Our ship docked in Montego Bay flying the black, green and gold Jamaican flag. A fellow passenger pointed out that when docked, the ship is required to fly the flag of that country. Black on the flag stands for the people, gold for the sun and green for vegetation. Hills surround the island with the highest point being 7,400 feet, which unlike many of the neighboring islands, provides some protection again hurricanes. Jamaica is a country of contrasts. Mansions scatter the hills but small homes, mostly made of salvaged material, abut the roadside. Sometimes, the homes are no bigger than the average garden shed, and are often made from boards nailed together and perched on stilts made out of a small tree trunk. These small shacks look temporary, and they are. Built on borrowed land, the buildings can be torn down when the landowner no longer allows the temporary tenant use of the property. From Montego Bay, which is the second largest major city in Jamaica, we drove for twenty-four miles through hills, along with three other small buses, toward the Croydon Plantation. Our driver, Danny, maneuvered the winding roads skillfully while our guide, Maxine, entertained us with Jamaican stories and information about the island. Growing up with ten siblings, which she attributed to lack of a television set, she had many stories. Jamaicans live off what they have available, and she remembered as a child, picking green bananas that were boiled and served for breakfast in a consistency like oatmeal. Without access to medical care, herbs and plants were utilized. Maxine pointed out the beautiful red flowered trees called flame of the forest or African tulip. With the exception of the plantations, the hills appear to be uncultivated. Homes perch on the side of the hills with graveyards and tombstones in the front. People can be buried anywhere outside the twelve mile city limits. Maxine popped in a CD and jamming along with Bob Marley singing Is This Love we headed further up the hill toward the plantation.


K9friend said...

I was in Jamaica many years ago. What a beautiful place...truly paradise. Relax and enjoy!

Joanne said...

sounds like a very fun time, and you have to have the Bob Marley soundtrack playing in the background, no matter what.