K Is For Kingston: Jamaica That Is

This article follows on from the one that I wrote yesterday, which provides an introduction to my first trip to Jamaica, which was to install a computer system for one of the petroleum companies.

You can find a link to the first part of the story under J Is For Jamaica.

Where we left off last time, the three of us who were working together in Jamaica had driven from Kingston, through the Blue Mountains and across to the north coast, and had spent a few hours enjoying the wonders of the Dunn River Falls, not to be missed if you are visiting Jamaica.

Since we were working all week for the three weeks that we were in Jamaica, we only had the weekends to tour the island, and so having ended our trip to Dunn River Falls, we grabbed some excellent local Jerk Chicken and headed west along the coast to Montego Bay.

Since this was my first trip to the Caribbean, I didn’t know what to expect, and was imagining something like the French Riviera maybe.  I was sadly disappointed, and found Montego Bay to be a bit of a dump.  We were actually propositioned in the street by someone wanting to know if we wanted to but some ganja, and another person wanted to know if we might be interested in their sister.

There were a number of resort hotels, by now I am sure many more, and we found a local beach to take a dip, but it wasn’t anything like we had been to earlier.

We did have to find somewhere to stay for the night however, and eventually managed to find a room at a cheap motel up the ridge that overlooks the town and the airport.  It was only for one night, so it didn’t really matter that much.

I could date the night exactly if I wanted to, since the big event that night was the Frank Bruno vs Mike Tyson fight on the television, which we all watched on the patio outdoors.

The following day we got back in the car and drove west all around the rest of the north coast of Jamaica, where there wasn’t an awful lot to see, until we came to Negril.

Since we didn’t get to go into any of the resorts in Negril, like the famous Hedonism II, we found a place to park and wandered around some shops and stands selling t-shirts, artwork and other local crafts, grabbed a bite to eat, and sat watching the waves dash against the rocks along the shore.

Driving back to Kingston was quite a long journey, with a couple of stops along the way, but it was mostly just a long drive with little special to see.  This part of Jamaica is the “real” Jamaica, since most tourists tend to see only parts of the north coast.

One curious thing that we noticed during our visit was that there were many old cars on the roads, including a lot of old British cars that we were familiar with from the 1950’s and 1960’s.

With the economy not having been good in recent years, the government had placed high duties on the import of new cars, therefore it was cheaper for locals to do whatever they needed to in order to keep old cars functioning, and we were to see this as we came to a steep hill in our rented Honda and overtook a Hillman Minx that was puffing out smoke from the exhaust, and which had four different types of tyre on it.

Almost the only new cars that we did see on the road were Russian Lada’s, which were imported as part of an agreement with the Russian government in exchange for bauxite, which is a major export from Jamaica.

Anyhow, we arrived back at our hotel, hot and tired, and ready for another week at work in the office.

I know that someone is going to ask how this article is supposed to be about Kingston and yet they haven’t read about it so far.  Well, I am very good at turning a long story into an even longer one, and true to form I overran yesterday, and since this article was written as aprt of the A to Z April Blogging Challenge, I took advantage of the fact that “K” came next in the alphabet.

So anyway, better late than never, K Is For Kingston, and Monday morning on our second week in Jamaica found me finally getting the keys to the car so I could drive everyone to work.

The traffic in Kingston we found to often be bad, and these days it’s probably far worse.  Driving through some areas there were goats tethered at the side of the road, and in the evening after work, a lot of people congregating in the street, and reggae blasting from speakers that had seen better days years ago, and the volume of the buzzing and vibration from them far exceeded that of the actual music.  It wasn’t just one or two places that were like this though, it was every single one!

Devon House Kingston JamaicaOne evening, instead of being left to our own devices which meant eating at the hotel, we were taken out to dinner at one of my favorite places in Kingston, Devon House, which is a National Heritage site.

Here we had an amazing meal, where I was introduced to the delights of Snapper, which was cooked with coconut and ginger, and which was just wonderful.

Devon House has lovely grounds that visitors can walk around, and also craft shops where you can buy local crafts.

I can’t end my article on Kingston without a commentary on the roads, which in some places were in desperate need of repair.  On the way back from the office we had to drive past a huge pothole in the road, which to my disgust I hit full on, the first time I got behind the wheel on the way back to the hotel.

This did in fact cause the tyre to puncture, and so I pulled the car into a service station that was conveniently just up the road, where we were soon surrounded by a gang of “helpful” local men who were eager to help us to fix the problem for a small fee.

We were more worried about losing our wallets and everything else, but fortunately for a few dollars, they removed the wheel, put on the spare, and we went on our way.

I ought to add that most days we were working between 10 and 15 hours in the office, so by the end of the second week we were getting rather tired.  This was to become a pattern for Jorge and I over the next couple of years, with trips between London and the Americas almost every month, but that is another story.

I will end this part here, but the story of my trip is not yet over.  Fortunately for me, and if you have enjoyed reading my story, then fortunately for you too, tomorrow’s article is brought to you by the letter “L”, which in this case stands for Lime Cay, which provided me with another adventure of a lifetime, and which is a true gem of a place that few tourists get to.

So please bookmark this, share it with friends if you did enjoy it, and come back tomorrow for the third and final part of my trip to Jamaica.

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