Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Home sweet home, Jamaica....warts and all

Jamaica remains my favorite place on earth,  for I have wonderful friends and family there, none more dear than most of the Williamses, who I still consider family. And I did get the opportunity to meet the latest member of that clan at a lunch soon after I arrived.

Actually, the worst thing about Jamaica is the dangerous and downright annoying crime problem, but life cant be only roses can it?


I could have once again  become a  crime victim when I returned in February 2020, as some assholes saw me, a single woman driving their favorite car, a criss Toyota corolla and decided they wanted it! 

Fortunately I had learnt from experience, that I should never get out of the car and open the gate when strange people follow me home, so I waited them out until my host family returned. Then and only then, they drove off.

 I have always maintained that even if I get a Toyota corolla free, I wouldn't want it. Unfortunately, I had a lot of business to do on this trip and since that was the only car my "adopted" son Shawn had to lend me, had to use it. He was not surprised that people wanted to carjack it, as he said there were quite a few accidents involving that model over the Christmas holidays and the thieves wanted parts. My grandson has the perfect description for those assholes, "Cowards" as they never cease to target women driving by themselves.
The glorious Silver Sands beach


I gave the car back to Shawn as soon as I got the major things done and took public transportation. Actually, JUTC buses are quite good, as they ran frequently on the route I was staying and were air conditioned to boot!

Apart from that incident. it was great being home.

Posing in front of the Bolt billboard in Trelawny
We spent some time in Silver Sands at my brother's home and with cousins who live overseas and the water was great as usual.  As my brother just loves to drive, we spent some time on the road too, as one cousin wanted to see where in southern Trelawny the legendary Usain Bolt was born. 

I knew the area, having ridden there with my "Fun and Thrills" riding group some years ago, but alas, I took them on the long winding route with some of the worst roads in Jamaica. In fact, the day after we returned to Kingston, one newspaper carried a story that taxi drivers who ply the route to Wakefield, Trelawny, mounted a demonstration over the condition of that same road. Good for them. 
We however took the shorter and less potholed road back. It runs beside the Martha Brae river.

When we arrived at Bolt's parent's home, we found a brand new structure. When we went there some years ago, it was an ordinary country home, but now that Bolt is rich, he seems to have demolished the original home. Such a pity as the original home where he was born would attract  visitors I am sure, but I guess he wants no more paparazzo knocking around! 

Anyway they have erected a billboard in the community and established a gift shop nearby, so his presence is not lost.

A 250 year old house in Accompong
Another place we visited was Accompong in the Cockpit Country area of  St. Elizabeth.

This is the largest Maroon community in the island and we visited the community a week after their elaborate annual celebration. 

The maroons are former slaves of the Spanish colonizers who refused to become subjected to the British when they conquered the island. They fought them and when they could not be defeated,  they were given lands in various sections of the island and a form of self government.

 Some Jamaicans do not like them, for as part of their peace treaty with the British, they agreed to help capture the runaway slaves brought in from Africa by the British.

Regardless of how you feel about their actions, their communities are an important part of our
The "Bank of Accompong"
island's history.


Recently, they tried to take their independence to another level, trying to establish their own currency in  Accompong. Its called the Lumi, which they claim is worth $1200 Jamaican dollars. Even a Bank of Accompong has been established, but of course that, will not be given legitimacy and will only be bought as souvenirs,  by the vulnerable. And talking about the vulnerable, one maroon man conned $1000 out of one of my cousins,  for she touched his bead made from coconut and he claimed it was sacred and that is what it would cost to be cleaned!

 Unfortunately I never heard about the scam until we were in the vehicle returning home. 

When we went there, is was a Saturday, so the museum was not open but the visitors got to look around at the community. I was rather appalled to see that they have taken off the portrait of one of their foremost leaders, Queen Nanny, from the front of the museum and replaced it with two skinny girls. 
The original portrait of Queen Nanny that was on  the museum

But its their museum so they can do what they want I guess.

A great experience on this trip was a trip with friends and acquaintances to Mayfield Falls in Westmorland and it was so wonderful that it earned its own blog at :https://joan-myviews.blogspot.com/2020/02/return-to-mayfield-falls.html.
The new portraits on the museum at Accompong


Another nice experience  was going to the monthly Bank of Jamaica cultural show with my cousins. I had always only seen musical entertainment there, but this time they had an interesting comedy called the " A Tiny Room" performed by a small group from Montego Bay, and it was quite entertaining.

Yup going home is always wonderful and it is certainly something I will do as regularly as I can, despite the damn thieves and murderers!

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Return to Mayfield Falls

The first time I visited Mayfield Falls, was about fifteen or sixteen years ago. Why I even have an inkling about how long ago it was, is because my grandson Shadrach was around 8 years old at the time, and being disobedient as usual, he had refused to keep on his shoes. Once he discovered the discomfort of walking on river rocks however, we had to turn back so he could put them on!

The only other things I remember vividly are; how poor the roads were getting there, how wonderful it was frolicking in the various pools in the river and even diving and swimming through a huge rock in the river. Also, that was the first time I ever saw or heard of the wonder plant Turmeric. At that time it was apparently growing quite wild in the mini rain forest there, but now I understand it is planted and nourished carefully, as the price is  now really great.

Anyway, I have always loudly expressed a desire to return to Mayfield Falls and finally my dream came true when outdoor enthusiast  extraordinaire Michael Chuck decided to treat his friends to an outing there to celebrate his birthday.

What a wonderful gesture that was and what a great time we had. Thanks Michael.

So on Sunday February 2nd 2020, twenty six of us, including some Fun and thills regulars,  plus a very competent driver Michael, departed from Kingston on schedule at 7am.

Judy closest, Sheryl in front of her

Also on the trip, were my newly found cousins, Judy and Sheryl, who are from Seattle, Washington and are in Jamaica to enjoy our wonderful island and connect with their local relatives.

The Fun and Thrills regulars
The first stop was Jucci Beef in Clarendon where some of us had breakfast. Always remembering how delicious their peanut and hominy porridge always was, that was my immediate choice and I was not disappointed.

After that, with full bellies, we enthusiastically headed out to find the waterfalls. Alas however, someone seems to have forgotten to get directions, for as we were merrily enjoying the scenery and interesting interaction, we discovered we had missed a turn and were heading probably to Negril.

I could not help, as all I could remember about that place was that it was near Petersfield in Westmorland and the road to get there was unpaved and extremely bad.


Anyway we quickly got good directions by phone, turned around and before noon we were finally at our destination. (Incidentially, the road is now paved but narrow and with lots of potholes.)

I could not even recognize the place as it seemed to have changed, anyway, everything in Jamaica has changed in fifteen years!

I recall that at the time I first went there, a dispute was in progress between two operators at the falls and they even made the Star news for it had apparently erupted into violence. However, speaking to the guides on this trip, I was informed that everything was honky dory between them and they were both operating in harmony.

There is steel under the bamboos

This pristine attraction is in Glenbrook which is close to the border of Hanover and Westmorland. Mayfield river is  a tributary of the Cabarita River, which lies in the shadow of the 1800 foot Dolphin  Head mountains.

After we arrived there, it was pure joy. Some people opted to take the dry route on the side of the river but most of us went on foot up river so we could get frequent water massages and swim to our heart's delight.


The journey started with us crossing the river on as scary-looking bamboo bridge but when we were assured that the bridge had solid steel underneath, most people took comfort and dived in literally.

The trek upriver to the "Washing Machine" falls, took about an hour and a half as we swam and fooled around, some even getting mud masks rubbed on their faces and bodies by the eager guides.

On the return journey we came down on the track by the riverside and that took less than half hour as the trip back is quite short.

My only regret is that because this was a wet trip, we did not have our cameras, but one guide took pictures for us and circulated them widely. Unfortunately none showing the actual washing machine water fall was evident but I am grateful for small mercies.

After that glorious trek, we started a game of dominoes but it was interrupted by the call to food which included my favorite, roasted suckling pig. That call found me way up front in the line very quickly. After eating to my heart's content, the wonderful crackling and the delicious rice cooked inside the pig, the desert was tasty carrot cake baked by Mike's wife Karen.

That is as close to heaven that I will ever get I think!
Michael inspects the yummy suckling pig
As expected, on the way home after a simulating outing most of us slept, but I was rudely awakened when we got outside of Mandeville where there was a huge traffic snarl because of an accident, where I understand at least one person was killed.











Tuesday, January 14, 2020

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001KJ40KG
https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001KJ40KG

Thursday, December 26, 2019

A normal Christmas


I call Christmas 2019 "a normal Christmas" as I am unaccustomed  to freezing during this period, and thank heavens, I didn't this year.
Christmas 2018 was warm inside but not outside



You see, last year I made the crazy decision to spend Christmas with my daughter and granddaughter in Colorado and that is something someone from the tropics should avoid doing!



Actually I enjoyed going to my granddaughter's Christmas party and reading Jamaican stories to the kids, but heck we can do that at their end of year party in the summer can't we, for the photo below tells the name of the game there in December.






You know, it's not that I am exceptionally cold in the snow when I decide to dress properly, but as a 'shorts and  t shirt' person, I hate having to wear all the heavy clothes, so always end up not wanting to leave the house , and after a day cooped up in the house, ta-da claustaphobia!


Posing with Kevin



 So,  this year, it was back to 'normal' as I spent the Christmas  with my cousins Junior and Kevin in Florida, along with their spouses and a few other relatives, not to forget the star, two year old Major.        

We had a whale of a time.
Scheming with Junior



The food, ambiance and camaraderie were all great, then there was the movie afterwards.



The coup-de-grace was however BINGO.



You see, I have a gambling problem.



It is not the normal gambling problem that most people seem to have where they cannot stop chasing the dream. Mine is the stingy version for I always allot a very small amount which I am more then prepared to lose, then after that, no more.



That's it. Even when I go to exotic places like Las Vegas or Atlantic City, that habit prevails. After that, I don't mind watching other people chasing their dream but I ain't betting another cent.



Yesterday was no different. My gambling budget  for bingo was the huge sum of $4 and alas, I lost it very quickly as usual.



After that, I hung around watching everyone else. Rosie, Junior's wife was the lucky one as she just kept winning. If I were her, I would buy a Florida lottery ticket right away, before the lucky streak runs out.
Bingo!



Despite losing my proverbial shirt at gambling as usual, I really had a good, warm time with relatives and friends, though missing my daughter and granddaughter.



But will see them in July, hopefully, which is probably the only month it doesn't seem to snow in Colorado!














Tuesday, December 10, 2019

AMERIKKKA?


If President Obama had done anything close to what president Donald Trump has been accused of, he would not have been impeached but lynched.

That was the consensus opinion of the participants of color, who in their latest podcast entitled “Politics across generations,” discussed the current impeachment process being conducted by Congress. They based their opinion on the premise, that the laws in the USA are enforced differently when people of color are accused of anything as opposed to when the privileged whites are. (link; https://anchor.fm/politicsacrossgenerations/episodes/Impeachment--democratic-candidates-e9d50s.)



These podcasts are hosted by 24-year-old Shadrach Williams, a 2017 graduate of Florida International University (FIU) and author the popular self-help book “A month to re-create Reality” available at Amazon.com link; https://www.amazon.com/Month-Re-Create-Reality-Change-Mentality-ebook/dp/B07V78Y8ZT/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=a+month+to+change+your+reality+by+shadrach+williams&qid=1573.

The podcasts provide Political education from the perspective of the Baby Boomers and the Millennial generation coming together to understand each other’s viewpoints and discuss the issues, candidates, as well as their ideas, for the upcoming 2020 elections. 

Joining him in the discussions are; fellow FIU graduate, Psychology major Shadaen Stephens and author Joan Williams who recently published; 2020 DECISION; SOCIALISM, RACISM OR HAPPINESS, an outsider’s perspective of the choices available to voters in the USA for the 2020 presidential elections. It is available at; https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001KJ40KG

Delving further into Trump’s actions which are being sanctioned by the Republicans, it was observed that one defense being put forward was that because the economy is doing well, Trump’s criminal activities should be overlooked. However, that was rejected on the grounds that, simply because one is successful in one area, it does not mean their criminality in other areas should be overlooked.

The discussants compared how laws in the USA are enforced against people of color versus how it is against whites. This was reinforced by the revelation that America is now being spelt by many Generation Z youth, with 3 k’s (KKK!) 

Participants also found it intolerable that a US president can never be charged for a crime while he is in office, not even murder.

Turning to Democratic Party politics, it was observed that there seems to be a level of dislike for billionaires in that party, with one participant wondering if this was not based on a philosophy of “envy” among the socialists in that party!

During the animated debate that followed, the observation that in the USA, money can buy lot including delegates, was made and the other discussants were reminded by the moderator, that in 2016, Trump was supported Vladimir Putin, who is allegedly the richest person in the world. 

Moderator Shadrach Williams can be contacted via; gratestj@gmail,com

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Vladimir Putin, a master puppeteer


According to Generation Z podcaster, Shadrach Williams, Vladimir Putin must be an evil genius, as he has broken many world records and done what had been otherwise considered impossible.

These include;
a) Employing his political genius to manipulate himself from the position of spy chief to president of Russia.
b) Skillfully using a hand-picked president while he was prime minister, so he could return to become the powerful, long lasting, unbeatable president of his well-armed country.
 c) Allegedly being the richest person in the world.
d) Manipulating the president of the powerful USA, so now he carries out his wishes.
e) Having not only the President of the USA but also leading members of the Republican party, debunking the findings of 18 US Intelligence agencies while parroting the Russian intelligence service’s propaganda.

According to Williams, his impression that Putin is pulling Trump’s strings, was solidified after listening to the facts provided at the recent impeachment hearings.

This led him to pose the following questions to his fellow discussants.:  

Question; Who was Trump helping when he held up the delivery of arms needed by Ukraine to assist them in their war with Russia? Answer; Putin.
Question: By taking the word of the Russian intelligence agency over the unanimous findings of the 18 US intelligence agencies that it was Ukraine who hacked the Democratic party’s emails and not Russia, who is Trump helping? Answer: Putin.
Question: When elected members of Congress and the Senate follow Trump’s lead and parrot Russia’s intelligence service propaganda over their own security experts, who are they helping? Answer; Putin.


These troubling facts were discussed in the latest podcast of “Politics across generations” available at https://anchor.fm/politicsacrossgenerations.

The podcasts which cover a series of issues raised as we approach the 2020 elections, provides Political education from the perspective of the Baby Boomers and the Millennial generation coming together to understand each other’s viewpoints and discuss the candidates, as well as their ideas.

The moderator, Shadrach Williams, a 24-year-old Afro-American who is a graduate of Florida International University (FIU) and author of the self-help book “A month to re-create reality,” (link ; https://www.amazon.com/Month-Re-Create-Reality-Change-Mentality-ebook/dp/B07V78Y8ZT/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=a+month+to+change+your+reality+by+shadrach+williams&qid=1573251512&sr=8-1; ). Other discussants are fellow Generation Z FIU psychology major, Shadaen Stevens, and yours truly, the baby boomer .

During the discussions, the possibility was discussed that if Trump loses the elections in 2020, violence in the streets could become a  real possibility.

This is based on the premise that since the Russians seemed to have been successful in assisting the Trump campaign to win in 2016, what would prevent them from sending soldiers (undercover) to try and keep him in power in 2020?
This is not just a conspiracy theory, as Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen, did tell Congress that he feared violence would break out in the streets, if Trump lost. This plus other evidence to boost this theory was reproduced in the book entitled “DECISION 2020: SOCIALISM, RACISM OR HAPPINESS? ( link; https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001KJ40KG), which I published in September this year.


Shadrach also expressed his frustration with many of his fellow Generation Z minority peers, who are so distracted by music and entertainment that they are not paying enough attention to politics and how their decisions today can affect them in life. For example, many do not understand that it’s not only the presidency that will be decided in 2020 but much more. This includes many state officials who will determine the type of judges and justice that will exist for years to come.

He added however, that many young people consider the electoral college, undemocratic, as it does not reflect the will of the people. To them that therefore, means, their votes do not count.

Shadrach Williams can be contacted at; williams.shadrach@yahoo.com