Monday, December 17, 2012

No Alligators There!

It was really a great day....for everyone but Dr. Kim, I guess. For as she descended the hill to Alligator Pond, a wasp attacked her knee and in her haste to get rid of him before he had done too much damage, she catapulted over her handlebar and damaged her left wrist badly as she tried to break the fall. 
Dr. Kim with wrist in sling

When I got there she was writhing with pain, but the would be doctors in the Fun and Thrills group soon eased her pain with cold water, Reiki (compliments of Stewart) and Excedrin . The greatest moment of it all however was when Chuck arrived with two large Poinciana pods and about 20 feet of rope to make a splint  for her aching wrist. Oh for a camera at moments such as this!

Kim was not the only one who had a spill however for as I descended the hill , I saw Orrell (aka GM) coming out of the bushes at the side of the road and thought to my self that he had found a flush toilet! How wrong I was, for when I stopped to assist and commiserate with Kim, he rode up and admitted that he was emerging from the bushes because he had picked up a skid and landed there.  Luckily, nothing but his pride was damaged however.

Maurice too had his bout of bad luck for as he started to ride from way back at Jucci patties, his bicycle gave out so he spent most of the trip driving. Poor Maurice, for he is the one who does not want to only go on long rides but he would ride to hell and back if possible!

As I said earlier however, it was really a great day...a wonderful ride, the last long ride of the year, and it was orgainised by Thomas, Omar and Theresa. What was absolutely amazing from the very beginning is that we drove out only 5 minutes later than the designated time, to ride to Clarendon park from where the A team would ride.

Being a permanent B teamer myself, I started riding from Williamsfield, Manchester, thus avoiding the miserableness of Melrose hill. As I took off up the Royal flats hill, I was quickly overtaken by Rose and Charles the first, who I did not see again until they made a wrong turn and had to double back and we rode together after that. It was amusing that they had taken a wrong turn so early, for organiser Thomas had drummed it into us before we started riding,  that we should keep left at the Y junctions and they went right at the very first one and nearly ended up in Mandeville.

The route from Williamsfield was really great, gently undulating all the way.

Then we got to  an intersection where if you went right you would have to climb this huge hill leading up to Northern Caribbean university. That hill was so intimidating that I could not wait to remind my fellow riders that Thomas had insisted that we keep left at all Y junctions. By then we had been joined  by the AYatollah, Fatman and Sheriff  and heard that Chuck and Bernadette had kept right and ridden up the hill. They were phoned and  the Ayatollah browbeat them, for I suspect, the same reason as I, into returning to join us.

 I was even more convinced  and adamant that we had taken the correct turn, for I had spent many of my youthful days in Knockpatrick where I had an aunt and I have no recollection of that big hill. Actually, I had never returned there since 1967, about a week before I got married, for my dear aunt Gwen was dying from cancer and I will never forget her screams as the pain wracked her body. Yesterday I could not even find where her house had been, for the place had changed so much. More importantly,  I had no recollection of that huge hill leading up to Northern Caribbean University, which had been West Indies Training College and which my cousin Betty had attended.

Anyway, back to the ride. At first, Chuck fiercely resisted our interpretation of the route, because he said if that is where Ayatollah had gone, it was the wrong direction as the Ayatollah has an unenviable reputation of leading us astray. So the Sheriff called Thomas and he confirmed that we should indeed have turned left so we laughed the detractors to scorn.

After a short rest, we rode off and the first local person we saw on the road, we queried if we were heading to Newport. "No" he told us, "You have to go up the hill. " In disbelief we sought a second opinion from a man hanging out clothes in his backyard. He too confirmed that we were heading to May Day which would not take us to Newport. Despondently and after much argument we turned back to take on the horrible hill. I saw a support vehicle coming and immediately waved it down and asked a man walking on the road to throw my bicycle into the back of the pickup.

I was not the only one who shied away from the hill for we saw Chuck ahead holding on the back of a support vehicle ! True, he had ridden up before but for all I know, he had held on to something the first time for he has that penchant, as displayed many years ago when we first took on a ride to Newcastle!

When Thomas caught up with us and we challenged him for giving us wrong directions, however  he laughingly retorted "Good". True I guess, for what would a ride with Fun and Thrills be if some of us did not go off on the wrong track?

"Photographer" Omar poses in front of a windmill
Thomas then compounded his mischievousness by telling us that once we got to Newport, it was downhill all the way. It certainly was not for we kept climbing until we got to the PCJ operated Wignton wind farm which has an elevation of 2,126 feet.

Going downhill from there would have been absolutely wonderful had I ridden my mountain bike which has shock absorbers in front,  for the road was quite bumpy.

However the breathtaking scenery minimized the torture on my hands. The mountainous terrain below, the blue  sea and the Lover Leap cliff from above, were was absolutely breathtaking.

Lovers Leap cliff in the background

The Alligator Pond  river is not one of our best rivers however but I couldn't wait to jump in to cool off.

Once I had cooled off  however I had no inclination to return and since the sea there has a reputation of having a dangerous current, I avoided it, although some of the  more daring ones went in.

The area itself is not particularly attractive for the collection of hurriedly put up food shacks are just that, shacks.

Breakfast/(lunch) was  delivered shortly before one and this was when Richard nominated the food at Dressekie, St. Mary, at the ride in November arranged by arranged by Alric, the best food of all rides for 2012. I had missed that ride as I was at Silver Sands at a party, but as far as I am concerned, when I am starving as I was yesterday (despite Michelle smuggling me a cup of her delicious soup)  every food is the food of the year!

Regardless, I was too hungry to care and after spending some time enjoying the great camaraderie that comes with Fun and Thrills rides. When  the time came to leave, I displaced Howie from his own vehicle and slept almost all the way home.

Can't think of a better way to spend a Sunday.

Ps. Incidentally  there are no alligators at Alligator Pond or any where else in Jamaica. 

Photographs, compliments of Omar. (I hope!)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Banana Republic Forever

I guess Jamaica is doomed to remain a banana republic forever. Why? Those things called bureaucracy and red tape which is designed to stop progress forever. Look at this latest case of red tape and bureaucratic madness.

Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Sean Thompson, whose parents are Jamaican migrants, has been working with the Ministry of Health and the hospital to come down to Jamaica today and do, free of cost, hip replacements on 6 indigent patients who could not otherwise have afforded orthopedic care at the Cornwall Regional Hospital in Montego Bay.  The implants which cost US$15,000 each are donated by US medical firm Stryker.

Would you believe that now that the Stryker rep is here and Sean is in flight, they are being told that Customs is holding on to the implants as they want them to pay for them!!!

And this is the type of madness that occurs when a government agency, ie. The procurement division of the Ministry of Health, is assisting!! Can you imagine what the bureaucracy does to ordinary persons when no officialdom is not involved?

Jamaica cannot afford to provide any level of proper health care for its people and guess who suffers most? The poor. We are supposedly blessed in  having a prime minister who "loves the poor", yet this is what happens when those who can, attempt to help the poor!

No wonder investors are shying away from doing business in Jamaica as the latest international report indicates that we have now been downgraded 5 points, from 85 to 90. ( See doing business report 2013)

Is there any doubt that Jamaica will forever remain a banana republic.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Return to Munro College

Many many years ago, I attended high school at Munro college in St. Elizabeth.

For those who do not know, Munro college a  boarding/finishing school for boys which was established in 1856. So this is why my statement that I attended Munro is always met with consternation, but no, I did not have a sex change.

As it happened, I attended Hampton girl's school from forms 1-5 and those where the worst days of my life. Then redemption came as we did combined classes with Munro for 6th form.... boys at last... those  were the best years of my high school life and unfortunately it led to be earning the notoriety of being the first girl to be suspended from Hampton!

You see Hampton at the time, had mostly old maids as teachers and their life's ambition was to make all the girls in their own image and it was always ours, to outsmart them. So when I got my driver's licence at age 17, the opportunity came as we planned that one half term, I would transport my and my friends' beaus from Munro to Hampton for a party.

It was easy since my father had a white VW bug just like the headmaster's, so on the appointed day,  I was brazen and boasy enough to drive right up the the quad and pick up the boys.

All went well and we looked forward to a wonderful day of dancing as the music room at Hampton had a record player. I don't know if word came from Munro that some funny movements had taken place, but within half hour of us settling down to have a wonderful day, who appeared  but one of the old maids,Miss Brown. That is when we discovered how courageous and upstanding our beaus were, for as she appeared, they all jumped out the window and ran away.

Being the transportation co-oridinator, I of course got the book thrown at me. I can't even remember what happened to the other girls, order marks I suspect, but boy did I get it from both the school and at home. In fact, looking back, I am lucky to be still alive!(lol)

It seems some of the boys did have a conscience after all and it still bothers them, for occasionaly when I need the professional services of those in Jamaica, they never charge me!!!!!

I have never returned to Munro (or Hampton for that matterafter completing high school until  Friday 16th November 2012  when I had to do an outside broadcast (OB) for "Justice" on Power 106.

I tell you the truth, I really did not recognise much there except the chapel and the quad for the place has grown by leaps and bounds, expanding from just under 200 boys to over 1400, but the boys are still as well mannered, disciplined and focused as they were in the old days.  (I hope they are more chivalrous though!

We had a lot to  boast about on Friday as the Rhodes scholarship for 2013 had just been announced and Munro's Vincent Taylor was winner, making Munro the institution here that has produced the most Rhodes scholars.

After the OB, I had to drive over the hills through Newmarket to Bethel Town on  some of the worst roads in the world, to Windedown at Silver Sands, Trelawny, where my brother Bernard (Bernie) was having his annual big bash. 

To get to Munro for the OB, I had left my home at 6 am and never got to Winedown  until after 6pm....a long but reasonably nice day.

Bernie and daughter Whitney at Silver Sands on a previous occasion.

Of course Saturday was a big bash as usual, dominoes, food and liquor galore and of course great music and dancing  Unfortunately I ended up getting 12 love, although I changed partners and did not even drop one 6 love. But that's life in Ja..

On Sunday morning at the beach we saw a south African crew filming a reality show named Tropika. ........they had come all the way to Jamaica, flying for some 16 hours, to capture the beauty they had heard about but that some of us do not even appreciate.

Not to worry though, for as to me and my people, we revel in it at every opportunity.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Racism Will Survive Forever in America

As one who lived for a while in the Untied States when racism was totally overt, dangerous and widely acceptable, I have never been overcome by the romantic notion that racism had ever died out there.
What I do know is that it has again become an overt topic since Obama was elected and more so since he was re-elected last week, since the confidence the racists had that they would  have rebounded,  received a serious blow on the 6th November 2012.

What had happened in the past four years was that to be considered polite, one had to do the "politically acceptable" thing and not admit, do or say anything  publicly to indicate that one was living in the past, except of course if one was a proud member of  fringe organisations like the Klu Klux  Klan.

So most white Americans had become  become experts at hiding it, especially the more educated ones. That excludes idiots like Denise Helms from Turlock, California, who posted on Facebook that "Another 4 years of this (N word) ... Maybe he will get assassinated this term,"

When interviewed by the Daily News, Helms said she was not racist!  I put her among the less educated
since not only is she not smart enough to camouflage her obvious racism but also she is an employee at an ice cream parlour, so I assume she is a high school dropout.

I also assume that it is mostly red neck dropouts who  have taken their cue from that idiot Donald Trump      (Trump declared on election night that the US was no longer a democracy!) and have been signing petitions for their states to withdraw from the federation of united states.

According to "We the People" , petitions have come in from Hawaii, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Maine, California, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington etc. 

No one needs to take these seriously however, since for example, the population of Maine is over 1.3 million whereas the red neck petitioners are a mere 1,585. 

Iowa  has a population of 3.06 million while petitioners are 1,483 and that is the general trend.

These red necks  therefore are a tiny, tiny minority and most likely aligned to the klu Klux klan or some other extremist group.

 It is however imperative that the US secret service ups its security, for all it takes is one mad man to change the face of history, but we have to accept that crazy, anti social elements will continue to exist throughout the world as long as this planet is inhabited by humans.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Stopped In Their Tracks.

Thank god, the majority of American voters are sensible people and have returned Obama to power. This has put a stop to the possibly of the evil, chauvinistic philosophy and dogma as espoused by powerful white republican males, germinating within the society.

And their dogma was not only a serious threat to women but also to all minorities. Imagine living in a society where there is such a thing as "legal rape" and forcing women to have children conceived by rape while claiming that such a child is  "a gift from god!"

It sure was a close call.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

War or Peace?

In two days, we will find out if this world will again be constantly tipped on the verge of another unnecessary war somewhere or if we will have a prolonged period of peace. For in two days the most powerful country in the world will elect a president and if Romney wins it will be always wars or the threat of wars. 

Lets hope the Americans will think rationally as they choose whose itchy fingers they will allow to determine whether we have a stable world or one under constant threat of annihilation through the misuse of  the large, dangerous stack of weapons of mass destruction that they have sitting there. 

You know what makes most uncomfortable about Romney too? He reminds me so much of Richard Nixon.

Happy Birthday Linette Trout.

Linette Trout is an absolutely amazing person. We first met her when she used to beg just in front of the Canadian High Commission at upper  Waterloo road.  As we passed by for our morning walks, she would shout smilingly,. "Bring something fi mi tomorrow yu hear mi fren.'

As I never walk with money in  the mornings, she was never lucky enough to get anything for when I did remember to bring something" tomorrow," she was never there. She went and came like that for months, always welcoming us cheerfully in the mornings and as her lips were very red, I used to wonder why someone would put on lipstick to go abegging?

It took many months for her to move her operations to weekends at  Kings Way in front of the Andrews Memorial hospital. As I rode past on a Saturday or Sunday morning she was there and became one of my favorite charities as my bicycle has a pouch and I always carry money in case of emergencies.

After stopping to talk to her several times and she constantly addressing me smilingly as "mi fren," one morning she suddenly asked 'doan yu is the lady pan radio". Out the window went my theory that street people do not listen  to radio!  

After she showed me her foot which was badly swollen and told me she had a kidney problem, I decided to see if I could get some help through PATH for her. (Incidentally, she does not wear red lipstick, her lips just happen to be bright red!) When they started to question me about her, I am ashamed  to admit that I could not supply either her name or age but they told me to send her in anyway.

The following week I wrote off the address and gave her with instructions that should go there and register for help. What they did not tell me at the time though was that to get help from PATH you must have a permanent address.

The following week when I asked her if she had gone to PATH, she told me how her bag with the address had been stolen as she slept on the sidewalk. " A pure pervert out deh" she had told me conspiratorially at the time.

This again reinforced my belief that all things always work for the greater good for at least she had not wasted her time going to downtown to an agency that could not help her and  where they probably would have turned her off.

By then I had gotten in touch with the Poor Relief Authorities and spoken to the Inspector of poor who told me to send her to her specifically and she would get her help. Unfortunately along came hurricane Sandy and the following Saturday and Sunday, she was no where in  sight. Neither was she there the Saturday after that.

I had started to worry that something had happened to her, but as I rode up this morning (Sunday), there she was smiling broadly as usual and welcoming me with 'Miss Will, mi glad nutten neva happen to yu far yu is a good ooman". I decided it was time I learnt her name and that's when she told me she was Lynette Trout and added that today was her birthday and she was now 51 years old.

I asked her if she did not have any family but she told me her daughter chased her out of the house and she also had one son but he has a girlfriend and a baby and really has no money but he gives her a "nanny " now and then. I asked her if she had ever worked and she said she used to buy and sell until "her head tek her". While I had long suspected that she may have mental issues, I have never seen any real signs of it when interacting with her as she is always smiling, cheerful and intelligent, but as they say here 'Si mi but nuh liv wid me".

When I suggested that maybe her daughter did not want to live with her because she was miserable, she laughed heartily.

I was really glad to see that she had weathered the storm safely. She told me she had gone to the National Arena where they had a hurricane shelter but they only allowed people to stay there one night before sending them off with nothing but a blanket. When I asked her where the blanket was, she said she stored it in a secret place with her other things for as she sleeps in new Kingston, she doesn't like to lug things around.

You know, I am absolutely inspired each time I interact with Lynette Trout for I could never have really imagined that one who begs for a living could be so happy all the time. God bless you mi fren, especially on your birthday and may you have many many more years for you demonstrate to the world that happiness does not come from what you have but what you are inside..

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Tiring but Fun

This Saturday with the Fun and Thrills family was tiring but  lots of fun.
We had volunteered to  marshal at the Jamaica Cancer Society's fund raising 5k run/walk at stadium east and it meant being at the stadium from 6.30 am.

Marshals and runners from Fun and Thrills stop to pose for a group photo 
Apart from some of us marshaling, a number of the members of the family also entered the race. These were Michelle, Sparkles, Howie, Deiree, Maurice, Bernadette, Michael and Kim and guess what, we won a medal!

Of course its we! Whereas it is Bernadette who  will actually  collect the bronze medal, how could she have done so well if she had not been keeping fit riding with us? Just kidding, you did it all on your own Bernadette so wear it with pride.

Charles had sworn that Howie would have been the overall winner but unfortunately while he didn't, it is still possible that he did well in his category, for we are still waiting to hear his time. As usual uncle Roy entered and never even came in last, instead easily outdoing people some 65 years his juniour!

 Charles Simpson, Charles Williams and I were to have monitored the first three runners but after a while we couldn't find Charles Williams then someone told us had he had apparently given up marshaling and was seen at an intersection directing traffic. I suspect he gave up the marshaling as he couldn't keep up with the runners for apart from the downhill sections, we were in  real danger of them running faster than we could ride!

 Other marshals were Orrel, Alric, Sharon, Fatman, Peter, Teresa, Ramon and Pat. Omar was of course there in his capacity as official photographer.

After we had seen the last walkers safely back to the stadium, we met at the eastern gate to get ready to ride to Bob Marley's beach for the real fun, but Charles (Ayatollah) was no where in sight. It was Alrick who suggested that he would soon reappear, coming from a direction  we least expected! He surely did for it is the Police station that he was walking from, saying he had gone there to arrange parking for Sparkles' car.

 As usual it was an easy ride but by then the sun was blazing and at times I was tempted to summon a support vehicle to stop and enjoy some air condition. However I kept reminding myself that the distance was not very far so I could survive and kept going.

 The great disappointment was that on arrival we discovered that the cook did not prepare for the numbers he had been instructed to, so some 10 or twelve of us were unable to get breakfast. Fortunately next door they were frying up fish for the regular beach goers so we managed to get some food, hence we didn't have to lynch the cook.

As usual too, the beach was absolutely wonderful and therapeutic . 

Incidentally today was the birthday of the twins, Ayatollah and his good half Chully but as Johnathon had his graduation ceremony from UTECH  today,  Chully couldn't come so we had a celebration for our half, Charles! Betty and Lisa brought over a lovely cake and pies, most welcome after the stingy breakfast!

It was a fun celebration with Charles  who tried  to fool the MC (the regular guy who deals with the music there ) to announce Happy birthday to Betty but the mischief was quickly corrected.

Then Teresa presented him with a book that Barry had brought along entitled " How to use the Internet." Who knows, we may just live long enough to see Charles learning to use the computer as his other half Chully has been computer literate for years now. (My own brother, Bernie, a gynecologist had contemptuously dismissed the idea of using a computer for years, saying he created employment for others to do that job. Then his hospital went paperless in 2012 and he had to go to night school for 6 months to learn about computers, so basically,  he was dragged kicking and screaming into the  twenty first century! lol)

Of course, we could not miss the opportunity to take another group photograph.

Then as usual, despite how strenuous the morning had been, there were the ride backers with Maurice (RB), Omar leading the charge, Omar raring to go and Pat joining them to ride until the support vehicles caught up.  We caught up with her group at Windward road.

We saw another group of RBr's at the bottom of  Mountain View avenue and as we approached the stadium, we saw the lone figure of Barry charging way ahead of the pack as usual.

Those who missed out on today's activities really missed out on a great day of fun and camaraderie.

Photos supplied by Omar Downie.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Battling Hurricanes

We in Jamaica seem set to get a taste of hurricane Sandy which the meteorologists tell us will be a category one hurricane when it hits us later today, Wednesday 24th October 2012. So far, we have been having steady rain since yesterday morning, but nothing catastrophic and I hope it will remain that way.

If it really develops into a hurricane anyway, it can never be a s bad as hurricane Gilbert which was a category 5 hurricane and which totally devastated the island in 1988. I remember it like it was yesterday for as usual, I never make preparations for these hurricanes despite the many warnings. This is because I live in a hurricane zone and every single year of my life , I hear warnings of impending hits by hurricanes and they never come.  So when Gilbert came, I was playing dominoes with my fiends and we never stopped playing until  the lights went.

As I have  slab roof  at home, the damage to the house itself was minimal and my kids, Thor and Michele and I just sat it out playing board games until we were tired. It was the after effects that were terrible  for we never got back light for 6 weeks and of course we had not stocked up on food.

Can you imagine 6 weeks without light? Thank god I have the ability to block our bad memories so I remember very little about how we coped, except that I cannot drink water which is not chilled for I still recall how terrible the warm water we were forced to drink  tasted. That is because we had to boil the water so it got very little opportunity to even cool properly, but I remember very little else.

When I got the real bad hit was with hurricane Gustav in August 2008. As usual, I paid it little attention as it was a Category 1 hurricane but I could have done nothing to prevent the devastation it brought. What caused the problem was my governments refusal to properly maintain the infrastructure.

In my case, my backyard joins a gully. You know as a Realtor, whenever I try to introduce people to a home adjoining a gully, they always resist. I would counter by saying  that I have lived by a gully for almost 30 years and most times didn't even remember that one was behind me.

Well I no longer say that for as we say  here  "What nebba happen in  a year happen in a day" and it is so true. For as I slept peacefully  as Gustav raged outside, my tenant woke me up to say the backyard was full of water. I said fine and went back to sleep. Then he called again and when I looked again, I realised that the greenery had gone from my backyard and what remained was  nothing but water! In a split second I was out of my bed, called my neighbour Sunshine who lives above me on the other side of the road and begged  her to allow me to seek refuge in her home!

 I couldn't sleep the entire night thinking my house would have disappeared into the dirty, gushing water and worse,  I had not even stopped to bring any important documents with me or even any clothes .

The next morning, I timidly returned home and the sight was shocking, for while the house remained unscathed,  the entire backyard had disappeared leaving  only about 3 inches of dirt between the back of my house and the deep chasm that had once been a gully wall. My neighbours on both sides suffered similar fate, though I got the worse of it.

Well thank God, Sandy has now passed after ranting and raging outside for some three or four hours yesterday and all is almost well. I did lose a small fiberglass tile from the roof of my bathroom and water had poured into both the bathroom and bedroom, but that only required me doing some heavy mopping before going to bed last night, with the welcome assistance of some Vodka .  I am one of the lucky ones, for Sandy had damaged the power lines passed, and unlike 70% of electricity users islandwide, I still had power and water.

So whats to complain about? Nothing. However, I pledge to be more prepared next year....... at least taking the warnings seriously! But why, for what could I have done to prevent a small tile form flying off with the wind?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Dominoes lovely Dominoes

Everyone who knows me, knows that dominoes is my favourite indoor sport. So when I was invited to go to Ocho Rios to play on Saturday and Sunday, how on earth could I decline? This poor friend of ours has this huge 8 bedroom house above Uptown golf course and he says he is dying from loneliness so we needed to come and overnight and play dominoes, he said.

How many more returning residents are going to get themselves in this fix? These poor people migrate to the first world with one thought in mind, return home and build the most fabulous home one can conceptualize.  Unfortunately time and time again you see it, they never get to achieve the dream until they get too old to really enjoy it. So the market is full of these huge homes, especially in Mandeville (where the salubrious climate is ultra inviting to those who have lived in the colder climes for too long) which are too big for the average Joe.

Our friend Myrie also fell in to the trap. His wife who was a shopaholic for fine, expensive furniture, went to town in furnishing the huge multi -storey home with the most beautiful, exquisite furniture and paintings that the little heart could desire then only lived less than 18 months to enjoy it. Now he is all alone in it as the kids have no intention of living in Jamaica. Such a pity.

Anyway he put on a domino session on Saturday night and we had a ball in that most fabulous home with a fully stacked bar to die for. And guess what, I dropped a 6 love and did not get any although we play bruk an spoil. (That means we play only for six love for the minute a pair breaks the love trend, we again pose double six and start back from scratch).

On Sunday morning , a couple of us headed for Blue hole, that fabulous swimming area near the JPS hydro plant on top of the hill. However, my urban friends just do not realise that when they are going to the country they must have swimming equipment . Anyway, they came for the walk.

We parked by JPS and started walking up to Blue hole then observed some concrete steps going down towards White river. Naturally we decided to check where it led to an ended up in a virtual garden of Eden with the most lush fauna you could imagine. There was a foot bridge across the White river and in a very small area, 4 nice Blue Hole type swimming areas each with its own waterfall. I  could have sworn I had died and arrived in heaven!

Just beyond the swimming area is a school, a Methodist church and a few houses. If I knew how, I would capture a piece of land there and spend the rest of my life in eternal peace and tranquility! I have to go back there as it is the most beautiful natural environment I have ever seen in ultra-picturesque Jamaica.

Afterwards we returned to dominoes and I dropped another six love.

What else could one ask for in life? Well I got that too, jerk pork to and from Ocho Rios, for as you know the best jerk in  Jamaica is at Grants, just outside of Ewarton.

Boy isn't  life in this country ever so wonderful!

Photograqphs suplied by Gabriel Nain

Monday, October 15, 2012

Another Wonderful Weekend

This National heroes weekend was and absolute blast. On Saturday and Monday we went riding and swimming at Bob Marley beach in Bull Bay. Actually Simpson had wanted to ride to Hellshire on Monday as he lives near Bob Marley beach and complains that when we go there, he barely gets a little ride. But we shouted him  down and suggested that he ride to Kingston to meet us. He did and never met us until he had ridden to the top of Mountain View avenue, so I suspect he will never complain about the length of the ride again lest he be given the same option.
Anyway now that we have discovered Bob Marley, Hellshire is just too crowded and polluted for us! Besides riding to Bull bay is much more fun than riding in the blazing sun on the long, flat stretch to Hellshire   As usual the crazies rode back, but I and I not into dat.

Beautiful Bob Marley beach
Anyway it was great fun both days and the rasta men cooked some nice ital food. Saturday they shorted us a bit with the food but today we got more than enough. Barry created the excitement today when he lost his $50,000 tested, designer sun glasses. We spent a good while searching for it but  no luck. When a $5,000 reward was announced, a professional spear fisherman came with his snorkeling equipment and found it within 20 minutes.

Sunday was the real clincher though as we journeyed to Accompong Town in St. Elizabeth to reconnect with out ancestors. 

While some 50 of us traveled in a JUTC bus, another 25 or so went in a mini bus. Our driver was absolutely competent, pleasant and his music was fantastic as we were entertained by a wide selection of oldies to all the way.

On the way down we stopped at Jucci in Clarendon where Charles had pre-ordered breakfast. The camaraderie in the bus was great and it was smooth sailing until we almost reached Accompong where we encountered some really narrow roads which our big bus had some difficulty with. Desiree created some excitement as she looked over the deep inclines and got out of her seat thinking, I guess, that the bus might catapult down the side of the road. I was sitting on the hill side of the bus and did not see what was creating the problem, but on the return journey, I sat on that side and really didn't see any area that was particularly treacherous , but as they say, different strokes for different folks.

This  beautiful painting of Nanny of the Maroons is in the assembly hall.
When  we got to Accompong, they were ready for us and we got an interesting 10 minute presentation from the colonel, on the history and traditions of the Maroons. They are really well  set for tourism as there is an interesting museum there and an a number of explanatory plaques and statues.

The view from that plateau too is absolutely awesome and I can't recall ever seeing so many little, verdant, warm hills surrounding any one town anywhere else.

We set off for the hike to Cudjoe's grave site after our guide sprinkled white rum and wiped his face with some. (Cudjoe is the leader who led the western Maroons to victory in the fight against the British) .

Unfortunately it started to rain  as we set out and the soil there is extremely muddy so our hike, (despite the trail being shorter and less difficult than the Cuna Cuna trail of the Eastern Maroons) became quite treacherous . I slid and fell at least four times, I hear some lady got so stuck in the mud she had to be pulled out by others, then they rescued her shoes! 

Others less fit were bawling and complaining all the way but I think it was because they were ill prepared for the hike, most not even carrying the basic insect repellent although it was well known that we were going to the Cockpit country, but then that's why they are known as MTR for most never even carried water when they first tried to hike down to the bottom of Lovers leap some time ago!

The champion hiker was of course Penny who though about 7 months pregnant, declared at one point "isn't  this fun" and even offered to carry Verleta's bag as she observed that she was struggling! Stephan carried one child and the guide the other. That family is patterned off the Robinson Crusoe clan.

Crusoe himself with passenger! (A Terry Ann Miller photo)
I  thought it was great walking in the rain but we never got a chance to go to Cudjoe's burial site which is up a hill among the rocks, because of the rain and most people never made it to the "peace cave" which is the site where the British signed the peace treaty with the Maroons, giving them the land and self government as they just could not defeat them. And one could see clearly why the white man got what the duck got for there is no way they could have survived in those hills as the Maroons had the strategic advantage of being above them at all times and having many caves to hide in and ambush the enemy.

The way back was quite easy and when we returned they played the drums for us and did some traditional dances (after doing another ritual of pouring white rum on the floor and wiping their faces with it.) The food was absolutely wonderful too..... stewed pork, curried goat, run dung, fried chicken, rice and peas and lots of ground provisions.

 Part of the plan was to go back to  the Maggoty water fall and swim. From we were going past it however, I declared I was not swimming since it was the rainy season  and the river looked really  muddy. It seems everyone else had that thought for when it was said that it was too late for us to stop there, no one protested. Some of us wanted to hike down the hill anyway but were over ruled by the Ayatollah. Howie, Richard  Sharon and myself did start out on foot anyway but before we had covered two miles we were caught up by the buses and had to board.

The drive back was great, rum punch flowing from Bernadette's stash and I had already had my fill of Vodka and coconut water with Howie, Fatman etc. The absolutely wonderful selection of oldies that our driver brought along was competing with the loud chatting and laughter and a few snores but that made the journey even more interesting.

Can't wait for the next hike.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Bob Marley Beach

Today I discovered Bob Marley Beach. Oh yes, it has been around for a long time and lots of people knew about it, but I discovered it today. Discovered  it like how Columbus discovered Jamaica,  America etc. Lots of people have a problem with the statement about Columbus discovering far flung lands as they correctly ascertain that there were other people living in those lands when Columbus got there. But the dictionary  meaning of discover includes " see, get knowledge of, learn of, find, or find out;......" so he did indeed discover these lands. So I too discovered Bob Marley beach.

It is  located in St. Thomas just pass the police station in Bull Bay. Charles Simpson discovered it before we did and he took us there this morning after the ride and breakfast. We were scouting it out for a ride next Saturday and luckily I was able to borrow a bathing suit from Betty for I would have had a fit if I did not have the opportunity to swim.

In terms of South eastern St. Thomas beaches, it is by far the best I have ever seen. To begin with it, it was calm and unlike those around Copa and Brooks Park etc it was not rough and does not have a current. Also, unlike th beaches along that strip, it is really shallow, no moving from 2 feet to 6 feet drops immediately like those other beaches.

Down there  you see quite as few fishing boats and fishermen who are ready to cater meals. Best thing though, they have bathrooms and wash off facilities for a  small fee. When I asked how I could "capture" some land around there, I was told that the area is actually owned by a Mr. Chin who  they say was a contemporary of Bob Marley  (so am I!) and they claim he has papers and has done surveys in the area. I still think it looks like government land and a public fisherman's beach but who am I to start contradicting those whom live there and are making a living from the sea!

Anyway, next week we will be riding there, having breakfast and swimming in those clean, calm,unpolluted waters and hopefully I will have pictures to post to show the world my latest discovery.

Eat your heart out Columbus for I too am in the discovering business!~

Monday, October 1, 2012

Its All Over

There was a time not too long ago when people  living in rural Jamaica either refused to travel to the capital city Kingston or when urgent business required them to do so, they would conduct said business and return to their peaceful  neck of the woods immediately.

This shunning of the capital was due to the high crime rate, especially violent crime.  However now, hardly  a day passes without you hearing the most savage reports coming out of once peaceful districts in rural areas. I
think my first  realisation of this new trend came a few weeks ago  when  the parish of St.James, where you find the tourism capital of Jamaica, Montgeo bay, had the highest per capita number of murders. Hardly had the ink dried on that report before we were hearing of mob killing and injury of innocent people in remote Zion , Trelawany, the home invasion of and murder of a female farmer in quiet, peaceful district of self sufficient st. Elizabeth , the home invasion in quiet Mandeville at the residence of the former Mayor, the doubling of the incidence of rape in Clarendon and over the weekend,  the invasion of the market and the gun slaying of two men in the bustling Browns Town, in the salubrious hills of st. Ann . Of course the rape of the five women including three children  in St. James just confirms that this parish is going to the dogs in  terms of violence.

The first duty of any government is to ensure a safe and secure environment for its citizens but not even that principal task can be achieved by this regime and to add insult to injury, there is no leadership offering hope or even the slightest promise that they have clue how to deal with  the terrible scourge of crime overwhelming the country.

Yes I wore b,lack last Friday but no to protest against the report of just another brutal atrocity, but rather to mourn for my country and the  dismal future we have carved out for our children.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Violence in Jamaica

Violence in Jamaica has become so entrenched over the years that sometimes new acts just go over our heads, as a means of self preservation I guess. For  really, if we allowed ourselves to react to every  new atrocity,  isn't it possible that this country would have nothing but mad people roaming around?

This latest incident is just too wicked, cold blooded and vicious to not elicit some reaction however (even from a stolid prime minister who seems to  think that if she condemns evil in the society or expresses outrage about anything, she could lose that valuable thing called power!)

I am here referring to the chopping to death of Donovan Hazley of Zion Hill in Trelawny and the injury to his 18 year old daughter. This apparently arose from the unfortunate drowning of 7 year old Alex Brown and 10 year old Javani Brown. These young fellows, from all reports, drowned in the Martha Brae river but for some strange reason the residents have convinced themselves that they were killed after allegedly being buggered by a relative of of Mr. Hazley. Even if this were true, why attack the step father and his daughter?

As severe as the loss of the children was, even if they did not die by accident as the reports indicate, murdering innocent people just cannot be accepted.

I hope the authorities will leave no stone unturned (Why does that phrase sound so hollow in this one of the top 5 murder capitals of the world?) to bring to justice those who murdered Mr. Hazley, destroyed the family's home and put his 18 year old daughter in the hospital. And if by chance the two young children were indeed murdered, every step should be taken to bring their assailants to justice.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Politics and Education

Jamaican politics never ceases to keep us entertained for nothing is really as it appears.
Take the latest brouhaha which has led to dreadlocked Member of Parliament Damion Crawford almost being crowned  a national hero by all us us (me included) because we saw him as young David fighting against the Goliath of corrupt old time politics.

This is because we have been led to believe that the contention in his constituency has been caused solely by his decision to use his Constituency Developement Fund ($15 million) to educate children in his constituency which has the 2nd lowest literacy rate in the country.

Now that true research has been done (congrats to the Gleaner newspaper) it turns out that he is not even spending half of his allocation on education!

So the big question now is, where is the rest of the money going? He needs not only to tell his councillors but us his former supporters as well!!

For his constituency has some of the most treacherous and badly maintained roads in  the island and he certainly needs to dedicate some of the almost $10 million left  to deal with this problem.

Come young Crawford, now that the scales have been removed from our eyes, we need to get a full accounting of how the CDF is being spent in  East Rural St. Andrew. In fact, lets not keep it within narrow boundaries, for all Members of parliamentary should tell the hard pressed taxpayer where each $15 million goes each year, lest we have to agree with the Gleaner that there is indeed a huge pork barrel hidden under the propaganda.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Working Behind the Scenes

I don't know what "working behind the scenes" means in other countries, but in Jamaica it is a cover for doing nothing. Check this.

On the 3rd April, the Gleaner carried a front page story about the Mayor of Kingston  and St. Andrew (KSAC) Angella Brown Burke being sworn in and it begun "Promises to tackle rats as first order of business...........
Anastasia Cunningham, News Coordinator
"As her first order of business, newly elected mayor of Kingston, Angela Brown-Burke says she would be working with the relevant agencies to undertake an intensive clean up campaign in the municipality, as well as implement a permanent solution to the problem of rodent infestation. " However, on the 12th September on page 2, the same Gleaner carried a story about the Supreme Court of Jamaica  which is located in the heart of downtown being overtaken by rats!!!
On the 23rd August, Arthur Hall of the Gleaner, wanting to find out why the KSAC was so silent, interviewed the mayor and guess what she said?
"I'm one of those persons who likes to talk about things when they are almost done because there has been so much talk and so many announcements that people have become cynical," said Brown Burke.
"So part of what I want to do is the behind-the-scenes work and talk with our partners ... to have the kind of discussions that get us somewhere," she added.
Another politician who likes to tell us that her silence is due to them fact that she is also working behind the scenes,  is  Prime Minister, Portia Simpson Miller. 
I wonder what her exposure will be about?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Chacka Chacka Mandeville

                                                 Chacka Chacka Mandeville

I hate bureaucracy. In fact, if  I had the power, I would  install large billboards all over Jamaica, saying "Bureaucracy is hazardous to your health". For if you take bureaucrats seriously, you must end up with high blood pressure!

Check this. On Sunday I was in Mandeville, capital city of the parish of  Manchester and as it was lunch time, I decided to stick to the evil I know and head to Jucci Beef for lunch. Thank god they did not serve lunch at that branch for as I was leaving I went to the rest room. Biggest mistake of my life for outside of a pit toilet,  have never smelt anything so foul and the floor was covered with water.

On Monday I decided to call the public health authorities in Mandeville for them to send an inspector there. Guess what they told me? They could not take a report over the phone as I must come in person to make the report!!!
Now understand this, it is the job of public health authorities to ensure that all public places are hygienic and I imagine, even more so, those serving food. Now they are always complaining about shortage of staff, so shouldn't they be happy to get information that could assist them to target particular places since they cant cover all?

Oh no, such thinking is just too logical for bureaucrats I guess,  so if I do not wish to travel some 60 miles to make a report, this restaurant will most likely continue to operate in an insanitary manner. As I related this to a friend she laughed and said  I was lucky they did not tell me that in addition to coming in personally, I would have to fill in  six copies of  the complaint forms!

Oh poor Jamaica. If this country does not sink under the burden of unnecessary bureaucracies, we will be lucky.

On another  note, I had not been into that  town for probably 15 years, but my memory of  it was that it was a clean and ascetically pleasing place . Not any more for  it seems over the years it has been developing in a most chacka chacka manner and everything looks run down and disjointed.

I am no fan of the parish council system which I consider redundant, but every time I express that concern, I am told that  "Town Planning' is their major function. Well if what is happening to Mandeville and has happened to St. Andrew, Montego Bay,  Port Antonio, Ocho Rios and Port Maria,  are examples of effective town planning, dawg nyam wi suppa.

Monday, August 27, 2012

We Don't Need The Caribbean Court of Justice

As we  in Jamaica celebrate our fiftieth year as an independent nation, why can't we get it right?

Here we are rightly moving full speed to get rid of the monarchy and all other vestiges of that system including the privy council, then what do we do? Opt to make another external entity, the CCJ our final court!!

I make no bones about the fact that I am no regionalist and I totally respect for the decision that the people made in 1961 and therefore object strongly to all the moves being made to establish federation through the back door. The plain truth however is that all the attempts over the years have not worked for look at how Jamaicans are treated when they go to the other islands.

Just this week too I heard someone from the private sector on radio saying that their organisation has just set about doing been a cost benefit analysis of our relationship with Caricom. I suppose if we did not have a trade deficit of close to a billion dollars, they would  never have seen this as a basic necessity.

The fact is, Caricom only benefits the politicians and bureaucrats who gather to have a whale of a time at the various talk shops as they make decisions that affect our lives adversely and make no attempt to explain the implications of these decisions.

As far as I am concerned it was nothing but the anti-Jamaican bias that is prevalent in the region which led to not even one Jamaican judge being selected to sit on the CCJ when it was first established although we had to pay the largest fraction of the initial costs.

Anyway, the fact is we have extremely qualified and competent jurists right here and if we are really interested in true independence, as we talk about divorce from the Privy council, we would not be looking at half steps but would move full speed ahead to deal with the matter properly and in the interest of the Jamaican people, as part of our 50th anniversary celebrations.

  Let us have our own final court of appeal right here and what the heck, we can hire judges from other territories if the need arises, as it does in other professions from time to time.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

It's Not That I Am lazy!

Gosh, I really haven't don't a blog for a such long long time and people have been asking me why i have gotten so lazy. Its not that I have become lazy or am no longer inspired to write, but I have taken on this project and its killing me.

Oh yes it will pay massive dividends in the long run but I often despair about when I will finish. You see I have decided to turn my two best selling books Tour Jamaica and the Original Dancehall Dictionary into e-books and man it means transcribing them from Publisher to Word and of course editing and updating as I go along.

Of course the first great benefit is that I will say bye bye forever to printers, those unreliable and inefficient creatures and of course it will be so much easier to update the publications.

So back to the grindstone for as we say a Yard; If yu waan good yu nose haffi run.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Big Versus Small

As I get older, I have  come to understand how much Size Matters.
Got you didn't I?.

I am actually rt\referring to the size of countries for i have now become become addicted  to small countries. Not too small like Cayman or St. Kitts, but small like Jamaica.  You see, too small has its disadvantages, the worst being that everyone knows your business!

Jamaica is  just the perfect size for me. Its big enough and the city large enough that your business can remain your business and  if one wants to go anywhere at all in this beautiful island, maximum travel time?  4 hours. Imagine 4 hours from big city to a perfect hide away, or a wonderful white sand beach or a challenging mountain. And that is if you do not want to fly.

On the other hand, in big countries like Guyana, Brazil or the USof A, everywhere you want to go to takes a lot of planning, a lot of trouble and a lot of money. Sure you can fly, but who really wants the hassle of airports and security more than one has to?

Thank God for putting me in the most beautiful country in the world and the perfect size to boot. 

Friday, August 3, 2012

Caymanas River

Caymanas River in St. Catherine is probably one of Kingston's best kept secrets. For despite the fact that this lovely place to swim and pleasantly pass the time, is only around 15 minutes  drive from Half- Way Tree, not many persons wanting to cool off, go there.

Those who visit regularly are  persons wanting to be baptised. I don't know how the tradition started, but apparently in  "Christian Jamaica," there is this myth that there is something spiritual about those waters, hence on weekends there is a constant trek by Christians, mainly travelling in buses, to go there and do what John The Baptist said was necessary to enter the kingdom of heaven.

Dipping to get the holy spirit
So anxious are some religious leaders are to pass on the spirit, that one Sunday when I was there, one offered to baptise me there and then, no preparation whatever!!!!!

The area did go through a very bad spell some years ago because some '"bright men from the community decided to start charging people who went there. Apparently this because so lucrative, that they started to fight over the spoils leading to the death by some 9 persons in a very short period of time.

This then forced the owners, the government owned Urban Development Corporation to step in and fence off the area and provide security.

After a while they seem to have withdrawn and now the community has taken over the attraction (I doubt that they have a legitimate lease however) and are running it nicely.

They now provide secure parking, there are people sweeping sand keeping the place clean as a whistle and divers and children remove the seaweed from the swimming areas leaving it really clean, beautiful and perfect for swimming, .

 In addition shops have sprung up offering all you need on such occasions and of course there is the blaring music to keep you up to date with the latest dance hall hits. 

I just hope it remains like this, a good progressive community money earning effort and never again regresses to the stage where some violent idiot with a gun tries to control it all and spoil it for all of us.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

R. Kelly Sucks

I really don't think Jamaica needs R. Kelly.

The first time he came here, he dropped his pants on stage. Big disrespect or should I say, no big thing!

Then last year he should have come for I think it was Jazz Festival and he dropped out at the last minute. But guess what? Coco Tea substituted for him and did a fantastic job, much better crowd response than Kelly would have received.

Don't get me wrong. I think he is extremely talented but seems to have too many issues.

I wanted to see Shabba at Sumfest (who I hear brought down the house) more than him, but unfortunately, I could not get there Friday night so had to settle for Saturday night when Kelly was the head- liner.

Well to begin with, he was almost an hour late and did not even bother to apologise, instead saying he was a bit tipsy as he had been on the beach drinking. Very irresponsible and disrespectful. Then his 45 minute performance was no big thing, only a few of his many hits near the end.

On the other hand, Juniour Gong, Christopher Martin and Protege were excellent all the way and so was a new upcoming artist called Concious.

I am not at all chauvinistic so I don't mind listening to  and watching foreign artists at these events but I think we have had enough of R. Kelly.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

THAT GAY RODEO...(Bun fya Sizzla!)

I love gay men for I  generally find them to be the nicest, kindest and most considerate men around and most importantly they tend yo be great cooks.

I am talking about real gay men though, not the ACDC's who jump from pillar to post and have brought aids into female circles. Those I have no use for.

So when I heard they were having a gay rodeo at Jefferson fairgrounds in Colorado, you know who had to go.  (Evangelical christians, eat your hearts out!)

 I expected to see a lot of this, but didn't!!

Actually I have never seen a real rodeo, so even if it was not promoted as one being put on by the gay rodeo association, I would probably have gone, since it was just at Golden, only about 15 miles out of town.

Of course I had expected to see the men exotically decked out,  most likely in women outfit. Well I was disappointed, for apart from two who I saw dressed as women and the one above,  all others were in cowboy outfits. And while it was promoted as a gay event, the vast majority of people I saw there were male gay couples, about 95%, with only a small number of lesbian couples. My daughter thought we could pass as a lesbian couple with me being the sugar momma and she the boopsie. lol. (We did see one or two who appeared to be such!)

The odd couples there were of course the heterosexual ones and they were only a few and an even smaller number of families.

When Michele asked one of the attendants if it was ok to leave her daughter's stroller at the bottom of the stairs, he laughed and said it was safe as gay couples don't have children. (He seems to forget that some do adopt kids.)

Looking around at the couples there destroyed some of my myths, for I always thought that one of the male partners would always look effeminate, but I saw a profusion of male couples where they both looked like he men (an absolute waste) but that really got my imagination running to hell.

There were not too many black people there (Colorado is only 4% black anyway) and of the 42 members of the organising committee who were introduced, only one was a blak man and he actually did some riding in the precision event.  However, I saw a black man with locks coming in with his white partner and wondered what Sizzla would have sung ( or DJ'd ) if he saw that. lol.

I was curious as to why they were having a gay rodeo instead of the gay people entering the regular rodeo and although I asked three persons who appeared to be part of the organisation, none could give me an answer. (I subsequently learnt that at a regular rodeo, one is required to stay on the raging bull for a minimum of 8 minutes. Obviously from what I saw, these men would not qualify hence they started their own!) Anyway, this was the 30th time the gay rodeo association was holding and event and this time they were joined by persons from the Canadian and Mexican associations.

 I found it all curious since if it was not promoted as a gay event, no one would have known, for they operated like all the other rodeos I have seen on television. I guess I had expected them to at least be in wigs and dresses, riding a kicking bull, but no such luck. The only difference I saw was that none stayed on very long on the raging more that about 2 seconds at the most. 

 Who am I  to judge anyway,  since my experience with rodeos s watching Chuck Connors in Walker Texas Ranger and you know, since it's television,  he stays on the back of the raging bull forever!

It was quite a pleasant and interesting day although I did take umbrage to the fact that because I had no identification, I was told I could not visit the bar tent. I would have been on top of the world if the age requirement was 50 and over, but because it was 21, I thought it totally ridiculous. I can only assume that they must have concluded that we were not gay and did not want us to go into the liquor tent after the show to observe their shenanigans while under the influence !

Sunday, July 15, 2012

No Berka for Me.

Every now and then when I listen or read the news, I say to myself, thank God I was born in Jamaica.

This is in reaction to hearing about the trials and tribulations some women have to live with because of culture, religion etc.  However, rarely do I reflect on how men feel about some situations, but then,  why should I, after all, I ain't no man!

Anyway the other day I was at the pool with my daughter and granddaughter when Michele pointed out a family in the pool to me.

There were two small kids who meshed in beautifully with every one else, but guess what, not only did the mom have on a Berka, but she was fully clad to from head to foot...... long sleeves and all.

Well I have often seen Arab women on the streets dressed like that but had never considered that they had to go into swimming pools fully clad.

I also learnt that not only cant they expose flesh, but no hair either, so the Berka was tied at the back around the hair so then even when she went underwater, no hair showed. She looked quite happy while there I was  feeling sorry for her. I guess when you are born in a culture and live that way all my your life, it just comes naturally.

That's when I started to think like man at home in Jamaica,  for many men there, go to the beach and pools just to feast their eyes on flesh. 

We laughed as we discussed what Jamaican men would do if a similar dress code applied to women at home.

But it couldn't really because for Jamaican women it would be death before dishonour!

Actually, recently I read where a woman, somewhere in Canada, went to court to go topless, because no one bothers men when they do  that, so she claimed discrimination.

Actually, when I reincarnate, if that is not the law in the place where I am born, I will be going to court  too, to file a similar suit!

You see I already have many plans for my next life all sorted out. lol.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

A Lovely Reunion

I dont think aunt Bell will ever forget her 85th birthday on Wednesday 4th July 2012.

Some time ago, talking to my daughter Michele, we decided we were going to stop only seeing family when they got sick or in the coffin. So we would start with aunt Bell in Canada, who was our oldest living relative on my side.

I actually thought she would be 90 years old in 2012 since my late mother would have been 100 this year and I could have sworn aunt Bell was 10 year her juniour .
Anyway, she disabused me quickly.

The plan was for me to travel up to Ontario from Jamaica and Michele and family from Denver and  we would all surprise her for her birthday. One problem was that aunt Bell never stays home as Canada is very old people friendly and for the same price, the bus company sends special vehicles for the elderly. So we had to figure out how to find her at home on her birthday.

Knowing how she just loves mangoes, I called her from Jamaica to say a friend was coming to Canada and I would be sending mangoes for her birthday  I wanted to know when she would be at home on the 4th. She asked me the name of the friend and we arranged for 11am.

On the 4th we got Donnie to call her to tell her he had brought up the mangoes and would be coming over. He arranged to meet at her independent living retirement home at 12 noon.

When we arrived we saw her on the patio waiting but we were about 15 minutes late. While Michele and Devin got out the baby, I went ahead to surprise her but by then she had gone back upstairs.
Madelyn at Red Lobster
Luckily there was another old lady in the lobby and she let me in through the security door and I called aunt Bell's apartment...twice, only voice mail. Apparently she got in just after I left a message saying I was downstairs and not expecting me, she did not even recognise my voice.

 When she got out of the elevator downstairs you could see the absolute shock on her face when she saw me and although she speaks to Madelyn daily, she never met either her or her daddy Devin. So she thought the other people in the lobby were visitors to other residents until Michele greeted her.

 He surprise was overwhelming and I told her that she should pinch herself as we were really there and she was not dreaming.

 When we went upstairs, we discovered that our chatty mouth family, Michelle, my daughter in law  and Bernie, my brother, nearly gave away the surprise. for Michelle had called her to wish her happy birthday in the morning and asked her if we were there yet and Bernie had also called and asked if she had gotten the mangoes yet!

Anyway as she had no idea we were coming, she did not connect the dots and was really overwhelmed to see us.

We then asked her where she wanted to go to lunch and she said Red Lobster. At the restaurant, when they heard it was her birthday, they brought her ice cream with one single candle in it and staff and manager sang happy birthday.

Coincidentally, the manager is from Barbados and we had a long chat. He is also Rhianna's cousin and says she has gotten very snotty since she has become famous and just the week before, another cousin got married and she sent a text message and did not attend. Anyway, he said,  her mom was there he said and apologized for her.
Aunt Bell at Red Lobster
It was a wonderful day all around and one aunt Bell will never forget as long as she lives....and I hope she lives for many many more years.