In 1995-6 I had a job house sitting in Jamaica, this was on the south coast, pretty quiet back then.
The villa I looked after was about 4 miles from the village of Treasure Beach, kinda laid back, no electricity, a wind turbine gave enough juice for a few lights at night….that was if I got any wind.
My wife got me the job, she & another teacher used to take 18-20 senior high school students down to Manderville, Jamaica for 2 months every winter, on the weekends they would take them to a beach.
The kids hit the beach, the teachers went to the bar for a (coke), hey, I’m just telling what I was told, it could have been coke!!
So there they are at this bar and get talking to a chap, it seems he has to go back to Canada ( Fort MacMurray, Alberta ) for a few months and needs someone to look after his house.
I guess my wife wanted me out our house, because she thought of me right away, and I wasn’t working at the time so………………..
I get a call on March 26th 1995, am I interested in spending a few months in paradise, was kind of a no-brainer….duh
A week later I was soaking up those rays.
This blog will be about my time in paradise, I learned things no tourist would ever get to know, I kept a daily journal for the first 5 months.
I’ve always being going to write the story, I figured it would be interesting to folks, its a little bit of insight into Jamaican life.
I’ll be putting down these words from time to time, so just keep tuned in.
April 5th 1995: Left home at 4:30 am about 5" of snow on the ground, still snowing, -10c, arrived Toronto at 6:30 am.
No problem with customs ( remember this was pre. 9/11) flight left at 10:05 am, Air Canada.
Good flight down, arrived Kingston Jamaica 12:56, stepped off plane into 32c, hot, steamy and windy, no problems going though customs, about an hour!
Did I mention it was HOT!!
Met my driver “Mad Bertie” he was taking me to Manderville…………
Impressions of Kingston : packed humanity, garbage, dirty, noisy, mega traffic, diesel fumes, smells, hot and steamy.
Settled in for a 3 hour drive, but first a stop on the outskirts to have refreshment ( Red Stripe beer ) and pick up Hopeta & Eric more passengers, after about an hour settled in for the drive.
So its a 2 lane road, but if there happens to be a deep pothole ( and there are lots of deep ones, in some of them you almost need a map just to get through, LOL) on one side, all the traffic moves into the oncoming lane to get around regardless of whats coming, hairy to say the least!!
At one point there’s a kid on a skateboard hanging onto the back of a truck, trucks doing about 5o mph, held on for about a mile, then let go and disappeared into a side street.
Stopped about halfway for a bite & a beer or two, after an hour, continued on our journey into the heart of paradise.
Arrived at the guest house where Jude (wife ) and the students were staying in Manderville alive and very tired.
Spent the night, tomorrow heading for Treasure Beach to meet mine host, Gerry Mosley.
First night in paradise, just getting used to the heat, smells ( all good ), strange sounds.
5:30 am got a wake-up call from a variety of wildlife, turkeys, roosters, dogs, numerous birds, donkeys etc.
Sat on the porch and tried take take in paradise, tastes smells, sounds, all this to the background of early morning rain falling on the mountainous landscape.
After breakfast went over to meet a friend of Hal ( other teacher )and Judes, her name is Yolander and she is a going concern, working with the students and the community.
She was doing her Easter baking, making Easter Bun, its something like Christmas fruit cake, made with molasses, it is melt in the mouth good, she seemed to be making enough for the entire island.
Is often served with cheese, saltfish and ackee, loaded up on food and headed to Treasure Beach.
Heading for Treasure Beach.
When coming out of Manderville there is a stretch of road for about 5 miles that is smooth has silk, after that its once again pothole central.
Finally Treasure Beach and I meet mine host Gerry Mosley, I think we hit it off, time will tell!
Gerry’s place is 4 miles from TB, its built on a small cliff, 20’ from and 30’ above the sea, there is about a quarter mile of beach, and lots of coral.
The villa is two bedrooms with a roofed area between which makes a kind of living area, has with all buildings here ( except for resorts ) all openings and windows are covered with re-bar (steel rods).
The reason for this is that anything left unprotected is fair game (fact of life here).
So back to the villa, the property is fenced, with a locked gate at the road, Gerry has three dogs Pluto, Moonshine and Star, a cat, 8 chickens, a dozen pigeons, a veggie garden that never really produced, (too dry, this whole area of Jamaica is semi-arid with lots of Prickly Pear cactus, not much water, except for rain now and then) two banana trees which were good producers.
Friday, April 7th:
Get up at 5:30am ( its hard to sleep any later, there is no dusk or dawn here, there’s only day or night, and its always hot, no AC here.)
Put kettle on for tea, flame under coffee pot, stove is propane ( 2 × 100 lb canisters) feed dogs corn meal and molasses, bit of milk for cat, cat eats whatever he catches!
At evening dogs get same has morning, cat gets fish, grain for chickens, pigeons, also collect eggs . Later on there are other chores to do like, filling propane, pumping water from well to holding tank on roof, clearing beach of shrubs, building steps to beach.
I tell people about my mornings, get up, do chores, go for a swim in the Caribbean Sea, have breakfast, relax, have a Red Stripe, check time, its 6:30 am, lol.
We walked & hitched to TB, there is no transportation, if we need to go into Black River, we get a ride or sometimes borrow a truck.
At Miss Myra’s ( small shop and bar) had a couple of Red Stripe.
Meet “Daddy” interesting Cuban gentleman, his wife is in Cuba, he’s called Daddy by everyone because he has lots of Jamaican children from various mothers.
Not that it makes him a bad person, he’s really a nice guy, and he supports them!
Daddy has a truck, so we head over to Miss Julies (small eatery) closer to TB, Julie is from New York city, being here for 10 years, came down on holiday, never went back, had jerk goat, meat patty and few Red Stripe.
Daddy drove us back to the house about 2pm, came in for a couple of drinks, left about 11pm.
Tomorrow’s only my 2nd day in paradise, at this rate the beer may not last!1
More later….stay tuned.