Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Yeahmon, We Are Back from Jamaica!

We are back from Jamaica, where my sister recently married Darrel, a native Jamaican. As to be expected, there is lots to share in this post, so grab a drink or snack and settle in for a while!

Jamaica - It's a beautiful country.  Everywhere you look there is green, tropical vegetation, vibrant blooms and colors with a beautiful sea surrounding it's borders.  That being said, I've never experienced 230% humidity, like I did in this country.  It was brutal. I learned something new though, the way to battle the humiditiy stickiness - baby powder.  Makes sense, can't believe I never thought of it.

The Language - I saw this guide to common phrases you may need to use or hear in the Jamaican language.  It cracks me up because it nails down exactly what you hear from the natives.

The Government - I continually heard that the government is corrupt which is reflected in the poverty that is rampant in the country. This picture of Nathan is with a local police officer, I couldn't tell if he was corrupt or not - hahaha!

I happen to catch this impassioned soundbite from Darell's Aunt discussing the changes she has seen take place in Jamaica during her lifetime. 

The Food - Admittedly, we were squeamish and nervous about the local cuisine of Jamaica but we ate a number of local dishes and could not have been more pleasantly surprised at how flavorful the food was.  The picture above is Ackee and Saltfish, Jamaica's national dish - it's breakfast.  Ackee is a fruit but has the texture of and tastes like scrambled eggs. Mixed in with fish, which I typically can't stand, yet this was so tasty, I could totally stand it.  

Another dish that Greg and I tried and this one is really out of our comfort zone - goat.  I swear, it tasted like beef stew - actually more tender than beef!  There were other yummy dishes that we tried, some that I'll even try to recreate.  So let it be known, Jamaican food is good!

Special Case Note: There is a short list of people that have requested that Greg taste something and were successful.  Me-spinach artichoke dip. Nana (Greg's grandmother)-Wassail.  Now, Darrel, who got Greg to try the two dishes above.  :O)

The Villa - This is where we spent our 3 nights, 2 days in Jamaica.  It was breathtakingly gorgeous.

This was one of the balconies, where we spent a majority of our time. 

This was our view from the balcony.

Just a few pictures of us at the villa...

Duns River Falls - On Saturday, Darrel & Naomi took family and friends to this local attraction, over 600 feet of natural cascading waterfalls.  The water runs into the ocean, creating a mixture of warm and cold water as you swim by the beach.

Here is our group at the base of the waterfalls. 

Greg and Nathan stayed behind while our group climbed the falls.  Darrel and Jason (taking the pictures) helped us all navigate the falls, guiding us where to step.

Jason caught this picture of me right as I was saying "We are CRAZY for doing this." because at times the path was seriously treacherous.  We could have easily been swept away by the powerful current of water, it was scary yet exhilarating.

My brother and sister at the top of the falls.

Personally, it was one of the best experiences of my life. Except I didn't make it to the top.  At the halfway point, I went back to the beach to join Nathan and Greg.  The experience was thrilling yet unfulfilled, so I'm hoping to return one day and make it to the top for myself!

Check this out, while we were at the falls Darrel picked up an almond that has fallen from a tree, underneath this casing is the shelled almond.