Smell the Hibiscus
The visit was educational, enlightening, fun, interesting, and somewhat horrifying. Board houses, out door kitchens, out door showers and not the romantic ones at Catcha and SeaGrape, but the real down south concrete building, with a door that sits to the side, when you went to take a shower, you lean the door across the opening, so it won't fall, put your towel/ sarong over the leaning door, wait I said shower, but what it really is, is a bucket bath. You know the big red baskets we do our hand laundry in, come in all colors actually, run your water from the faucet outside the lean to door, set it on the floor or a ledge and proceed to wash your heated body, of course in cold water. I don't know where my mind was, but I'm washing my locs and then my body, I turn around looked in the yard next door and there was a woman feeding her dogs, and hens, she looked over spoke and kept right on doing what she was doing looking down I realise that according to how tall you are all of your business could be on the street, half mine was out there, I hurried and finished with my back turned, wanting to apologize to the lady for the shock of such abundance. Did I say outhouse? When I spoke to a friend about it I told how, not so unpleasant it smelled, and she told me to find out what they use because the ones she has been around are horrible after a few days. Takes some getting used to, but adapt, assimilate, my new mantra, learn it, live it, love it.
Cooking on the cook Pot in the kitchen, which was a room in the concrete building on the other side of the 'shower' the best fried chicken, fried fish, rice. Doesn't matter where or how you cook as long as you can cook which is true for most of the people who have cooked for me, I'm getting pretty good at it myself, Jamaican cooking.
The yard it self is a work in progress, interesting to see something new each time, when I dreamed, something similar to this was what I saw, but with more flowers and food trees. But planting a garden, and trees is no big feat, and can be done. How pretty my Hibiscus will grow.
There was a nine night while we were there and we went to it, and on Sunday we went up to Salt River for the day, small but nice, more a local family spot old, young and in between. Young men and women courting, old men and women making out, no, but it was sweet, and babies and small children enjoying the day with their parents and friends.
On the way home from Clarendon there were just the two of us, I was taken the back route the one I should have taken days before, going toward Alligator Pond for dinner in Lil Ochi, past Milk River, Alligator hole, Guts River, to Alligator Pond, we got to Lil Ochi and picked our fish, got it weighed in, told them how we wanted it cooked, got drinks, and found a table, near the water, to people watch, gaze out into the sea, and just marinate while we waited for our food to be prepared, Lil Ochi is one of those places that's a good place for a meal while on that side when you have gone to Lover's Leap, Treasure Beach, or just a nice place for a long leisurely ride to see some of the country side.Locals and tourists equally combined having a delicious meal.
After this great meal we proceeded on heading for home through Gutters to St Elisabeth, problem, it was dark by the time we made it over so we pulled into the family yard and were detained, till the next day. Another out side, everything, so the sister in law decided that I should come up and stay with her, or at the least come up for a hot shower, ok. I am a rather shy person and the idea of being on display for an entire family was uncomfortable, we pulled into her yard and at least 20 young people and kids were hanging out, all eyes on me, the entire family came into the bathroom with me for introductions, had to be shooed out, the best hot shower in my life, cold showers are ok but hot, much better.
It is amazing the things I have always taken for granted, hot bath, inside kitchen, etc, but there was no indication that it mattered to them one way or the other as long as it gets the job done. A family, hard working, decent, Law abiding, God loving people. I really am trying to learn to accept the simple things, not sweat the small things, and just enjoy it as I go, come what may. No rose colored glasses, just acceptance of a reality. I admonish myself that this is no game this is my reality, as most folks say, we can always go back to where we came, it is an option, but not for a long time. Not for me. This place can bring you back to a simple reality that makes you sit back and humble and mindful.
These people gave up their beds for me, shared food from the family pot with me, offered friendship and kinship and have never asked for anything, I look forward every time we've been back.
The jaded side of me says yeah right, are the friendships real, well you know what, does not matter, I am gaining so much, good and bad and if its good just for this season, I am still blessed.
Leaving the next morning after tea, we dropped off the ladies at Santa Cruz for the weekly shopping, they own a likkle shop, full of everything, scoops to nuts, every thing you might need. heading towards Negril through Font Hill, Whitehouse, for fish and bammy, to Bluefeilds Bay to the beach,to eat our meal and then play,(for me)and swim and rinse the fish smell from our hands, theres a stand a little past Belmont with fruit and live plants, never stopped before, decided to this time, I went past but made a U turn and went back, the joy of being your own driver, go back and see the things you missed. I picked four potted plants, brought peanuts, watermelon, and sour sop. If I must say so my plants on my veranda look mighty fine. on to Sav to pick up some items and then on to Negril.
I was feeling pretty good until we saw the dent on the front bumper, but long story short it only cost the price of the parts and labor. Parts 6000 JMD $71.00 US and labor $3000 JMD $35.00 US I had no part in the negotiations, but the owner insisted I go with him so that I would know what things cost and not feel cheated. $100.00 parts and labor to fix a bent fender. Yep I am Blessed.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”