May 30th: The beauty of Jamaica

The other day I was out at night driving in the city and while I was simply staring at the lights and the buzzing of cars, God knows what was on my mind, I heard a familiar noise. Not so familiar that I’m accustomed to hearing it, but it was just a potent memory of what was once familiarity. When I was a little girl this whistle was like hearing the ice cream truck in the summer days. “I know that sound, they are selling peanuts”. In that breath, my friend signaled the man and there I saw the familiar cart. He pulled out a neatly rolled up carton and when I undid the top, I poured out delicious warm peanuts and tossed them in my mouth. May I add here that I was on my way to Strawberry hills again?

The experience was equally as good as the first time- except we spent part of our time by a fireplace. Yes, Jamaica even have fireplaces! It gets cold in the mountains. Somehow this strawberry hills story sounds like “another world” because the way one would picture Jamaica is certainly not in the painting of fireplaces, elegant restaurants that serves exquisite meals, and beautiful spas.

Earlier that day, I walked into this haven of solitude. One turn off a busy street and into a quiet sanctuary where birds are chirping and palm trees are everywhere. Walking along pavements lined with flowers and into the reception area, we are greeted by friendly staff. We placed our order and minutes later we are climbing staircases to relaxation. Somehow it got quieter and the air may have gotten cleaner. Another garden lined the second floor of the building. And by the time, I removed my shoes and entered into the chambers of solitude, it got even quieter. I followed the instructions given by the masseuse and waited. I fell deep in thought- thoughts of how life can be so perfect, and wishing that life could just stay this way. I allowed myself to just lay in total surrender and allowed the masseuse to do the trick. When the time came to an end, it was hard to believe. I walked out a new being.

I hardly have this many good moments packed together at home, but this is vacation so I suppose it’s to be expected. It’s why it’s a vacation because you don’t often get the chance to enjoy life as much. Oh, if my life could just be one long vacation! ahhh

Thursday, May 23: A dream at Strawberry Hill, Jamaica

Truly, I am in love with Jamaica. When I think things can’t possibly get better it does. When I think that I have already seen most of what I had in mind, there’s more. I have never heard about Strawberry Hill until today. It’s located in the parish of St. Andrew up the mountain in an area called Irish Town. Apparently the hotel & restaurant are owned by Christopher Blackwell, the recording studio owner where Bob Marley produced his albums. Before I tell you about beautiful strawberry hills let me talk about the Zoo.

Hope gardens was not really on my list of things to see, but I had a chance to see the Zoo and the small botanical garden. The zoo is not as luxurious as other international zoos but there were birds there that I admired. The macaws, the yellow-chest parrots, and the peacocks were a few of the memorable species. There were tons of parrots but one in particular said, “hello” to me- it was as clear as a person talking. And I happily had a conversation with him. Being around nature today was totally relaxing. It was labour day here and while some people were outside working away, and others like my family spent the day at home. As for me, I used it as a day to see other attractions in Jamaica.

Something New
Strawberry Hills (below the restaurant): There was a museum that I walked through, which led me to where I am standing.

The best part of the day was driving up the mountain (seems like all the good places are either up a mountain or down a mountain). How can I describe this adventure.. it was perfect, idyllic, surreal….it must have been a dream.

It’s only in a dream where things are exactly to your expectations. All around I am at the same height as the tips of other mountains I see in the outskirts.  The clouds just hovering above us. The restaurant is in the shape of a country house…or mansion. Tables were located along the balcony while others are in a more enclosed area. There are different ways to walk outside and no matter which direction, the view is perfect. The general manager walks inside to greet us and had a small conversation with us and really made a connection. The servers all wore their smiles very well, which made for excellent service. A dream, I think. When it got dark the moon and the stars came out to look on us and being that close to the sky it almost seem I could reach them. Dinner arrived and we ate. The music created for a romantic atmosphere with the lights dimmed to perfection. When we finished all our courses, we walked towards the railing of the balcony near us and looked into yonder where all the city lights could be seen from a birds eye view. My thoughts were too many to nail one down. I just wanted to be. If I could just stay in that exact location til morning, it would have been fine with me. All I would need is a sweater, because at that altitude we were at, there was a drop in temperature.

I wish I could find the perfect words to fully describe this day and this night. It was by far the best day I have had in Jamaica, in terms of the cool climate, the height in which we were at, the view, the food, the company, and the service. I guess in a way it did not feel like Jamaica from that high. Or the experience really opened my eyes to experience Jamaica in a way that many locals have not even experienced it. When I walked over to another side of the restaurant to get a different view of the city below I was just enamoured by the moment. It had to be a dream. God is truly an artist. The way He has designed his creation is a marvel.

Jamaica has personality, it’s very appealing to look at and to experience, it’s a world in another world. It’s romantic to be around… I can choose between a day at the beach or a day in solitude on the mountain top. Jamaica is welcoming and warm (or in fact very hot). At the airport, I love that the large hummingbird that sits in a garden outside reads, “Welcome home”. The truth is, I feel at home here, so much that I’m wondering how can I stay here.