Montego Bay to Pt. Antonio, Jamaica
Our arrival to Jamaica was as exciting as most of our passages over the past year.
We arrived at night with a finish line in our path--the Pinapple Cup, a race from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida to Montego Bay, Jamaica was in the middle of receiving its entries in the harbor. Using our limited night vision abilities we avoided crossing their finish line and confusing the officials. Next to the finish line we dropped our anchor and slept soundly for the first time in 4 nights.
The next morning the sun rose and I had turned 60 years old. What a place to celebrate. In this country I became a "senior" with rights to go to the senior lines in the banks. Checking into customs, immigration, health, and the marina took about 2 1/2 hours and NO MONEY exchanged hands. One of the officials called a cab driver for us and we were whisked off to see the area of Montego and to lunch at a beach front restaurant called Memorbillia. The chef described his specialities and we had three different dishes--all yummy, spicy and Jamaican. We returned to the Montego Bay Yacht Club and had a toast to the sunset and returned to the boat for another restful night sleep. Saturday night was the awards dinner for the Pinapple Cup and we bought ticket to attend the event. There were free rum drinks, awards handed out, a buffet of local dishes and desserts, and dancing to steel drum music--a great time and fun to see the yachters' side of life in the fast lane. Local music on shore floats out to us as does the cruise ship's disco music. Almost every day a ship or two are here letting their passengers taste the Jamaican town and tourist spots.
Jamaica is a friendly place with beautiful people of all blends. You never pass by someone without a hello and a comment on the day. The temperatures are warm but not hot with a breeze all day long. Being further north than our past places, there are different flora and fauna to admire. Many we can't identify but they are in bloom or sporting fruits and pods in abundant quanities.
We went to the Megamart grocery store, a five mile round trip walk, to find Jamaican spices and rubs. What a rich supply they have here of spices and herbs! We bought many differrent kinds to try out later. Before heading back we tried a drive-in/walk-in local chain for jerk--it was Ok but it couln't compete with the meal at Memorbillia.
Yesterday we went to the local farmers' market and enjoyed seeing the small outdoor operations of selling what they must grow in their yards spread out on towels, paper, table cloths, carboard, or in carts, back of vans, etc. Both sides of a busy street were filled shoulder to shoulder with vendors and it extended to vacant buildings and alley ways. In the market there are some new to us fruits that we are enjoying. One is shaped like a small dried up promogrante and when you open it up there are black seeds surrounded by a custard like substance--so sweet and good. There are also mangos and papaya right now. We also noticed cute minature 6-8 inch tall pinapples.
The weather has turned again so we will skip the trip to Negril and head out later today for Pt. Antonio, Errol Flynn's old stomping grounds. A strong storm is due next Monday down here and following that we will be looking to cross to the east towards Dominican Republic and on to Puerto Rico--our longest trip to date.