Category: jamaica, 2019

Reflections on Vacations, Blogging and Jamaica

January 13

Initially, I hadn’t intended to blog about our Jamaica trip. The trip was so unlike the other trips I’ve blogged about–most recently (in reverse order) India; Ghana and Botswana: and Thailand, Laos and Cambodia–that it hardly seemed like a vacation. But, on reflection, I’ve decided that a vacation does not need to be exotic to qualify. It’s enough if the trip causes us to vacate (temporarily, of course) our normal life pattern. And, certainly, Jamaica did that.

Were it not for our friend, Kay, Carol and I would never travel to Jamaica. It’s not our kind of destination. A large cruise ship anchoring 100 yards off the beach at our hotel and a town laden with cheap souvenir shops is not our cup of tea, Laying on the beach is not something we love to do. And, as Kay said to us, Jamaica is a young people’s place. Even the music, which Carol and I do like, is too loud and weed-infested for our taste (though we don’t regret finding that out ourselves, first hand).

Culturally, Jamaica is certainly different than what we are used to. The pace is slower, the sports different (cricket and dominoes) and the language, though English, is often difficult to follow, because of the accents and the cadence, and sometimes the words themselves. I suspect that Carol and I will be saying, “ya mahn” to one another for same time. And the patties (pahties) we ate in Ocho Rios were a big, cultural step up from McDonalds.

For me, the highlight of the trip was the mornings and evenings that we spent talking to Kay on her lovely veranda, over coffee, breakfast, drinks or ice cream. Related and similar to that was meeting her friends–the dominoes players, the entertainers on the veranda on Saturday morning, her Fulbright fellow tenant, Abigail, lunch at Iva’s house with her guests and dinner with Pearnell. As we’d expect, Kay surrounds herself with a diverse group of interesting friends, and it’s fun to be with them.

I can already tell that, in retrospect, there will be many moments that we’ll laugh about–a 2-hour drive to see shimmering water, a cricket match at which a loud Australian boor glommed on to three Jamaican men who were too polite to tell him to “screw off,” a play which was not very good, which we could hardly follow, loud concerts at which we almost got contact highs and dominoes being slapped down emphatically and loudly on a table. And, there’ll also be what I hope is our last flight on DiSpiriting Airlines. Vacations survive as memories, and we’ll have more than our share of those.

Of things we “did” (other than sitting on Kay’s veranda), the highlight was the Saturday morning entertainment on the veranda, though walking in the forest, cricket, dominoes, paying tribute at the Bob Marley Museum and the excellent Indian meal we had in Ocho Rios were also good fun. There were other things we might have commented on, were we looking more for cultural differences–people selling fresh fish by the roadside, the poetic road signs (“Protect your head and don’t be dead”–wear your helmet–or “Don’t drink and drive, stay alive.”), so there’s a potential career in roadside poetry for Carol, if we should retire to Jamaica.

Of course, escaping Chicago this time of year is a big plus. And being able to visit with Brandeis friends in Florida was a great bonus for us. (We saw the Pérez Art Museum yesterday, which had a wonderful exhibit about Cristo’s wrapping of the islands in Key Biscayne in pink in 1983.)

So, it’s not Africa or India, but Jamaica was a welcome respite. For us, a vacation. But, perhaps, not every vacation is worth blogging about. So, I’d be interested to hear, honestly, whether you felt it was worth bothering you about all this. And, if not, cheer up, I promise you exotic in March.

8 comments to Reflections on Vacations, Blogging and Jamaica


    I have thoroughly enjoyed your blog on Jamaica….
    Its good for you and Carol to have a totally different type of trip!
    Thanks as always for sharing.

  • Kathy Hornsby

    Happy New Year, Arnie and Carol! I also enjoyed reading about your experiences in Jamaica. Thank you!

  • lauri pollack

    Loved the blog. Thank you.

  • Paul Woo

    Have always enjoyed reading your observations and thoughts Arnie no matter the locale. You take more photos during your excursions and less so when you and Carol are on vacation – but given Kay’s gracious hospitality and company I think that made a difference. You were being a proper and good guest…

    When and where is your next excursion?


  • arnie

    Morocco in March with Carol, then I’m alone going on a small group (non-safari) trip to South Africa in April. More travel later in the year. Tough work, but somebody’s gotta do it, right?

  • Gil and Nodreen

    We always enjoy and are impressed by your reflections and ability to describe experiences wherever.

  • Bob Heywood

    Hey Arnie! Although I would love to visit Jamaica, Cynthia & I are similarly not beach/loud music/smoke blowing oriented… thus, I really enjoyed your musings on a trip down there. Keep me on your list wherever you go. Thanks for sharing!

  • Fred Gordon

    Your impressions and reactions are always interesting, keep them coming please!

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