We stayed a night in Kingston, with the parents of my friend, R. Then we drove (via Mount Diablo) to this house on the North Coast. (Driving is CRRRRazy, I tell you, crazy! Hair-pin turns, left-side driving, avoiding goats, pot-holes, cliffs, being passed by trucks on blind curves, honking twice on blind turns then praying nothing hits you head-on.) Anyway, the villa is owned by my friend R's family also. It has 7 bedrooms and 12 bathrooms. It is surrounded by a wall and gates, has tennis courts, a pool, is on the sea, has night guards who stand out on the beach, and has 7 "helpers." My son B says they should be called "doers" rather than "helpers" because they were doing everything and we were doing nothing. True.
|B running down the beach.|
|We went to several waterfalls that flow into the sea.|
|C giving me some love.|
|Attempting to keep my swimsuit bottoms in place. Eek!|
While staying at the villa we swam and ate and snorkeled and went to several waterfalls, including Laughing waters, the private beach where Dr. No, the James Bond film was shot. It was amazing. We enjoyed great weather, hot and sunny every single day. I didn't even wear the one long sleeve shirt I packed.
There were some contemplative moments though. Some "wow, this is an 'easy country' what would it be like if we were living in a 'hard' country for two years?" moments.
- It was hot. It could have been hotter. But it was hot. I liked being able to jump in the sea. Living somewhere really hot, well, it would be hard.
- We stayed in two really nice houses. But there is so much poverty. So many people living with so little. In huts, shacks, on the street.
- Lots of stuff is just broken or doesn't work. No explanation, no expected date or time of repair.
- I didn't have a single green vegetable, other than the same plain lettuce salad at every dinner. Plenty of fruit. Plenty of potatoes. But not a broccoli nor green bean in sight.
- The helpers kept calling my friend "Miss R." And she was comfortable with that, and telling them what to do, because she grew up in Jamaica with helpers. I don't know how I'd do being the one in charge.
- All the helpers were black. That made me uncomfortable. I'm no-doubt-about-it-white. R is mixed race. She said 85% of the country is black, wealthy black people have black helpers, race isn't such a big deal there as here. (Don't know if that's true.) But it made me uncomfortable.
- The driving. R drove. Fearlessly. What if I had to drive?
- The grocery store made me want to hold my nose. But I didn't.
- R broke easily into her Jamaican way a speaking (patois?) that was so strong sometimes I couldn't understand what she and the Jamaicans were saying. And that is English. I think.
- Bargaining. Dude. I know I was being taken for a ride. Nothing actually sold for the price marked. I was addressed as Boss Lady in the market. And I think we accidentally paid $700J for a bottle of soda. ($8 US). But it was a big bottle. And it was passion fruit. (Compensating.)
- Crime and walls and gates and fences and security. How do you know who to trust?
- Window screens. Ok, they don't have them. No glass either. Just open windows with louvers. (And metal bars, of course) The lizards inside are cute, the hermit crabs too, mosquitoes, not really.
After spending time at the beach house, we had to return to Kingston, to catch our flight out. I imagine a city is where we would be living if we were in the FS. Not somewhere lovely and beachy. Kingston is not really that nice a place. That would be something different for me, dirty city-living. People burning random things, etc.
We had a great time. The kids are tanned. C is home from school with a fever though. (I already took her to the Doc. because a little Google + fever + Jamaica +tropics + mosquitoes = worried mom. Seems like a virus though.
My husband scheduled his Oral Assessment date for his second candidacy. ...And the self torture continues...