Trip Reports

Who Says You Can’t See Kingston Jamaica like a Tourist – Day 1: Port Royal

Giddy House, Port Royal, Jamaica
Written by Xavier Murphy

We took a late Air Jamaica flight to Kingston. It was the flight that everyone always complaint of being late. Well the flight arrived on time.  In fact we got in early and had to call to say we were at the airport.  This is the second time we took Air Jamaica this year and it was on time. We arrived at my wife’s aunt house to Escovitch fish waiting for dinner.  There is nothing like fresh fish. We had to get an early night sleep as the next 4 days was going to be a world wind.  My main goal for this trip was to see Kingston as a tourist. I was born in Kingston but never saw some of the sites or appreciated growing up there.

Day 1 – Port Royal (Pictures at the end)
One of my close friends from my high school picked me up. I spent most of the morning trying to get my Digicel phone working again. I had not used it since May so there was no activity on the phone.  I had topped it up a few times but the “chip” expired.

I witness the “war” between Digicel and Claro first hand as I walked down Knutsford Blvd in New Kingston. We passed the Claro store first. It was packed with people. We walked in to find out what was going on. It was crowded because there were people taking advantage of a promotion where you could trade in a competitor’s phone. Claro did not need to say it but they were mainly looking for people to trade in their Digiciel phone. You would get a new phone plus a few hours of free credits.

Next we were off to the Digicel store which was across the street and adjacent to the Claro store.  They were packed also. They were running a similar promotion.  The scenes at both places were intense. After a long wait I finally got my phone working again.  As we drove around I could no help but notice the Digicel and Claro signs all around New Kingston. It was a heated competition.

We left new Kingston and made a stop a my old high school Jamaica College.  I had an item to drop off. The grounds really looked good.

Our next stop was Mico College to pick up my wife who had an engagement there. She was here for a high school reunion.  Next we were off to Port Royal.  I had not been to Port Royal since my early teen days. It had not changed. We took the tour of Fort Charles and the famous “Giddy House”.  It was much different than I remembered.  As a child I probably thought it was boring but now it was amazing.

I was also a little disappointed. This amazing historical place could be restored to so much more. This was the place with a rich history of pirates. This was the place that was once the center of commerce in the Western world centuries ago. But outside Fort Charles there was little else to blatantly show, this even though the relics were everywhere.  I realize that it takes money but I think a little ingenuity could go a long way.  My friend and I spoke about things they could do to attract tourism and preserving this historic town. One of the ideas we discussed was a re-enactment of pirates plunders in the “wicked city” using actors and props.  They do this at Dolphins Cove in Ocho Rios.  There could also be mini submarine tours to explore the underwater sunken city.

After the tour of the Museum we ate at  Gloria’s Rendezvous restaurant. The food was excellent. Before we left we spent some time looking out toward Portmore as the sun set.

The rest of the evening was spent visiting friends I had not seen since high school in Jamaica. That evening we were off to spend the night at Smokey Manor a B&B in Smokeyvale, St. Andrew. My friend took us on the “scenic” route through the infamous Gaza and Gully.

The welcome from our host Maureen was warm and inviting. She had a whole day of activities planned for us the next days so it was an early night again.

Port Royal, Jamaica

Port Royal, Jamaica

About the author

Xavier Murphy