Jamaica Magazine

Lorna’s Visit Part 2 – An American Retiree in Jamaica

Written by John Casey

Last month we saw Lorna get a feel for Jamaica around the traditional tourist spots. Now she is going to see some tourist attractions. But first, Nancy has some
business to conduct in downtown Montego Bay. “Nancy had some banking to do. What a wait! Nothing like in Canada. She went in one line and then another line, back and forth. We must have been there over an hour. Good thing I had a chair to sit on all that time. I never in all my wildest dreams ever imagined a bank could be so busy.” It was today that Lorna realized how slow the Jamaican system can be, yet, they talk and drive so fast. From there they walked about a half a block to the Inland Revenue Department where the wait was much shorter.

Their business completed, I got a call to pick them up. “Then we waited for Nancy’s friend John to pick us up. The streets were busy, busy, busy. There go all the
horns again! At least they weren’t tooting at me. While we waited, I was looking for something in my purse. The next thing I knew a guy was standing next to me with his
hand out.” Nancy quickly made the man move on.

Shortly thereafter I arrived and brought them to my house, a few miles out of town. This was Lorna’s first reality shot. “What a lovely home John has but I never saw
anything like it in my life. The front gate was locked, the garage door was double locked, the windows all had bars on them and they had locks. It made me wonder if
there were criminals around or was he just trying to keep his wife safe from the men.” It is sad that Jamaica has to resort to walls and burglar bars but that is the price
of security in today’s age. The rest of the afternoon was spent inspecting the rest of the house and grounds while we got acquainted with lots of laughs and drinks.

As the sun set, it drew a close to a delightful afternoon. I brought them back downtown where they had supper at one of Montego Bay’s most popular restaurants, the
Pelican. They are famous for a wide variety of tasty American and Jamaican dishes cooked to perfection.

Once supper was over they went across the street to the world famous Jimmy Buffet’s Magaritaville where the partying began. Later, they went to the nearby Coral Cliffs
for more partying.

The next morning was spent on the beach. After lunch, another one of Nancy’s friends, Neville, picked them up to take them river rafting on the Martha Brae river.
This is one of the several rafting tours on the north coast. The rafts are handmade by the men who man them. On top of the 15 or so long bamboo poles are bench seats also made with bamboo. “It was a true tropical splendor.” The rafts navigate down winding shallow rivers where small rapids can be encountered, depending on the time of the year. The trip is peaceful and relaxing. The banks of the rivers are lined with varying varieties of wildflowers, trees, and bushes. If you have a good guide he will point out all of these things to you.

The next day they went on a day trip to Negril where they enjoyed themselves on the seven miles of white sand beaches. After frolicking in the sun, their guide took
them to Rick’s Cafe, where they had supper and watched the beautiful sunset. The biggest attraction at Rick’s Cafe is watching the young boys dive off the high cliffs.
Very few tourists have enough nerve to participate.

The ride to Negril is very picturesque. The road winds along the coast through several quaint villages. The hour long ride gives ample time for picture taking with
several bays and cliffs offering spectacular views.

The next day was another all day tour. This time they went to the south coast to Black River Safari and YS Falls. The Black River tour is a boat ride through the
mangroves. This is a popular nesting spot for the egrets whose main staple is eating ticks off of cows. The big attraction is not the birds but the crocodiles. They swim
right up to the boat to be hand fed chicken by the tour guide. When I went on that tour many years ago, my wife and I were the only whites on board. Our guide
announced that the crocodiles only liked white meat. It must have been true because the crocodiles only grabbed the white chicken and not the black hand of the tour guide.

The next stop was YS Falls, a short ride down the coast. The falls are located a mile or two off the main road on a vast 2300 acre plantation. A jitney takes you from
the entrance to the falls through a series of pastures. The falls, and there are ten of them, are quite spectacular. There is a calm pool at the base of one of the falls with ropes hanging from a tree in case you want to do your Tarzan impersonation and swing on a rope and fall into the water.

After a long day Lorna still managed to spend some time at Coral Cliffs before calling it a early evening. Nancy was still full of energy so she stayed and partied
until the wee hours of the morning.

In only a few days, Lorna has been all around the tourist sections of Mobay, has seen several major sightseeing attractions, and been inside a Jamaican home. Next
month, Lorna goes to a Christmas party for children in one of the poorer sections of Montego Bay. A couple of days later she celebrated her birthday at one of the famous all inclusive resorts.

About the author

John Casey