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3-in-one Jamaica trip report

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  • that night the lumberjack came by the cafe with his wife. No K this time.

    I told the story of the beggar, and asked Nikola if she knew him. I showed her his picture. O yes. he's quite well known. Local legend is that he begged his way into Oracabessa from Kingston. Nikola said she one day passed him on the road going to Ochi, presumably to practice his "profession" there. you gotta admire that kind of commitment.

    chatted with the lumberjack's wife. she's retired and working a second career as a fundraiser for her local municipality. She's also a big-game hunter, meaning moose and caribou. i was impressed, to say the least (my secret desire is to hunt wild turkey). her first husband taught her to shoot and bought her a gun.so turns out the lumberjack is a newlywed - they've been married just over a year.

    the wife ordered me a beer, my third one for the evening. o lord. i get drunk quick at the best of times, and the second beer was already working on me.

    i was lightheaded, and had a hard time speaking and focussing. plus, i had skipped dinner after all the starch from the Susie's meal (plus i couldnt face another disappointing meal).

    nevertheless, i got it into my head that some German sausage would take the edge off my inebriation, and ordered bratwurst from Nikola. She responded with a wary look. "You know bratwurst?" yes, i said, picturing some fat sausage full of lovely grease and gristle. She went to prepare it, and brought me back three winji dark sausages. they were so terrible.

    apart from the fish dinner my second night, every meal i've had in Oracabessa had let me down. would i never be satisfied? maybe my standards were too high

    i made my way very carefully up the stairs to bed. i passed the Canadian couple on their own on the upper floor, desultorily eating some rice and peas and brown meat dinner. i was too drunk to stop and make conversation.
    <span style="font-style: italic">All Glory to The Hypnotoad!</span>

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    • Friday morning, my last full day in Oracabessa, dawned overcast and a bit rainy. Nikola was unable to do her morning beach walk.

      DSCN0416.jpg

      DSCN0421.jpg
      <span style="font-style: italic">All Glory to The Hypnotoad!</span>

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      • by the time i finished my breakfast of two rolls with butter, the skies cleared. read till mid-morning, did some early packing, listened to some raucous birds outside, trying to figure out what they were (crows).

        decided to go exploring the back of the property.

        saw some huge trees, havent determined yet what they are. hog plum?
        DSCN0427.jpg

        Nikola uses the limestone rocks around her yard for different purposes - art, and in this case, mini-columns to show where she's planted seeds. here she's planted the merengue plant to hold the soil, however this plant is getting popular in my home district as a money-making herbal source.

        DSCN0435.jpg
        <span style="font-style: italic">All Glory to The Hypnotoad!</span>

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        • june plum
          DSCN0437.jpg

          there's a road behind the bush, so maybe a long time ago this sign may have stood beside some shop.
          DSCN0439.jpg
          <span style="font-style: italic">All Glory to The Hypnotoad!</span>

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          • Hey, little fella - where'd you come from?
            DSCN0438.jpg


            these two masks used to be inside the b&b, but Nikola said a shaman (which i'm guessing is the local obeahman) told her they drew bad spirits to the place, so outside they went.
            DSCN0443.jpg

            personally i think it's the failed attempt to burn/etch the eyebrows in the woman and the beard in the man that gave them their slightly occult appearance.
            <span style="font-style: italic">All Glory to The Hypnotoad!</span>

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            • Enjoyed this so much I was right there with you

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              • Nikola
                DSCN0430.jpg

                K
                DSCN0458.jpg


                Shanique
                DSCN0442.jpg
                <span style="font-style: italic">All Glory to The Hypnotoad!</span>

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                • Originally posted by MsExced View Post
                  Enjoyed this so much I was right there with you
                  thanks Ms Exced.

                  this Oracabessa report is the most work, but mi ago finish it tonight then breeze through my last two days in MoBay.
                  <span style="font-style: italic">All Glory to The Hypnotoad!</span>

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                  • decided early afternoon to walk down to a roadside restaurant for lunch. Had passed it a few times and decided to give the food there a try. couldnt be any worse than what i'd had so far.

                    DSCN0445.jpg

                    DSCN0446.jpg
                    <span style="font-style: italic">All Glory to The Hypnotoad!</span>

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                    • their specialty was conch soup. i said "cawnk", they said "cunk".
                      DSCN0449.jpg

                      it was delicious, omg fresh and not at all salty. the broth was so good. i marvelled out loud, and another lady who was sitting there decided to ask for a cup. so did a dread who came by later.

                      then the dread ordered steamed lion fish Mel the turtleman was not exaggerating after all. lion fish was indeed a local delicacy. "Lion fish for a lion" said the dread when i asked him about it. i wanted to see what it looked like, and the cook, a Rastaman, kindly invited me into his kitchen. unfortunately he had no fresh ones left, but showed me the one that was in the process of cooking.

                      DSCN0450.jpg

                      i couldnt see what the fuss was about, but the customer savoured it. i promised myself to come back later and try it for dinner.

                      sorry for the photo's poor resolution, it was dark in that little kitchen.
                      <span style="font-style: italic">All Glory to The Hypnotoad!</span>

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                      • chatted outside with the owner. his name is JahT, a transplanted Kingstonian.
                        DSCN0457.jpg

                        he had just bought the business about two weeks before. it had the smallish restaurant one side, attached to a bigger bar the other side where his daughter was bartender. the business was doing well, and i was happy for him.

                        when he found out i was from Toronto, he told me he had recently attended one daughter's graduation from university in London, Ontario. such a small world! i wonder if DahJah know him
                        <span style="font-style: italic">All Glory to The Hypnotoad!</span>

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                        • back at the b&b, K was clearing and burning bush at the back of the property. the neighbour called Nikola to complain, i thought because the smoke was drifting into her yard. tell the truth, i'd been concerned about the fires getting away and developing into a full-blown forest fire. but K seemed to think there was little risk.

                          remember the green house i visited on K's compound earlier? i wanted to go back to meet the owner, who i heard was an artist. K promised to walk back with me. However, as we were leaving Nikola's, some cops pulled up at the gate. o lawd

                          i stood quietly by the gate while K talked to them. inside, i was terrified for him. i have a low opinion of the jamaican constabulary, and expect them to carry out extrajudicial executions at any minute, regardless of provocation.

                          anyway, i heard the driver tell K to make sure he took care of it, and they drove off without incident, to my utter relief.

                          turns out the neighbour's real concern was the one i had - that the fires K started would spread, and she had been dissatisfied with Nikola's response so called the cops. K went back and outed the fires, which he had left smouldering. again, i felt relief.
                          <span style="font-style: italic">All Glory to The Hypnotoad!</span>

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                          • painted by the green house resident, and gracing the front entrance of K and his lady's place
                            DSCN0469.jpg

                            i was excited to see more. but when i met the artist, she told me she only dabbled, and in fact had no other real works on display in her house. i was disappointed.

                            still, she invited me inside. she'd heard that i took pictures of K's place for the internet, and wanted me to do the same for hers because she wanted to get into the b&b business, too. so much competition for Nikola

                            the rooms were massive inside, but felt traditionally Jamaican. there was definitely an artistic vibe.

                            bedroom on left, kitchen/dining room on right. full breakfast included in price of room.

                            DSCN0463.jpg
                            <span style="font-style: italic">All Glory to The Hypnotoad!</span>

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                            • i think there were two rooms, each with a basic bathroom of toilet and shower.
                              DSCN0459.jpg

                              i dunno, think the artist may have done some of the artwork on the walls.

                              living room
                              DSCN0465.jpg
                              <span style="font-style: italic">All Glory to The Hypnotoad!</span>

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                              • view from the veranda - a sundeck where guests can choose to sunbathe and enjoy the sea view unobstructed.
                                DSCN0467.jpg

                                the parrot that lives on the veranda
                                DSCN0462.jpg

                                apparently the parrot does a real wicked imitation where he sounds like the owner calling the helper (let's call her Julette). All day long the parrot would yell out "Julette!" in a Jamaican accent. i heard the owner was miffed that the parrot wasn't calling her name - until it was pointed out that the parrot didn't hear her name called out as frequently as the helper's
                                <span style="font-style: italic">All Glory to The Hypnotoad!</span>

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