Sunset in Montego Bay
The culture in Jamaica moves at a much slower pace than it does in the United States, and as our work team has learned over the years, it's important to embrace that culture.
As I mentioned in yesterday's post about the work, we DO work. And we work hard. We work very long days, trying to see as many patients as we can possibly fit in, as we don't want to have to turn anyone away from the clinic. With that said, however, it's also important to take some time to just chill…relax…recharge the batteries, so to speak.
Our team is based in Falmouth, which if you look at the map below, you'll find it on the north central coast of the island. We're not quite halfway between Montego Bay (to the west) and Ochos Rios (to the east.)
In 2009, when I first visited Falmouth, it was a sleepy little village with not much going on, recreationally. We thought that would all change when the mega-cruise ship company, Royal Caribbean, built a HUGE pier in order to dock their two largest ships (which happen to be the 2 largest ships in the world, to date) in Falmouth. They chose Falmouth simply because the water there was deep enough to accommodate their ships. However, it soon became evident that although the ships still dock at the pier, the officials in Falmouth still haven't quite figured out what to do with the thousands of passengers that dump into their town every week. Soooooo…a lot of passengers don't even bother anymore getting off the ship while in Falmouth…which is too bad. I'll show you what WE do to chill out…
One of the best things to do is to raft down the Martha Brae River, which is truly a unique experience. Where else do you get to board a 30-foot long bamboo raft, and be guided down a 3-mile stretch of a gorgeous, green river by a local Jamaican raft captain?? Supposedly, HRH Queen of England II herself has done this, so it must be royally fun, right??!!
The first time I did this was on my first trip, back in 2009. At some point along the river, the raft captain will give you the opportunity to guide the boat - and I must be the worst captain in the world, because I found it kinda' difficult.
When I went back in 2010, I vowed that I would be much better, but I still sorta' sucked:
Last year was no better:
At some point last year, I just gave up and enjoyed the ride with my buddy, Kristin:
Before the ride, you can indulge in some wonderful rum punch…good stuff:
Indulging in 2010…these ladies are still going every year on the trip, as well...
In 2014, I'm just making sure the punch is as good as before…it was.
Some times, just a nice walk around Falmouth can be relaxing…for the past couple of years, we love to walk down around the pier and the local fishing village:
Me in 2010…the fisherman are always happy to share their catch with you for a photo...
This was from 2014…I hope to God those aren't the same fish I'm holding.
Scenes from this year's visit to the fishing village:
On days when the cruise ship is in town, you'll get a different view:
Sometimes, we'll take a 5-minute walk into the center of town…either to pick up some cold Red Stripe beer, or other delights:
From 2014…a rum-filled coconut…yum.
This year, for a WHOLE $1, I got a boot-legged copy of "Cinderella" from a guy on the street…shhhhhhh….don't tell anyone…and note I'm wearing the SAME shirt this year as I was wearing in 2014. I obviously have wardrobe limitations…!!
Every year, we'll take an afternoon and head east to Ochos Rios for some shopping…along the way, though, we always make a pilgrimage to Columbus Park, an open air museum with some stunning scenery:
This year, I was "King of the World"…!!!
Last year, I was just demure on the bow of the same ship…
In 2010, I found myself in Jamaican jail. Okay, not really - this is actually a cage used to hold bananas so they could be weighed, or "tallied"…as in the famous song, "Come, Mr. Tally Man, Tally Me Bananas…"
It's 2015, and I find myself still in the same jail...
I've totally become addicted to the television series, "Black Sails," so anything related to pirates is really, really cool:
Sometimes, all we need is a good restaurant to chill out…and there are several in the area. We like to hang out at the Chill Out Bar, Scotchies (for good jerk chicken & pork), and the ever-popular and ever-touristy Margaritaville.
Last year, we visited the Ochos Rios location of Margaritaville...
This year, we visited the Montego Bay location...
So…there you go. Lots of ways to relax in Jamaica and live the Bob Marley dream of "no worries."