Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Cruisin' the Caribbean - Jamaica, mon!

We've spent a good deal of time in Jamaica in the past, but on the western coast of the island near the town of Negril. So we were excited to see a different part of the country.  The city of Falmouth is on Jamaica's north shore and is known as one of the Caribbeans'  best preserved Georgian towns.  The current-day port has only been in existence for about 4 years so everything is new and reminded me a bit of a Disney village.

Port of Falmouth

Upon leaving the port area, just across a narrow road, lies a real Jamaican town, with its colorful buildings and busy streets.
People going about their day in Falmouth.

Gotta love a city that paints its buildings so brightly!

Johnny Law likes to write tickets even in the Caribbean!

Typical Jamaican road.  As in other parts of Jamaica, the drivers drive on the left side with one foot on the gas and the other on the brake.  Most of the ride was spent holding my breath!

There were a lot of shore excursions to pick from and we finally settled on one that would give us a view of the town, a visit to an old church and a modern day school and a stop at a plantation.  

Stock photo of St. Peter's Anglican church.  

The interior was interesting, but what I found most compelling were the grave markers on the grounds, some dating back to the 1700s. 

 Also, there were graveyard dogs sleeping on the tombs!

Stock photo of a school.  I don't know what happened to the pictures I took inside the school but this is similar.

The children were adorable and naturally posed for pictures.

The children all wore matching uniforms and were very interactive, wanting to have photos taken, giving hugs all around and performing a couple of songs before we left.  They were the sweetest things and, for me, it was the first time in a long time I got to hold little ones!

The final stop on our tour was at a sugar estate.  This was the stop we had most anticipated and it was definitely a let down.  Nothing of the original estate remains with the exception of some artifacts found on the grounds.

Entrance to the estate

Spanish pottery pieces

Sugar cane boiling cauldron

Our tour guide, however, was very engaging and gave a lot of information about the sugar industry, the flora and fauna around us and the evolution of Jamaica from enslaved sugar producer to the tourist mecca it is today.

Our guide, standing in a guango tree.  This tree was used by early Jamaicans for everything from furniture to cattle fodder.

"Captain Jack" demonstrated tree climbing (in bare feet, no less!) to harvest a breadfruit.

A native cotton tree, commonly used for building dugout canoes.

In-progress reproduction mill that will be used as an information center.

We also were treated to a variety of Jamaican foods which included jerk chicken, mango, breadfruit, sugar cane, pineapple, yellow yams and, of course, Jamaican rum!  Did you know that pineapple originated in Jamaica and was exported to be planted in Hawaii?

Picture of the tour we didn't take, bamboo rafting down the Martha Brae river!  Next time, maybe?

As with all the shore excursions, our time was too soon up and the ship called.  But this stop reminded me of how much I love Jamaica.  The people are truly friendly and welcoming and the relaxing vibe is country-wide.  I hope a return visit is in my future!

Until next time...

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