I don’t think I will ever be able to post this while in Cuba but I’m still writing to say that here I am! I just arrived to my casa particular, the guest house I am staying at, and was warmly greeted by the owner Señora J, her son Y and nephew R, and an older man, I didn’t catch his name but I think it was J’s husband. They sat me to the table, put a glass of (what R said was) the best Cuban rum in front of me, and started talking, all four at the same time. I understood maybe the half and tried to reply something not too idiot. For the rest of the time I just smiled. Already boarding the plane in Miami and during the short stopover at Panama City I got a strange, uneasy feeling of being the only non-Spanish speaking there, and very much out of my place. Like so many times before in my life, I asked myself the same old question: “What the hell am I doing?”
I must admit that I'm glad I decided to stay in Miami for a couple of days instead of just changing planes. It feels so good to be back in the western civilization before flying to Cuba and then to Colombia. I’m staying at a place they call a “luxury hostel”, on South Beach. It is pure heaven to sleep in a good bed, be in a clean place and take hot showers. Moreover, they offer a free ride to the airport and complimentary drinks every evening so it is quite luxurious here.
Day 19, Kingston: The Jamaicans dance, and sometimes they also eat. Take a look at our culinary experiment!
Or not really because I told you about the fancy restaurant at Port Royal, where we ate shrimps with C and S, and where I got wine. And I also told you about the best-ever Jerk chicken at Boston Bay in Port Antonio. So what else about eating in Jamaica?
Day 18, Kingston: You don't know who I am? Dancehall practice and a country where everyone is an artist.
Almost the end of the holidays in JA and I realized I haven’t told you yet about the dancehall lessons that we (mostly J but also me) have taken. On the first week I went with J to the Dance JA -school for two classes and it was so much fun. Dancehall comes from Jamaica and the moves and steps have been invented by the local dancers. Dancers who give classes are really the best ones, they do it for a living and are known in the dance hall circles all around the world. When for example Europeans travel to Jamaica to dance, they don’t come here to show what they can but to learn from the best. Thus it is considered something extremely cool to meet the dancers here and take lessons from them. But this, of course, only amongst the dancehall community. Funny enough, I had never done dancehall before so I had no idea about this. So first class we go to, taught by someone named Colo Colo. I casually go to him like “Hey, what’s your name?” and he gives me a look that clearly means: “Really? You don’t know who I am?” Well sorry I didn’t! He was a good teacher though and by the end of the class he got friendlier with me. And now I can say I’ve met someone famous. :) The second class with Damion from BG Dancers was even better I think, and overall I liked it a lot. And I’m also super happy because now it’s been three months since my accident and finally I feel like I can do sports again and it doesn’t hurt my head, ankle or back (well a little bit but that’s fine). So that’s very good news!
We are now back in Kingston where we will stay until the end of our Jamaican trip. J is excited to be back, whereas I could have stayed in Portland for a little longer... So that the transition back to city life would go smoothly, I made a trip yesterday to Lime Key, an island just outside Kingston. I went there with Welsh girls C and S, who we met back in our familiar hostel. It was great to be back on the seaside again and thanks girls for the company and all the fun!
The first day when we were on Boston Bay beach I met a guy called Ocean. Ocean is not his real name but Oschane, but since it was too hard for me to memorize it he told me to call him Ocean. Ant that suits him perfectly since he has been living his whole life at Boston Bay, on the beach by the Caribbean Sea. Not bad.
Now we are in Port Antonio, where we have been staying for a couple of days. This is a place two hours and another bumpy bus ride away from Ocho Rios, and as soon as I got here I loved it. Port Antonio is amazing! Now I know that I’m on an island by the Caribbean Sea, it is extremely beautiful here in Portland. We are staying at a lovely guesthouse and hosted by a kind and friendly, originally Finnish lady, A. Our house is on a hill and the view is stunning. With absolutely perfect sunny weather, we have enjoyed different beaches, swimming and other water sports. And this time, no hotels or cruise ships to be seen.
After almost a week in Kingston it was time for me and J to say goodbye (or see you soon as it turned out to be) to the girls in our hostel and hop on a bus to Ocho Rios, also known as Ochi, a smaller city on the north coast of the island. The bus ride in itself was already an experience. There are no timetables or any information about what time the bus will leave, it leaves when it’s full and if you ask about when it leaves the answer is “soon”. But when I say full that is not really the case, it just means that all the seats are taken. Then, along the way, the bus will stop and take more passengers so that in the end also all the extra seats between the actual seats are taken and some people may even be standing. Not the most comfortable way of traveling but the landscapes and views from Kingston, through the Blue Mountains, to Ochi were amazing.
“One love! One heart! Let’s get together and feel all right.” A short post to say that I today even if I was tired I decided to do something cultural and went to the Bob Marley museum with my new friend, M from Spain. I didn’t know much about Bob Marley, his music or the reggae culture in general and I was very positively surprised about the visit. I totally recommend it if you ever go to Kingston! Our tour guide was amazing and during the visit we got to sing, play, watch a video and go around in the Marley house and recording studio. It was so interesting and interactive that even I who usually get headaches in museums didn’t see the time passing. We were not allowed to take any pictures inside the house but here’s some from outside and with our guide.
Those who know me know very well that even if I love going out for a drink or two at a nice bar (preferably a rooftop terrace) in nice company, I have no interest in spending my time in nightclubs. I admit that it can be fun when the music is good, when you're surrounded by friends and have had exactly the right amount to drink, but usually it’s just not worth loosing a good night of sleep. Maybe I’m officially too old for it or maybe I just did party enough when I was younger. Anyway, I had been waiting for partying in Kingston with mixed feelings: excitement and horror. Here’s how it’s been going so far. ;)
I'm Emilia, Finnish-Parisian, a recent Master's graduate. I'm currently traveling around the Caribbean and on a volunteering mission in Colombia. I'm passionate about writing, music and different kinds of sports. I can't wait to discover new places and cultures - and share my adventures with you!