last day on Island, Jamaica, May 24,2013

For breakfast, we cleaned out the fridge.  We tried the Sorel fruit juice which is faintly of cranberries but since they add ginger to it, strongly of ginger. Local oranges and grapefruits are mottled green coloured.  It doesn’t get cold enough for them to develop the orange colour that we are accustomed too.  So this means that some of the citrus fruit from our local supermarket has had food dye applied.

This is our rental apartment and car.  We were on the 4th floor really the 5th, since there was a G floor.  British thing.  We are packing the rental car, a Corolla.  They prefer you always park face out, probably to avoid accidents.  Signs all over requesting “park face out”.

rental apartment, Kingston, Jamaica

It poured rain yesterday after work.  It came down in buckets and then stopped, then sunny again.  On Saturday, they are expecting a storm.  August is hurricane season.  This explains the potholes.

The white van is a NOAH car.  And drive on the left side of the road.  Another British legacy.

Noah car

I missed the chapel on my walk around the campus yesterday. K mentioned that he had wanted to be married there but it wasn’t available. I will definitely visit it next time.    There was an accident with a bus, good thing it didn’t completely block the lane but when you see the bus driver on the curb taking pictures with his cellphone, it is serious.

Sagico

Into the office, just for the morning, drop by the classroom, back to the hotel to finish packing.  We are supposed to be out by 11:00.  Drop by the benefits office and then to airport. A lot of the buildings are stucco and brightly coloured.

The Red-Billed Streamertail hummingbird is the national bird also called the Doctor BIrd or Swallow-Tail hummingbird.  It lives only in Jamaica.

P1050856

My feelings about Jamaica: since we weren’t in a resort,  never saw the beach and was downtown a lot and New Kingston, I probably got to see what real life is like here.  People are friendly, everyone acknowledges everyone else. Lots of security check points like parking lots, restaurants (campus KFC had a security cubicle), malls etc,  Probably have eaten more red snapper during this visit than in my entire life.  Local produce reminds me that our supermarkets have higher quality imported fruits & vegetables.

The local water is soft which is great for bathing.  I didn’t have to use any hand lotion.

The middle class has left the country.  Corruption is rampant such that you can sell your bank account.  There is poverty, violence, government inefficiencies.   But from K, I sense hope.  His family would move to Toronto if his wife had her way but he wants to stay and help build a better country.  He mentioned that he would be treated as 2nd class citizen if he moved to Canada.  Being Chinese and the 2nd largest minority group here makes us stand out.  All this makes you appreciate home more.

oxtail stew, Kingston airport

Last Jamaican meal was Oxtail Stew at the airport.  It was delicious since that it what I usually order from the local Caribbean restaurant at home.  However David thought it was too salty this time. It was served with rice and peas, and callaloo.

Another example of how life is here, I had the  airport washroom cleaner just ask if  I would give her 100JMD ($1).  I declined.  Since I was asked, I gave a bottle of water to a bank parking attendant.  Although they aren’t supposed to be asking for anything from the bank customers.

At the boarding gate, there was a sniffer dog.  It checked out the lady in front of us but the handler and dog just  ignored us.

Flight home: I watched 21 grams starring Naomi Watts, Sean Penn.  I surprised that they would show nudity and sex on an airplane movie, I looked around to see if anyone else was checking my screen.  I could see that the passenger in front of me was watching The Hobbit and I was glimpsing .

Menu choice: I had spinach and ricotta cheese pasta. Had enough chicken, rice and peas.

airplane lunch, pasta

It was interesting to look out the window.  Flying over the islands was very pretty with the swirls of  teal, turquoise and infinite shades of ocean blue water. Some of the islands were so small, I couldn’t tell if they were inhabited.  Then just clouds and the brown and green squares of urban landscape.

New machines at Pearson.  For Canadian residents, you can bypass the customs line, just feed your passport and customs declaration into the machine.  It scans and spits out a copy that you show to an official as you pass by.    So much faster.

Once home, I was surprised to find rice and lentils in the fridge.  First I thought it was rice and peas.  I did bring home plantain chips (sweet version) and 2 cans of Red Stripe beer that had been made in the UK.

Temperature in Jamaica ranged between 27-32C.  It was refreshing to be back at home in cooler, refreshing air.


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