Ackee and Salt Fish

Jamaica was everything we had looked forward to, and more. A very different kind of vacation, traveling with four adults and two babies – a lot of things we couldn’t do with toddlers in tow (e.g. river rafting), but we traded child care back and forth enough that we were able to do almost everything we wanted.

Always odd to be an American in a 2nd world country — the constant realization that you have plenty of what they lack. The difference results in an ongoing “hustle” which takes some getting used to — after a while you develop the ability to be friendly and open but simultaneously firm and on-guard.

We traveled in the off-season, before most schools let out and while the Spring rains are still in effect. Rains keep the temperatures down and the bulk of tourists away. Accomodations were cheaper, and we had many beaches to ourselves, or almost. In exchange, we dealt with daily rain between around noon and two p.m., sometimes torrential. But it’s a warm rain, and you dry out quickly when it finishes. It’s a bit of a hassle at times, but I love to walk or swim in a warm rain – part of the tropical experience.

Food in Jamaica is salt-of-the earth, elemental, right out of the ground. Seldom overly sweet or fatty. Jamaicans rarely eat dessert, and most people are very slender, glowing with health. A few of our staples / favorite dishes:

Curried goat
Ackee and salt fish
Jerk chicken, jerk pork
Conch stew, jerk conch
Fried plantain
Fresh papaya, pineapple, mango, melon

For me, a trip to the Carribean is as much about the reefs and the world underwater as it is about the island above sea-level. I felt myself quickly returning to my diving roots, and was able to fit in two major scuba and two major snorkle trips, plus many casual swims. Amy understood how important water time is to me, and was so gracious watching Miles as I dove (though we all took turns in the water).

I want to spend more personal energy raising awareness of the world’s coral reefs, their intimate connection to the ecosystem, and the grave danger the reefs are in.

Creatures experienced in the wild for the first time in two short weeks:

Sea turtle
Moray and spotted eels
“Rat Bats”
Giant moths

As we traveled from Montego Bay to Negril, down to Treasure Beach, and back to “Mobay,” kept notes in my Visor. I’ve edited them a bit and posted / backdated them here in the previous 11 blog entries. Click the MORE links for continued descriptions of each day.

Update: Images from the trip are here.

Now home to cold gray skies in California, an unwelcome (for me) end to the humidity, a mysteriously dying lawn, and tomorrow, back to work.


Music: Augustus Pablo :: Selassie I Dub

3 Replies to “Ackee and Salt Fish”

  1. What a wonderful trip, and a beautiful record of various impressions. I hope your Life is Good mantra is still w/ you
    in hyper Bay Area. Irie.

  2. Envy.

    Jerk (Chicken|Pork) simply makes me happy. When I eat it, I just get this warm electric feeling that few other foods give me.

    When I lived on Western Ave. in Central Square there was this place down the street called the Avenue Cafe… It was run by this rad southern guy who obviously (by facial structure and cooking style) had some Caribbean in him…. Man did he make a mean Jerk.

  3. There’s nothing like a good diving trip to remind you how good life can be!

    I’m glad you enjoyed Jamaica, come back soon!

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