Find Me In Jamaica #9

22 June 2002

Strawberry Hill

Jerk with the Dogs

Jerk with the Dogs

I took a walk down the road this morning to try to find St. Mark’s Episcopal Chapel and Redlight. The spa has a handout of hikes and this one was supposed to be about an hour. I was feeling some anxiety about the trip coming to an end. Had I accomplished what I wanted to on the trip? Did I understand where I was going next?

I don’t know if I went too far or if I didn’t go far enough, but I felt myself getting angry because I couldn’t find it. There are no signs. I ran into a few locals. A man picking mangoes said ‘hello’ to me from his perch up in a tree. He startled me, as I didn’t see him under the shade of the branches.

“You scared me, why you are hiding in the tree?”
“No. Mangoes.” Ah, picking mangoes to sell at his roadside stand. He was an older man with kind eyes.
“Is that your stand?” I asked, pointing behind me to a brightly colored hut blaring Jamaican music.

“Ya, mon,” he said.
“I’ll be back later to have some Red Stripes.”
“No problem.”

When I looked behind me I could see a large white building on top of a hill. That must be St. Mark’s. I guess I didn’t go far enough after all. Maybe I’ll go back tomorrow for the Sunday morning service. I get back to the resort and the gatekeeper is keeping track of my return. I had been told that safety is an issue in Jamaica but haven’t experienced any fear during this trip.

That night I caught up with David and the general manager hanging out by the infinity pool. We started to discuss what to do for dinner, and I asked about the local joints I had seen on my walk that morning. He ended up taking us to a local joint where we sat outside and ate jerk chicken and drank Red Stripes. My kind of evening.

23 June 2002

Strawberry Hill
The next morning I stayed in the room with my nose stuck in a book. I had picked up Alice Hoffman’s Blue Diary and couldn’t put it down. I am not like that with novels, in fact, I rarely read novels. I usually am reading a self-help book or an industry related book. Well, I finished the whole thing before we had to leave for the airport.

When we got there, I looked up at the departure board and the flight was cancelled. I guess we never learned our lesson on the way there, and we hadn’t called to check on our departure. The driver was from the Jamaican tourist board, and I guess he hadn’t called ahead of time either, so he dropped us off and we were stuck.

“The flight was cancelled.”
“That isn’t funny.”
“I’m serious, look at the board.”

Bye Bye Jamaica

Bye Bye Jamaica

David hadn’t seen it and thought I was joking. I wouldn’t joke about that. I had already mentally prepared for the return and I was ready to go home. When we got up to the gate, they said to go over to the American Airlines terminal to see if we could get on their flight which left about the same time. So after a wait in a long line, the gate agent politely checked us in without much ado. We were on our way home. It always amazes me when something that causes so much stress ends up being nothing. As my father once told me, “Worrying is like paying a debt you may never owe.”

Thank you, JAMAICA, I’ll be back.

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