Is this post HELLA late? Why yes, yes it is – my fault, life got in the way. This is the follow up post to UIB Travels: Jamaica (Part I) https://unicorninbrooklyn.com/2014/03/10/uib-travels-jamaica-part-i/ in which I touched on a few highlights from my trip with words. This post is filled with photos as I felt that pictures would do my experiences way more justice. The following five features were the highlights of my second visit to JA.
(Honorable Mention) First up, Reach River in Portland, JA. I didn’t make mention of this in my previous post so I wanted this beautiful place to get some shine on this one. My friends and I set out to drive over to Reach River first thing in the morning (we arrived a little after 9:00 am as we wanted to get there while it was empty). I heard it was really nice, but had no idea just how was in nice it was. Imagine walking into this….. Serene, still crystal turquoise waters – I was in awe at the beauty! We stripped down into our swimsuits and jumped into the lukewarm water; a temperature that I found easy for my body to adjust to.
After leaving the river (and getting some much needed food) we set out to embark on our our next adventure. The next destination was (1) Bath Fountain in St.Thomas, JA.
We drove for a little while (around major winding roads) before making it to our destination. Once there my friends and I followed one of the self-proclaimed massage therapists up the mountain (an approximate 8 – 10 minute steep hike up a dirt road with rocks and shrubs) to get to the hot mineral springs of Bath Fountain.
Bath Fountain is a secluded hot mineral spring in the mountains of St. Thomas, Jamaica believed to contain waters with healing powers. This therapeutic mineral spring is rich in sulphur and lime and is believed to be good for the treatment of rheumatic ailments an skin diseases.
I don’t know about all of that, but I do know that the water was hot as hell and I felt like I was being abused at times. I advise you to bring at least two BEACH towels for your treatment. You’ll understand why I stress bringing a beach towel instead of a regular towel in a second. The first towel is for you to rest your body on when you’re being physically assaulted by men with hot water. The second towel is what the “massage therapists” use to sop the hot water up and then squeeze on your body. Instead of being relaxed by the therapeutic waters I found myself wondering if I was being punished for all the bad that I’d done in my life. Is the water hot, ummm hell yes – it’s 130 degrees F! However, you get used to it very quickly I promise.
In no time you start to feel relaxed and refreshed by the hot waters. After your thorough rub down with pimento oil and sulfur, you go to to rinse off in the hot waters flowing through a bamboo overhead. You can then lay in the flowing river (filled with cool water) to relax.
I laid on my back for several minutes looking up at bamboo and the heavens. I felt tremendously grateful and at peace. The dopest part about the experience was that I felt like I had a spiritual breakthrough. As “Rasta Steve” (my massage guy) sprinkled hot water on my body he “blessed me”; he blessed my journey and my presence. It was as if he knew that I was dealing with a lot; he told me that whatever I was going through was trivial because HE was already working on it. He told me to let go and I did, the weight of the world (that was currently on my shoulders) was lifted. I needed that massage, but didn’t realize just how much until the tears started to flow from my eyes. Unbeknownst to me, my friend caught that moment on video; I watch it whenever I need a reminder to let go.
Next up, (2) Treasure Beach, Pelican Bar, & Black River (all located in the St. Elizabeth area of JA).
After walking around on the beach, climbing a large coral reef, and admiring the sea from different vantage points I boarded the boat to head to Pelican Bar & Black River.
While headed to the bar we had an unplanned encounter with wild dolphins. We saw about six of seven of them, they came up to the surface and showed their dorsal fins. I wanted to try and touch one (they were that close to the boat), but thought twice about it because I wasn’t in sea world, and black people don’t do dumb shit like touch wild dolphins in the ocean.
Some of the guests on the boat left to get twisted at the bar. The captain (Captain Ted) dropped them off and the rest of us continued onto Black River. It blew my mind how drastically the water changed color.
Onto the place that literally took my breath away, (3) Lover’s Leap (located in Southfield JA). This tourist attraction is named for Tunky & Mizzie (slaves in the 1800’s). They jumped some 1,750 feet above sea level into the ocean because they wanted to die together and in love instead of being separated by their slave master (who was in love with Mizzie and wanted to take her away). Titanic love story what? This was way more romantic to me and more relatable (when’s the last time some rich man gave you a million carat heart shaped blue diamond necklace)?
Look at the view! You can’t see where the water meets the sky – truly breathtaking!
Onto my next highlight. My favorite photos of my trip were caught en route to the Appleton Rum Estates. We stumbled upon (4) Bamboo Avenue and I saw quite possibly one of the most beautiful sites of my life. The pictures don’t do it justice. It was extremely quiet and peaceful. The bamboo covered the sky, when you looked up, all you can see are tall stalks of bamboo looking down on you.
Finally, my last featured highlight from my trip to JA, my visit to (5) Appleton Rum Estates (http://www.appletonestate.com/) where the grounds were massive and immaculate. Upon arrival you are shown to the bar where you can purchase some strong ass rum punch to get the tour started off right! I had about three 10 oz cups before the tour guide started the tour. We joked around with our guide and took plenty of photos as we were shown the grounds and learned about the distillation process. The tour ended with a free tasting of all the liquors we learned about, a complimentary bottle of Appleton Rum, and a trip to the gift shop.
Another honorable mention would be the impromptu patois lesson I received. After attending the “Clash” comedy show in Pine Plaza, Junction St. Elizabeth (and not understanding half of the comedy) Goo, the hostess of Rockstar Villa, wrote down a slew of common phrases then translated them into English. Why am I so excited to try these phrases out though?
“How far ya dey?” –> “Where are you?”
“Mi cyan bada.” –> “I cannot be bothered.”
“Da bwoy deh a fish.” –> “That boy is gay.”
“Yuh mad like.” –> “You are so crazy.”
“You smell like hog pen.” –> “You smell bad.”
“Yuh ugly nuh backside.” –> “You are extremely ugly.”
“Guh nyam shit.” –> “Go eat shit.”
Harsh right? I think it’s safe to say that I learned that Jamaicans are extremely blunt and direct with their language and I love it! You don’t have to guess what they’re telling you because they tell you unapologetically. Gotta respect that right?
As previously mentioned in my part I post, I am in the midst of planning my next trip. I know its a bit crazy, but I have decided to go on my first solo trip abroad. I think it will be an incredibly invigorating and amazing experience. I look forward to meeting new people, exploring different cultures, and connecting with freedom. The countries that I have on my radar are Thailand and Cambodia. Since there will be a layover in China I am going to see if I can weasel a day out of that (I would LOVE to walk the Great Wall). Stay tuned…..
In the meantime, feel free to follow me on Instagram to view additional photos from my dope visit to Jamaica.
Until next time friends!