Wednesday, January 10, 2007


I highly recommend cajoling a friend into enrolling in medical school (or vet school, that's fine, too) located on a tropical island. Being a northern girl, I don't think I could handle living in said climate for months on end, but having a place to crash and a friend to tour around with was great. On a more serious note, staying on the island (rather than bopping in from a cruise ship) also took some of the sting out of being the rich American faced with heartbreaking poverty. Both remained true (me rich, them poor), but it felt different.

We spent almost every day on the beach, but this one took my breath away:

Walking down the paved walk I expected to walk out onto a patio at a rich American resort, but no. The palm trees and out-of-control ferns framed the entrance to a beautiful wide cove. The sand was white and soft, the water was ideal for bathing. The waves were persistent but fun - enough movement to remind you that it certainly wasn't just bathwater.

Swimming in a rainstorm on Christmas was also noteworthy (alas, no photos of that beach).
sa reading
There was much yarn work (Sa hasn't crossed over to the dark side yet - she thinks she's safe with her crochet hook), some Buffy watching, some walking on the beach. And a bit of rum drinking - it's cheaper than soda there, so you have to be careful.

In addition to all of the lounging (that weather really does take a lot out of you, even if it was the "cold wave" that everyone kept apologizing for) we did a bit of touring about. A Canadian couple drove us all over the island - to the hippie organic chocolate factory

{I love the story of this place: Americans who did a good thing. Check out their website. Buy chocolate. (I couldn't bring enough back for everyone, but some of you should be checking your mailboxes)}

and a rum distillery that makes some of the nastiest stuff I've ever tasted.
Rum Distillery

Mic bravely threw back a whole shot, while we three girls shared one. Thank god we did - it felt like I'd painted my lips with fire. 75% alcohol. 150 proof. Can't even take that on a plane, ladies and gentleman, because it's too flammable.

Our final stop of the day was the rainforest. It wasn't quite what I'd expected, but maybe because the entire island felt like a rainforest, so I was expecting even more lusciousness. I was blown away by how many hours we spent on the road. The entire island is a mere 20 miles tall by 10 miles wide. My commute to work is almost as big as the island, yet with the mountains and rough roads (nonexistent roads in places) and insane drivers we spent an entire day canvassing a mere half of the island.

The views were beautiful every time I turned my head, the company and hosts were charming (who knew so many med/vet students would be fun to hang out with?), and my live-in personal chef kept my belly full and my tastebuds happy. Reviewing these photos makes me start to forget the hassle of Air Jamaica (really, I'd just have carry-on next time, what could go wrong?). It helps me come up with excuses about returning again rather than visiting a dear friend who is in England (do you realize how chilly it is there?!). It also makes me think of that half-serious conversation about finding a teaching job on the island...

More photos of the trip
Details in case you are thinking of visiting (or even dreaming about visiting)



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