Jamaica

IMG_306025 January

Jamaica reached and we are docked in Montego Bay. We have been to Jamaica before but to the East at Ocho Rios in late 2013.

We had advice left in our cabins about potential trouble in Jamaica so are glad we are on a tour, and to be berthed instead of arriving by tender.

A nothing to write home about terminal which is the opposite side of the water to the cruise terminal which didn’t look exciting anyway.

Not sure, but it is possible that there was a charge of $7 for a shuttle transfer the 500 yds. to the cruise terminal but certainly there didn’t seem to be anyone walking and there was no internet at our berth.

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Greenwood house close up of exterior

Our tour was to a country house, Greenwood, set up in he hills on the north coast a few miles East of Montego Bay, within sight of Ocha Rios, and those with good eyesight could see a cruise ship berthed there.

Our driver, a jovial character called Hylton seemed to prefer driving on the outside lane of the dual carriageway as well as having his own interpretation of the road’s speed limit.

Traveling East, we pass a few select hotels, Hyatt, Iberostar, Holiday Inn Resorts and Hilton and we turn inland after a few miles and up into the hills along some unmade roads to reach the house.

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Greenwood house dining area

Greenwood is an imposing Georgian building built and used in the sugar cane era and for convenience, we were split into smaller groups and taken through the building by guides.

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Shady verandah

The house is wooden boarded and certainly could do with some upkeep on the outside.

The inside, however, is very well kept and an oasis of coolness in the heat of the Jamaican sun with large overhangs that keep the verandahs from the glare of the sun.

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Musical instrument

The house is still used as a family house although was built by the Barrett-Browning family and contains some wonderful old furniture including pianos, a barrel organ and some old phonographs.

The views from the verandah at the back of the house were over the north coast and you could make out the curvature of the earth, it was that clear.

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View from Greenwood with earth curvature visible

There are so many antique pieces of furniture here it is just too much to describe and show them here – you will just have to make the tour yourselves!

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Antique clocking on/off machine for plantation workers

A rum punch later whilst we look at some of the signs and ancient decorations

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Signage from a bygone era

and we were back in the coach for a tour around some of the wealthy parts of the area and through the town of Montego Bay, a bustling little conurbation where we saw no tourists and it probably was not safe for tourists anyway.

 

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Montego Bay street

The cruise terminal is about 5 miles from the town centre and evidently, some fellow passengers had walked there and/or back not risking the taxis and buses – we were told that the taxis were cheaper than the bus but by the end of the walk they did feel a bit intimidated by some of the locals.

We didn’t venture out again though today and settled down to watch the ship depart.

Now we understand why we were given a berth at the last minute instead of having a tender, an MSC cruise ship (running 8 hours late) kicks us off our berth just after 5pm and we leave, stranding 60 or so passengers on the quayside that had been on a tour that was returning 90 minutes late.

We settle outside the harbour for the delayed passengers to be tendered to us, a process that takes at least 90 minutes.

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Leaving Montego Bay

Shame, as had our captain been able to wait 20 minutes more they would have all boarded whilst the ship was alongside – we waved to them all as the ship left it’s berth but they were in good hands as some senior crew had stayed with them.

It is Burns night and not only was there Haggis on the menu, the traditional Haggis was piped in and addressed by a Scottish lass who recited the address brilliantly.

The evening’s entertainment is Big band sound in crow’s nest followed by the Illusionist who was a little predictable of course.

More bad news for John & Deirdre, their tour at Amber Cove is cancelled due to lack of take up.

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Last look at Jamaica

26 January

Another sea day as we head for our next port, this time on the Dominican Republic. A Port talk today on Tobago which looks a very laid back island. This was followed by a food talk on the culinary virtues of the West Indies – interesting.

It is Australia Day so the film today is appropriately Australia, about an aristocrat and her Ranch in the Northern Territory around the time of the bombing of Darwin in the WWII coupled with a story surrounding a half caste child all of whom at the time were being sent away “for correction”.

A very long film which seemed to have two parts – I am not a film buff but this was interesting.

Tonight is another dressing up day and as we are not really in the mood to dress up in this heat, we opt for a visit to the Beach House (where you don’t have to dress up) and are treated to an absolutely fabulous sunset – guess who forgot to take his camera – followed by evening entertainment by the Dumesk Duo.

 

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