Saturday, 30 April 2016

Meeting The Family

Mr Shirley cutting up chickens

When mum and dad arrived at the airport, Cleyon and I were there to pick them up. Luckily, they all get along really well. Cleyon keeps telling me how chilled my parents are haha. After a week of being in Jamaica travelling around they were able to meet Cleyons family too.

Mrs Shirley at school, we disrupted the kids!

Trying to take a selfie with Nathan, the best one I got....

His mum and dad live outside of Falmouth up a dirt road that I hate driving up! After meeting his mum and second mum during the day to help with groceries, we came up in the evening for dinner. His mum had somehow already finished preparing dinner, like the miracle worker she is. Mr Shirley was sitting outside when we arrived and welcomed my parents with a friendly face and barely understandable English! I had already warned them that they probably wouldn't understand much of what he said and perhaps what the rest of the family said too haha. Christine also welcomed them with open arms and a friendly face and soon began chatting with my mum.

Mum holding Skye, the trouble maker...
Dad holding Nathan and Tina nearby
They were introduced to a lot of people, brothers, sisters, cousins, nieces, nephews, neighbours and had a great time. Christine, or Sharon as she is more commonly known, had cooked up curry goat, fried chicken and stew pork with rice and vegetables! Somehow she managed to serve everyone there including a few extras that rolled up!

The family
I can't believe that after so long talking to my parents on Skype with Cleyon they have finally been able to meet him AND come all the way across the world to see the countries culture and delicacies and meet his family too. I'm not sure if they will ever be able to come back but I am so happy that they had the opportunity, and now can see or know who I am talking about! After all, we are all family now.

The whole family!

Dunns River Falls and an Art Class

Another day on my family vacation in Jamaica!

Trying to be a pirate
Mum relaxing on our journey
We drove to Dunns River Falls in Ocho Rios. It was $20 US per person for entry. The last time I had done this, there were shoes for hire inside however now there wasn't. Mum, Dad and Cleyon all bought the water shoes which were available for $10 US each at the office. I am more comfortable bare foot than with shoes! We hired a locker, put our stuff away and walked to the bottom of the falls where it meets the ocean, my favourite part. When my foot first touched the water I practically squealed it was so cold! Thankfully the ocean was warmer and it was easy to escape. Mum and dad stood right under the cold waterfall at the bottom to refresh from the hot and humid weather, they're not acclimatised to the weather here!
Mum and Dad at the bottom
Me and Cley
Mum and dad both have bad knees and decided to skip the beginning, which is the most difficult part. Cleyon and I looked at each other and decided to go anyway while they walked around. The most difficult part is navigating around all the other people on the falls. People come in tour buses, private tours and catamaran tours so you can imagine there are a lot of people there! We managed to sneak around quite a lot but there were parts where the flow of the water was so strong I had no choice but to patiently wait behind people. We got to a point where mum and dad decided to enter too. The black parts on the rock are slippery but I think more so for my bare foot self than for those in water shoes. With Cleyon and I checking the way with our steps we made it to the top.

The family :)
We took a short drive into Ocho Rios and stopped at a place for food where I had taken my sister and her fiance' a few years back. It was pretty expensive for the 4 of us but we were expecting that in the touristy town! We came out and went into the jewellery store nearby that stocks Pandora. Mum bought a couple of Jamaican charms for herself and my sister whilst I am hopeful I can find another charm that they had ran out of. Whilst walking around dad became charmed with a sign '6 tshirts for $20', of course it ended up being a lot more haha! We got back in the car and headed back to Montego Bay.

Me climbing the falls
I had organised to go to an art class with mum that evening in Montego Bay. We sat down with our complimentary glass of wine and looked at the artwork the artist had prepared earlier and followed her through steps to recreate it. The artwork subject was a royal palm tree with a sky blue background. I think we sat too far away to see the real details the artist put into her artwork. From where we sat her clouds looked perfect, but when we got up to look, they looked much different. Mum and I had some serious cloud envy haha. We had fun painting, and were happy with our pieces, despite me painting leaves in the wrong direction. I hope mum can take back the experience to Australia to the shop she has opened with her sister 'Art on Ormerod'.

Mum painting clouds...

Friday, 29 April 2016

A Jamaican Wedding

Me and Dandre and his cheeky smile
Before my parents arrived, I was lucky enough to be invited to a Jamaican wedding. Cleyons brother, Craig, got married to his beautiful wife Marsana. The ceremony started in the afternoon in a big church in Falmouth. Everyone was seated but the traditional family and friends of the groom on the right and those of the bride on the left does not apply in Jamaica. Shortly after, the bridesmaids started to walk down with the groomsmen. My sexy fiance was paired up with another bridesmaid; they were dressed in a dark peachy orange colour and the men had ties to match. The groom and the bridesmaid though had a turqouise dress and a turq

Men looking smart

Me and my man

ouise tie to stand out. Then of course the bride, Marsana always looks fantastic, but in the dress and with her makeup she looked beautiful! Craig walked down the isle a little to meet his bride, shake the fathers hand then continue to the alter.

Big Jamaican wedding party

After the ceremony was over, I managed to sneak into the bridal party cars with the groomsmen to take photos. There were multiple poses, lots of laughs then we continued to the reception at Martha Brae River with a quick stop at Sharons small shop for a couple of drinks and a spice bun! I was starving at that point haha.

The happy couple
When we arrived, Cleyons family quickly ushered me with them to a table before they ran out of room. There were a lot of people. Between drinks, dinner, speeches, dances and everything it was a really nice night. I am so thankful to be apart of such a beautiful, kind and generous family. I wish Mr and Mrs Simpson a lifetime of love and happiness!

Quick food stop!!

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Jamaica Vacation!

I'm on VACATION!!! The internet in Jamaica is pretty terrible, but I'm missing writing in the blog, so here it goes...

I have lived here for a year previously which is how I met my other half. This time, my parents have come to see the country, meet Cleyon and his family! I have been living away from home for 3 years now and this is the first time they have come to visit me, needless to say I was excited for them to come.

After they got over their jet lag, it's a long way from Australia, we ventured out to the Rose Hall Great House, Appleton Rum Factory and YS Falls.

Photo of a photo for a view of the Rose Hall Great House

We thought we would take it easy with the tours for the first few days while my parents recover so we chose an easy introduction with the Rose Hall Great House. We went in the evening for a night tour! It was $20 US per person. They take a photo of you in front of the house on entry which is available for purchase later for $10 US. You are told a whole heap of information about the settlers and of course the infamous Anne Palmer aka. The White Witch. This tour was a lot of fun but it is not for the faint of heart. We all jumped a few times, there were a couple of screams within the group and I was laughing a lot of the time. The tour guide we had, 'Curly', did an excellent job and also the actors in the house; the men and women dressed up as slaves in rags, carrying machetes, cleaning the floors and walking around. The tour was really informative but honestly I spent most of the time looking around corners and for hiding places for people to jump out of. If you get scared easily and are looking for something a little more peaceful, perhaps during the day would be better, but you will be missing out on a lot of fun!!

The next day we were off to the rum factory and falls.

Appleton Rum Factory

I have worked in bars all through my University study and therefore love tasting different alcohols and mixes. Although I have lived here before and tried most of the alcohols on offer at the rum factory, there was one I haven't tried; Berry Hill Pimento Allspice Liquer by Wray & Nephew. Pimento, or allspice, is a berry that once dried tastes like cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. The drink is kind of sweet, intense but really tasty and they say it's good for an upset stomach. Of course I loved all the other rums and rum creams, oh rum cream....mmmmm.....

Cleyon and Dad at the beginning...

Serving the sugar cane juice, the juicing machine behind.
We paid $25 US entry each, received a rum punch on entry (which was very strong and refillable as soon as you finished it!), we then tried freshly squeezed sugar cane juice, literally, like we watched 2 tour group members push the machine around to squeeze the juice! Then we tried molasses, the first stage of the rum producing process. We then proceeded inside for the samples of white rum, dark rum, coconut rum, rum cream and the pimento liquer.....they let us pour our own drinks and we could have as much as we liked! Very well worth going, my only recommendation, go with a tour company or taxi driver so you don't have to drive!!!

Donkey demonstrating how to juice sugar eating it! 

Old Sugar Cane Cart
At the end of the tour....

I carefully drove from the Appleton Factory to YS Falls, probably another 20 minutes and made it just in time at 3.25pm, they close at 3.30pm! We paid the entry, from memory $15 US, and boarded a cart pulled by tractor to the falls. The grounds are beautiful, grassy areas with tables and chairs and a few huts for shops. We wished we had packed a picnic to sit down and enjoy the surrounds. We climbed up the side of the falls up their wooden stairs. The walk isn't far or difficult. The falls were nice and flowing quite rapidly. After many photos we walked back to the bottom. As mum was taking photos of all the different flowers and plants I dipped my toe in the water in a natural-made pool at the bottom, it was beautiful but really cold! If you're going to the rum factory and you have time to see the falls, they are nice, but I personally prefer the falls on the othervside of Jamaica from Ocho Rios to Port Antonio. The water seems to be more blue and clear over there than YS Falls.

YS Heritage...beautiful scenery
The tractor cart ride to the falls

Dad admiring the tranquility haha

So peaceful
Cleyon, Me and Mum at YS Falls

If the water wasn't so cold maybe I would've swung in! 

After a long day, I drove back however, took a 'shortcut'. The roads to get to Appleton and YS are pretty bad. Lots of potholes, very narrow and very windy. We made it back to Montego Bay, all in one piece but a little weiry and some of us a little tipsy...