Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Jamaica 2016 Day 8. The East Coast

I almost didn’t want to get out of bed. I was so cool and comfortable. Maybe I should stay here until it is time to take my flight back to San Antonio. … Alas, it was all a beautiful dream, but I woke up refreshed and ready to go. Ena had told me that he was going to fix me a typical Jamaican breakfast, and at 7 am she and Roger arrived with all sorts of pots. Ena herself doesn’t eat breakfast, but Roger and I sat to an nice plate of callaloo (what I have so far been calling collard greens, but is here a mix of the green leafy herb callaloo, onions, tomatoes, and garlic), boiled green bananas, plantains, and yams; a cup of coffee, and a glass of fresh orange juice. Delicious!

Having coffee reminded me that I have not had a whole lot of coffee since I came to Jamaica, even though Blue Mountain coffee is reported to be one of the best in the world. So what do Jamaicans drink in the morning if not coffee? Atole! That is correct, they enjoy a thin maize porridge flavored with molasses, peanuts and hominy, and by now I have gotten so used to it that I forgot about coffee.

While having breakfast I discussed my travel alternatives with my gracious hosts: Try to go up to the Blue Mountains, or follow the coast to complete the “circum-navigation” of the island? They emphatically dissuaded  me from the former, “because the roads are so steep and so narrow, and you have all the trucks using that road.” For once I let the voice of reason prevail, and with a forlorn look at the distant mountains I resumed my coastal way, with the idea of turning the east tip of the island and ending in Port Antonio.

The first leg of the trip was trafficy and uncomfortable, but as soon as I had passed Morant Bay the cars disappeared and I had the road for myself. There is just not a lot of people in this side of the island, which is puzzling because it is one of the prettiest stretches (or is beauty inversely related to population?). Plenty of pretty pocket beaches and spectacular displays of foam as the waves crash against the low limestone cliffs. There were also some very attractive canyons joining the shore, and I wasted a few happy kilometers exploring them along solitary twisting roads.

Once I felt I was getting close to Port Antonio I started looking for shelter (even though it was barely 2 pm), and while going through Long Bay happily landed in an ecological guest house that belongs to an Italian family, Enrico, Sibila, and their 10 year old daughter, Noa. The accommodations are simple but very congenial, so after I go get something to eat I am going to take it easy and enjoy the place.

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