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Published: December 31st 2017
We made a quick trip to Jamaica over the winter break 2017. We flew into Montego Bay (Mo Bay as Jamaicans fondly call it), the most touristy part of Jamaica. Kingston which is the Capital city is about 2 ½ hours away. Compared to other Caribbean countries, Jamaica seems much less touristy overall. Jamaicans are polite, careful and less cheery (reserved). They seem more in sync with their counterparts in Dominican Republic than with Puerto Ricans or Bahamians. In Jamaica, the mountains are closer to beaches and so are tropical jungles with waterfalls and waterholes. We stayed in an all-inclusive resort, first time for us. While it is very convenient and comfortable, I feel that it almost limits you in the sense that you don’t tend to venture out to eat in local restaurants and mingle with locals.
Most interesting visit was to The Rose Hall Great house, greatest of Jamaican great houses. The Great House has an interesting history and is reflective of the times where sugar plantations run by British, slaves working for them in plantations and in houses. Tour is based on the legendary story of the white witch of Rose Hall who was believed to be
Annie Palmer, wife of John Palmer who built the house. The house is believed haunted and is currently owned by The Rollins family of Delaware, USA. It is painstakingly restored to replicate what it originally looked like and furnished. Another interesting place for a quick visit is 1837 aqueduct, at the time used to transport sugar cane to waiting boats in the harbor. Setting is very pretty with Rose Hill golf course on one side and the beach on the other. We learnt that weddings take place in the backdrop of the aqueduct due to its picturesque location.
We enjoyed the Jamaican Jerk spiced food, especially the Jamaican Jerk Chicken. Jerk is a style of cooking native to Jamaica where the meat is marinated in jerk spices, and grilled till charred. I enjoyed the seafood abundantly available with Jamaican spices, and I especially enjoyed a dish called “Ackee and saltfish”, Jamaica’s national dish. Cooked Ackee resembles scrambled eggs and has an indescribable taste (does not taste like eggs at all). Ackee pods are picked from the tree once the pods are open as the unopened pods are toxic. The extracted fruits are then cooked in boiling water and sautéed
with salted cod fish, onions, and spices and traditionally eaten with plain rice. Ackee is Jamaica’s national fruit but it is debatable whether Ackee is a vegetable or fruit as it need to be cooked.
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