Monday the 25th was my second day in Jamaica. We had the day off because it was Labor Day, so the sites we would have been visiting were closed for the day. The morning started with a nice long walk on the beach. We all were eager to explore so we walked down to the point of the salt pond. If you zoom into Yallahs Bay near the body of water that is inland, you will be looking at the salt pond. Also, if you scan the shore line you will see the villa I stayed in, it is the one with the red roof. Anyway, it was cloudy all morning and just as we reached the tip, the clouds began to shudder. I was walking with my camera, so I decided to take all the electronics and head back to the villa. However, we didn't know that rainfall in Jamaica only lasts an average of 10 minutes... so many of my photos were shot on my solitary walk home. Along with photos, I got a sweet first day sunburn. Instead of asking for someone's sunscreen (since mine was lost with my luggage) I tried to "tough it out". Thankfully there were aloe plants outside the villa who came to my rescue and that happened to be my only major sunburn the entire trip.
As I mentioned, the sky was really cloudy that Monday so all my pictures look a little gray. I was also obsessing over the fact that I could have had a zoom lens had I known the ins and outs of Temple's equipment office. It was depressing to have someone mention that to me one day before my flight. For an entire Saturday I was trying to someone get my hands on this lens, but there were offices to be visited and paperwork to be filed and it happened to be Memorial Day weekend. For the entire first week I would make constant negative comments like, "Wish I had that lens," "This picture would be great if I could get closer," or "If only I had a 19-200mm." For instance, the picture of the Pelican drying his wings was definitely a moment of frustration and disappointment with my lens.
When I got back from the walk I made a new best friend. Her name is Lily. Lily is Hyacinth's daughter; Hyacinth cleaned and cooked for our stay in Jamaica. Hyacinth and her daughters became some of my closets friends during my stay. Lily is three and she likes to color and play with water. Chin is nine and she loves listening to my ipod, surfing the Internet and learning to swim with us. A lot of Jamaicans either don't know how to swim or are freaked out by water if they can't see through it. Numerous people have told me I'm crazy for how far I swim into the ocean and some tell me they either never learned to swim or would just rather not. I could see how trying to teach someone to swim in the ocean would be difficult. The only pool I saw in Jamaica was on the campus of the University of the West Indies.
After walking, swimming and playing with Lily, we all wanted to walk to Yallah's Square. Mr. Dunkin, who is the gatekeeper and groundskeeper for the villa offered to take us to town. He was great to go with because he knows everyone. He is so friendly and nice; he is definitely someone I miss the most. Anyway, the square is only about a ten or fifteen minute walk, but the sun is scorching you the entire time. The first day the walk seemed long, but after that I tried to walk to the square at least four or five times a week. By the second week the walk was really short and I would stop and chat with familiar faces along the way. I really enjoyed going to the square because that is where everyone else was chillin. In Jamaica most people will say they spend their days in the street or in the yard, so the square was basically 'the street'.
When I went to the square, I searched for someone who sold jerk fish because I'm not a fan of chicken. There was only one vendor and he became my new best friend. The first day I had breadfruit, fish and festival and it was absolutely amazing. I was looking forward to having this for lunch everyday, but I would soon find out that that wasn't going to happen. Apparently the government gives all the vendors chicken on consignment, but the vendors have to buy or catch the fish privately. So, I only had jerk fish three days :(! My boy would try and arrange different days for me to come and get fish, but we kept missing each others times/days. After I realized I wasn't going to get to eat fish daily, I had to find a new lunch menu. I started going to Juici patty and ordering a soy or veggie patty with coco bread. I would also buy festival daily off my boy. I really, really, really miss festival.
On our way home from town we ran into fisherman gutting their catch. Some of us were reluctant to go speak to them because we didn't know if that was normal. rude. weird. etc. A few of us ended up going to chat with them and I got some great pictures and learned a few things. These men happen to catch a Marlin that day; they showed us the round, silver, shiny ball-shaped balloons that help keep the fish a float in the middle of the sea. They also were showing us how to cut the fish into steaks and then they dropped it in a bucket in preparation to be taken to the market. We probably ate a few fish steaks for dinner that were caught by these fisherman or others like them.
When we got back to the villa, I met my new baby. KITTY! Kitty is a little boy cat that Mr. Dunkin takes care of. Mr. Dunkin named his kitty, kitty and his puppy, puppy. I loved kitty and he kept me company since I didn't have Charlie with me. Another house pet happened to be an enormous moth. In Jamaica there aren't screens on the window slats and you basically just leave the doors open night and day. This allows critters like lizards, cockroaches, and moths to make themselves at home. On Monday night we were all dive bombed by a really large and beautiful moth. We like to refer to him as a butterfly because somehow he is less threatening that way.