August 2009
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Vacation In Jamaica 2009

My trip this time was basically separated into a few sections. I’ll describe each briefly and then let the photos do most of the work. If you have any questions, ask in the comments or when you see me!

Clarendon At Racene’s Grandma’s House
The drive was really not far from Kingston in distance as it only took us a little over an hour to reach Racene’s grandmother’s house but it is a very different lifestyle in the country. The experience was interesting to me because there donkeys being used to haul water and equipment around and up hills and no indoor plumbing. I never had to use it but there was an outhouse around the back and for bathing one would just use a bucket of water and soap up in a private area outside. I was supposed to help feed the pigs but in reality I just watched Uncle Bill clean the pens and feed them. I also didn’t assist grandma with butchering and cleaning the chickens but just watched. I think it’s a much better method to hang the chicken on a string before beheading it rather than just chopping the neck on a block of wood as I am accustomed to. Racene’s younger cousins were also very cute hanging around the place. Another interesting thing is the water catchment tank that Grandma and Uncle Bill (grandpa) maintain for the community. I’d never seen a large one like this up close. It seems rather simple but is massive in size.

Negril Reunion
I expected more people to show up but there were only 4 of us. This was 5 years since Peace Corps Jamaica Group 75 came to the island to start our service. Amazing to think it has been that long but it has. We enjoyed ourselves by mostly sticking to the beach and Red Stripes. This is where I started the work on my tan for the trip.

Portland Trip
I went on a trip to Negril with my friend Nadia the last time I was in Jamaica. This time we opted for a little quieter place that was away from the main tourist attractions. We ended up staying at the Jamaica Palace Hotel which is on a very nice property. The only downside was the need to eat at the hotel every evening because there was really nothing else within walking distance. The food was okay but nothing really special and the prices were quite high. All staff were very pleasant it was cozy with a pool in the shape of Jamaica as well as artwork adorning almost every wall. In the lobby there were some very nice sculptures and paintings. There are more photos on Nadia’s camera which I hope to get access to soon. On this trip we also went rafting down the Rio Grande river and climbed Reach Falls which is a nice alternative to Dunns River Falls in Ocho Rios.

I got to see many other friends for much shorter periods of time. A few of those photos are in there. I wish I had more time for everyone but alas that was not the case. I still didn’t make it to see some people I wanted to see even with the three week time period.

I worked at Gaynstead High School helping out in computer class and with the computer club. They were able to get new computers and a second computer lab installed at the school since I was there. It’s a nice setup and the students will hopefully be grateful. In some places that were not wired for computers like the staff room, the school is using the network cables that the students from the computer club made while I was there. It’s nice to see some things still getting use. Clifton is the one who showed me around the school this time. I also saw Racene there again as she was one of the students in the computer club. Unfortunately I did not get to see any of the others from the club that day.

Dunns River Falls
Mark is an IT teacher I worked with at Drews Avenue and he took me Cody and Jordan up to Dunns River Falls. I have been there a few times but it is still nice and challenging to climb the falls. Oh yea, this was also the first time I’ve opened my eyes in salt water. It was down at the ocean where the river empties.

Around The Howell’s House
I stayed with the principal of the first school I worked with in Jamaica (Drews Avenue Primary & Infant School) although he is at a different school now. Mr. Howell and his wife are always very hospitable when I come down and as more evidence of that I always meet new family members staying at the house. This time it was Steve, Cody, Cody’s son mother and brother, and Ace who were there for most of my stay. Others popped in and out. I enjoyed getting to know all of them and hope to see them again when I am back. I’m sure the young ones will be much bigger the next time I see them.

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