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date. 2023

Image by Rock Staar

February 13


Lisa, Paula, and I are in Jamaica for 10 days. They flew in separately from Germany and I from NY.


Lisa arrived a few days early and warned us about the way things are done in Jamaica. Time moves slowly here. Things take time. A lot of time. But even that didn’t prepare us for the 4 hour wait until our rental car was ready.


That being said, there’s no one I’d rather wait with than these two!


Once we collected out car, we drove the two hours or so to Negril, where we’d be spending the first three days.


We checked in at Judy’s, a charming collection of small villas up in the hills. We were greeted by Martin, a friendly rasta who would be our contact while we’re here. He’s quiet. And stoned. (He smiled REAL wide when I asked him to roll a joint for me.)


I was surprised by the Rasta lifestyle. Everyone - I mean EVERYONE - seems to be high all day. At every cafe, every restaurant, every beach, groups of foreign and local stoners light up.


Everyone is really friendly, and really slow.


After we checked-in, we headed down to Canoe Bar for dinner. We sat out on the terrace, overlooking the lapping sea, and watched the sun set down over the hills.


I ordered my first Red Stripe. First of many.


It was great to have a slow dinner after a day of traveling. Soaking in this new setting with my old friends. It felt good to be together again. Together, here.


The next morning, we had breakfast at Patsy’s, swam at Bloody Beach, and drank at Office of Nature. In the late afternoon, we drove over to Rick’s Cafe where Lisa and I went cliff diving 30 feet into the ocean.


I’d been warned that Jamaica was super dangerous. But so far, it’s been very calm, safe, and grooooovy.


Negril, west of the resorts, has a sort of reggae hippy vibe going. I’m into it.


Tonight, the three of us sat out on our porch for hours, soaking in each other’s presence. I’m so thankful for my friends. I’m so thankful for this time together in Jamaica.



February 14


Woke up and ate a lazy breakfast out on the porch, before driving down to Blue Hole. When we arrived, we found out that it cost $20 per person which was particularly annoying since the ‘blue hole’ was literally just a hole near an old swimming pool. 


But we stayed optimistic and after taking the 25 foot jump, we enjoyed swimming in the warm mineral water cased in a limestone cave.


Lisa, being Lisa, decided to jump again, only this time from a far higher spot. Calling it ‘a spot’ is too generous though. She jumped off a piece of wood nailed to the top of a tree which swung over the hole.


It was such a crazy jump that everyone else just stared and watched. The employees offered her free lifetime entry to Blue Hole in exchange for the jump.


I couldn’t even watch.


The lifeguard who helped her climb up the tree was named Wayne, and he and Lisa hit it off to the point that they agreed to go on a date later that evening.


Before that, though, we visited Xtabi, a bar/restaraunt that sits on top of a series of caves and tunnels carved into the coastal cliffs. We had some drinks, explored the caves, and swam around in the surging current.


After sunset, we found a beachfront ramshackle bar that was hosting a live reggae band. This bar was literally just a wooden platform suspended over the beach. It was perfect.


Wayne soon arrived for his non-date date, and Paula and I had a great time playing mom and dad :)


The music blew my mind. It was one of the most artistic, spiritual, political experiences I’ve ever had. All wrapped up in one.


It was more than music. It was Rasta.



February 15


We checked out from Judy’s and hit the road to the capital city, Kingston. It was a 7 hour drive and by the time we arrived, we were pretty wiped and looking forward to a night in.


Well that is until Lisa received a call from our Airbnb host letting us know about a reggae concert up in the hills (at a gorgeous spot called Skyline Levels). They were hosting a small party/recording session with Junior Reid, a grammy-nominated artist, so we pulled ourselves together and embarked on a treacherous drive up the pitch-black slopes surrounding Kingston.



February 16 


Our first day in Kingston.


10:00 - Breakfast at Ragamuffin


12:00 - Visit to the National Gallery (where Lisa had to lay down because she was passing out from heat exhaustion)


2:30 - Pit stop at a grocery store and then on to Port Royal, all the way out on a narrow peninsula.


We had barely pulled into Port Royal when a funny looking dude came running over and excitedly gestured for us to follow him. I mean, hellll no. But he didn’t take no for an answer. So we followed him to his captain who brought us to his boat. At this point there was no backing out, so with whispered prayers we boarded their tiny vessel, barely more than a canoe with an outboard motor and took off across the sea. The waves were rather choppy, sending us bouncing around like pinballs and then spraying us down in icy foam.


They dropped us off at Lime Cay, an uninhabited atoll a few miles off the coast.


We told the captain to come back in two hours, and then all of a sudden we were alone.


Just us and the bright sand, pristine water and the most secluded virgin beauty.


Like most of Jamaica, it was pure magic.


Once we returned to shore, we walked over to Gloria’s, a cute seafood joint with a balcony overlooking the sea.



February 17


Drove up into the Blue Mountains to hike in Hollwell Park. On the way, we stopped at the gorgeous Cafe Blue which offered delicious coffee and even more delicious views over the rolling rolls.


To get to the park, we had to drive through an army base, which was kind of cool. 


We hiked for a couple hours, until it started to rain, and then went back to the city.



February 18


Drove from Kingston to Port Antonio. We’re staying about 10 km outside the city, in a small town called Zion Hill.


We had quite a bit of trouble finding our hotel. First google maps took us the wrong town. Then it took us through an unpaid jungle road that led to a large locked gate. After honking our horn for a little while, a little girl came running up. She was surprised that we hadn’t just driven to the front door which was on the main street! Oh well.


Like most areas we’ve been to in Jamaica, everything here is very quiet. We’re the only guests staying at the hotel.


Once we settled in and recovered from the drive, we went down to Winnifred Beach for a quick swim. It’s a pretty secluded spot, enclosed with green cliffs.



February 19


Spent the day at Boston Beach, famous for its surf.


Lisa and I rented a board and spent the afternoon trying to catch some waves. I say “try” because I’m so out of practice that I’m lucky just to get to stay upright. But Lisa was a pro. I returned to shore and sat with Paula and just enjoyed watching Lisa bob around, glad that she was having fun.


I still had a bit of weed left over from Negril, so I took a quick hit and went for a walk across the glistening sand. I wrote a poem.


Only Love:


I have only love

To give to you.


I have no money.

I have no power.

I have no beauty.

I have no wisdom.


I have only love

Only love

To give to you.


I have no hate.

I have no jealousy.

I have no fear.

I have no desire.


I have only love

To give to you.


I have no space.

I have no time.

I have no body.

I have no mind.


I have only love

Only love, Only love

To give to you.

Only love

To give to you.


I have no questions.

I have no answers.

I have no hopes.

I have no worries.


I have only love

 To give to you


I have no demands.

I have no gifts.

I have no words.

I have no thoughts.


I have only love to give to you.


I have no safety.

I have no passion.

I have no direction.

I have no clue.

I have no control.

I have no tears.

I have no warmth.

I have no options.

I have no promise.


I have only love

Only love

Only love.



A surfer dude on the beach told us about a vinyl party taking place that night at Drapers, a nearby town. So that’s where we headed after dinner.


It was pretty lame, but also pretty cool. A DJ spun records on a porch looking out over the street and little groups of people gathered in pockets along the road to hang out and dance.


A random guy came over to chat with us, and it turned out that he owns A1 Records, a shop just a few blocks from where I live in NY.



February 20


Packed our stuff up and drove a few hours over to Breadnut Hill,  a town nestled in the hills over Ocho Rios.


As usual we got majorly lost on the way there. We even attempted (and luckily failed) to drive up a road on a 45 degree angle.


We finally found our airbnb (with the help of a kind man) and it was super adorable! It had views out over the mountains and down to the sea. The hostess was the sweetest, and the property was home to all sorts of trees and plants which went straight into our breakfast.


In the afternoon, we drove to Blue Hole (another one), where we got to hike up a series of rushing waterfalls and natural pools. Once we got to the top, we dove into the blue waters, caking our skin in the mineral mud (or whatever that brown stuff was).


February 21


Our last day in Jamaica.


The mood in the car is somber as we drive west back to Montego Bay. Where it all began on that scorching afternoon spent waiting for our car.


We’d be staying at the famous Mobay Kotch hostel for the night.


After checking in, we walked over to Harmony Beach only to find that it was closed for cleaning. Instead, we walked further down the coast, another 10 minutes, past an abandoned theme park, to One Man Beach.


As the sun began to set, we made our way, one-by-one over to the rocky outcrop that separated our slice of beach from the open sea.


We perched atop the stones and sat quietly, faces turned toward the gold red light, ears tuned to the music of the gently lapping waves as one more evening descended upon Jamaica.


Slowly, we walked back through town, and onto Pier 1 for one last dinner.


Jerk chicken, Red Stripe, and the endless blue waters. And the best friends a man could ever hope for.

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