Monday, 20 February 2012
Hotel Mockingbird, Port Antonio, Jamaica
Good afternoon from Jamaica! We continue to work very closely with our friends at Hotel Mockingbird. We are very grateful for their openness and willingness in helping us to help them. We have gathered a great deal of primary data and are now in the stages of compiling and analyzing it to formalize our plan.
Today’s blog will however focus on our experience as tourists. Firstly, the aesthetics of this country are breath taking. From the villa we have rented I look out to my left and see the Blue Mountains; to my right at the Atlantic Ocean; and down below to the city of Port Antonio. Everyday has been sun-filled and the horizon of clean blue water continuously forces me to take a moment to appreciate being here. The view of the town is complied of beautiful pastel colored Spanish roofs and everywhere you look is very natural, tree filled and green. Yesterday while working at the Hotel I could hear a church service from down below, and it was impossible to ignore the joy and heart in the music and in the service.
The people of Jamaica have been wonderful and very friendly. It feels like a very safe place to be. Although there are many who are perhaps less fortunate and therefore forced to try to sell tourists staple items, they are still extremely friendly, always polite and smiling; and in no way a threat anyone’s security or mood. We have been fortunate enough to get to talk/bond with the keeper of our villa, and her charm and story telling abilities have been among the highlights of our day. We have noticed as a group that Canadians love to laugh and enjoy themselves. The culture here is very kind hearted and certainly creates an atmosphere to engage in those behaviors.
The other day we walked down to the renowned Frenchman’s Cove beach area for a swim. Although the walk involved a great decent to water level (and climb back up), everywhere we looked was a photo opportunity and it is impossible not to notice how naturally beautiful things can be. I had become very skeptical about Internet photographs and commercial/marketing material due to the expanding capabilities of Photoshop style editing. I can report that the pictures and commercials I saw before coming are highly accurate, and that those “million dollar” pictures/views exist in the exact way that were advertised. It is hard not to get lost in them.
Another highlight has been getting to sit and talk with other tourists. As we are not in the “cookie cutter,” all-inclusive style resort, we are able to meet/engage with diverse personality types. I have had wonderful conversations and learning opportunities about where they are from and what drew them to not only this destination, but also this type of vacation.
Everyday we are here we become more accustomed to the country and all that it has to offer; and everyday our experience in absorbing these offerings make it harder to imagine leaving. It was a quick transition from coming to help our new friends for personal/educational reasons to coming to help them because they are wonderful people who we feel connections with and want to see succeed