There’s No Place Like Home
I have a special connection to Jamaica. The birthplace of Reggae music and Blue Mountain coffee. My mother’s land. My father’s land. Their parents land. A trip to the land of good vibes is necessary at least once a year. There’s one particular visit back home that provoked a memory I hope to hold onto forever. If it’s alright with you, I’d love to share it. Here goes…
As I arrive at Norman Manely International airport in Kingston, I know what to expect. The warm sun dancing on my brown skin, the scent of the ocean inviting us into paradise as we ride into the city of New Kingston, where we’re met by the occasional peddler pushing sweet mango and cane juice in the thick of traffic, or the aroma of dutch grills charring jerk chicken on the side of the road—it’s in these moments that I am reminded that I have arrived at home.
I can tell you the highlights of every trip without thinking twice, safe to say they’re a tradition. Before we reach the house, talk of visiting Devon House, the local ice cream shop, has to emerge. We’ll go and my grandmother and I will get our favorite flavor, coffee. The ice cream tastes like it was churned with flavorful beans straight from the mountain top. We’ll also make sure to take a ride down to Hellshire Beach to get some fried fish and festival. For some reason, I make it a point not to eat fried fish unless it’s from there. The other stuff just can’t compare.
City life in Kingston is always fun with something to do, but I always head out to “country” for a more authentic, laid back experience. It was on our way there that we made a random stop to visit some family friends in Falmouth, capital of the parish of Trelawny. These hours-long stops don’t excite me much, but as night-time fell, I realized this time was different. We were by the water with a beautiful view and a stocked bar, filled with Red Stripe and Ting. Sounds like paradise right? It get’s better. Our family friend told us to look into the water as he threw a rock in. As soon as the rock hit the water, the water lit up with a green hue. I couldn’t believe it! All this time I had no idea that we were at Jamaica’s famous natural nighttime attraction, Glistening Waters Restaurant and Marina.
Anyways, let’s get back to the good stuff. So the water lights up, as if the view from where we were seated on the dock wasn’t enough. Jamaica is one of 3 destinations in the world that offers this magical experience, and it’s said to shine the brightest here. As the night went on, so did the show. We took a boat out from the marina and stopped in the middle of the luminous lagoon. It was pitch black and the stars illuminated the sky in a way I’ve never quite seen before. We all just gazed, shifting our focus from the sky, back to the still lagoon, as fish darted by the boat and lit up the pitch black waters. Then the craziest thing happened. We dove in! Yea that’s right, it was probably the most scary and beautiful moment I’d ever experienced. Every time my fingers stroked the water I remembered why I love my country. Everyone eventually went to go dry off and eat, but I was in love at that point so I sat on the dock and just stared at the water waiting for a fish to jump. I promised myself I’d bring the man I marry to this place and introduce him to something amazing (almost more than me).
I encourage everyone to travel to Jamaica and veere off the beaten path. Whether it’s Devon’s House for ice cream, a road trip to the country or the Glistening Waters, splendor exists in all 14 parishes of the island. One love.
Traffic in Kingston
Devon House Bakery, Hope Road, Kingston, Jamaica
Hellshire Beach, St. Catherine, Jamaica
Glistening Waters, Trelawny Parish, Jamaica