Archive for the 'Jamaica' category

Olympic Trials 2012 – Jamaica’s Track and Field Phenomenon

With anticipation for the 2012 Lond0n Olympics building by the day, Jamaica has been receiving more than its fair share of international attention. To the relief of the island’s leaders, who are usually dealing with the fallout of massive public debt, rampant police killings, and other woes, the focus at the moment is the prominence of the country’s athlete’s on the world stage. Usain Bolt, the reigning 100m champion and considered the fastest man in the world, is but one of a cadre of sprinters who are fully expected to dominate the sprints this summer in the UK.

A British friend said to me tonight, even Jamaica’s #6 sprinter, who, failing to place in the top tier in the nation’s qualifying races, would still take the top place among Britain’s runners.

Last weekend saw Jamaica’s qualifyers, where athletes gathered at the National Stadium in Kingston to compete for spots on the team that will represent Jamaica at the Olympics. The biggest surprise of the weekend was Bolt’s loss to his much younger training partner, Blake, in both the 100 and 200 meter sprints.

A colleague used his lunch hour the week before to brave the chaos of the national stadium’s ticket booth last week on the day tickets went on sale – and he was still unable to procure anything besides general seating tickets, so high was demand.

Gene Pearson, a Jamaica Icon, the Beginnings of a Collection

A trip to his mountain studio later, I am exceedingly proud to own a couple Gene Pearson masterpieces.

Gene Pearson, Jamaican sculptor.

 

 

Search for the Best Steamed Fish

I forgot  who recommended So So Seafood, on Chelsea Road, but the claim that they had the best steamed fish in town just may have to be declared true. I’m pretty sure a planted suggestion did not become a self fulfilling prophecy – my search for the best steamed fish on the island has honed a reliable judgement for the stuff. This one was really good.

 

Bless this coffee…

Biking through the posh neighborhoods, and gully communities, which seem to pass one into the other so abruptly in this bifurcated city, on a quiet cool Sunday morning can be a wonderful thing. Especially when there is rum to sweat out of the system, and the church choirs are just picking up steam in the omnipresent jamaican churches.

Destination: my favorite coffee shop, to check the morning’s news and views and to recaffeinate for the ride home (unfortunately it is all up hill…).

One of their morning’s first customers, I am privileged to witness the opening group prayer, what I assume is a daily ritual performed by the crew of pleasant young women who always serve me the lovely Blue Mountain coffee with a suggestive smile. Not simply a prayer, though, as much as a five minute plunge into song and hymn, holding hands in a tight circle, eyes closed, oblivious to the cafe patrons who continue to file in, patiently waiting for their own chance at redemption through ritual… Though their sacrament of coffee is not quite the same…

King Fish in Port Antonio

The rainy season makes it a little harder to enjoy the beaches of Portland, on the North Coast of Jamaica. But that can’t stop us from indulging in the bounties of the sea!

Saturday had us at a nice place on the outskirts of Port Antonio, in the Parish of Portland, called Anna Banana. The king fish steak, steamed, was excellent.

The Living and the Dead in Jamaica

A friend once told me, as we drove together over the Blue Mountains from Kingston to the much more pleasant North Coast, that Jamaicans treat the dead better than the living.

The notorious Nigh Night, a massive party involving dancing, food, drink, music, and in some cases I hear, shots fired into the air, is the culmination to a long period of mourning and partying before a deceased person’s soul is finally sent on its way.

Graves in Jamaica can range from the modest and tradition to the perhaps distastefully outlandish. This cemetery in St. Andrew, on the way to St. Mary, told a million little stories, from the memorials scratched in a grave while the cement was still wet, to the trash on the ground, the rum bottles and cookies laid on a loved one’s shrine of a grave, to the elaborate mausoleumof a final resting place.

 

Limitations of Rationalism

Political Science. It was so easy to say, back at university, answering “what’s your major.” What a wonderful feeling, learning grand models that could not only explain but help you predict human behavior.
Now, having lived in the realm of international relations, in one form or another, for a number of years, I long for those days of confidence. Not to exaggerate the simplicity of my education, of course – there was plenty of skeptical back and forth. But at the end of the semester you still walked away with your grand theories.
Human, or government for that matter, behavior, presents itself as irrational more often than it rings of realism or liberalism etc, in far too many cases. Navigating the webs of relations and causes/effects can leave one with head spinning…

Sun sets on Kingston

Jamaica’s National Plant Nursery

Next door to Hope Gardens, the national garden.

You mean I get to do this for a job?

I stole the sign saying “Seating Reserved for Diplomatic Corps.”

Jamaicans love their loud music in the first place, so a stadium packed with 30,000 rabid tribal political supporters, with as many airhorns, called for speakers this big.

Jamaica’s People’s National Party, currently the opposition party in government, held its final National Convention before the next general election, when its leadership promises to take back the government it lost to the Jamaican Labor Party in 2007. It has, indeed, been an eventful four years under JLP leadership, with what amounts to warfare in Tivoli Gardens, global recessions, changes in the tides of global powers and alliances, and a myriad domestic woes.

The public session on Sunday set an all time record for attendance.

Inspiring the crowd – Jamaican style.