Insomniac in Jamaica

An affordable Caribbean hideaway for the creative traveler.

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I am a writer and cabinet maker. I travel when I can and often include my vacation experiences in my books. Although my first Jamaican experience was not what I hoped, I’m sure that other travelers with different ideals of fun… may love it. I’m not into bars and drugs and am pulled more toward nature, the ocean, and honest interaction.

I had never been to Jamaica. I rented this little house at Rhodes Hall Plantation. The owner is also a woodworker and has his shop behind my house. This patio, with a big round table, is at a vantage point where I can see all of the activity on the property and miles out into the ocean. It is covered, so even in the rain I can sit out here with my laptop and produce a few more pages.

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Right now, (Feb 18, 2019), I am working on my next three books, Longue Duree’ I, II, & III. They were written in Florida USA, where my sailboat lives at present. While sitting on this porch, I wrote Insomniacs, which still resides in this hard-drive. I love writing, but there is so much more to it. Editing, Beta-readers, the real-editor, marketing, marketing, marketing…  It takes a lot of the fun out of it. I have been off work, (I also build yacht interiors), and am returning to work tomorrow. While nursing my double-hernia back to a safe spot, I created some imaginative advertising that will start surfacing as the books become available. Follow my site, and let me know what you think as they appear.

“JAMAICA! OH yes, we’re talking about Jamaica.”

I was actually not that impressed with Jamaica. The nature aspect is a phenomenal credit to our creator, but some of the natural inhabitants ruined it for me. There were some that were exceptions, but in general I described it as “Dawn of the dead” walking the streets in search of tourists, hands outstretched in front, moaning, “Give me money.” Any time I was outside of the plantation, there was an angle being played to get tourist money. Not in a free-trade manner, but attempting to apply pressure or fear into the tourist as they put their hands on you trying to push you to an area where their scam could be deployed. The smiling faces in the markets were good as long as you were spending money, but if you walked past and did not spend money in their shop, the expressions changed and the poor, poor me was vocalized loudly. When I left the airport, rented a car, and headed along the coast, there were areas that traffic became congested and locals on bikes would ride beside the car asking you to put the window down. Their angle was telling the insecure driver that he was going the wrong way. Regardless where you were going, it was the next left, which routed you into an area saturated with tourist trinkets.

Even the Police were on the take. I popped over a hill and the speed limit suddenly dropped to 35. Before I could reduce the speed, the radar cop aimed the gun at me and another cop waived me off the road. They went through my ID, ask what I did, where I lived, and how much money I made. They had my passport and were running it while I went back to my car and had the woman with me start filming video on my conversations. After they asked me how much cash I had on me, I started writing down their names. What I had wasn’t enough, so they wanted my passenger’s cash too. “NO!” I told them “Write me up! I’ll see you in court!” I was getting very angry, and no longer hiding it. They talked among themselves and decided to give everything back and told me to slow down.

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I Imagine that if you stay in the cruise ship areas and don’t explore outside of the walls of the fabricated paradise, you would love it here. But then, we have Disney World in Florida.

Rhodes Hall Plantation keeps calling me back. If I do return, I will just plan on spending my time in this natural sanctuary, producing another book, or even do a painting with all of the bright colors and panoramic sunsets that are common here. They also have a bay that has a healthy coral reef, a shipwreck, and even a downed plane. They own the property around it, so it remains private. It is almost a farm, with horses, peacocks, goats, and cats roaming freely.

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Sometimes, I cooked at the house, but usually I would walk up the mountain to the open-air restaurant. The chef cooked my breakfast every morning. As I left, he would ask me what I wanted for dinner and I enjoyed his creations with backdrops such as the one above. On the way to breakfast, I took the shot below with a cel-phone.

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As things change in the airline industry, my travel preference leans more toward the slower and more rewarding method known as, my sailboat. For a writer, it fuels my data base of exchanged stories and the experiences that are inevitable when nature and mechanical failure find their way into your pages. Leaving the U.S. this time, I bought my first… super cheap… ticket. I reasoned that Jamaica wasn’t that far so I could do without the luxuries and add some money to my publicity account.  What I hadn’t considered was that tickets that cheap would be flooded with other budget minded persons.

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Many of us sat in the floors for hours. On the plane, the seats were tight. Your knees were in the back of the person ahead of you, and if you wanted to work on your laptop, it was too close to focus on the screen. They did not recline and seemed to lean a bit forward. Fortunately, we all had the same problems and worked together with smiling faces. We were going on vacation… not working. Customs was a little different too. I suspect it is the way all systems will eventually go. Instead of collecting stamps in your passport, we are now furnished a little piece of paper with our black & white photo and information on it. You keep it in your passport during your vacation. It is all processed through a Kiosk and actual human help is only there if you get confused.

I’m sure some of you at this point have questioned if I travel alone. Never. Due to keeping a professional appearance in her career, and avoiding letting her office find out she hangs out with me, I keep her out of my posts. She too, is an experienced sailor, diver, and Caribbean traveler, shown here examining another of the Chef’s creations.

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Somewhere in this blog, is an article I did about the island of Nevis. I loved Nevis and hope that Big Money doesn’t move in too fast. It has been several years since I went to St. Croix. (I used to live there.) I will be returning in May and June. Follow this blog for my reports from the U.S. Virgin islands.

Author: David Alexander

Writer David Alexander’s life has had as many twists and plot changes as his books. College in Cincinnati for commercial art was sidelined for the construction industry. His writing started there, as therapy for the stress of owning a business. David learned to sail, and vacationed on a sailboat in the Caribbean, every December. He fell in love with St. Croix and shut down the Ohio business permanently. Moving 2200 miles, he built and ran condominiums in St. Croix, USVI. Now, living on the east coast of Florida, David builds interiors for 70’ luxury yachts. The years of stories in the marinas, and experiences in many countries, fuel the keyboard of this lucky writer. He has done with little effort what many hope to experience on their bucket list.