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.

Arachnid Crunchitus

 

I am up every morning at four-thirty. Today, I got ready, loaded my lunch box, and went out to my Nissan Pickup sitting in the driveway. It was a moonless morning, so I moved through the darkness by a trickle of porch-light. I sat my lunch in the passenger seat, reached across my left shoulder, and grabbed the seat belt. When I pulled, I heard a crunch sound and it stopped half-way to the latch. I let it retract and pulled again… crunch! I did it a few more times and each ended with the same crunch.

I turned on the overhead light and looked at the seatbelt’s roller attached to the door post. On my side of the roller was four or five big spider legs. Goose bumps shot down my body as I released the belt, opened the door, and prepared for war with this huge spider.

I never found it. It either dropped onto the driveway, was somewhere in the items behind my seat, or was making his way under the seat to attack my legs as I drove. I felt… things, on my legs and arms all the way to the shop, only to find, nothing.

My truck has the little vents on the top of the side windows. You can leave the windows down about an inch, and the afternoon rains do not saturate the interior. I suspect that a spider of that size crawled in through that opening. The shop is basically in a swamp area, on a channel, that goes out to the big water. I will be cleaning the interior out thoroughly today.

#Insect #Spider #Bug #Cabinetry #Florida #Swamp #Nature #Travel #Writer #Transportation

 

The Island of Nevis. Research for my next three books.

Through his prolonged life, and several wives, he escaped to a home in Nevis, in all three books.

Basseterre, St. Kitts, was quiet first thing in the morning. It was humid, 85 deg. and we stopped at an open air bar for a cold soda. The shops displayed all of the same tourist products that you see all through the Caribbean, and at 10am we were still walking with empty hands.

A few minutes later, the gates were opened for the cruise ships and the cattle hit the grazing grounds. We waddled through the lines of the shops and heard similar sales pitches in each one. I am a sailor, with my own boat. I usually avoid tourist areas and drop my anchor away from the cruise ships. Here, the economy survives on tourism. Four Seasons Resort employs 10,000 of the Kitticians. I like to find the islands that have not been corrupted by the desire for wealth. I have lived on other islands only to watch cable TV, and tourism, turn a peaceful society into roving gangs and drug dealers. It is still years out for St. Kitts, but they are on that path. The outside force… and big dollar investors, are already here.

All of the original people of the island were very nice, sociable, and honest. Many times in the exchange of East Caribbean Dollars to US Dollars, they were quick to inform me that I had overpaid. The taxi fee from the hotel into town was only $12.00 US. Most of the shops in the tourist areas seem to be owned by Asian investors. I am a watch collector, and used to cut gemstones, so I can appreciate the quality and knowledge that they bring to the business. Tourists from the cruise ships are still overpaying even after they haggle for several minutes. In Nevis, and I suspect, St. Kitts, you must invest $400,000 to live here. That may be the smart move that saves them.

This woman, at Newcastle pottery in the mountains of Nevis, had formed all of her creations from Nevis clay. When she is satisfied with her work, it is fired behind the building in coconut husks. I bought the piece below for $18.00

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When I lived in St. Croix, I usually had my breakfast on the boardwalk in Christiansted. It was an open air restaurant and I poured some water into a bowl, dissolved a few packets of sugar in it, and the banana birds came from all directions. One time, I had eight birds fluttering around the sugar water. This piece reminded me of that. In the picture, it is on my coffee table in Florida with the left-over EC coins in it.

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I buy coffee cups everywhere I go. What can I say?

Below, I am at the stern of the ferry, with St. Kitts in the background.

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At last, I am walking up the dock toward town. Good vibes here.

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The main purpose of this vacation was to get a break from the fifty-six hour weeks I’m working now. I build cabinetry for 70′ yacht interiors. Each night when I return to my home, I add about 4 hrs a night for my writing, and advertising. (Such as this).

The strangest thing about this vacation was that Nevis / St. Kitts, were the safe havens for the main character in my next three books. As Louis refined a chemical that embellished and extended his life, he became prosecuted by the elite wealthy, politicians, and pharmaceutical companies. He became wealthy and the demand exceeded the supply. Through his prolonged life, and several wives, he escaped to a home in Nevis, in all three books. Nevis is a sovereign country and a safe haven for wealth. I had never been there and had done all my research on the internet.

In my books, Louis played chess with an old island man in the square by the police station. The old man named Charles had never been beat. I went up to a security guard at a bank and described my park. He pointed up the road and told me where to find it. I told him about the book. He said there was a man that played chess and checkers there, and is never beat… but his name is not Charles.

It was so strange to be walking through the pages of my books. They are all three finished, and presently being edited. Watch for Longue Duree’ I, II, III.

longueduree123I used to live in St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands. I will be there in May and June this year. The alley in book 1, where the original chemical was acquired, is in Christiansted, St. Croix. I will hire a photographer and shoot the alley at night. I remember the alley from many years ago. I hope no one has remodeled it. Book 1 is being edited now.

#Nevis #StCroix #USVI #Sailing #Romance #Travel #Murder #Florida #Pharmaceutical #trilogy #Medical #FountainOfYouth #Health #Youth #Yacht #WestPalmBeach