A Jamaican Memory
Working on cruise ships has taken me all over the Caribbean – spending lazy week-day afternoons on post-card-perfect beaches beside swaying palms and vibrant blue seas. Pretty lucky, ey? I think so too. So today I wanted to share a journal entry I wrote several months ago while sitting in the dockyard in Falmouth, Jamaica. Here goes:
2:30PM sitting in the dock yards of Falmouth, Jamaica. A hot, breezy day. Beneath the dull sounds of chatting people, flip flops scraping along the sandpaper stone walkway, and the perpetual rhythmic drumming of the Rastafarian peddlers, you can hear the low rumble of thunder in the distance. Like clockwork. I’m certain that storms rain down on Jamaica every day at precisely this time. Or maybe it’s only every other Wednesday afternoon, when the cruise ship I work on finds port for a few hours right here in Falmouth. At least, that’s certainly been the case since we joined this ship 4 months ago. It’s actually really calming for me: sitting in the dockyard, sipping a Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee, trying to get my wi-fi connection to work, and I hear that familiar grumble in the distance. I look to the horizon and, sure enough, blue-grey clouds have appeared, creeping slowly closer over the next hour and half. I love the stark, vibrancy of the bright green palm trees thrashing about in the wind against the black, cloudy background. These storms are different than the ones at home. In West Chester, Pennsylvania – storms are long, solid and dreary. They make you sleepy and restless. Here in the Caribbean, storms bring on a feeling of excitement, urgency, and an inexplicable longing. The trees and the land cry for cool water – eager for a break from the hot sun. The drumming of the peddlers seems to be growing louder and louder, beckoning the storm clouds closer and closer … a young Jamaican dancer moves to the beat of the drums, the motion of her hips gives the swaying palm trees a run for their money. This feels like real Jamaica. Not the brightly colored shops, elaborate wood carvings, and tacky Margaritaville music … but the looming cumulonimbus that pumps with lighting and growls viciously at the tourists. As the first few raindrops find their way to my computer screen, I’m forced to join the bustling crowd as they herd back onto the ship. For them, it will be an afternoon of eating, resting, shopping, and drinking … for me, well, it’s Bingo Time.