Wednesday, May 24, 2006


I have a creepiness on my hand. It started last week on my knuckle and then spead to my fingers over the weekend. It is mainly just dark splotches with a little but of skin peeling on the fingers. It isn't raised or red and it doesn't itch. It mostly just tingles and sometimes it hurts a bit. I showed it to the Peace Corps nurse and she didn't know what it was so she sent me to the dermatologist. He looked at it and said "strange, very strange" over and over. He couldn't identify it or its cause. He didn't do any tests either, just perscriped dermatop cream and told me to come back in 3 weeks. I hope it goes away by then, it is really creeping me out!


Goodbye Michelle

On Sunday our friend Michelle left the island. She came with our group in July of 2005 so her time wasn't up yet, instead she early terminated (et'd). She isn't the first person from our group, she is actually the 15th out of our original 62. Everyone has different reasons for leaving - health, frustration, boredom, and better opportunities back home. Before being here, back when I was anxiously awaiting Peace Corps, I could have never imagined coming and leaving before my time was up. In fact I hardly even knew that was a possibility. And considering all the time and effort put into applying and the many things you give up in preparation for Peace Corps it would seem crazy not to see it through. But once you are here and are actually part of the experience you can understand why people leave and you support them in their decisions because you know that they have made the best decision for them.

Of course we were sad to lose Michelle as she had become a very close friend, but we are also very happy for her because she is much happier now. However, we didn't let her leave without a proper send off. On Friday night we gathered at Christopher's, our favorite bar in Kingston, and then we went to dinner at the Mediterranean/Latin American restaurant down the road. This was followed by a slumber party at our house, what fun! On Saturday, Maggie, Anne and I went with her to Porty to pack up her things. That was when Jamaica gave her very own send off to Michelle - there was no electricity or running water in all of Porty! So we got to pack by lantern light, what a romantic way to spend your last night in Jamaica. We helpers made off with some good loot too since she could only leave with 2 bags. If anyone wants to have a Halloween party this year, I'm the girl to see as I was bequeathed two bags of decorations. All in all, we had a good time and made sure that as few tears as possible were shed.

- Kae

p.s. We miss you already Michelle! Think about us often and be sure to feel guilty for living the good life!!!

Monday, May 08, 2006


We journeyed to the west coast this past weekend and hit up the resort town of Negril, known for its hedonistic atmosphere. Our friends, Caitlin and Khaled, traveled with us and since it is such a trek for us (4-5 hours) we stopped at theirr house on the way to visit their new kittens and eat some tasty bagels. But we made sure to make it to Negril early enough on Friday to swim, whip up a tasty Cinco de Mayo feast, and watch a beautiful sunset. We were staying on the cliffs side of Negril (as opposed to the 7-mile beach side) but we were right on the ocean so in the morning we were able to roll out of bed and go snorkeling. The reef is pretty dead but we did see some pretty fishies and some jelly fish, as well as a brightly colored ginger beer bottle that Shane retrieved from the bottom. We decided to splurge and be a bit touristy by having dinner at Margaritaville Saturday night. It was almost more trouble than it was worth because we had to fight with the taxi driver who was trying to overcharge us on the fare. But the Margarittas were tasty and we really enjoyed our veggie cheeseburger in paradise. We also got a souvenir mug showing a rasta parrot, that will now be used during happy hour to pour the drink for the person who had the worst day. Sunday it was back home, and after the 4 hour bus ride (including Shane's short frisking interlude with the Jamaican authorities) our butts hurt so bad we needed a relaxing vacation all over again!


Kittens are Cute

Our friend Genip had four kittens a week and a half ago. It may sound a bit surprising to those who know us well that we have made friends with a cat, but she is really cute and we are good friends with her owners, Caitlin and Khaled. When we heard about her adorable babies that looked just like her we decided to adopt one. So on our way to Negril we stopped by to visit the babies and pick out which one would be ours. It was a pretty easy decision - we picked the squeaker. It won't be able to come home with us for at least 6 weeks but when it does we are going to name it Coco. For those who don't know, Coco refers both to coconut flavored rum called Coco-Mania and also to the wonderfully sturdy root crop, coco. Coco, may you be hungry for roaches, lizards, and creepy crawly things.

- Kae

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Dinner and a Movie

We volunteers who live near Kingston or other cities get to enjoy certain creature comforts that other volunteers may not get to access very often. Our rural counterparts do have other quaint pastimes, such as "parachuting," that we do not get to enjoy very often. If you're like me, though, and you like movies, you might as well take advantage of the movie theaters and restaurants in Kingston. That's just what Kaelyn, myself and another Peace Corps volunteer did the other night.

The dinner part was best. Habibi Latino is a Middle Eastern restaurant off of Knutsford Boulevard -- the heart of New Kingston -- above the Burger King. They also serve some Latin American dishes, such as patacones. The restaurant is so popular among a certain set of Peace Corps volunteers (by that I mean, those who like Middle Eastern food such as myself) that its reopening, after a temporary closing, was trumpeted via email to every volunteer on the island. I have to say, the food was very good, even if they were out of Diet Coke. We shared the hummus and baba ganoush, while Kaelyn had the lentil soup and I ordered the falafel sandwich. It was also tasty and fresh, with colorful presentation. The atmosphere of the restaurant is relaxing and warm, with a TV playing off to the side, but not in a position to distract from conversation, just provide a little respite when their is no conversation. Paintings of Arabic scenes line the walls and fabric hangs neatly from the ceiling, taking you away from the Jamaica scene quite effectively. I definitely recommend it, and the prices are all in the 200-500 dollar range.

The movie we saw was "The Sentinel." Really, not that good, but up to the task in diverting one's attention. There are a few too many characters to focus on, so some such as the villains have very little screen time. The use of a blackberry to tap phone lines was intriguing, though. The real fun is going to the movie theater at Sovereign, at the corner of Hope and Old Hope Read. This is one of four movie theaters in Jamaica. I prefer the one in Mandeville, as it is newer, but Sovereign affords you the chance to examine the upper class of Kingston, and you can sip your Miller Lite through a straw.