Monday, September 04, 2006

Drums and Space

Over the weekend, we went on a trip to visit our friend Frances in the St. Catherine hills and traveled to Ochi to visit the craft markets. We left early Saturday morning to meet up with Frances around 9 AM, because she had chartered a local taxi man for the day. We didn't take public transportation because then it is not possible to stop and linger at the different craft areas, since some of them are not located by the bus stops.

Frances' New Hat

We had visited the craft markets last summer, but didn't really have enough time to look around. This time, we were interested in finding some crafts to give as presents. The first part of the trip was the almost obligatory delay on Mt. Rosser. One trailer had stopped working, and it took about an hour to get it cleared off the road. Tons of tractor-trailers travel on this very narrow, windy, and busy road, because it is the main link between the north and south of Jamiaca. This is also a good road to travel on if you are into the whole motion sickness thing.

The first stop was Fern Gully, which has a number of craft shops. It is a paved over river basin that used to have an arch of vegetation over it blocking out the light, but air pollution has killed off some of the plants and now more sunlight get in. There are a number of craft shops with mostly wood items, but it seems like every shop has the same things. Carved fish, turtles, coasters, etc. Plus there are the carved men with the very large penises. I am not sure who buys them, but maybe they could be used in place of yard gnomes.

The main craft market in Ochi was the next stop, and it had good prices as compared to the shops outside the main market. There was no cruise ship in town, so the vendors were willing to go pretty low on their prices because there were so few buyers. Our big purchase was a conga drum that one of the vendors makes. It sounds really good and is carved from coconut tree. We also bought some assorted percussion instruments in order to complete the drum circle.

The views from France's area are incredible. You can see Kingston, Portmore, Spanish Town, and the surrounding plains. The night pictures did not turn out because I do not have a good enough camera or I don't know how to use it, but the daytime ones look pretty nice.

View of Portmore

Frances also lives in a place with a very large and well-manicured yard. It is like being at a botanical garden, but with more dogs running around. There are two puppies named Napoleon and Josephine, plus another dog who frequently comes by, one cat, and a donkey on the premises.


We took a walk to see the local Great House where the British lord of the manor had lived. There is a large construction project going on up there. The Chinese have elected to build a large sporting complex. It is to be used by football teams to train in a cooler climate. It is taking up a huge chunk of land. After the enjoyable hike, we returned to sea level and the Jamaican coastal heat.

Sports Complex Construction

-Shane and Kaelyn

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