Tag Archives: Jamaica

Back to the Land of My Forefathers Part 3

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We’re up as usual in the morning and after a short meditation period and breakfast, our driver Brent, is awaiting us at the entrance to the Yoga Centre.

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We load up and away we go to, who else, Bob Marley sounds on theĀ  stereo. We travel out of Negril and into ……. These various towns and Parishes are reminders of theĀ  darker days of the past, our driver reminds us of the history of this island, fought over by the French, the Spanish and the British. A time of intense suffering and hardship of an enslaved people, driven at the hands of their perpetrators, to work the land and toil……. Brent is well studied, and is expert on local history, geography and at keeping us informed as to ‘what’s going down..’

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Following along the coast road with spectacular views and coastal properties, we journey towards the distant hills that divide the Ireland. If you think you’ve seen potholes, you haven’t. I live up a track that cars can’t navigate, here in Jamaica these potholes are in the middle of the main roads. One false move and your vehicle is grounded. These roads are vehicle destroyers. We have 3 1/2 hours of this dodging potholes ahead of us. But, we don’t care, we’re in Jamaica and we’re on our way to Kingston, the capital, and also to visit the famous Carnival. Eventually the rugged road turns into a supper new Toll Motorway that carries us onto The Capital.

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Once we reach Kingston, we pass by very contrasting worlds of Ghettos and prosperity.

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Of modern buildings and buildings from colonial days badly in need of love and care, and we pass by the Bob Marley Museum, which is closed unfortunately, a Mecca for ‘Rastas’. After scouting around and asking some of the locals we eventually catch a glimps of the Carnival. Wow… The beat is explosive, the costumes, extravagant and very sensual. These islanders are serious party people. I quickly get out of the car and run on foot to get amongst the foray of people, my camera snapping away at all this. Keep cool Guru, remember you’re a yoga teacher and stay in that cool space, soak up the vibe and enjoy…

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Brent leaves us to it and we follow the floats and revelers. The rains come down on us but the party goes on. Who cares this is carnival time so all is good and swinging. After taking our batch of photos we eventually meet up with our Jamaican guide and head home a different route that takes us back over the hilly range, passing Spanish Town to a little roadside bar for rum, Malta for me and further on for local dishes of rice peas and Caloo, Jerk Chicken, Aki and Salt Fish and then the next couple of hours of even more potholed roads descending through to Montego Bay and then on to Negril and home….
That’s what I call a day out…

Back to the Land of My Forefathers Part 2

The Fire King

The entrainment is amazing here. We went for a meal at the hotel over the road from the Centre, the same evening as the karaoke. Some of the staff from the hotel had their turn and they could have passed as professional singers. Full vocals swaying bodies and ‘Booty Shakin’. Well this is Jamaica so what do you expect?… There was also a guy from Kingston, who called himself ‘The Fire King’. Swallowing flames and then a contortionist routine using Ashtanga Yoga Postures as a theme. Very good. After his performance he went round with a hat. We were very happy to put something in, he gave a great performance.

Our very own Nicole

Regarding the yoga we have spent the first three days on hip opening postures and the last three days developing the standing and balancing series of postures. The energy levels of everyone are very good and it’s important to pace oneself in this temperature as fatigue can seriously affect ones ability to do classes. So we have to be sensible in this area. After all yoga is what we came all this way for.

When we venture out to the town it feels like being a celebrity or so the locals would have you believe. It’s like so many other countries who rely so heavily on tourism, we are their major source of income and as most products are imported, forget about buying cheap goods. The prices are equivalent to English prices and in some cases more expensive. This is by no means a cheap holiday destination and one of the shopkeepers informed us that takings were 80% down on last season, so the world recession is biting everyone’s rear end on a global scale.

Only yesterday evening we met up with two young guys of 10 years old who said they hadn’t been to school that day because they had no money. Apparently they pay for lessons. Well that is what they told us. Great company and full of street wisdom. Christina, one of the girls from my group, and myself bought these guys some food and candy. They appreciated it but we got loads from these guys as well…… Need to abandon the beach now as, believe it or not, it’s raining bucket fulls, and we are setting off on a big trip tomorrow to Kingston. The city where my father was born….