Wednesday 24 July 2013
We have just had a wonderful week with Derek. He is so easy to be around and just pleasant in every way.
It started in rather a hectic manner. We had to pick him up at the airport at 10:50. We got there in plenty of time and he got there on time but we all forgot that he needed to have an address here to give at emigration. So we waited and waited and finally there was a PA announcement asking us to go to the information window. When they got our address they released him and he was able to leave the airport.
We then headed back to downtown Kingston to pick up some missionaries to take to transfers in Spanish Town. We called the Kingston Elders and they talked us to their house. We were to pick up 2 elders here but they kept coming out of the house. The Zone leaders were there and another truck companionship and so in the end we took only one elder and all his luggage fortunately fit in the trucks since he was only moving to Portmore.
We headed for Portmore and there we were to get two elders. We had to wait a few minutes so Bob and Elder Jones walked over to the Tastee Pattie place and got patties for everyone. They were good and thankfully Derek liked them since he was hungry and slightly concerned about a little stomach virus he may have brought from home with him. We still did not need to take luggage so we were in good shape. We headed to Spanish Town.
All the missionaries were just sitting around visiting and waiting for Pres Brown to finish with interviews in Kingston so we took Derek on a little ride through Spanish Town. Not my favorite town but it actually was pretty interesting. We got back about the time Pres Brown, the APs and all the new missionaries arrived. They were setting up a lunch for just this group so all the other missionaries went up to the Pizza Hut in Spanish Town (Sister Larsen’s favorite place). We went in and I introduced Derek and Pres Brown and they exchanged a couple of words and then we left and got out of the way.
Missionary Transfer day--15 new missionaries. Pres Brown and Bob trying to help organize.
We were sitting in the foyer and Pres Brown came out with a plate of fruit and sat down on the floor next to Bob and visited with Derek. They seemed to enjoy each other. Pretty soon Pres Brown had his arm over Bob’s knee and was lounging on him. We visited for about 10 minutes before he had to leave. When the missionaries came back we were able to leave because we were not transporting any new missionaries. So we took ours back to Portmore and we were through. We had to meet the Wrights because they were going to use our car since they had family coming to visit. (they had more people than we did and that is why they got the bigger car.) We were all tired so we came home and Bob fixed oatmeal for supper.
The next day we drove out to Port Royal and showed Derek the fort and even drove through the tiny city. I actually learned more history because Derek had done a little studying and shared more details we did not learn before. On the way home we stopped and walked on the beach for a few minutes looking for Conch Shells but only found a couple of small ones. Others have found some of the big beautiful ones but we did not really know where to look.
Port Royal where the Pirates used to rule until the earthquake swallowed up 2/3 of the town.
Derek on the beach but not many shells.
We were going to Old Harbour and see the Colbeck Castle but we chose to go eat at Wendy’s first. We called Murdocks and asked if they were not going anywhere if we could use their truck to travel up north. Wrights drive a small regular car which feels too small and fragile on these roads. I was also concerned about possible rain and did not want to be in a small car when the rain water could come up to the running board on the truck. Anyway we went from Wendy’s to the Murdocks and exchanged cars which was very nice of them. They also gave us a bit of interesting news we had not heard and have not yet heard of officially. They were told by their “boss” in DR that they were going to be taking over for us when we leave. Strange.
We drove to Old Harbour and it was beginning to get a little late so we just got out and looked around the Castle for about half an hour or so and then headed back home. We ate dinner at home that night—nothing to write home about.
The next day we got up and drove to Ocho Rios. This is one of our favorite drives along the pretty little river, over Rossiter Mountain, through this little farm-like country and then through Fern Gully into Ocho Rios. We went directly to Mystic Mountain where we road the gondola up to the top. It is about a 10-15 minute ride and really is beautiful with the view of the ocean below and being among the tops of the beautiful trees with a cool breeze helping to keep us cool. We watched a short performance and then went to the restaurant and had a nice lunch with a beautiful view where we also watched the children play in the water slide and pool. --Lots of local people there. It was starting to look like it might rain and we did not want to be on the open gondola if it did so we started down.
View of the water from the level of our rooms. We snorkeled in the water at the far left of the picture.
Our rooms were on the far right Bob and I were up and Derek was down. Beautiful pool.
Bob and Derek on the lovely grounds of the Hibiscus Hotel.
We ended up staying in a hotel called the Hibiscus rather than our favorite Rooms On The Beach. This place is up on a cliff over the water but it is also the place where some of the hotels bring their guests to snorkel. We checked in and cooled down and then drove to the Ruins on the Falls for dinner only to find it is closed for 2 months. We went in and looked at the falls in the middle of the restaurant but there was a wedding party going on in the other room so we slipped out quickly. We went on out to Scotchies out of town where the Hendricks had taken all of us last month. Derek really enjoyed the Jerk Pork and Pumpkin rice (out of rice and peas).
This is one of the big fire places where they are cooking the chicken and pork. The fire is under the logs and the meat is laying on the logs covered with large sheets of corrugated aluminum (zinc--the same thing they make fences and roofs with). I think the back wall is solid metal making the whole room an oven. We ate outside
The whole chicken is taken off the logs and and chopped with a cleaver on this cutting block
Derek got a taste of the true Jamaican Friday night music fest. We had very loud music from the neighborhood all night long until after 4:00 in the morning! I don’t know how we got any sleep at all but we all seemed to.
The next day we went downtown to the market to buy Bob another white shirt (this is the second one we have purchased in Ocho Rios because he has forgotten his) and to show Derek the church. We had called Pres Lester to see if we could come visit him so Derek could see the result of our roofing project and he was very gracious about it. We arranged to meet later but when we went to see the chapel we discovered the door unlocked and Pres Lester and Peter in there doing the weekly cleaning so we all chipped in and were finished in about half an hour. (The heat made it feel more like 2 hours!) We made arrangements with him and left to buy some groceries for our Sunday travel the next day. (we looked at every isle of the store—lingering at the freezer displays—because we were trying to cool off!)
We took our groceries back to our rooms and then went snorkeling for an hour or so. The water was slightly rough so the swimming was a little more tiring and we did not end up going out as far as the Sandals Boat had let their guests out at. So we saw some yellow striped fish and some blue fish and has a nice swim. We rested for a while then met Pres Lester and Peter and drove them out to their house. As we were leaving the store where he had us stop to get feed for his chickens we had the closest call we have had so far of getting hit. I almost pulled out right in front of an oncoming car. We showed Derek the roof project and Pres Lester’s plants and his chickens and then said good-bye and went back down the mountain. We did not stay long because it was getting dark and I did not want to drive that road in the dark.
We had dinner at Mamma Marley’s. It is a famous Jamaica restaurant and it turned out to be very good. Derek had Aikee and Salt Fish which is one of the very traditional dishes here. I have eaten it also—home made, but it is a little too fishy for my taste. I pretty much stick with my jerk Chicken and rice and peas. We enjoyed the meal.
Sunday we were off early to Montego Bay where we went to church and Derek got to experience the Jamaican Sunday School class where people talk out whenever they want and one woman told a man to be quiet because she was not through talking, and even the branch president told her to sit down and let the teacher teach and she told him basically to keep quiet as well. It was really funny—no animosity—just an interesting cultural habit we could never get used to!
We did out Employment Fireside during the third hour and it went very well—we felt good about the reception as well as our presentation. I heard the branch president calling out to others as we were all stacking the chairs—“I am mentoring one already and might do another who else wants to be a mentor?” That was one of the things we were teaching. He is a very idiosyncratic man and very likable. We drove straight home from MoBay.—lots of driving that day so we were tired.
Monday we got up and headed up Blue mountain following our GPS up to Holy Well. We did not feel confident about our direction so we asked a couple of people and they said we were right but after about a mile on very rough, unmaintained roads, that were like no road at all we decided it might be best to turn around and go back. We missed the nice little hike at the top but we got to see the beautiful scenery so it was not a total loss. We stopped and talked to a lady on the way down and she said we were going to Holy Well but there is a better way to get there. It would have meant going clear to the bottom and starting again so we called it good.
View of Kingston from high up in the Blue Mountains--the tallest in Jamaica.
We decided to go to Devon House park and walk around. Somehow we ended up taking a tour of the Devon House, which was really lovely and enjoyable. I feared I had forced Derek but he assured us he likes that sort of thing. We got certificates for ice cream (famous Devon House ice cream) with our tour so rather than get ice cream right away we decided to eat at the Grog Restaurant there next to the house—as a matter of fact it looks like it could have been the carriage house. This ended up being our favorite meal all week. Derek had Aikee and Salt Fish again and I had Curry Chicken stuffed with Callaloo which is sort of like Jamaican spinach, and Bob had Jerk Pork which he said was wonderful on a bed of Callaloo which he also loved. Then we went and had our ice cream.
I should have at least gotten a picture of the actual Devon House because it is so beautiful but these are a couple of things on display. This is a baby bottle--pour milk in the big hole and baby drinks out of the small hole on top.
This is a prayer chair. It is about 14 inches high for kneeling and has a tall back with arm rests for resting one's elbows while praying.
We ate outside in the shade.
We finished off our day by walking down to the Emancipation Park which is about half a mile from our house. It is not the best walk to the park but the walk around the park is nice and there were lots of people there enjoying all the pleasures of a beautiful afternoon in a nice park. As we were walking a young man came up and I could see he was going to talk to us and I vaguely recognized him but he called me by name and shook my hand and reminded me of his name which thankfully I remembered. We have met him at institute class and he told us he just got baptized. He was there helping to set up for an event that was to take place the next day. We walked back home and made a light supper of the pastries we had purchased at Devon House Bakery.
This is the sort of bold but humble sculpture/fountain at the entrance of Emancipation Park. Slaves were emancipated in 1838 in Jamaica and are a very large and important part of Jamaican history and culture.
Part of the beautiful grounds of Emancipation Park.
Tuesday Derek was to fly out so we arranged with Tracy Anderson, the wheelchair coordinator for the church here, to meet us and take us to one of the local hospitals. She was great. I am so glad she came even though she had to take the bus and taxi from Portmore. She said we could have done it on our own but it was so much better with a local to sort of shepherd us. Actually Bob and I sat and waited while Derek and Tracy toured the hospital. I was very pleased (and proud) that Derek was very complimentary of the hospital and not at all distracted by the things that may not have been standard at home.
We came home and cooled off for a few minutes and got him off to the airport by 12:30. I hated to see him go. But I also realize we will be leaving ourselves in exactly nine weeks. Tuesday evening Bob’s computer started acting very badly and at about the same time my iPad also started going crazy. So Bob called Pres Lue, who has worked on his computer before and asked when he could look at it—we ended up driving to Spanish Town to take it to the Pearsons who will get it to Pres Lue. We also went to the Apple store but of course the iPad would not show them the problem so I ended up bringing it home to watch myself rather than leaving it there for them to check every once in a while. It did start acting up again this evening so I will take it in again in the morning.
Today we went to the mission office to give Murdocks back their truck and ended up having a meeting with Pres Britton on several new PEF loan applications. We left there and went out to Sovereign Mall to get some more card-stock as we still have people who want me to make mini resumes for them. As we got out of the Wrights car Bob noticed the back tire was almost flat so we drove out the other end of the parking lot to a shop we have gone to before and had a screw pulled out and plugged for $650+tip and then drove back into the parking lot to get our paper.
A couple of unrelated pictures of interest:
This is Sean. He works on the street. He is a Little Person who uses crutches to get around. He might be 4 feet tall at the top of his cap. We have made friends with him as we wait at the stop light where he works. He is a handsome young man who is very appreciative of what help we can give him, he even told us he loves us. I am giving him a copy of this picture along with one of Bob and me and a couple of Church pictures.