Went To Jamaica – Didn’t See A Beach!

Montego Bay sparkled brilliantly, the morning our cruise ship arrived in Jamaica.

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The few photos I captured from the window of our swiftly moving tour bus are a bit blurry, but show the houses in Jamaica are more similar in style to our North American ones, than they are to neighbouring Cuba.

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The Jamaica Swamp Safari Village where parts of the James Bond movie, Live and Let Die were filmed.


Established in 1769, Falmouth, a former slave port in the parish of Trelawny, is the best preserved Georgian town in the Caribbean. Water Square, in Falmouth’s historic downtown, derives its name from a stone reservoir that once stood in the middle of the square. When the reservoir was built in 1798, Falmouth became Jamaica’s first town with running water.


Given time alone to explore, Hubby and I wandered down Duke Street, which is narrow and busy.

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William Knibb Memorial Church


Falmouth Post Office, on Market Street


According its plaque, the Trelawny Parish Courthouse was built in 1815, then destroyed by fire and rebuilt in 1926.


Albert George Flea Market, Upper Harbour Street


Historic downtown

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Clever use of water bottles to hold down the tarps at this flea market.

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St. Peter’s Anglican Church

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First time I’ve seen drums used by a church choir.


Trelawny Parish is the birthplace of Olympic great, Usain Bolt.


There’s so many unfinished houses because it can take up to three generations to acquire enough money to build them. Some homes looked almost complete, others seemed as if they’d been abandoned for a long time.

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As we entered the wealthier Parish of St. James, the homes grew increasing finer.

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Situated high on a hill overlooking St. James Parish, the Greenwood Great House, originally owned by the wealthy Barrett family (relatives of English poet Elizabeth Barrett-Browning), looks much the same as it did when it was built over 200 years ago. The unassuming exterior doesn’t reveal that it’s one of the finest antique museums in the Caribbean.

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Its interior, however, retains the elegant atmosphere of the 19th century. There’s quite the collection of musical instruments, all in working condition.

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These two instruments are called polyphones. The music, played on discs, is enchanting and speaks of days gone by.

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Many windows have stunning views of the Caribbean.

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I saw at least two large rooms used for dining.

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There are several smaller parlours and sitting rooms.

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This Victorian love seat is designed so legs wouldn’t accidentally touch during courting.


The bedrooms are massive enough to contain more than one full-sized bed.

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The back deck offers an impressive 180 degree panoramic view of the Caribbean. It’s so expansive the curvature of the earth is discernible.

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Even as I marveled at the grandeur of it all, I was acutely aware that this opulent lifestyle was achieved, in large part, on the backs of slaves. The guide sharply brought this into focus with her story about slaves whistling as they carried food trays from the outdoor kitchen to the dining room. They were instructed to whistle because a slave couldn’t whistle and eat food from the trays at the same time!

This interesting gadget is an original beer dispenser.


On our way back to Montego Bay, traffic suddenly slowed to a crawl and we saw lots of cars parked along the highway. The bus driver nonchalantly informed us there was a car accident and people had gathered to watch. I was shocked and horrified to see at least thirty people, maybe more, crowded together at the side of the road, ghoulishly watching as emergency responders worked on the victims of a very serious accident. Apparently in Jamaica, this morbid behavior is a common form of entertainment.

Known for taking pictures of signs that catch my fancy or tickle my funny bone, I found no shortage of worthy subjects that day. From names of businesses in Falmouth:

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To various signs around the small town:

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Apparently being of Christian faith is important enough to advertise.


At Greenwood Great House:


The highway offered an abundance of photo ops, too. One sign I didn’t capture said, “Speed kills. So kill your speed.”

(Less Corruption = More Investments = More Jobs)

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There’s also lots of advice to parents.


(Take The Time: Respect Your Child)



Our guide had earlier explained that schooling is very expensive; therefore, illiteracy is high in Jamaica. That might account for one sign that said, “Take the time: Read to your child.”

This sign was posted at the exit of the cruise terminal. The cruise ship was docked only few yards away and we walked.


The Caribbean waters shone a lovely turquoise in the afternoon sunlight.


Tequila Sunrise and Cranberry Juice.


The evening show, Cirque Fantastic, showcased the acrobatic talents of the entertainment team. They excelled, despite some turbulent movements of the ship.

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Fitbit clocked us at 7.74 kilometers.

Friday, we’ll explore historic Santiago de Cuba. Click here for next post. Follow my Cuban posts from the beginning here.


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