Jamaican R&R

    6a00e54f8dde308834011279091b8128a4Jamaica. I’m headed to Jamaica for a long weekend.

You’re going where?

This lush and sensuous Caribbean isle filled with touristy “all-inclusive” resorts, gated and sanitized, has hardly been top of mind for the jet set in recent years.

I went to Jamaica a few times as a child, had fond memories. When I felt I needed a winter break, it popped up on my mental radar screen. I couldn’t have been more delighted that I choose it.
For anyone willing to give it a try, the rich culture of Jamaica, especially away from the popular northern/western coasts, offers a hypnotic charm, an experience far exceeding the sand and seaweed at the big resorts.
I hopped on an American Airlines jet and landed in Montego Bay. I rented a slightly mangled car, ate lunch under palms at a well-known jerk joint, The Pork Pit, (fabulous)

and headed south over the mountains to a less traveled, more arid part of the island called Treasure Beach. To give you some idea of how different it was from what we normally experience, it took close to three hours and one flat tire to travel 40+ miles. The “highway” is narrow, the roads twisty, signs effervescent, and potholes ruthless. Plus, in this former British colony, you practice driving on the left side of the road.

    And for this effort, what did I get? Four of the most relaxing days of my life.  The scenery was thrilling. The people were hip – and curious about the redhead and the blonde in the car. The food was fabulous, fresh and delicious. Jake’s, the perfectly charming and romantic resort where we stayed and whose saltwater pool you see above was an absolute delight. My lavender-hued casita was surrounded by a garden and a water lily pond. The ocean was just a few feet a6a00e54f8dde308834011168943bdb970c way and the sound of the waves soothed all woes . Jakes is not all inclusive, and management is proud of it.  The value was a great deal for the money.  The people were real and friendly. The food was terrific. We had the best pineapple upside down cake I’ve ever tasted in my life, tender fried conch, and Dougie’s rum punches at his namesake bar.

What’s this all about in a blog on leadership?
It’s about the thrill and relief of changing things up, doing something different that refreshes your mind and feeds your soul. For four days, I had no cell phone, made no telephone calls, and didn’t flip on a TV.  I languished on an old fashioned swinging couch on my casita’s porch. Watched sunsets. Ate curries and peppered shrimp, and restored my batteries by snoozing. In between naps, I couldn’t put down a book called The Good, Good Pig, until yet another valium-like wave of drowsiness overtook me.
The beat of a raggae concert played down the road at the Wild Onion gave my first night there a perfect soundtrack…. The music could be heard for miles. I watched dolphins leap from the ocean practically off the front door of our cottage called Seahorse. Jamaican drummers played acapella while we took a yoga class under the full moon on the rooftop of the hotel’s new spa.

Jamaica is full of life and personality…. much of which is lost behind the protected veil of all inclusive resorts.   Off the beaten path can be a great way to go.