Although Barney, Matthew, and I arrived in Jamaica
with no plans (Barney kept saying, “Just tell me what you want me to do
and point me where you want me to go), Virginia and Fionn had planned a
full schedule and itinerary for us based on their experiences. Our first
couple of days (until after the reception) would be spent in Kingston,
but after that we would travel.
Our first excursion would be into the
Mountains, to Whitfield Hall, a hostel about halfway up the mountainside
that offers lodging primarily to climbers on their way to the 7,402-foot
summit but is also a traditional vacation spot for the Damdars. Virginia
had visited there with Fionn and his family in December 2001, and it was
nearby that Fionn had proposed to her, so the site holds a special place
in their shared history.
After returning to Kingston for a day, we would go
to Portland, a parish on the northeast coast of the island that has many
unspoiled and uncrowded beaches. Virginia and Fionn had been to
Frenchman’s Cove for a few days before we arrived and raved about its
From Portland we would travel on to
Ocho Rios to get
the real “tourist” experience. Second only to Montego Bay, Ocho Rios is
a cruise destination, and much of its business is geared to tourists,
primarily from the United States. In the Ocho Rios area is Dunn’s River
Falls, billed as Jamaica’s number one tourist attraction. Certainly
there were more tourists than Jamaicans there, but it seems to be a
favorite with Jamaicans as well. It was another of the family traditions
that the Damdars had shared with Virginia. She had loved her first
experience there with them, and we found it equally delightful.
This map shows
roughly where we went.