July 1st, 2008

Just got back from 10 days in Jamaica. It was a real vacation, time spent away from my life with old and new friends, warm weather, fun, and a slightly different culture. We spent most of our time in a resort in Negril, on the west side, a bit secluded from the real Jamaica, but still met a few locals and ate a ton of Jerk Chicken.

Jamaica Beach

The trip was 12th in a series of Midsummer gatherings by a large group of friends. It was my first, Shayna’s second, and going into it I knew about a third of the 40 or so people that were part of the group. They rented out Xtabi for an entire week, which included lodging and 2 meals a day. We had to buy our own drinks, usually a dirty banana from the bar, but mostly red stripes (second day we bought 12 cases from the store).

The coolest part about the trip (besides the amazing people who attend) are the Midsummer Rituals throughout the week. The first is the night of fire – each person writes down a fear or something they want to get rid of, optionally reads it to the group, then burns it in the fire. The second event is the Masquerade, which involves lots of costumes and fun. Then comes the Feast, which includes a giant delicious meal where each person holds a super-sized goblet and toasts a success or trait they admire in themselves or others. Then there’s kickball with beer – this year the teams were jamaica inspired – Rum vs. Weed (which would you pick?). Lastly, there’s Baccanal which is the grand party at the end.  Oh, and this year midsummer started off with a wedding – Big Up to Saleem and Lorraine!

Jerk Chicken

Besides the rituals, we also did alot of swimming in the ocean, chilling at the beach, jumping off cliffs, and an amazing trip up Mayfield Falls. Sadly I got no pics of the falls, but it could be my favorite adventure. It involved swimming in refreshingly cool water, adventuring over rocks, and waterfall massages. And the food was much better than expected – best chicken, breads, and french fries ever. Seriously – I think they fry their potatos and pig fat – nothing else could make them taste so good. And the bread – plantain fritters were my fav – mostly batter, lightly fried, a tiny bit sweet .. soo good. And what can i say about the jerk chicken? Duh-lish-us. Kyle actually got a local dude to deliver chickens – $80 for 4 half chickens plus a sensi bonus. If you’re ever in Negril, make sure you check out Best of the West (super small, but tastee).

Every Ting Irie, Mon.

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