Happy New Year to friends and blog followers - two weeks late, I know. I posted a couple of Christmas blogs re trip home to Canada, but this is my first since my return on January 2.
Have been quite busy at work since I got back and also trying to get things done as I will leave on January 19th to visit my new grandsons, August and George, who were born 4 1/2 weeks early on December 28th. Can't wait to hold them! And help Allie and Doug with anything they need - keep tuned for a 'twin boys' blog soon.
Today, I and three friends went on the first hash of 2012 and it was spectacular! In St. Catherine's, at Tulloch Farm near Blog Walk. Tulloch Farm is a huge plantation in a largely agricultural area about 1 hour northwest of Kingston. Well, make that 1 1/2 hours for us. Despite my diligent navigators - Erin, Sats, and Tim (I was doing the driving) - we made the "circular route" and enjoyed beautiful scenery and the wonderful help of several Jamaicans as we stopped for directions on a few occasions . . . . .
. . . . We finally arrived at Tulloch Farm and found it void of hashers. However, there was a delightful lady (with a car and dead battery, which is another story) and helpful farm hands. Thankfully for cell phones, our venerable Hashmaster, Owen, informed us that we were on the wrong side of Tulloch Farm and we should be at "the fording". He could not seem to understand how we ended up at the entrance to the "old farm" - he apparently has not worked with my navigators. Unfortunately, both of them were in the back seat and it is hard to read signs from there - yes, another was in the front seat but he was fighting motion sickness and doing his best not to throw up on the rest of us. We thought that giving him a map might not be a good idea . . .
And the best, a delightful farm hand jumped into his Land Rover (we were a little worried that we might need one!) and lead us to "the fording", which was about 5 minutes away on farm roads. Of course, re arrived at the wrong side of "the fording". Was easy to park and walk across, but to much derision and laughter from fellow hashers that we could not follow directions. Hey, this is why we always leave early :-)
This is too much talk and now for some pictures:
Kids in the river at the "Flat Bridge" on way through the gorge to Ocho Rios (we only went as far as Blog Walk)
Lining up for the flat bridge
Young higglers trying to sell us fruits as we stopped to take pictures after crossing the flat bridge.
Tim on left (the white guy) taking to "Lizard" who is the self-professed Don of Flat Bridge. His fellow higglers looking on. Lizard jumps off the bridge and asks for $$ if you take pictures. Jumping off the bridge is hardly a death-defying feat . . . . see next picture. Remember that most Jamaicans cannot swim, so Lizard is a local hero.
Original farmhouse at Tulloch Farm, circa 1820
Setting up for post-hash Tasty Meal
Hashing through the plantation.
Why does every hash have to have a scramble down a muddy bank? You can see that it is a family affair.
Sats in river after the scramble down the bank. We hashed in the river, about up to our knees, for at least 1/2 km.
Almost back to the fording. We forded the river again, about 500 metres back, but no pictures - it was up to my hips and all I could do was retain my balance and hoping to keep my new camera dry!!The best thing I have learned about hashing is to bring dry clothes - all of them! - and dry shoes. Glad I did today.
Tim and Erin (on right) almost back to the fording.
This is why my hiking boots are now draining in my kitchen.
I have no idea what this is. A wagon of some sort with a large water tank in front, parked on the fording, with a chap on a cell phone. Very Jamaican.
Non-Jamaicans think of Jamaica as a land of beaches and resorts. I think of it as a land of unspoiled beauty. The interior has incredible farmland and there are spectacular mountains (we call them "hills" in Canada).
Resting after the hash.
Hashmaster Owen, on left, using his military experience to sort out the Tasty Meal. Owen is also the chair of the board where I work - a coincidence and I greatly appreciate his leadership and enthusiasm, on and off of the hash!
Beautiful St. Catherine's
Tulloch Farm original banana station
Tulloch Farm in repose