After missing the last three hashes - 3 weeks vacation in Canada rather got in the way - I was glad to be back hashing on Sunday. We went up over The Junction to Portland and into the hills behind Annotto Bay. It was very beautiful and such a treat to be out of the summer heat of Kingston.
This was about 90 minutes from Kingston; or just over an hour when Marti is driving. Many thanks to Marti and Albert for giving me, Britta, and Fred a ride. And good to have know two new friends!
We walked from the parking area up along a aqueduct to a small waterfall and 'blue pool' - blue, I think, from the algae similar to that which colour many lakes in Canada. This is the place for the local lads to show their stuff jumping off the ledge into about 10 ft. of water: most of them just hang around, some of them jump, none of them can swim. The pool was wonderfully refreshing as it is fed from the runoff from the Blue Mountains where it rains daily this time of year, and some hashers - including moi, Britta, Fred, Marti, and Albert - went for a swim. Not having brought my 'swimmers', as they say in Jamaica, it was the wet T-shirt/dripping shorts look post-dip. I did change to dry T and shorts for drive home. Moral of the story: always take dry clothes to a hash.
Local resident and young farmer, Richard, and his band of merry men cleared an area in the forest to provide a beautiful area for our pre and post hash socializing. They also cooked the soup - which was the best I have ever had in Jamaica! - and tasty meal of some kind of chicken, pork, rice & peas, and breadfruit roasted right in the fire. And they were, indeed, merry men: most of them were higher than kites, particularly Richard's younger brother Junior; you didn't need your own ganja because all you had to do was breathe deeply. Ah, the benefits of second hand smoke . . .
On a very sad note, while we were there Richard was on his cell phone to find out that his 3 week old baby had died. He was not even sure in which local hospital his girlfriend and baby were located. We all bowed our heads in moments of silence. Then we made a collection from individuals and the JAH3 organization to help Richard with whatever he might need. A poignant reminder of the preciousness of life and of how these wonderful Jamaican people, who live a hard-scrabble life in the hills, love their families above anything.
As always, now to the pictures!
|Richard's Merry Men stoking the fire and making the best soup ever that it cooked directly over the coals.|
|The cooking fire.|
|The aqueduct, along which we walked to the hash site and then further up the mountain on the hash. Amazing.|
|The blue pool.|
|I think that inner-tube is the Jamaican version of a life jacket.|
|This lad was a regular swinging off the rope and into the pool. The chap on the right sat there all afternoon and never ventured into the pool.|
|The hash site. On right in black, back to camera, is Richard.|
|Every hash, Lois (pronounced "Loy") keeps us honest collecting the hash fees and making sure everyone is registered.|
|On the drive home, we stopped at Annotto Bay for the view. It was worth it.|