Sunday, March 26, 2017

Unwinding in Jamaica; My Days in an Island in the Sun

Jamaican Coconuts
In my early days in Jamaica, a little island in the sun, I just unwound and did nothing. I went to the white sand beach every other day, socialized a lot, and read.

At the beach, I didn't feel like eating a hamburger at the resort; so, I snacked on Caribbean Sea urchins, coconuts, and sea grass. I ate it all raw.

I would go hunting for the sea urchins in the sea. I would grab them. Then crack them open with a rock. Then, I would wash out the guts and undigested sea grass with the ocean water. Then, I'd scrape out the orange eggs and eat them. They tasted fatty and sweet and good, and I liked them.

 I felt like a caveman, and although the Germans frowned that I would crack open a sea urchin and eat its eggs so savagely, I told them it tasted good and was most likely good for me. I figured I might as well fill up on ocean nutrients while I had the chance.

The workers at the resort told me to stop picking the young coconuts. And, I would tell them the younger ones tasted sweeter. Even though I'd pick them, they would always open it for me.

And it tasted sweet and good. So, it was kind of an odd effect. They told me to stop doing it, but rewarded me every time I did it. So, I kept doing it, because I was rewarded and it tasted good.

Lars, one of the German guests, called me a freeloader in German, because I didn't want to pay for food. (The Germans paid for their coconuts, because they didn't pluck them out of the trees like I did.) And why should I, when the beach had plenty for me to eat? (I tell everyone I'm unemployed anyways, so it really makes sense I do this.)

It was odd how the food made me feel full for a long time, when there was so little of it. In contrast, sugary and starchy foods in the States, only temporarily make you feel full; it's a bad thing and perhaps is a leading contributor to our out-of-control obesity epidemic.

In total, sometimes I was social with the guests. Sometimes I was anti-social, retreating into my own world to read or write or think. In this way, I had best of both worlds.

Incidentally, I finished my book on Lincoln and his generals. It gave me many brilliant insights, and I was grateful that the author wrote it. I think it will help me with my litigation going forward.

One other odd trivia. I also noticed a funny thing at my hostel. I realized Germans are coffee thieves. Really! They are!

I would brew myself two cups of coffee in a French press. Drink one of it. Then the other one was missing. Luca, a German told me he drank it. I managed a smile and brewed myself another cup.

Then another German asked me to make him one, because he had no coffee. Then, when I left my coffee sitting, the German girl Mona, the same one who asked me to take her into town, drank my coffee. I had to brew three cups of coffee to have one. Two went to the Germans.

Although I didn't buy the famous and delicious and expensive Blue Mountain coffee at the markets, the Jamaican coffee is very good. There's something with coffee growing in islands in the tropics. They always taste better for some reason; think of Blue Mountain, Kona, and Bali coffee.

So, perhaps that's why the Germans were pinching my coffee all the time. I also fill my coffee with the French cream at the store, which is rich and buttery and makes the coffee taste so much fuller and somehow more complete.

But Luca repaid me. His parents came to visit him from Germany. They brought to Jamaica their famous, locally baked, German black bread and gave it to me. That was kind of them.

It was delicious as well. Luca slathered on it New Zealand butter and German honey. I liked it.

He also got me some French tobacco, and I smoked it and smoked it quickly because it tasted so nice. (It's not at all a habit, so don't rail on me for doing it.)

Because of Luca's parents' hospitality, we were able to chat and introduce ourselves. It was a pleasant breakfast, over coffee and cream and German bread and honey and fatty butter.

One day Mona, a German girl kept asking me to cook for her. So, I cooked for her and the Flemish guy, William. I cooked Caribbean ocean fish with roasted spices, roasted sweet potatoes, and stir fried okras (an vegetable native to Africa) with garlic and butter .

At first I was little annoyed, because good food has to be made with love. And love is work. And working on a holiday is not a pleasant task. But after awhile, I started getting into it, and I appreciated serving them.

(But then I got upset, to think how long it was since I cooked. And the reason, I realized while I didn't cook was because the last big meal I made was for the boxers for Passover. After that, Baldwin Park protested the Jewish holiday and got Julian fired. (Perhaps it's too much to allege they're anti-Semitic, because they appear to be vindictive towards anyone who want to do what's right for the people.) It left me with a bad taste in my mouth, and I realized since then, I never made a big meal again.)

And, so, I was grateful that I had an opportunity to cook again and reclaim a joy that was taken from me. All the food tasted good and hearty and healthy and filling. I ended the meal with coffee, and Mona and William looked grateful.

Anyways, a number of us were leaving the hostel. Mona was going home to Germany. I was moving on. William walked us to the street and waited for us, while we caught a taxi. He gave us both a hug.

They made fun of me for not having social media, which in their minds made me a lot older than them. I smiled, thinking that's not why I'm not on social media (though I never said really why).

And that was how my time in Montego Bay ended. I find that good byes can be difficult. To quote a Caribbean writer, Ana├»s Nin once said, "Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.”

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