Well in a manner of speaking anyway. I decided in my old age to take that awe-inspiring trip to the Blue Mountain Peak. It was one of those moments when insanity won out over reason. I will state here and now that it was a once in a lifetime never to be repeated experience with emphasis on the never to be repeated part.
This escapade started in mid July when a group of friends, 13 from my company and 12 from a co-workers group, decided to take the trip. Our guide decided to do the short walk instead of the long one citing “not wanting to leave a lasting negative experience on persons”. People… distance is relative when talking to country dwellers. Statements like “just down the road” and “just around the corner” bear no reflection of the true picture. In the same way I can only conclude that our guide grew up in some other part of Jamaica than the city, because in this case short is relative. Hint hint 5 hours of uphill and 3 hours of downhill is not short.
We decided to drive to Mavis Bank which is about 1/2 an hour from Papine. We parked the cars at the police post there since the second part of the journey was to be by Land Rover to our start point. The roads were too steep and rocky for cars so Land Rovers are the vehicle of choice on the trip from Mavis Bank to Whitfield Hall. BTW, I use the word “roads” loosely…very loosely. These are basically dirt and marl tracks cut into the hillside.
The trip to Whitfield Hall was about 2 hours of straight uphill driving in the back of a pick up truck with rails and no suspension. The drivers knew the roads though and there was no fear about visiting the bottom of nearby ravines. We arrived at the cottage at about 10:30 p.m. yes at night since we would start out in the morning. We settled in until about 1:00 a.m. when we were awaken to begin our briefing and our walk commenced at about 1:30 a.m. I did say morning. Flashlights lit the way for the trip, the first part of the trip called Jacob’s Ladder. This took about 1 1/2 hours to a place called Portland Gap. We stopped for a bit to catch our breath and get some sugar and salt back into our bodies. I have never before sweat so much in cold weather. Every corner meant a drop in temperature. The path is well marked and there are signs everywhere warning persons to stay on the trail.
The journey to the Peak was another story I will sumarize for sake of time. It was uphill, damn hard and pure rock stone. Every corner left your joints screaming for murder and demanding that we turn back. Signs showing how far to the summit are false. Either that or it’s the longest 500m and 1 1/2 km I have ever seen. I have never heard so much swearing in one place. dwl. We arrived at the Peak some time after 5:00 a.m. but we were unable to see the sunrise as cloud cover was heavy. The Peak provides a spectacular view of surounding regions but IT DAMN COLD!!! A few photos and some chit chat and the trip back began.
The journey back to Portland Gap was weird since we were now able to see exactly where we had been walking earlier in the pitch black night. I can only say that we were indeed lucky that all of us are part mountain goat (or so it would seem). If we had been this way in the daylight many of us would have stopped at the ranger station at Portland Gap and called it a day. At some places the path is no wider that 3 or 4 feet. Broken away hillside was evident. The walk down was much more gruelling since we are not only fighting fatigue but also the forces of gravity and the pain it was inflicting on those of us with bad knees and backs and hips.
Arrival back at Whitfield Hall was fantastic as not only was this self inflicted torture ended but we had the foresight to arrange for a fabulous Jamaican style breakfast of ackee and saltfish and breadfruit and callaloo and dumplings and plantain and you name it and we had it.
The trip back to Mavis Bank was a reverse of the way up. Rocky roads, nuff corners, dust and all in an open back Land Rover. The only factor was that the moon was now replaced by the sun. Nobody told us that Mavis Bank was about a million miles closer to the sun because the temperatures soared to intolerable levels.
All in all it was a good trip. I am grateful for the experience but don’t think I will ever try that again. I had no after effects I suppose because of my fitness level (thank you badminton training).
Thanks to my fellow hikers for a great trip so Mohammed…err …Scratchie went to the mountain since the mountain wouldn’t come to me.
As I sat in traffic yesterday evening, it suddenly dawned on me, not a new revelation or anything like that, just an eye opener, that as soon as vehicles are issued with red plates the drivers turn into jackasses. Wifey says I’m not to insult the jackass by calling them that but if the term fits…
For those who aren’t familiar with our system our vehicle tags are colour coded, white with blue writing and border are for private cars, green with white writing and border for commercial vehicles, white with red writing and border for heavy duty equipment and trailer backs and the infamous red plates with white writing for taxis and buses. There were others which have been sidelined or used in special situations but these are the more popular ones. There are the yellow with black writing for government and the yellow with green writing for diplomats and the blue with white writing for demo vehicles and the list goes on and I digress.
Back to the red plates. I can only conclude that they send all these idiots to the same school to perfect the art of making the roads hazardous for other road users. They make it a point to ignore every road rule. The sidewalk and soft shoulder are synonymous with paved roadways to them. Pedestrians are targets to be removed if you dare to walk on the sidewalk and they want to use it. See a passenger and just stop in the middle of the road oblivious to the cars travelling behind or the mayhem they cause with traffic build up. The turn lanes are used and fasttracks to get to the head of the line since nobody else has to go anywhere we all just love to wait in lines at traffic signals to work on our tan. Silly us for not using the right side of the road as a second or third lane while cars sit in the left lane waiting on lights to change.
What amazes me is that they all drive exactly the same way. You can actually predict their movements way before they execute their plan. The other source of amazement is that people actually sit in these cars and allow wild animals to drive them to their destination.
I suggest that we need a whole police force out on the roads to deal with these red platers. It’s time to stop them before their dangerous game of bumper cars wreaks even more havock than it already does but knowing my country, nothing will happen until some bigshot or their child or family gets maimed by one of these idiots.
Just wondering if people still pass this way. Was checking out my links and realized that so many have stopped blogging and others have taken pages out of my book. Call this a mike check if you want. Let me know how you have all been.
Is it me or does it seem that Americans are among the most unsportsmanlike people on the planet? Before I go any further let me offer congrats to Usain and Shelly-Ann, Sherone and Keron on their recent wins at the Beijing Olympics. Well done guys!!!
I was taken aback by the US team’s reaction to the wins. Everything from “false start” (which would have been their offence by-the-way) to suspicion of drug usuage to interviews by media personnel proclaiming and highlighting the “faults” of the Jamaican athletes. I defend the athletes because I am Jamaican. I defend them because I see them doing nothing wrong and I defend them because I think they deserve the praise they get.
It erks me to hear the negative criticism from our American (and Trinidadian) conterparts simply because they have not done as well in a particular event. Are the 4 or 5 medals that we have won that critical to your total of 70-odd that you have amassed that you find it so difficult to say well done to such a small country.
I dismiss the remarks of Ato Boldon as simply the utterings of someone who has nothing better to do and whose only interest is to continue the ongoing rivalry between our two Carib nations. His comments warrant no further attention.
On a positive note…..CONGRATS!!!!!! especially to Shelly-Ann. I haven’t seen a happier person than her when she won her race. That smile is the smile of the Olympics.
Seems that Cable and Wireless is living up to the popular bastardization of its name to careless and wuthliss (worthless). Some time ago they introduced a calling plan that would see user paying a set monthly fee and in return would receive a block of minutes for calls to the US and Canada. Well only months later the cap is now reduced and customers are peeved to say the least. Personally, I think we should boycott C &W. In fact I have just reactivated my Digicel chip and I am relegating my C & W sim card to a maybe phone. It seems as if anything to benefit the consumer is above and beyond this “service” provider. I will agree that the minutes initially offered may be a little over the top but they have literally slashed the allocation by 90%. Many persons returned to C&W because of this feature and many stayed because of it. The received customers through their partner/client EZ Mobile but I can promise you this, they won’t be getting my $1000 per month for the pitance they are offering. I am forced to use them because of my physical location within my office and will only be addding my usual prepaid minutes, but I still take satisfaction in telling them…C&W….up yours……
I am reading with some amazement the headline story in today’s paper where it puts forward a story about the just concluded Jazz and Blues festival in the western section of the island. Seems as if the personal preferences of a “star” comes before the needs of the paying fans. In this modern day and age which seasoned performer can expect not to be recorded at a major event. Stupidity seems to know no boundaries I guess. Jamaicans are easy fans to please. Go out there sing their favourite songs, talk to them and yuh criss. On the other hand, they are extremely serious about what they want and what they pay to see. Miss Ross has lost a lot of respect here and I honestly can’t say I blame the fans. I can say without even thinking that she is lucky to have made it off the stage without being “bottled”. Many an artiste have found themselves on the receiving end of projectiles after infuriating large crowds. Somehow I doubt that she will be contracted for anything events in Jamaica in the near future. Artistes need to remember that the fans pay the bills. Lose the fans and you lose their money.
I can’t believe that so much time has passed since I wrote here. Well let me at least say that circumstances have changed for me and so you will have noticed a reduced number of posts and visits. I am now on my new assignment. I had indicated that I had applied for a new post in the operational area of my organization. I am pleased to announce that I was selected from a field of 5 applicants and am now a couple grades higher than when I last wrote. With the new responsibility however comes less down time. I am also now supervisor to 5 persons so things get hectic. While in HR I could pace myself and so had a bit of time for posting and reading but at this new post the time is dictated by the demands of each day. I am also on my feet a lot more so the compi will stay for days on end without me turning it on. I am also no longer in a little corner by myself so privacy is an issue. Weekends never worked for me since the children are always onlie so…..
I actually considered closing the blog but decided that I will continue to maintain it as long as I can. Things are good and I am actually enjoying my new role. I miss HR but I’m still able to apply much of what I did to this new desk. We’ll see how things go over the next few months.
’til I get another chance to write…take care.
This blog pays tribute to Mr. Herb McKinley who died yesterday.
Image from the Jamaica Amateur Athletic Association Limited website. http://www.jaaaltd.com/Archives.htm
I had the privilege of meeting him a few years ago when he visited an exhibition put on by my organization. Even then, well past his running prime, the demeanour of this larger than life Jamaican turned many a heads as he moved through the exhibition. I won’t get into his accomplishments or stories of his conquests. I will add my condolences to his family and instead end with “Well done, good and faithful servant.” You have toiled well now enjoy the fruits of your labour. Rest in Peace.
It’s so funny how life throws curve balls at you. For those who have been following this story of the over aged college student (now grauate) you would have read my journey through studies in HR. Well the Monday after I graduated I made an application for a job outside of my field in fact in the job would be in a totally different environment. I would remain with my company but would no longer be in HR. Well I was advised yesterday that I was being appointed to the position. I will therefore leave HR in a week or two for new ground.
I’m of mixed feelings since I spent the last five years of my life devoted to HR studies and the last 15 years in the profession. So after 5 years of studying I will get to use my newfound knowledge for all of one month. :D I really shouldn’t look at it like that since what I studied solidifies what I have been doing for the past 15 years.
I know several other things will also change since I won’t have access to the internet as freely and it will involve much more montoring of persons etc. Right now I am having trouble with both internet at home and internet at office so my viewing and commenting is next to zero. C & W has me moving at snail pace so I’m internetless until they decide to have pity on me. So we’ll chat again soon.
Edit: Well C&W decide to help me out a little yesterday. Internet at home was behaving slightly better than snails pace but still not up to what I’m paying for. It seems to be behaving a little better at work too hence a few comments here and there. These uitlity companies have you by the genitals.
Well my stint at college is finally over. As of the 3rd of November I am officially out on my rear end from school. I am now, for all intents and purpose, a university graduate. The valedictorian cried as she dedicated her degree to her mother. I dedicate mine to my family and friends who stuck with me through the fight. All I will say right now is that I’m grateful.
It also with some amzement that I was also awarded the the only “1st class” honours degree in my major. I say this against the background of being 1) an older student and 2) studying part-time 3) and finally a male student (was just reminded by a friend that usually females dominate the scholastic arena). I’m happy. All the hard work and dedication to the task paid off and I can see the results.
Congrats to all who graduated recently (and along the same lines as my edit, there were notably quite a few males who received 1st class honours in their courses of study, to the point where the ladies were all but overshadowed at the function).