Tilting tables on a field of crab grass dot the landscape. Orange and yellow butterflies flap around our ankles. A walking path lined with palms shades us from the blazing sun. Six buildings make up the condo complex with deteriorating roofs and rusting balcony railings.
A blue staircase leads down to the half kilometre stretch of beach. Black sea grass frames the shoreline. But before reaching the beach, one must cross what used to be the main highway along the coast of the Jamaica. Today, the road is deserted, not a car in sight.
Fifteen minutes east of Montego Bay – home for the last three weeks.
Traveling to a new place means…
We meet Hansel on the beach cleaning the sea grass and raking the sand. He offers us some bread fruit. He makes a fire and roasts the round hard shelled fruit until it is black. After peeling it, he gives it to the cook in the restaurant to fry it. We bite the golden brown crispy crust with the soft centre.
The next day he gives us a bread fruit. We try to grill it on the stove, but end up steaming it until soft and then frying it. Learning about bread fruit – preparing and eating – that’s what makes travel inspiring. It satisfies my need to learn new things about the world.
Traveling motivates me…
I take an early morning run along the beach. Hard sand makes a perfect running surface. The Caribbean Sea swishes beside me – I look for sea urchin shells, and notice tiny white crabs skittering towards sand holes.
What is it about being in a different setting? New people, new food, new thoughts. Looking at the world through a new light. A light that changes the colour of my skin. A tropical hue of light that glues images onto my brain to be recalled on rainy, grey days in Vancouver. I see and feel the colours – the sky and sea seem bluer, the palm trees greener, the bougainvilleas pinker – colours make me smile.
And I see my bare feet for weeks. Bare feet equal a simple life. Maybe that’s what draws me to hot climates – the simplicity that takes over my way of thinking, of living. Walking barefoot through the grass, trying not to step on the friendly butterflies, I am connected to nature,
to the fact that I really should paint my toe nails.