Jamaica March 2009: 5 – A scooter ride in the hills

It’s Thursday today. My friend Occhy, who rides a Harley at home all the time, saw my scooter yesterday and said he’d like to join me for a ride today. I tell him we can get him a sort of real bike at Banmark but he says a scooter is fine. if I’m riding one he can too 🙂

So I get him at Catcha and we ride up to Seastar to get him one.

I take him on my favorite ride, past the lighthouse and into the hills. I do this ride whenever I can, since I first did it in 1999 at Paula from 3 Dives’ suggestion. I love it because it’s scenic and because I rarely encounter any traffic, so it’s a nice ride to take slowly and just enjoy, no stress.

We take the road out and I am shocked at how much construction is going on in the deep west end since I last did this in 2006. I pass what must be Moondance Cliffs, some kind of shopping complex, and more large developments I can’t identify. After a bit we reach the Westender and we stop. Occhy and I grab sodas from the bar and walk over to the beachside and look around. We enjoy chatting with the bartender a bit more and continue on our way.

The road looks like it always did as we turn inland towards the hills. I’m keeping an eye out for another one of my favorite stops as Occhy is new to Jamaica and I think he really needs to see it. Soon enough it appears on our right: Jamaica Jurassic Park.

I’ve been here several times but the last two times Danny, the owner, wasn’t there. This time he is. Danny is an artist, he creates almost all of the intricate flowers, leaves nad such that you see on gates around Negril…nirvana’s gate, several at Beach House Villas…once you know his work you notice it everywhere.

This spot in Orange Hill is his shop – he makes more mundane items like burglar bars and regular gates, but when he can, he also makes art just for himself. His garden includes pterodactyls, giant 40-leggers, huge flowers…it’s a real Jamaican take on Jurassic Park. He’s a great guy who will always take time from what he is doing to show visitors around. He explained his inspirations, gave us a tour of the actual metal shop, and showed us some new things he’s working on that are for sale…mainly candle holders of people in various positions painted all different colors. They’re really cool.

His bar is open again so we stop for a soda and chat with him for a half hour or so more. I’m so glad to have had the opportunity to reconnect with him. If you’re ever in the area, do stop by…the visit and tour is free though donations are welcome (I left one, because i think it is such a cool thing he has going on out there) and of course the bar welcomes you. Everything was cold and the company was great.

We head on. The next bit is nice and then we meet the main road. Oy, I hate this part…if you are doing the drive for fun I suggest turning around and going back the way you came, but we plan to stop by the beach so we take the Sav road into town. It’s just a bit stressful on a scooter because traffic moves VERY fast and it takes a lot of attention to go fast enough not to be a hazard, keep left, give room for cars to pass and not hit potholes or people on the edge.

We make it and stop by Beach House but our friends aren’t there. I do have an errand though, and Occhy joins me in the short walk down to Travellers. NEET runs a program called “Buy a Brick” where you can donate money, paint some bricks and both the bricks and the money go to build schools. We buy some, paint some with schwas (that’s a hookah thing), dedicate one to a friend’s mom who is fighting cancer, and get silly on a few.

We then make our way back up to the cliffs to get ready for a busy, busy night. Tonight I will be officiating a wedding vow renewal ceremony at sunset at 3 Dives, and later on is the 3 Dives bonfire jam.

I didn’t take a single photo of the ride or anything else today. Sometimes I just need to enjoy what i’m doing and not worry about documenting it and this was one of those days.

But others have taken some of Jurassic Park and these I will share. (Thanks to http://go-jamaica.com/roundjamaica/2009/02/20/jurassic-park/)

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Thoughts? Questions? I'd love to hear them!