What a fun and interesting day! Today we docked at Falmouth, Jamaica. We have been here many times and always had a fun time. According to Wikipedia, “Falmouth is the chief town and capital of the parish of Trelawny in Jamaica. It is situated on Jamaica’s north coast 18 miles east of Montego Bay. It is noted for being one of the Caribbean’s best-preserved Georgian towns”.
We awoke once again to a beautiful, beautiful day. We were not in rush today as we would not get into port until 10:30am so we set off to Johnny Rockets for a full breakfast. I love Johnny Rockets on the Oasis because it has outside seating and the food is always good. I think everyone on the ship had the same idea because it took a bit to get a seat.
While enjoying our breakfast Randy and I were trying to decide what to do. I had mentioned that I thought I would stay on board and get caught up on some reading. Randy, on the other hand, thought he would get off and walk around the port area. In the end we agreed that getting off would be nice even to just walk around a bit.
We started our walk at the port taking in all the activity around the many stores and carts and listened a while to the group of musicians playing in the small gazebo in the center of the area.
I turned to Randy and said, “You know, we have never really spent any time looking through the Craft Market. Why don’t we walk up and down all the aisles and see what there is to see?” Randy agreed and we were off.
The Craft Market is packed very tightly with all kinds of bought and homemade goods. The colors are amazing. Bright yellows and pinks, deep blues all stood out as we walked around. There were one-size fits all dresses, Caribbean shirts, Bob Marley coasters, colorful magnets and so much more.
But what caught my eye the most were the beautiful wood carvings. There were canes, vases, bowls and many beautifully carved animals. We walked by a gentleman sitting on a very small bench just outside one side of the market carving barracudas and, on the other side a gentleman was carving small children’s chairs. The end result of the gentlemen’s work was beautiful.
We found ourselves walking toward the entrance to the port where a group of signs with stories of the first arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1494, the history of Jamaica, the history of Falmouth and a story of Baptist missionary William Knibb and his contribution to the emancipation movement in Jamaica were on either side of the walk into the port area.
Randy said he would like to take a walk just outside the gate and I agreed. We had walked into town once before and had the most wonderful lunch at a restaurant called Nazz. We were curious to see if the restaurant was still there. We walked a little and saw a very nice gentleman standing in the middle of the street in a very crisp, white uniform. We thought he was a policeman but learned that he was a tourism security guard. “Interesting,” I thought.
We stopped and asked about the restaurant and he told us that the restaurant still existed but the name had changed. “Only the name has changed. It is now called Donna’s but everything else remains the same” he said. We asked if there were any interesting sights within walking distance. He pointed to his left and said that if we walked in that direction for several blocks we would come upon the first church in the parish of Trelawny and one of the oldest churches on the island.
We started our walk eventually passing Donna’s restaurant and continued down streets with very narrow sidewalks several with trees growing through the cement. We passed many shops and eateries on our walk.
I was struck by the fact that as we walked along no one made eye contact. I found myself saying, “Good day and Hello” to everyone we passed. Some responded by saying, “Hello”, others nodded their heads. I felt happy when they responded.
We eventually made it to the Falmouth Parish Church of St. Peter the Apostle. I was struck by the poor condition of the grounds and the graves in the church’s cemetery. We walked through the gate and ran into another visitor who said, “You need to go to the back of the church there are goats back there”.
We thought that was very funny so we did. Sure enough, there were three goats grazing on the church grounds between the graves. We learned that that is how the church keeps the grass down in the cemetery. Randy and I thought that it was very practical and very funny.
As we walked back to the front of the church a tour group arrived. We followed them into the church and took a seat in one of the pews and listened to a young woman talk about the history of the church.
My eye went immediately to the front of the church and beautiful and colorful stained glass window above the altar. On either side of the window were plaques etched with the Ten Commandments, Lord’s Prayer and the Apostles Creed.
I loved everything about this church especially the wooden pews, pulpit and Baptismal font. We learned that they were all made of Jamaican mahogany. They were all beautiful.
The talk did not take long and soon we found ourselves back outside exploring the grounds on the opposite side of the church. I found myself reading the dates. I found one dating back to 1665. The young man who had been buried here was only 18 years old. We walked around a bit more then started our journey back to the port.
On our way back we saw a group of dancers performing at event called Spruce up Jamaica and stopped to watch for a while. The music was lively and the dancers wonderful. It was hard to pull away.
I wanted to thank the tourism security guard for pointing in the direction of this beautiful, old church. I was dismayed when he was not on his corner. However, as we continued down the street we spotted him and stopped. When I thanked him, he looked at me and exclaimed, “You made it there?” “Yes we did,” I replied. “We had a wonderful walk and enjoyed visiting such a beautiful church”. He smiled and said, “Thank you”.
We returned to the ship, changed clothes and went up to the pool deck for a lazy afternoon in the sun. I tried to read a bit but was drawn to the pool where I enjoyed a blissful time floating in the cool salt water.
We were enjoying ourselves but finally made an effort to return to the cabin and prepare for evening cocktails with our new-found friends Skip and Suzanne and dinner with our group.
We did not have reservations for any shows this evening so we walked around the Royal Promenade a while then returned to our cabin to relax and turn in for a good night’s sleep.
We had a wonderful day today. Tomorrow we will be cruising all day to our last port-of-call, Cozumel, Mexico.
PS-Today I walked 8,161 steps and climbed 17 floors. A good day indeed!