Drinks at Strawberry Hill Hotel, St. Andrew #DryLandTouristChronicles

I have always wanted to visit Strawberry Hill Hotel but I never seemed to ever get the chance. While my cousin was visiting I decided to take a chance and call Strawberry Hill to inquire the possibility of visiting the property for purposes other than brunch or dinner or a staycation. I was pleasantly surprised when I learned that the possibility to visit was more than possible!

The customer service representative I spoke to informed me that there was a day pass option available for locals for $2500 JMD. Once that amount was paid, we would have access to the property, except rooms naturally. With this day pass also If we patronized the bar or restaurant that amount would be put towards the final bill and only the difference paid.

Getting There
We ventured to Irish Town by public transportation. We waited in Papine, near the Texaco Gas Station, for an Irish Town/Red Light District bus. It took us a while to catch a bus but once we got one it was smooth sailing. The cost of the bus ride was $120 JMD per person.

The bus let us off at the entrance to Strawberry Hill and we walked up the hill with one of the staff members who was also on the bus.

It was a bit of a walk…

When we got to the gate, we explained our purpose to the security guard and was directed up to the main office. I must commend the customer service representatives. they were very polite & helpful. I guess we got there super early because the $2500 was waived and we were allowed to explore the property.

A detailed history of the property can be found at their website https://www.strawberryhillhotel.com/about/history/

The Property

From the entrance to the property only one word came to mind… breathtaking!!!

There were numerous picturesque spots in every corner of the property.

I felt like I walked into a whole other world. The design concept of the property was very chic and charming all in one go.

The location of the property provided an amazing view of Kingston, St. Andrew, Port Royal and parts St. Catherine.

The property consist of cottages, a spa, restaurant, bar and infinity pool.

My favourite part of the property was the board room/display area below the bar. The entire room is dedicated to showcasing the accomplishments of Chris Blackwell and his label Island Records. During my visit, I discovered the tremendous influence that Mr. Blackwell has had on so many popular songs and albums.

My second favourite spot was the garden area over looking the Red Light District. For me, It was like a painting brought to life. Such serenity just mere minutes from the hustle and bustle of city life mere Kilometres away.

We spent about 2 hours on the property walking around, taking pictures and grabbing a drink at the bar before we decided to leave.

Cafe Blue

We closed of the day after Cafe Blue. It was a short stroll from Strawberry Hill, unfortunately my camera battery died so I was not able to film the walk.

We grabbed some fruit coolers and cheesecake which we paid less that $3000 JMD.

It took us a little while to get a table because it was buzzing with patrons but the wait wasn’t too bad thanks to the location and the hospitality of the staff.

Getting back to Papine was easy and we actually ended up taking the same bus we top from Papine. Big up to the bus driver Wynter who actually spotted us while we were walking to the town square.

This was one of my favourite excursions I have embarked on. The bus drive up was good and it allowed me to see a side of Jamaica that I don’t get to see often in the city.

It seems that every journey I have been on across my island home has given me a different idea of who she is.

I made a little vlog on the day so you can watch it here:
https://youtu.be/5zE9_V2AIuc

Until next trek

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Cane River Falls Sunday Par #DryLandTouristChronicles

It’s summer time and I decided to take my post back to where it all started… travel experiences around the island. The first adventure takes us to a beautiful off the beaten path gem called Cane River Falls.

Cane River Falls

I visited Cane River Falls earlier but the change in my schedule did not allow me to make the post when I visited. However, I think all things happen for a reason because now that it is summer, this may be a good excursion to take with friends or family members.

Located in the hills of 9 Miles, Bull Bay, St. Andrew sits a unique almost untouched Jamaican gem. After seeing numerous photos and Social media posts from friends visits to this off the beaten path attraction I knew I had to visit.

So on a Sunday morning, myself & 2 friends headed to discover this beauty for ourselves.

Getting there

Based on the journey and the area I would advise anyone visiting the falls to drive, charter a taxi, rent a car or use a tour company like the Taylor Trio Tours, Down Di Road Tours or Being Jamaican. The area is truly off the beaten path & I don’t recall seeing one route taxi on the journey up the hill.

The drive up the hill was pretty easy for the majority of the journey and the scenery was beautiful!

The Venue
The falls was easily identified because there was a lot of signage along the road way and at there was a noticeable sign at the falls entrance.

The admission cost was $200 for adults and $100 for children. I am not sure if that was a Jamaican nationals price or a general price because I didn’t see any signs indicating otherwise.

The venue entrance was well kept and clean and there was a bathroom facility. I opted to wear my bathing suit before hand.

To get to the falls itself we had to go down a flight of stairs carved out of the rocks in this area. The journey down wasn’t so bad and the rocks actually had various murals.

The Falls
The walk down those stairs was well worth it! The Cane River Falls itself is small but breathtaking. I had to stop and appreciate the sheer beauty of it.

The water was cold at first but after a few minutes when my body got acclimatized, the water was rather refreshing. I was able to stand in the pool. I was also able to walk from one end of the pool to the waterfall. The bottom of the pool seemed leveled across the pool based on observations so the area is swimmer and non-swimmer friendly.

My Experience

Initially, my friends and I were the only ones at the falls so we were a tad bit on uneasy but then we were joined by a family of five and later some community members.

Even though you pay at the gate there is a clear signage stating that drivers park at their own risk.

I personally don’t suggest female travelers to visit this area without a male companion. When we were leaving the car to head down to the falls a gentleman on the property inquired if “3 females were venturing to the falls alone.” That statement left me VERY uneasy so it made it hard to truly relax and enjoy the falls.

Despite that hiccup I still recommend a visit to the Cane River Falls to anyone who enjoys “off the beaten track” adventures BUT BE VERY AWARE OF YOUR PERSONAL SAFETY.

The “park” is not as advanced as a Dunn’s River Falls or Konoko Falls so the amenities that you would find there are not available at this spot such as lockers and a shop but it has potential.

After spending a few hours at the falls, we decided to finish the day off at a beach. We decided on Little Copa Beach Club also in Bull Bay, St. Andrew. This area though I would not advice weak swimmers or non-swimmers to attempt to maneuver as the waves proved a bit rough. None the less, it was a nice end to a fun off the beaten path excursion.

I definitely recommend this spot if you just want to chill with friends or your spouse.

As with most excursion, I made a little vlog of the trip to Cane River Falls:

Thanks for reading this post & I will see you in the next one.

Until next trek…

Lessons learned working as a Part-Time Teacher for a year

When I made the decision to transition from an office job to the classroom I was to everyone else’s surprise looking for an escape…I know with this generation of children I sound insane for saying that; but coming from a toxic work culture I was dying for any relief. If you have read my older posts you would know that this was not my first time in the classroom.

When I first applied for the job I truly did it off a whim. The school was one I was working with for a few years through my service club and I never expected to get a call much less the job but God works in mysterious ways and He had other plans for me.

As you read this I am on summer vacation (OMG that feels good to say!) and I thought it would be a good time to share some of the lessons I have learned from being in the classroom as a part-time teacher for a year:

  1. Patience is a MUST – When dealing with children & especially children coming from rough backgrounds or neighbourhoods you have to harness your patience. I found that many of the students have learning disabilities, lack love, lack discipline, suffer from some form of mental instability & social issues which often surface in the classroom. If there is a boundary, they will certainly test it so you as the educator & adult in the room need to learn and exercise patience in order to unearth their hidden potential or just inspire them to make it through the subject. 
  2. Love goes a long way – I heard many scary stories from other experienced teachers which made me question my decision. However, when I got there I realized that a lot of these children need love more than correction. Therefore, I had to learn to discipline from a place of love and not from a place of annoyance or injured pride. My kids (and BTS) also taught reminded to love myself; because in loving myself I was able to love them better.♥️
  3. Corporal Punishment is a waste of time – corporal punishment in the classroom and home, I have realized, often is the result of the adults involved frustrations. Like I said before, these children WILL TEST your boundaries and it doesn’t matter if it’s a traditional or non traditional high school. Corporal punishment reinforces the violence these children are witnessing at home or hear being glorified in the songs they listen to daily. Violence has no effect on them and it certainly does not curb the behaviour.
  4. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail– this old adage I have proven in this year. Lesson plans may be a hassle but they are a necessary pain. The minute you step into that classroom if you don’t have your thing together you will crumble fast.
  5. A soft answer does turneth away wrath – with colleagues and students alike I learned that sometimes a soft answer (reasoning logically) does diffuse some hostile situations. Like I said before you have to be the adult in the room and just move past certain issues in order to meet the bigger goals.
  6. Goal setting is a must – for years I have been setting and forgetting goals quite easily but this past year in the classroom has changed my perspective. Having a goal for the year allowed me to stick to my plan and have a better direction on my path.
  7. Not to complain – I have a running joke with my friends about us having “uptown problems” such as not being able to add Netflix to the monthly budget, not being able to take that vacation you want to take or not being able to buy a car just yet. This year taught me that I have more “uptown problems” than I realized; so whenever I found myself about to complain I just could not because daily I saw children who have real problems.
  8. Don’t be afraid to be creative – I reconnected with my creative side & it was amazing!
  9. Finally, I learned to have fun. I think it’s impossible to be around young people and not crack a smile. I learned to appreciate the laughs, smiles, jokes and hugs.

This year has been a life changer for me. I remember a few years ago I was complaining about the directionless path my life was on when my Grandmother reminded me that everything happens for a reason.


I am grateful for these lessons and I believe they will help me to become a better teacher.
Has your job taught you any lessons? I would love to hear them in the comment section below.


Until next time,

Walk good.


73 Vogue-inspired Questions

I was tagged by the beautiful As Told By Nella and though it took me almost a month to upload this POST (THANK YOU LIFE COMMITMENTS) I am more than happy to do this tag. I love the original Vogue videos and I am super excited about these questions so here we go…

1.What are you most excited about these days?

Finishing my Post Grad. Diploma

2. What’s your favorite holiday?

New Year’s Eve

3. Favorite season?

Summer

4. Where does one go on a perfect road trip?

Portland

5. What is the best activity when home on a rainy day?

Sleep

6. If you could switch lives with someone for a day who would it be?

Any full time travel blogger/vlogger

7. What is the best thing that happened this year?

I resigned from my previous job.

8. What’s your New Year’s resolution?

Live my best 2019

9. What’s your favorite exercise?

Walking

10. Best way to decompress?

Watching Netflix, Korean and Chinese Dramas

11. What’s your favorite country to visit?

Haven’t visited many places but so far St. Martin/St. Maarten

The Dutch Side

12. Last country you visited?

New Providence Island, The Bahamas

13. Country you wish to visit?

I have 2…St. Lucia & South Korea

14. What’s your favorite ice-cream?

Rum & Raisin

15. What makes you smile the most?

My family

16. What’s the coolest thing in the world?

The Internet… it has made the world more accessible

17. What is the cutest thing in the world?

Love

18. How do you know if you’re in love?

I can look past the flaws…

19. If you could go to any concert past or present, what would it be?

NSYNC, Backstreet Boys & BTS ❤

20. What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?

My brothers

21. Favorite fashion trend of all time?

Skinny Jeans

22. What’s your favorite movie of all time?

Pride & Prejudice…the Kiera Knightly version

23. What was the movie that made you cry?

Selena & it still does

24. If you could make a documentary, what would it be about?

Post Independence Jamaica

25. If you could have one superpower what would it be?

Teleportation

26. What is the skill still unmastered?

Cooking

27. What is the best thing that happened to you today?

I woke up

28. Do you like surprises?

No

29. If you could do a flash mob where would it be?

Below the Eiffel Tower

30. Do you like cupcakes?

Yes

31. Do you usually bake cupcakes?

No

32. What’s your favorite desert?

Cheesecake

33. Is there a desert you don’t like?

Haven’t encountered one I don’t like yet

34. What’s your favorite bakery?

Don’t have one

35. What’s your favorite food?

Oxtail and Roast Beef

36. It’s brunch, what do you eat?

Pancakes, Bacon & Egg

37. You are stuck on an island, you can pick one food to eat forever without getting tired of it, what would you eat?

Roast Beef

38. Favorite color?

Red

39. Favorite superhero?

Spiderman

40. What do you usually order in Starbucks? (or in your favorite café)

Fruit coolers

41. Who is the last person you texted?

My friend Wade

42. What’s your favorite activity to do in your hometown?

Stay home

43. What’s the next book you plan on reading?

Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan

44. What do you love in your pizza?

Pineapples and Ham

45. Favorite drink?

Pepsi (Non Alcoholic) & Caipirinha or Mojitos (Alcoholic)

46. Dark chocolate or milk chocolate?

Dark

47. What’s your favorite band?

Currently BTS

48. Favorite solo artist?

Chronixx

49. Favorite lyrics?

“I’m the one I should love in this world” – BTS Jin

“Life is what you make it…” – Vybz Kartel

50. If your life was a song what would the title be?

“Never Give Up The Fight”

51. If you could master one instrument what would it be?

Piano

52. If you had a tattoo where would it be?

Ribcage

53. To be or not to be?

To be

54. Dolphins or koalas?

Koalas because I love Koya from BT 21

55. How do you like your coffee?

Mixed with Roma Cocoa

56. What’s your favorite curse word?

I hardly curse lately but if I do its a local variation.

57. What color of dress did you wear to prom?

I didn’t go to my Prom

58. Diamonds or pearls?

Pearls

59. Cheap shampoo or expensive?

Aloe Vera

60. Blow dry or air dry?

Air Dry

61. Heels or flats?

Flats

62. Pilates or yoga?

Pilates

63. Jogging or swimming?

Jogging

64. One thing you can’t live without?

My family

65. What’s one cause that’s dear to your heart?

Youth Development

66. Who would you want to shoot a love scene with?

My Person

67. What’s your favorite sport?

Athletics

68. Do you have a morning beauty ritual?

Nope

69. What’s your favorite thing to wear?

A chain my Mom gave me

70.What’s the priciest thing you’ve ever splurged on?

Carnival

71. Do you play any musical instruments?

No

72. What is your favorite book of all time?

Love Story by Eric Segal

73. What is something you always travel with?

Camera

I TAG THE FOLLOWING BLOGGERS:

Simply Local Life

Renegade Expressions

If You’re Not Busy

As Told By Alli

Until Next Time… Walk Good

5 Financial Lessons… I wish I heeded in my 20’s

If many of us got a preview of what 10 years in the future looked like we would surely approach our present very different.

I try not to live with regrets but whenever I am sitting in any form of public transportation I usually get a bit melancholy about some of the silly financial mistakes I made & great advice I did not take in my 20’s. But instead of wallowing in said sorrow I decided to share the lessons I wish I heeded in hopes that it will help a 20 something year old or even thirty something year old get on the path to financial stability.

1. Save 10% of everything you earn not matter how small the income.

As we like to say here in Jamaica every “mickle mek a muckle” or “one one coco full basket.” No matter how small your income…save some of it (10% is a good start). In my 20’s, I did not save the way I should have. I constantly justified this malpractice by stressing how “small” my salary was at the time. I now know that saving involves a lot of patience but one day it does pay off.

2. Partners are not so bad & can help you achieve long term goals

In doing my research for this post, I discovered that partners exist outside Jamaica but  have different names. The concept involves putting aside a said amount weekly or monthly and each period a partner receives a lump sum called a draw.

“A popular form of savings system in Jamaica is the “Partner”, which is called by many different names elsewhere in the Caribbean and is also found in many other parts of the world… A Partner is basically a partnership among people to save collectively. Usually an established member of a community manages the partnership and is referred to as “the banker”. The partners contribute a regular sum daily, weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis. Every day, week, fortnight or month, one member of the partner receives the total amount contributed by the partners over that period., less the equivalent of one contribution, which is given to the banker as payment for the banker’s services.

Source: https://www.gdrc.org/icm/partner-sys.html

The drawback with the partner is the trust factor (many a scary stories). So I would advise that one enters such agreement with someone who has been proven trustworthy. If the traditional partner structure is not for you, most credit unions actually offer partners which are monitored & regulated by the financial monitoring authorities.

3. Pay your bills in full (or over if you can afford to) & on time

You rob yourself every time you pay a late fee…Enough said!

4. Invest! Invest! Invest!

You are not too young to invest. Speak to a trusted financial adviser and make your money work for you in your 20’s.

5. Credit Responsibly

Most of us shop online or have a Netflix account which may require us to have a credit cards. Credit cards, in my opinion, are luxury items so as with all luxury items it ain’t cheap & should be handled with care. Luckily here is Jamaica there are two banks I know that offer Visa debit cards (something I wish was offered in my early 20s) which will help you to spend responsibly.


I hope you found this helpful & look out for future posts in the 5 Lessons I learned series.

Share with me in the comments some financial lessons you have learned so far.

Until Next time…Walk Good
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We Pulled Up To: @TheNewWaveJa’s Movie Night!

13th Street Promotions

Words By: @ShannyDeLioness

Photos (when we tried to get them…) By: @xSvmSingx

The city lights of Kingston flickered as if it was anxiously awaiting having its stories being shared at 6B Skyline Drive. While she anxiously waited, the mood was much lighter as movie enthusiasts and creatives filled every corner of Skyline Levels for New Wave’s Movie Night. Blankets, pillows, and folding chairs lined every corner creating an intimate atmosphere to witness the cinematic genius about to unfold.

The night’s agenda saw the viewing of three films, Nile Saulter’sFever Dream“, the premiere of Joshua Paul’s short film “Kinto“, and the feature presentation by Storm Saulter’sBetter Mus’ Come“. At 9PM the lights dimmed to usher in the first short film, “Fever Dream“. The 12 minute film shared the endeavours of a Scrap Metal Collector whom though…

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#DryLandTouristChronicles: Travelling the Caribbean on a Budget

Ever scroll through Instagram and see some breath-taking shots of The Pitons in St. Lucia or Store Bay in Tobago & thought when am I going to be able to experience that?

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Well here are five ways to help you travel the Caribbean on a budget!

Continue reading “#DryLandTouristChronicles: Travelling the Caribbean on a Budget”

#DryLandTouristChronicles: Duppy Church & Colbeck Castle

The past is our definition. We may strive, with good reason, to escape it, or to escape what is bad in it, but we will escape it only by adding something better to it. -Wendell Berry

Jamaica has so many hidden gems in plain sight. Some of the most mundane looking buildings have some of the most fascinating stories to tell. Recently, I had the opportunity to explore two hidden gems in plain sight, the infamous Duppy Church in Mile Gully, Manchester & Colbeck Castle outside Old Harbour, St. Catherine.

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Continue reading “#DryLandTouristChronicles: Duppy Church & Colbeck Castle”

#DryLandTouristChronicles: Sunday Chill at Hope Botanical Gardens, St. Andrew

I grew up hearing people say the best things in life are free or close to free…LOL… & the older I have become is the more I believe this to be true. Visiting the Hope Botanical Gardens also known as the Royal Botanical Gardens is something I have been doing for years and as one of Jamaica’s oldest attractions I am happy to see the maintenance of this gem which is actually a Jamaica National Heritage Trust site. The Garden is currently ran by the Nature Preservation Foundation.

A Little History Lesson…

The Royal Botanical Gardens, commonly called “Hope Gardens”, occupies 200 acres of land in the Ligunaea Plains of urban St Andrew. The gardens were established in 1873 on a section of land from the estate of Major Richard Hope, one of the original English colonisers who arrived with the invading force of Penn and Venables. Today the gardens are the largest public green space in the Kingston metropolitan region, and are home to Jamaica’s most popular collection of endemic and exotic botanical collections. Of particular interest is the Cassia siamea grove by the main entrance, which was planted in 1907, and the other mini-gardens within the park – notably the cacti garden, with its rare varietals; the bougainvillea walk with its magnificent explosions of tropical colours; the annual gardens, with numerous species of exotic flowers; the sunken gardens and the lily pond.

Source: https://www.visitjamaica.com/listing/hope-botanical-gardens/432/

Continue reading “#DryLandTouristChronicles: Sunday Chill at Hope Botanical Gardens, St. Andrew”