We both needed it. Life gets stressful. So off to Parottee, St. Elizabeth we went.
Evidence of recent rains was a welcome sight as we headed west along the south coast. Clarendon which was parched just a few weeks ago showed signs of new life in the now green bush and the barely there trickle in the river. We made our way through Porus and climbed the hill into cool, evergreen Mandeville. A quick stop for ice at the top of Spur Tree ensured that we would be in business when we arrived at our final destination. Driving through Jamaica is one of the pleasures we still enjoy.
Three and a half hours after starting out (yes..we drive slowly) we were there: Parottee. Parottee is a small fishing village just beyond Black River. It has a West End, Negril vibe: chill, organic and very laid back. It’s laid out along a straight road running along the coast. The beach is not white sand though…it brownish, silty stuff that renders the sea itself kind of cloudy, and it does take some getting used to.
Road Trip Jamaica details: Overnight Stop at Idler’s Rest
H had made arrangements for us to overnight at one of several guest houses that exist in Parotee: Idler’s Rest. Reviews on Trip Advisor warned us, but we go where angels fear to tread! “Strength…no weakness!”
Well…first warning: the parking lot was empty save for a lone pickup with a man and someone who was obviously his apprentice. H called it: “Lord…that looks like the plumber!” I remarked that we already have plenty of practice with buckets, so let’s rock and roll. As it turned out, it was the plumber. And yes, we had water issues. But I digress…
The hotel was obviously planned and decorated by an artist…the little touches and accent pieces are evidence enough. But it has an abandoned feel to it. I swear that we were the only ones there.
|Basic room…very basic…|
When a Jamaica Road Trip Involves a Boat Ride!
H had arranged a little adventure for us. YASSS! A fishing boat, arranged through the hotel, pulled right up on the shore. A well dressed, pleasant Huggie helped us into the pretty little fishing boat, equipped with a 60HP engine (a single outboard engine…yikes!) and off we went. We were headed for the famous Floyd’s Pelican Bar…a rugged construction in the middle of the ocean where one can go to drink, eat and soak up a very special vibe.
|Huggie and his vessel. See the colour of the sand?|
Along the way….
We moved along parallel to the coast before turning right to get to our final destination which was a mile offshore.
|Captain Huggie at the controls!|
|Abandoned hotel in Parotee being claimed by the sea.|
Approaching final destination 20 minutes later…
Final destination: Pelican Bar!
Lobster stew…cabbage was plentiful in St. Elizabeth and so they used it! He confirmed that he was going to add coconut milk to the final product…I had to ask…
|The Jacks were running, so that’s what was served….along with the freshest bammies ever.|
|Idlers at rest|
|Beautiful face of Parottee…|
|Young Serbian come to Jamaica as a fitness instructor. He carried his chicken & rice n peas to Pelican 🙂|
|No question as to where we were…|
The rain came down and we all huddled under the thatched portions, warmed by the typical Jamaican libations on offer.
|H and Floyd. This is all Floyd’s vision.|
|After the rain…|
Jamaica Road Trip: Scenes from Parottee…
|Someone’s thinking green in Parottee….|
|Signs of neglect and decay and dead dreams…|
|Wetlands in Parottee|
|Wetlands in Paraottee…|
Parottee could easily be another Treasure Beach…there’s enough to go around. Of course massive investments would be needed in order to move from neglect to prosperity. And for investments to flow, a master developmental plan is needed: think music festivals, community tourism, literary festivals, sporting events, regattas, and so on. Treasure Beach is a short drive away and there’s enough to see in the parish of St. Elizabeth to keep visitors engaged and interested: Black River tours, Lovers Leap, day excursions to Negril, immersion in the life of the locals on the fishing beach. The plan would have to include training, beautifying the community and ensuring security. All very doable. All urgently needed.
The poverty in Parottee is real and palpable. You can see the shifts in relative wealth as you transition from Black River (bustling town with shops, markets, etc.) to Parottee (struggling fishing village..small, mean residences, abandoned hotels, bush…) to Treasure Beach (quaint, rustic, organised artists haven)
We’ll be back… promise….