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High Profile Publicist Travelling Cool Places Doing Interesting Things

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Jamaica - We tour a traditional ganja farm, walk on volcanic rock, and see the sea


This was only a couple of hours - but it deserves its own blog post!  

It was on, I think, the fourth day of our trip to Jamaica and it had been arranged for us to have the opportunity to tour a traditional, outdoor, working ganja farm.  We heard these were master growers, their product famed across Jamaica because of the unique combination of the air, nutrients in the local soil and other things people more familiar with growing would remember better than I do.

Anyway these traditional ganja growers, we understood, were in talks to bring their product into the legal pipeline allowing legit work and money making opportunities for locals instead of just for international cannabis corporations.

The ride up there was kind of a story in itself.  We (me, my husband and nearly 16 year old son who we brought along to the tour though he was completely uninterested because we weren’t about to leave him alone in the hotel and start gallivanting an hour away somewhere in the mountains of Jamaica.  As nice as the people at the hotel were - and they really did treat us like family - I was way more comfortable with us all sticking together in Jamaica.  It’s not like we could just get an Uber back or something if we needed to!

And we knew we were with reliable, trustworthy, professional people.  So we prepared for a family outing to the ganja field as our son asked to stay behind at the hotel unlike 90 percent of teenagers lol.

So there were two vehicles to take the group of us to the farm.  There were the three growers, my husband, my son and me; and the other three members of our party that had travelled from Canada with us.

They piled our family into a regular car - I was both relieved and disappointed - it was the safer but less adventurous option. They piled the others into a little dune buggy kinda cart car thing that looked pretty precarious and off we went on our Jamaican ganja farm adventure!

We didn’t drive very far.  Maybe 20 mins winding roads.  Our driver this time was not Lion but one of the guys who worked with the plants.  He had spent time in Toronto a few decades ago he told us.  I think he said he had gone to school at York.  We spoke of how things were changing as cannabis became legal in more and more international jurisdictions.  He seemed nostalgic for past days of big money and smuggling cannabis in other places in another life - I guess profits aren’t as big these days.  Hopefully the farm workers benefit as they get into the legal pipelines.  There aren’t a lot of ways to make real money there it would seem judging by the lack of real infrastructure and opportunity..

Suddenly we were there.

We got two pics of the brothers / master growers in the field…

We exited the car and - ohhhh boy was it hot.  No shade to stand under anywhere - but ohhhhhhh
man what a sight.  Fields of fragrant cannabis all around.  The farmers let us wander around among the plants at will, smelling buds and looking at the differences.  I think they said they were growing three strains.

We asked if it was ok to take pictures and they said it was.

                                       And of course we got a whole lot of pics of us in the fields!

And Dave took some video in the fields.

Check that video out HERE and more video HERE and HERE .

We were there for about half hour.

Our teenage son totally as unimpressed and uninterested as if it was a field of lettuce, was just complaining about the heat for the whole time. Couldn’t really blame him. - it was hella hot!  So hot that as cool as the experience was I was pretty grateful when it was time to get back into the car.

We drove for a few minutes and then we stopped by the Sea which was really neat.  A young girl an older lady and a baby who seemed to know the people you were with came out to chat with us for a while under this covered pagoda thing...

                            ...and then Dave Cassidy and I followed our hosts closer to the water.


walking beside in on these giant rocks my husband Dave suddenly noticed the consistency of the rocks something we have never seen in real life all full of holes look like the moon and Dave suddenly said hey wait a minute it is is volcanic w closer to the water walking beside in on these giant rocks my husband Dave suddenly noticed the consistency of the rocks something we have never seen in real life all full of holes look like the moon Dave suddenly said “hey wait a minute it is is volcanic rock????”

 Check it out :

                                       Volcanic rock in Jamaica

Our hosts agree that it is volcano rock - however they say that it came from somewhere else. They
 don’t seem to think that Jamaica itself ever had a volcano... but  Dave disagrees and later we look on YouTube and see some crazy video of somebody in Jamaica discovering some kind of active volcanic rock crazy but all we see is something that looks like volcanic rock and that’s pretty interesting we take a whole bunch of pics...

Jamaica, volcanic rock by the sea... 

Dave got some great video of the rocks and the water :

Click HERE and HERE to view. 

Sunday, July 21, 2019

A Rasta Elder Names Me "MamaFire" In The Mountains Of Jamaica

  I told the story on Facebook right after it happened.   I'm not going to rewrite it.  I'm just going to leave this here just the way I told it there.


I just had an hour long conversation with this #rastaman named Leo - the brother of our host who owns the local #jamaican #resort where we are staying and a respected elder in the community

He said he is giving me a new name “Mama Fire” because I am “stronger than a thousand tourists, strong heart, don’t need nobody, kind, but fire if someone does wrong....” and a whole lot of other things I can’t remember.

Then when Dave came over after talking to us very seriously for awhile about how amazed we are that we are even here, that someone else paid for the trip and we can’t believe we even have this opportunity he said something about the next time we come and I said “oh I hope I will be able to”

...and he said “Don’t hope, believe it will happen. There is a reason you are here and when I look at you both I see this - listen to me - I see this in you. This is your time.”

Like I said before, when a Rasta elder hands you the gift of ganja.... you enjoy!

When I posted about that on Facebook - the consensus was that it was a perfect name for me.

My friends back in North America call me that to this day...

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Ting, Mineral Scrub Body Massage, Ganja, and Tropical Rain - Days At The Blue Hole Mineral Springs, Jamaica

Relax your days away at Blue Hole Mineral Springs Hotel, Brighton, Jamaica! 

The traditional wake and bake - in paradise....on that beautiful balcony overlooking the Jamaican mountains and jungle had me sayin'  JAH BLESS ..... smile!


Even though its pretty rare for me to eat anything that early (we were up with the rooster again !) We all had an appetite from all that fresh mountain air - and the fresh mountain ganja everyone kept passing our way.we came down for our second breakfast in Jamaica...

                             ...and you know I told social media all about it!

This time they served us ackee  - something I had never tried before but liked so much that I had two helpings of it...wish I knew where to get it in Hamilton, I'd go there all the time for real... YUM!

Later in the day I learned more about ackee (and of course shared the lesson on my socials)

But back to that breakfast.... 

Oatmeal, fresh farm eggs, toast, plantains, papaya, pineapple, bananas and watermelon with coffee and orange juice.  My son who is hard pressed to try anything new stuck with eggs and toast and a little fruit but the rest of us LOVED all of this!  Also I am not sure why, but I swear that porridge is the best you have ever tasted!  These ladies in the kitchen are amazing! 
Momma Wabba, the mother of the owner who built this amazing hotel with his sons and no previous building experience, wearing a gift from previous Canadian visitors who came from Newfoundland looking on as a I take a turn holding her precious grandbaby in the dining area after breakfast.

After breakfast.  I remembered to grab a copy of our local hometown newspaper, Hamilton Mountain News from my suitcase to give to my son to pose with.  The editor frequently prints pics of community members reading the paper in exotic locales, so we thought we would send this to him!

One of the members of our party wasn't feeling well - he had started sniffling and was all stuffed up and miserable.  None of the local stores would stock anything for a cold, we would have to go half hour away with the driver to get to Negril for a pharmacy of any kind.  While his wife was worrying about this out loud, one of the young men there, a local, a family member of the owner, looked at al of us like we were crazy, went out back and came back five seconds later with this.

He didn't know the name of it, and neither did the next three or four people we asked about it. They all knew about it, though  - it was common knowledge and I got the impression they thought we were a little crazy stupid for not knowing what it was...

We finally found out it was called Guinea Hen Weed - they crack open this root and a PUNGENT garlicky smell comes out and you just know before they tell you that if you inhale that, its gonna clear out everything!  We researched later and found it that it's an incredible healing plant, good to aid all kinds of ailments. It's truly incredible what we don't know, we think we're so smart... 

   Then, we spent most of the day - the most relaxing one I can remember in probably my entire adult life - just chilling out, with very little access to wifi unless we wanted to stand near the kitchen, so we put the cares of the world down, turned our cell phones into cameras only,  and went exploring !

They told us to check out the rooftop - there is a bar set up there, but while we were there our group were the only guests at the hotel for this special expedition (its a 10 or 11 room hotel or something, and our group had reserved six rooms so it was pretty much for us and the locals who came by for the time that we were there, except for the one night when a Canadian couple who told us they wintered in Brighton and had their own place there came to stay for the night, because there was a loud celebratory party in the community they had planned to stay at the Blue Hole "while the kids have their party."  They were a nice couple that were super engaged with the local community, talking about the new principal at the nearby school etc.  They made us start dreaming about our own little future cabin in the mountains of Jamaica....

The rooftop bar area.  

Husband Dave also took a little  video showing the scene from the rooftop bar area.

This is in the morning, but my husband Dave and I spent many many late nights / early morning here talking and also chatting to the security guard  nicknamed"Spider" who became our friend and who was saving money to buy a tent so that he could go up and guard the spices he wanted to grow in the mountains as a way to achieve financial independence. 

Late night life lessons shared on socials... 

Late night conversations with security guard, "Spider"

And of course, keeping everyone updated on my social media! 

 But Spider works all night keeping an eye on things at Blue Hole, so he's not around in the early morning after breakfast time.

  For now its just me and husband Dave checking out the view of the Jamaican mountains and the surroundings from the third floor rooftop.

  Blue Hole it seems, is also known for its fine ganja growing - but that doesn't happen here near the hotel.  That's off in the fields somewhere else, and on another day, they say, they will take us there.  

For now we take a look at the few plants they have sitting here on the roof apart from the others for some reason, looking pretty dry and thirsty and forgotten.  It's HOT up here.  When I asked Spider the night before, he'd said he's not quite sure why these few are up here, maybe for tourists to see?

Spider shows up around mid-day - and he brought presents.  Having heard from us the day before that we had never actually tried coconut water, he brought a coconut in one hand and a machete in the other and CHOP! opened up the coconut, threw in a straw and then gave one to each of us for drinking.  Here's a pic of my husband Dave enjoying his. 

And of course I told the story on my social media! 

He also brought us real sugar cane to try - something else that was new to us! 

Selfie of me and Spider

I read about it online before I left Canada, so of course I had to experience it even though I'm not really a spa type girl!  They use a scrub they scrape from the wall of the 35 foot deep mineral springs.

It felt kinda awkward but the mud from the springs felt really cool.  You keep it on for a half hour or so then they help you wash it all off in the outdoor shower near the pool. 

My son and husband try out the ping pong table in the open air dining room

Then, my fifteen year old got a little more of a work out - and a lesson in confidence - from a local teenager who took the time out to come and show Cassidy how to left the barbell when he overheard him say that he thought he was "too weak" and "not physically capable" of doing it.  So nice of him!

I go for a little wander around the grounds and looking down from the window in the outdoor dining area, I notice this massive tree with tons of bananas just hanging off it.. I don't know how you get up there to get to any of them though! 

As I said on Facebook : "A gecko and a red stripe beer bottle cap - this must be Jamaica..." 

Making friends with Rosie

I'm wandering around by myself taking cool pics around the resort

And while I was taking these pics, I suddenly felt a little rain...

And so I posted this! 
"My friend Tracey P said she hoped I could experience a little #tropical #rain while here and we did have a few warm drops as a tiny shower momentarily passed by the #retreat here in #littlebay #brighton #jamaica near #negril"

At the Blue Hole : A rastaman elder just came up to us, gave us this and thanked us for coming to this local retreat hotel owned by a local rasta family - He said he is glad that we are here and grateful to us for working to “uplift our community."

Later in the day, I am offered an opportunity to try a "Steam Chalice," - basically the original vape.

I walk toward the pool area, to see my husband in the swimming pool.
I sit down for a bit, and have one of the three free drinks we each got every day as part of our free trip...In the sun, in the poolside area where the wifi sometimes worked, I wrote this : 

"Sitting here enjoying Jamaica sun and people ... in paradise for five more days ... and now sitting with reggae in the background - I don’t know the song but the singer is singing : “nothing lasts forever, count your blessings, enjoy the simple things, it’s the simple things...”


Husband Dave doesn't usually swim, but he was persuaded to take a dip in the natural spring water that fills the swimming pool at Blue Hole Mineral Springs.

He liked this too - it's not uncommon for a rasta man to walk by and decide you look like you need a joint and gift you with one while you're in the water.  It happened to me later the same day, too.
As I said on my Facebook that day : "Another way this Rasta owner retreat in a Jamaican community beats a gated tourist resort all to hell- while swimming in the natural mineral springs I look up and my friend Leo from my profile pic is waving at me. He walks poolside and says : “time for this?” hands me a giant perfectly rolled fragrant spliff while I am in the pool and walks away. You don’t get that at no stinking American owned resort lol" 

I got some video of Dave chilling and smoking in the pool. Check it out HERE.

Now I have been to a lot of fancy hotels, and I was pretty impressed by the poolside bar and personal service at the Omni Shoreham hotel in Washington DC, but THIS has got to be the BEST poolside service EVER.

By contrast, we were sitting and talking to some of the younger folks at the Blue Hole, and I told the story later on Facebook : 

"Young twenty something Rasta picks up my husband Dave’s cigarette pack and says to him, “I’ll make you a good deal on these.” We look confused and say huh? He repeats “I’ll make you a good deal on these.” Dave says “What do you mean?” And the young Rasta smiles and says “I’ll throw them down there?” and gestures like he is going to throw them down the hill (out of concern that Dave shouldn’t be smoking that poisonous shit!) ... cannabis yes - tobacco no. Agreed!"

Starting to feel like a local with Ting (local grapefruit flavored soda) and Lion Pride rolling papers 

We came down to the dining room to find the lovely ladies from the kitchen had done something extra special - the table was sprinkled with colorful flowers served alongside the water 

Sharing dinner with you on the socials! 

The balcony at night

One night at the Blue Hole, the owner made a little fire for us to hang out around.

And husband Dave and I did another Livestream to end the night.

Check Out Blue Hole Mineral Springs, Jamaica at :

The Other Side - Hollyweird and the Museum of Death (and Serial Killers) 6031 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, CA

        The Other Side - Hollyweird & The Museum of Death (and Serial Killers)                                                          ...