Unraveling Jamaica

Travel Jamaica –healing to the soul.

All too often we get stuck in a rut and get caught up in mad crazy schedules going from place to place in a rush, on our cell phones, doing the groceries, picking up kids and time flies by and most of us feel tired all the time. This year why not decide on an adventurous trip to an island? Take yourself away to calm your soul and stop to read a book or actually pay attention to what your family around you is saying. Take time to immerse yourself  in another culture  try something new and believe me you will come back feeling well , relaxed and ready to take on the world again and also appreciate the privileges you have in your  own life.

Jamaica  is  an island lost in time
Jamaica is an island still stuck in time.  From the moment you arrive at Sangster International airport ,it is a thrill to know that true island spirit actually exists. Thick Jamaican accents greet you, punctuated with ya mon’s. Women are called “lady” and respected by men however  if you have a large posterior you will get a second look in Jamaica!
If you have filled out your disembarkation form correctly you will have an easy time getting through immigration. Airport employees are polite. The moment you head out, you see a million tourist drivers, tour companies, a luxurious Sandals lounge and tour desks of every kind. Jamaica still exists on tourism as a major income. The humidity hits you right away . A Slight smell of mold, ocean, mixed with Jamaican patties are the smells of Jamaica that i can recall – a true island smell.
The drive to my hotel was 90 minutes from Montego Bay, limestone cliffs and azure blue waters were my views all the way through, I  was already relaxing. I saw palm trees blowing in the wind and small houses that dotted the mountains. I saw no high rise buildings or people with business suits. Time has stood still here. I saw vendors selling orchids by the roadside or pineapples. People look poor but happy, everyone has a smile.
The sounds of Jamaica to me will always be the waves crashing in the shore and the steel drums.I heard a strange language spoken by natives which was patois ( pronounced patwa) which sounded musical and melodious.
Gorgeous  I could not help saying when i saw the beaches. Soft white sands, hardly any rocks and beautiful coral reefs. Waters were always warm, calm and turquoise blue. The colors  before a storm is just Gods own palette that no artist could ever create.

 

The food is equally outstanding, with a rich history of British and Spanish occupation and Indian and Chinese settlers, there is a melting pot of flavor and spice. Fresh fried fish is always around. The national dish is Ackee and saltfish, Akee is a fruit that is very similar to a lychee. Everyone knows jerk – a term used for a blend of  BBQ spices with generous flavorings of scotch bonnet peppers which can send you to heaven or hell in one bite.

Jamaican patties are the relatives of the empanada and have a variety of chicken , beef and pork fillings wrapped in crusty pastry. The dominant spice flavorings are All spice and Thyme. There are  also fried dumplings, rice and beans, curry goat, and breadfruit. Fresh Papaya, Mango, Banana, Pineapple are readily available. Longing for fresh coconut water? Someone is always willing to climb a tree and cut down one for you. Bathed in sunshine, this island and it’s people bring you peace. There is always a quiet spot to find away from the crowds that will give you the essence of what Jamaica truly is.
What should you bring back? Appleton Rum is always a nice gift, made on the island it is a flavorful

rum that goes well in any Caribbean cocktail. Tortuga Rum cake, Rum cream and a good selection of jerk sauces or spices. Strong blue mountain coffee is another favorite and of course maybe a Bob Marley t-shirt or traditional painting. Contrary to popular belief, Ganja or Marijuana is illegal in Jamaica, but widely used, and never put it in your luggage.,
A mere 4 hours will get you to Jamaica from New York, most major airlines have multiple flights a day.  From France a week stay in Jamaica in August it will cost you $ 1800 ( and up)  for airfare and all food at an all inclusive hotels – well worth it to rejuvenate your soul.

Must visit towns are Ocho Rios and Negril to enjoy beautiful beaches, but rent a car and explore on your own to discover true beauty and spirit. Many adventures await you, from snorkeling, caves, waterfalls, lagoons and mountains. What more to make you feel calm and well and rested.

SAM_0929 SAM_1108 Jerk Chicken SAM_0946 IMG_0364 IMG_0312 IMG_0234 IMG_0232Is This Bob Marley?

Travel tips for a successful and budget friendly vacation or flight.

Getting a great travel deal for airtickets or vacations takes a bit of time and effort. A trip of a lifetime is best planned well so there will be  few surprises on the way. First, pick an affordable destination that you can be sure you will have an adventure and also  learn a new culture. 6-9 months prior your departure date go on popular websites to check airfares and vacation package prices. For vacation packages all inclusive of air and hotel i have had great luck with

http://www.jetblue.com/vacations/

http://www.deltavacations.com/

travelocity.com

kayak.com

Air and hotel purchased together usually is the most cost-effective way of getting a good price.

Check also every major airlines website for specials and sales.Enter a non important email on websites for alerts and specials. Go on hipmunk.com or the Google travel site

https://www.google.com/flights/?hl=en#search;q=travel

here you can view the map to see how fares can change from day to day.

Once you have an idea of the destination and a few favorite websites start looking at prices daily and if your dates are flexible try different coordinates , you will get an idea how the price of the same vacation or flight can change from day to day depending on which date and month and time you go. There is no science behind it and no airline has claimed why this is, but typically prices are best to buy a vacation or flight on a Tuesday or Wednesday night. Be ready to make a quick purchase when the price drops. If you see the price not moving then make a decision and purchase midweek.

Cheaper tickets may have longer layovers or late night times and if you can put up with this with this you can get a great deal.

groupon.com  has great air and hotel all-inclusive deals to destinations around the world.

Hotels

I find the best authority on traveller information to be on http://www.tripadvisor.com/

I never make a hotel decision without checking pictures and reviews on the site.I can also ask destination experts for information as well on go on the forums for a wealth of information.

Don’t forget for a local trip last-minute deals can be found on http://www.priceline.com/

where you can even bid low on hotels you want.

some other notable sites are

hotwire.com

expedia.com

bookit.com

cheapcarribean.com

cheapfares.com

For airline reviews, seat configurations, airplane seat maps (to pick your seats ) safety standards the  following sites are very helpful. Study them well and read all the reviews to make an educated decision.

skytrax.com

seatguru.com

airlinequality.com

make a list or spreadsheet of all your additional expenses to figure out your budget.Basic expenses should be, but not limited to.

Airfare,hotel, rental car, airport transfer transport,money for carts at vending machines, airport food, meals on vacation, tips,parking at the airport if you are driving to the airport, taxi fares at destination, gifts, shopping and souvenirs, Airport tax if not included in the ticket. Extra tours.

Leave me a question or comment and enjoy your flight!

Children Quote

CHILDREN LEARN WHAT THEY LIVE

Dorothy Law Nolte

If a child lives with criticism,
he learns to condemn.

If a child lives with hostility,
he learns to fight.

If a child lives with fear,
he learns to be apprehensive.

If a child lives with pity,
he learns to feel sorry for himself.

If a child lives with ridicule,
he learns to be shy.

If a child lives with jealousy,
he learns what envy is.

If a child lives with shame,
he learns to feel guilty.

If a child lives with encouragement,
he learns to be confident.

If a child lives with tolerance,
he learns to be patient.

If a child lives with praise,
he learns to be appreciative.

If a child lives with acceptance,
he learns to love.

If a child lives with approval,
he learns to like himself.

If a child lives with recognition,
he learns that it is good to have a goal.

If a child lives with sharing,
he learns about generosity.

If a child lives with honesty and fairness,
he learns what truth and justice are.

If a child lives with security,
he learns to have faith in himself and in those about him.

If a child lives with friendliness,
he learns that the world is a nice place in which to live.

If you live with serenity,
your child will live with peace of mind.

With what is your child living?

Religion – Proof of Heaven

Religion – Proof of Heaven , book by Dr. Eben Alexander MD.

Proof of heaven by Dr. Eben Alexander MDThis book has a very unique perspective about near death experience or NDE. Dr. Alexander had a near death experience when he was diagnosed and was in a coma from a rare form of bacterial meningitis
From his view as a neurosurgeon, he is able to understand what happened to him and later study his own brain scans during the time of his NDE.
People have always been curious about NDE , life after death and always wonder if heaven and hell exist.I was brought up to believe that it did.I wonder what it would be like to have a NDE will it be scary? or will it be happy or fearful depending on which way you are going!
Why does God choose some people to have a NDE and show them the glories of heaven? Are they more special than others and is it specially for a purpose to tell all men  on earth that indeed heaven and hell exist.
Most scientist will tell you that the brain is where a persons soul is, the heart is simply the engine that keeps pumping our lives.It is the brain that tells the heart to pump. The heart provides oxygen to the brain, and when that does not happen the brain will die. We think that during this time the NDE’s that people have is just the brains hard wiring or past experiences or feelings that people interpret as NDE.I toyed with this theory too, but after reading this book, the doctor explains that there was no brain activity in that part of the brain that is responsible for these sub conscious past thoughts so what was it then?
A NDE is a second chance at life for people who want to make things right.
So what do you believe in ? Read this book and your thoughts may very well change. It is well written and will  grab your attention from the get go.
check it out
http://www.lifebeyonddeath.net/

Mango Clafouti in 4 steps

Food for the body – Mango Clafouti in 4 steps

If you say it with a French accent, Clafouti sounds very exotic.However it is a simple elegant dessert that you can put together in 4 easy steps. Clafouti is a rustic dessert which is basically a rich batter poured over fruit and baked golden brown. Add some powdered sugar, a fancy plate and a sprig of mint and you look like a kitchen diva! You can use any fruit in season too.

Mango Clafouti

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla essence
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons rum ( or fruit brandy to match the fruit you are using)
  • 2 to 3 firm but ripe mangoes or 2 small tins Mango , with the syrup drained.Alternatively, use cherries, pears
  • Confectioners’ sugar
  • Fresh cream or vanilla ice cream to serve.

Step 1.Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a 10 by 3 by 1 1⁄2-inch round baking dish and sprinkle the bottom and sides with 1 tablespoon of the granulated sugar.
Step 2. Beat the eggs and the 1⁄3 cup of granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. On low speed, mix in the flour, cream, vanilla extract, lemon zest, salt, and whatever liquor you are using

Step 3. Slice fruit and arrange the fruit as nicely as you can  in a single layer,  in the baking dish. Pour the batter over the mango and bake until the top is golden brown and the custard is firm, 35 to 40 minutes. It will be quite brown but and it should not be jiggly in the middle.
Step 4. Serve warm or at room temperature, sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar, and Vanilla Ice cream  or fresh cream ( cream beaten with a little bit of sugar till it holds it’s shape – do not over beat or you will end up with butter , that is  not a bad thing but it  this case it wont help your Clafouti plating!)

Beer Prayer

This prayer always made me smile, the author is unknown.Enjoy!

*Beer Prayer*

Our lager,

Which art in barrels,

hallowed be thy drink.

I will be drunk at home as i am in the tavern.

Give us this day our daily brew

And forgive us our spillages, as we forgive those who spill against us.

And lead us not into incarceration,

but deliver us from hangovers.

For thine is the beer , the bitter and the lager, forever and ever

Barmen.

Easy mini Quiche in 4 steps

Quiche – Tomato Basil

Ingredients

1 package of ready rolled pie crust dough ( I use Pillsbury or Mrs. Smith )

6 tablespoons heavy cream

8 Oz shredded Gruyere or Swiss cheese

1 small package cherry tomatoes sliced

1 cup shredded fresh basil

2 eggs

1. Cut pie dough into 12 slices, shape into well buttered muffin pans

2. Mix heavy cream,cheese, sliced tomatoes, Basil and eggs well.

3. Fill into pastry filled muffin tins and bake at 350 degrees till golden brown and puffy.(do not let pastry get burned)

4. Cool and remove from pan. Serves 4