Following Hurricane Matthew - Winter 2017 travel blog

sugar cane vendor

produce market

cane ready for crushing



old Falmouth


well maintained home

restored mansion

us looming over the town

Falmouth used to be the most important port in Jamaica. It was part of the infamous rum triangle - slaves to Jamaica, sugar to Boston, rum to London, British ships back to Africa. The wealth this port generated resulted in magnificent homes built by the slave owners. But after the British crown freed the slaves and the price of sugar fell in the late 1800's, Falmouth and its magnificent houses fell into disrepair and ruin. When we used to come to this area on cruise ships, we would dock in Montego Bay. An enduring memory is how hard it was to walk down the street there without someone trying to sell us drugs.

Then the supersized cruise ships came on the horizon and Mo Bay was much too small to accommodate them. Falmouth got a major overhaul and redevelopment. When we first came here in 2009, it became the place to start for tours climbing up Dunns River Falls and rafting down the Martha Brae River, things we had done from Mo Bay. Much of the dilapidation in Falmouth was knocked down and a sanitized version of Jamaica created. No one tried to sell us drugs here. It was a pleasant place to be, but the grungy charm of Jamaica was sadly lacking. That first visit there wasn't much here, here, and the only thing that made it very interesting was the fact that Price Harry visited the port the same day we did. People went bananas over the red haired royal and put on a colorful show overflowing with enthusiasm.

Now we are back and the $$$ that has been flowing into the area thanks to the huge cruise ships has generated a lot more here here. Since we didn't need to return to Dunns River Falls and the Martha Brae River, we were delighted to discover a local food tour. If you think the last thing two fat cruisers need is more food, you would be absolutely correct, but food is culture. Our small group consisted of some cruisers and tourists staying in hotels here. The local guide was well informed and well connected to the local populace. She took us to spots we would have never ventured on our own and nearly everything we ate was locally sourced. We started with tropical fruits and sucked and gnawed the sweet juice out of the sugar cane. We drank coconut water which is used as a basic cooking ingredient for every soup, stew and dessert. For me the highlight was a Jamaican meat patty which could have its origins from many of the migrant groups that have made Jamaica their home. It was a cross between a Cornish pasty and an empanadas, but not fried. It was served on a huge junky of bread, also sweetened by coconut juice. And of course, coconut was a major ingredient in the dessert stop as well. Although many of the buildings in town could use a coat of paint and/or a major overhaul a few Edwardian buildings have been rebuilt and restored to some semblance of their former elegance.

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