Sunday, 16 April 2017 13:51

Jamaica – Rupert Tulloch

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Hey mon!! Our first cruise, with Carnival on their newest ship, the Vista.  We hadn’t booked any excursions through Carnival; we didn’t want to be too busy, wanting to take it as it came to us.  This turned out to be a good decision.

When we ported in Jamaica, we knew we wanted to get off and see at least some of the island. The island looked so beautiful with hillsides full of trees.  We have been around enough to know how it is in any tourist town if you venture out of the secure area.  With that said, we disembarked and walked toward the customs building.  When we emerged on the other side, there were many stands selling souvenirs, several large vans or buses for tourists who had booked excursions and what seem like dozens of tourists along with several security personnel.  It was quite hectic.

We walked through the area and headed toward a small beach. We just wanted to spend an hour or two checking things out, and then get back on the boat. The beach had a gate and an attendant who explained we had to pay for admittance.  We hadn’t brought swim suits with us, so we just turned around and found a spot along a stone wall to sit and take it all in.  Soon afterward, an older, distinguished gentleman approached us.  His name is Rupert Tulloch and he said, “I saw you come to the beach and turn around; may I intervene?”  His manner, how he held himself and how he spoke gave us the distinct feeling of being safe and cared for.  He asked if we would like to see the country side.  Kristine and I looked at each other and accepted, and are very grateful that we did.  Rupert had several vehicles at his disposal and several drivers; you see this was his own tourist business. 

We have to point out; Rupert and the driver were very cognizant of the street venders vying for our attention. Rupert expertly escorted us to one of his vehicles and his driver, a distant cousin of his whom felt like one of my own cousins, did the same. They both sheltered us and made us feel extremely safe at all times. As he drove us out of town, almost immediately we found ourselves in the Fern Gully Jungle.  The temperature in the sun was warm, but suddenly the air felt cool.  He explained that the road used to be a river, but earthquake decades ago (1907) shifted the river, and the river bed was reclaimed and paved to create a road.  Up and up we went, encased in a beautiful green and lush jungle with so many different ferns, moss and bamboo, it was absolutely spectacular. 

At the top we met a man known as the “Spice Doctor.” He showed us several plants, fruits and nuts. Spice Doctor let us hold and touch their leaves to feel their texture and smell their fragrances.  The information he shared boggled our minds; no need for a pharmacy in the jungle as every plant has either a medicinal, spice and or cosmetic purpose.  On the way down the hill, we stopped by a fine establishment and sampled some natural spirits, very natural 110% proof made from pure sugar cane.  The driver and the lady behind the bar cracked me up as I lifted a small glass with a small amount of liquid to my lips by saying in unison, “no, no, no, no, no, no! – You have to mix it with something!”  I had to taste the liquid in its raw form and it was, shall we say – eye opening, in a good way!  Being a whiskey man, I handled it well, but did mix it with some Pepsi and was feeling just fine and very relaxed for several hours.

We were then taken down out of the jungle as the tour continued and we were given a history lesson on the region.  We ended up at Oceans On The Ridge where we stopped for some famous Jamaican jerked chicken, and beef patties.  Before heading back to port we made one more stop to see the pristine natural mineral waters that flowed through the canals.  We were asked to put our feet and hands in and allow them to heal us, as these springs are known to do so.  

Kristine and I had the most enjoyable/memorable time. We could have gone further and toured more of the island, but will save that for the next time, because we definitely do want to return to this beautiful island.  We recommend it to everyone and we do recommend utilizing Rupert Tulloch.  His number is (876) 331-0886 and his address is Ocho Rios, St. Ann, Jamaica, W.I.

Blessings!

Ernie and Kristine Jackson

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