Brief notes re: Jamaica, Kiwanis, CKI and more!

In case you haven't noticed, I was in Jamaica for about a week. And as usual I don't really feel like writing an epic blog post chronicling my travels (I don't usually). However, I thought I'd post a few musings.

– I rather like flights with seatback tvs. While flights with in-flight movies that you cannot choose yourself are good (better than flights with no in flight entertainment), the option to choose when to sleep and what to watch is pretty darn useful.
– The weather in Jamaica is rather uniform. Perhaps this is because we were there during a drought of sorts, but it was still rather predictable in this sense.
– The food in Jamaica is mouth-wateringly good. I was so impressed! Callaloo, ackee, saltfish, bammy, breadfruit, dumpling, squash, scotch bonnet peppers, escoveitch fish, Jamaican patties, curried goat, the list goes on and on! And certainly, the soft drinks are really good too: Ting, Ginger Beer, and Malta!
– I wouldn't want to drive (even if I drove) in Jamaica. And this isn't just the fact that they drive on the left side of the road either. There simply aren't the same noise bylaws, shoulders on the roads, sidewalks and whatnot that we might expect in Canada. And no, generally seatbelts aren't worn in taxis, most being rather non-functional.
– The beaches in Montego Bay have some of the softest cleanest sand I have ever experienced on a beach. I was very impressed.
– Pools should use small tiles: large tiles (ie. over a foot square) are condusive to slippery-ness. I did fall and my scrapes/cut are still healing. Nothing serious of course though!
– Easter Monday is very much observed in Jamaica.
– It feels really good to not limit myself to tourist traps — interacting with local Kiwanians really made this trip awesome!
– The need for service (to children and otherwise) in Jamaica is everpresent. Our trip to the West Haven Children's Home, the Easter Egg Hunt in Sandy Beach, and the Day Care in Sandy Beach were all examples of the need for service in Mo-Bay.
– Tourism is the major industry in Jamaica, followed by Boxite and Sugar Cane. Sugar Cane trucks remind me of logging trucks that we see in Canada. It is so bizarre realizing just how many people are involved in the tourism industry in Jamaica!
– Jamaica has seen a LOT of growth (in many different areas) in the past several decades, and continues to grow and change.
– Many places do not realize just how much more the Canadian dollar is worth as of late when compared to the American dollar. It is also interesting to note that when paying in Jamaican dollars, sometimes one receives a MUCH better deal (sometimes not though…).
– I definitely still don't do well with trying to have a vacation: I like to stay far too busy for my own good.
– It is really interesting and unexpected when my netbook decides that it doesn't want to connect or stay connected to the internet.
– We got almost more Canadian TV stations in our hotel than we do in Canada — this was strange! It made watching the Royal Wedding really easy though.
– Kiwanis service projects and fundraising projects really do rally the community. In addition, Kiwanis club members who are active tend to be VERY active when compared to the same in many other areas of Kiwanis. I was very impressed. Meetings can truly vary — sure titles may matter more as may do agendas, but FUN is DEFINITELY had.
– CKIers certainly can and do a LOT.
– It seems odd to me to be in a place where the best public transit is the taxi (which can be cheap for locals), and even more odd for gas prices to be as much as 4 times what they are in Canada (and you thought Canadian gas prices were high!).
– Anyway I had an ABSOLUTELY excellent trip, spent less money than I had budgeted (so I probably CAN afford to buy a good new bicycle this month?), and met some absolutely wonderful people. Perhaps this will teach me to research meeting up with local Kiwanians when I travel more often (though something tells me I may not always have the time to do this, as much as I will try), but a service trip like this one was the perfect mix of travel, vacation, service work, fellowship, leadership, and food. I hope to have many more of the same!

Now to get back to catching up on email and all the many things neglected while I was on this trip.