Jamaica, Part V. Three Dives.

Zubair and I ate jerk chicken at more than a few restaurants and street stands in Negril, but my favourite was at Three Dives (just past the Xtabi on West End Road).

We came for lunch one day after a swim (each morning began with a dip in the ocean – how lovely is that!) – and Zubair declared it the best meal of our trip. I much agree.

One order each of: 1/4 jerk chicken, rice & beans, and boiled vegetables (cabbage, carrots, and string beans). There were about one million different condiments on each table…all unlabeled. And they all looked quite spicy. So I put in a dash, a dip, a squiggle of everything. Not a bad idea at all!

The only thing that made me the slightest bit squeamish about this place were all the roaches crawling around. But focus on your plate, and you’ll be a-okay! ^_^

We couldn’t locate Diet Coke anywhere in Negril – Diet Pepsi seemed to be the popular choice (simply not the same ;)

Jamaica, Part IV. Sea Urchins.

We spotted a fisherman on the beach in the early morning. He had just come back and his canoe was filled with live conch and fish. “Sea urchins, do you have any sea urchins?” we asked.

Zubair and I had uni on the mind.
Sea urchins…to eat?” he responded. He looked skeptical, but said that if we gave him an hour, he could go back in the ocean and bring some back.
How many you need?
Oh, well, um, two, three?

He came back with TEN.

It was spectacular. The spines on the sea urchins were whirring around like crazy. I attempted to pick one up (very stupid) and the fisherman immediately yelled at me to stop. Apparently once the spines poke into your skin, they break off easily and you can’t pull it out of your skin without breaking. Oh, and there’s poison too. Good thing he stopped me!

One by one, he moved each sea urchin onto a piece of newspaper and chopped down their spines. It was an incredible process to watch.

He eventually made his way through all ten, and then placed them all into a plastic bag for us. Talk about fresh!

We only had a metal fork and knife borrowed from the hotel bar. And using those two tools, Zubair managed to pry open and cut through pretty cleanly.

There were five pieces of uni in each sea urchin. We picked them out and slurped them down, on the beach, under the sun. The only thing to make that moment more perfect was a hot bowl of white rice, heheheh ^_^

More shots…one…

…and two. I wanted to take better upclose photos, but it was hard as our fingers were covered in slime ;) We ate about six sea urchins (or, thirty pieces of uni), and then we could take no more. I never thought the day would come where I’d say “no” to more uni! We offered some to people on the beach, but they were rather skeptical and turns us down. What a shame, haha.

The following day when we went cliff diving, Zubair spotted a TON of sea urchins near the Xtabi.

See? Isn’t that insanely awesome?! I could have just stared at that all day – so beautiful ^_^

Jamaica, Part III. Sweet Spice, Ice Cream.

A coworker or mine that visits Negril frequently, recommended that we stop by Sweet Spice for a meal. So we did, for breakfast, one very early Saturday morning. The restaurant was quite busy and there were only three “plate” options available. Liver, chicken curry, and ackee and saltfish.

Each order was accompanied by a side of cassava and one big flat boiled dumpling.

Zubair and I shared an order of the ackee and saltfish with callaoo, plantains and two fried dumpling (just dough, nothing inside…tasted akin to a savoury doughnut ^-^)…

…and the curry chicken which also came with callaoo and fried dumplings.

Post-breakfast, we satiated our sweet craving at the only ice cream shop in downtown Negril.

Pictured above, one scoop of fresh coconut ice cream. Then off for a day of cliff diving and jet skiing! :)

Happy Halloween!

Jamaica, Part II. Shots From…

…the first bite.

We had a brief layover in Miami that turned out to be an extra-long layover with not one, two, three, or four…but five gate changes. It was past midnight by the time we arrived, and transportation options were limited. So we went with what was offered. Which was not necessarily the safest route, but really, the ONLY route, as it was a ninety minute drive from Montego Bay Airport to our hotel in Negril.

We were exhausted but hungry. And when I’m hungry, nothing matters but getting a bite to eat. Zubair and I were driven to the hotel by a man who managed to be all at once, friendly, extremely sketchy, nosy, and had plans to do other business with us on the side (!) The drive was unsettling, but I was so hungry, and asked that he stop off at this jerk chicken stand on the side of the street thirty minutes into the ride.

We each had an order of jerk chicken (quarter of a chicken each) – hot, heavily spiced and very satisfying, bones and all. Pardon, the photo is so blurry. I was scared we were going to be kidnapped (seriously!) or something horrible…could not focus on much else. I spent 50% of the trip really excited, and 50% really scared – there was no middle ground. This was meant to be a relaxing vacation, but I came back miles more exhausted than planned ^_^

Regardless, I was in wonderful company, so no regrets :)

We Are Back…

…from Jamaica ^_^ Our trip was very different from what I had anticipated, in a good way.

Aside from being stalked by a few locals, scammed left and right, and chased by dogs that tried to bite us, I assure you we had a terrific time! :)

What we did:
– caught (or rather, paid a local fisherman to catch) live sea urchins from the sea, and devoured the “meat” right on the beach…was awesome
– drove a motorcycle around Negril
– cliff diving…for Zubair, not me, heheh ^_^
– weaned myself off internet (and all technology for that matter!!)
– jet skied
– banana pancakes for breakfast every morning
– local food from Sweet Spice and Three Dives, and various jerk chicken vendors around the country
– relaxed!! We relaxed so much…

…but ahhh, it feels so wonderful, and so very right, to be back here in Manhattan :)

More Jamaica posts to come soon ^_^