redberry (red berry?) | 2.

Friday, May 22, 2015

As promised, more Redberry! The following is a guest post from my sister, whose wedding we were all in Jamaica to celebrate! Hope you enjoy!


Hi, Today, I'm Bobbi readers! Bobbi's sister Shelly here!

Welcome to Redberry, where there are no addresses and no real names. It's the perfect place to hide...

The first stop on our 2015 Jamaica Grand Tour is so stealth that it doesn't even go by its own real name.

Upon our arrival in Kingston, our Dad had to correct the immigration officials on the spelling of the district name that they had in the computer. Suffice to say, not that many people have been to this little corner of the woods. We can't ever seem to get a straight answer on the origins of the name Redberry (Red Berry?). Is it from the coffee plants, that literally grow red berries? Is it the famous red dirt? The mystery remains...

Grandpa had the place spruced up for our arrival and we immediately set out to say hi to old and new friends.

Luke here our grandfather's pet sheep with the soul of a labrador retriever. He bounds about the yard happy to explore his way around the culinary delights of the property but was happy to drop his busy schedule to see what we were up to. All the time. He made sure to check out all of our luggage as we unloaded the van and even gave the our chariot a few good shakes to make sure that nothing was left inside. His pal, the goat, wasn't as fun. He gave us a few sideways glances and quickly went back to trimming the grass.

Dad put on his tour guide hat and showed us all of the myriad plant species within 100 yards of the door. He pointed out something that was poisonous but as soon as he moved on, we were faced with a dense forest of potentially malicious plants that all just looked, well, green! The delicious ackees and mangoes were easier to pick out, thankfully.

Nature didn't let us rest that evening. We were all standing around having a chat in the hallway when I noticed a moth about the size of a dinner plate that I'm pretty sure was one of these. (Note from Bobbi: I don't have a photo of this because I RAN AWAY like a little girl. The thing was the size of my head. NO THANKS.)

Also known as Duppy Bats (duppy = ghost, bat = did you see the size of that thing?), they are superstitiously known to be lost souls and there are plenty roaming the valley. As obscure as Redberry is, it features in its own book of ghost stories written by an Englishman who married a local woman (Ryan, is your Redberry inspired tome forthcoming?). We are linked to the setting of that book in more ways than one as our maternal grandmother was one of the survivors of the train crash that created many of the duppies in the stories! (Another note from Bobbi: We also went to summer camp nearby as kids and the ghost duppy stories we were told about the area and crash were a little traumatizing!)

After a few days of relaxing in the lush green valley, safely hidden away from the internet and traffic, it was time to move on. Next stop: Ocho Rios!


Thanks Shelly! I'll be getting to a This & That in a bit, and more Jamaica next week!

Happy Friday!

redberry (red berry?) | 1.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Our first stop after picking up my sister and her then-fiancé-now-husband (!) in Kingston was my grandfather's house in Red Berry (or Redberry, depending on who you ask - more on that when my sister guest posts tomorrow).

My grandfather is hilarious and full of dirty jokes (that I realized I must now be old enough to hear because I certainly don't remember being privy to them before!) and he opened up his house to our big crew for a few days off the beaten path before our trip to Ocho Rios. He also has the same exact face as my dad:

Redberry (that's what I'm going to go with) is teeny tiny and definitely not on the map. It's also full of life and color, void of distractions, and the perfect place to wind down and relax. My dad grew up here, so he enjoyed telling story after story and showing us around the family property. There's not much to do but take walks and eat coconuts and play dominos, but in my opinion that's part of the fun!

Ryan immediately declared that he wants to move to the sticks, so while we were all worried about his delicate English skin in the sun and heat, he was plotting out his 10-year plan to end up in Jamaica!

It was so wonderful to see him get to spend time with my dad and grandpa, and I think that they really enjoyed it as well as Ryan has a much higher tolerance for the long stories and lectures and advice than I do, bless him. We spend a lot of time with his family but are usually so far from mine, so getting a nice long stretch of uninterrupted family time was just excellent!

The only thing that that we didn't get to do during our time in the area was have a Great Tastee versus Juici Patties Taste Off, but we'll leave that for next time. (I guess Juici wins by default in this round!)

Happy Thursday! (And more from Redberry tomorrow!)


Monday, May 18, 2015

I think this is the best turnaround time that I've had from Thing That Happened to Blogging About Thing That Happened since like, November.

We're back from Jamaica (well, I'm back in Miami and Ryan is back in England) and I'm still in a bit of a holiday fog, which is a very nice alternative to the fog that I've felt I've been in for the last few months. I'm feeling recharged and refreshed and so much of that is due to family adventures, fresh air, and fun times on the island.

I would have a much better variety of photos from Kingston, but the second the plane touched down on the island my dad went into full-blown HELICOPTER DAD mode and acted as if we'd be abducted should we dare venture out of his sight.

Which a) I'm not 16 anymore and b) I'm not an idiot, but I gave him the win on this and, since we were only in Kingston for one night, went along with being shuttled around to approved locations*.

Our first stop was Devon House (famed for its ice cream, and rightfully so). The grounds were really, really pretty, though I was still acclimating and spent most of my time trying not to melt! I got stopped right after I took that flower photo above and was told that I couldn't take photos with my camera. After a head scratch I asked, "With this camera or not at all?"

"With that camera."

(Sensing the source of the trouble) "Okay, I'm not taking photos for commercial purposes, these are for personal use."

"Well, they don't know that. If it was a smaller camera, that would be fine."

First, who is they? I rolled my eyes and walked away instead of asking can you reason with that? It's not like I was going to sell postcards with my family members' faces on them. I was just so happy to be in Jamaica and in the sunshine that I let it go, but: Devon House, get it together. That's a rule that needs some serious clarification.**

When I told the adults about my encounter, we were whisked away to Emancipation Park in New Kingston. I thought it was so sweet that they offered to relocate because I was really fine hanging out and not taking photos, but I guess my dad figured that if he was going to keep us on a short leash that he might as well give me something to take pictures of. :)

I loved the park. It is such a beautiful example of community and serenity in a city that can be so busy and hectic.

Ryan was a fan as well, as you can see!

We spent the rest of our time in Kingston resting up for the festivities to come and worrying about how we were going to fit everything in the car once we picked up my sister and her man for the trip to Mandeville (spoiler alert: we made it work). I did command the troops outside before we packed everything up for a mini-photo session, partly to see if I could get my dad to smile in a single photo, mostly because I wanted to make sure that I can carry on the torch of filling the family photo albums. We're not a bad looking bunch, huh? ;)

Happy Monday!

* Kingston is not scary but it's admittedly not really a tourist destination so Dad kind of had a point. Still, it would have been nice to see more of the city since I hadn't been back in ages. Next time. :)
** There are no ads on this blog and none of my trip was sponsored, so I'm super, 100% comfortable digging in on this. If no photography was allowed, I would have absolutely respected that. But just shooting with a DSLR is an automatic disqualifier? That's really unfortunate. I'm glad that I was able to take some really nice shots of family before anything was said.
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