Since the plan was to arrive in the morning of the 26th of this month, our time to explore Montego Bay is limited. In only a few days we’ll set sails again for another destination and leave this sunny paradise behind. Therefore every opportunity to get off Gunilla is like snow on Christmas eve.
Today was gods work. Despite it being Portside’s turn to take care of maintenance, clean and so on… We had a surprisingly leisure day. Due to our late arrival we missed our scheduled appointment to visit the Mount Alvernia high school, therefore we followed the rest of the watches on todays exchange.
The school was similar to the one we visited in Grenada two voyages ago, it was a catholic girls school and it followed protocol. First we were greeted at the gate by the school principal, she introduced us to a few of her star pupils who later showed us the grounds. Our guide was named Joanna and wore a red prefect badge. This is a classic system deriving from British schools in which a few select students are to help maintaining order and are granted to use disciplinary precautions if necessary, in other words prefect duties. Joanna helped us interact with the other students, therefore we had the opportunity to get some new Jamaican friends. We attended different classes all through the morning until lunch. The cafeteria was more like a foodcourt than anything else, they had cashiers and fast food items on menu bords. The food in schools abroad are always quite surprising, having a fried chicken sandwich, french fries and a pineapple soda for lunch is nothing you'll ever see on a Swedish school plate, for better or worse. Though better in my opinion.
The visit in conclusion was one of our best. The students were welcoming and forthcoming, as well as kind and helpful. Though at the end of the day we at Portside had to head back to our responsibilities on the ship. There wasn't much to do since we first arrived later in the afternoon, therefore we did some busy work and waited in dinner.
Our stay in Jamaica has so far been surprisingly pleasant. Even though we are, out of security reasons, only allowed to explore an extremely limited area of Montego Bay I find this place calming. All the people we’ve encountered has greeted us with open arms and been more than helpful. The white beaches and the crystal blue sea is something you certainly don't see every day.
And despite our limited opportunities it’s always fascinating to explore a new culture. I am for sure not yet ready to leave all this behind, and luckily we have another three days in this beautiful country.
Sara Rahmn, Portside watch