Wednesday 19th March 2014
After 2 days on the road going from Kingston to Clarendon and back by public transport, I’m feeling jet-lagged again.
The journey went something like this. Kingston to Spanish Town by bus. Spanish Town to Linstead (yes, of the famous song) and the rest of the way by taxi changing at each stop. This is not taxi as we know it in the UK, it’s more like a bus with five seats, so anyone can get in with you. Linstead to Ewarton, Ewarton to Kellits, Kellits to Brandon Hill, our final destination. This distance of approximately 39 miles took just over 3 hours. I’m told that without the road block created by residents of Casava Pond in St Catherine,protesting against the lack of piped water, it would have been two and a half hours.
Without the road block we would still have had to change at each town and the roads would still have been full of pot holes making the journey slow. It wasn’t till we got to Ewarton that it really began to feel like Cameroon. We were already five in the taxi when the driver asked us to make space for another two – plus himself. Yes, four in the front and four in the back. Yes Fred – you are not alone. But we can go one better.
On the way home space was made for us in an already overloaded taxi. When the four of us were squeezed into the front I turned to do a headcount of the back seat. There were five plus the gentleman who was wedged into the boot of the car. Ten in all!!
I was unprepared for that. I was also unprepared for the absolute beauty of the countryside, of the lush river banks, the foliage clad mountains that seem to watch over us like a benevolent uncle, the splashes of colour as the car occasionally picked up speed, and the sweet smell of the air, which even the exhaust fumes could not erase.
Maybe this is best appreciated at a slow pace.