Monday, January 7, 2013

Oh, Jamaica! I can hear you calling!

I am going on holiday. In January. Somewhere where there's a beach, and sunshine, and happy people, and good food, and ocean sunsets and really good music. Somewhere that I've always wanted to visit. But which required an explicit decision, and not an opportune business trip, or a family visit. Yes... we're going to Jamaica! For a week, and it's coming soon.


Jade and I plotted and planned and then just made it happen, like you have to: don't keep talking about it, just do it, otherwise it'll be six years from now and your still sitting there in the same place, overworking, and one day you'll regret the things you never did. So our tickets are booked, a non-resort, bed-and-breakfast-like, not-a-package-touristy-hotel has been reserved, travel guidebooks have been given as Christmas gits and are being avidly studied during these dark damp winter evenings.

Friends have told me that their Jamaica vacations have been the most beautiful, most restful times ever. One of my team, who grew up in Jamaica but now lives in the UK, has been back home for Christmas/New Year and has strict instructions to email me all the best places to visit and see and swim and just to watch the world go by. And I have several family members who are just green, or maybe green-yellow-and-red, with envy...

Learning about Jamaica's history; thinking about warm sand; marvelling at the English placenames, like Manchester and Westmoreland and Trelawny and Cornwall and Middlesex and Surrey (will there be cricket???): planning visits to where Bob Marley once lived and played, thinking about sampling jerk chicken and fish curry and pineapple upside-down cake and really-good Blue Mountain coffee, and wondering, wondering how we'll find the best music we can, because you can't go to this country of music without listening. Can I learn a warm-island Jamaica accent, to bring back home with me? What will I have to write about, what pictures to show, on my return?

Thinking about reggae and steel drums and wondering if it's just a coincidence that I've been hearing a lot of ska and reggae recently? Thinks... The English Beat and Street Urchinz... and after my holiday in Jamaica, the Wailers are coming to town, to Sacramento, in February. There's really something Jamaican going on in my life right now.

"There's a blues festival", said the guidebook, "At the end of January".

Oh!!! While we are there? Surely that's not possible... but yes, it is, it really is!

Tickets are on sale now: get yours!

2013 Jazz and Blues festival. Mary J. Blige! (I love her.) Third World! (Smooth reggae soundtrack of remembered, midsummer-late nights back in England, 96° in the Shade, it was a long, hot summer...) Dionne Warwick ("Walk on by" or "Heartbreaker"? Which is my favourite? I have never yet seen her live...) And more. And more! Oh this is very exciting.

Third World, who will be one of the great set of artists performing at Jamaica Jazz and Blues 2013

What more could I wish for. Maybe I'll walk down the beach, and Denzel Washington or Martin Shaw or some other hunk will appear at my side. Well you never know, do you?

I'm counting down the days...

Ever thought of going to Jamaica? This may be your best excuse yet:

(I'll no doubt have more to say about this in the coming days...) 

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