Auchindown Rediscovered - An American Retiree in Jamaica
Auchindown Castle has been rediscovered on the south coast of Jamaica in the town of Whitehouse. I have toured the site quite extensively and have done research on the property dating back to a time before Columbus landed in Jamaica in 1494. Most of my information is from a final report entitled Auchindown Excavation 1983-4 by G.A. Aarons et al for the Center for Archaeological and Conservation Research in Port Royal, Jamaica which is also a part of the Jamaica National Trust Commission.
A Brief Jamaican History - An American Retiree in Jamaica
Jamaica celebrated 49 years of independence from the British Commonwealth on August 6th
, 2011. My intention for this month was to give you a brief history of Jamaica but during my research I found many discrepancies from one source to another. The general information is in agreement between them but beyond that I don’t know what to believe. This article will give you brief, basic information.
My Jamaican Immigrations Experience - An American Retiree in Jamaica
Jamaican Immigrations is a very complex and bureaucratic ministry, like most government agencies anywhere in the world. It has been very frustrating for me my whole time in Jamaica. The process from the beginning was very slow and unpredictable. Nine years ago the process wasn’t as easy as it appears today. I say that because back then nothing seemed to be organized as both the system and the staff didn’t seem to be on the same page.
Hurricane Season is Upon Us - An American Retiree in Jamaica
It’s that time of the year again! Hurricane season runs from the 1st
of June until the 30th
of November. Like death and taxes, it is inevitable. These tropical storms vary in number and strength from year to year but they are a sure bet to happen. Unlike tornadoes, hurricanes are easier to predict even though not all forecasts are accurate. In the nine years I’ve lived in Jamaica, I have experienced everything from low pressure disturbances which later became hurricanes to full blown hurricanes.
Buy A House - Don't Build (Part 2) - An American Retiree in Jamaica
Last month in Part 1, I explained the steps one must take to begin to build a home. I also spoke of some of the experiences I have had with contractors. This month I will point out some of the flaws in my friend’s house as well as my own.
Buy A House - Don't Build (Part 1) - American Retiree in Jamaica
Wouldn’t it be nice to move to Jamaica into a brand new house that you designed yourself? Sounds inviting doesn’t it? Before you get your hopes up let me explain to you some of the things you will encounter to make the house a reality.
Jamaica Through My Eyes - American Retiree in Jamaica
Over the years I have written articles on a wide variety of subjects which have come from my personal experiences in Jamaica. I have either lived them myself or was close enough to make keen observations. It was very seldom that my personal feelings were revealed in any of the subject matter. There has been a lot of criticisms on my views on different subjects over the years.
Modernization of Montego Bay by American Retiree in Jamaica
It was over 16 years ago that I visited Jamaica for the first time. I have seen firsthand how Jamaica and Mobay, in particular, have emerged from the dark shadows of a third world country. These changes didn’t happen overnight. In fact, most of them have occurred in the last five or six years. Jamaica would still not qualify for first world status but the inroads the country has made is definitely in that direction
My Eight Years in Jamaica - Part 2: An American Retiree in Jamaica
The community I live in has its own local government with duly elected officers. Dues are collected to pay for any outlay of funds such as road repairs which the government can’t afford to do. I was asked to attend their meetings a few months after moving in. They meet monthly to address any concerns the citizens have regarding assisting someone with special needs or a community beautification project. There have been several community projects to repair our aging pothole ridden roads. The community association also helps in dealing with problems with the local government or one of the utilities. We get far better response as a group than trying to fight “city hall” by ourselves.
My Eight Years In Jamaica by American Retiree in Jamaica
Before I begin let me give you a little background. My wife and I honeymooned at the then Sandals Inn in 1994. I fell in love with Jamaica right from the beginning. The love grew deeper and deeper each time I came back. At the same time, I also knew I was approaching the age of retirement and had to start making plans. By the year 2000 that desire to retire to Jamaica was overwhelming.
Aftermath of Tropical Storm Nicole by American Retiree in Jamaica
The story actually starts back in 2004 when Hurricane Ivan paid a visit to Jamaica. Sign main road is a lazy winding road over gently rolling hills that leads past, as opposed to through, several small communities on its way from Montego Bay, to, you guessed it, the town of Sign. This road parallels the Barnett River which slowly makes its way to the Caribbean Ocean. Normally this river is quiet and peaceful but during a hurricane or heavy rains it can be a raging torrent of brown angry water that lifts ten feet or more above its bed. That is exactly what happened during Ivan.
Jim's Jeopardy by American Retiree in Jamaica
It was only a few hours after Jim bid farewell to Maureen at Sangster International Airport when our phone rang. Jim’s wife was going back to Canada to tend to the family business while Jim stayed an extra week to do some painting on the inside of their new home. Ann, my wife, answered the phone. It was Jim asking Ann, “So how was your day going?” His voice gave no hint of the nature of his call. Finally he said, “I think I have a small emergency here.”
Women Beware - by American Retiree in Jamaica
Women, be very careful with your relationship with men in Jamaica and this holds true also with men meeting women. Jamaica is a country that is known for its friendly people. They can be seen everywhere you go, from the airport when you first land, to the resorts where you spend most of your time, and even in the craft markets. This friendliness attracts women from all over the world especially from the young, handsome, and well built Jamaican men.
Exploring Jamaican Culture - An American Retiree in Jamaica
Jamaican culture is quite different from the American culture I lived in most of my life. It would be impossible for me to discuss all of them in one article. My intent is to show the differences without being too critical. Please keep in mind that I love Jamaica and wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. Most tourists see the Jamaicans in a completely different light than what exists beyond the resort walls because of the shine and polish expected of the staff by the hotel management.
Reunion Week Farewell - An American Retiree in Jamaica
Easter week 2010 marked what could be the last reunion week at Sandals Dunn’s River Villagio. This property is one of the few that is leased by Sandals and not owned outright. In July this property will most likely close forever. Negotiations are continuing but optimism for a positive conclusion seems dimmer with each passing day.
Starting Over in Jamaica - Retiree in Jamaica
It is no secret that the world is in the grip of an economic downturn. Pressures of home foreclosure, job loss, and increased prices have caused many people to look outside their present home land for a solution. Jamaica has appealed to many of them for good reasons. The cost of quality of life in this Third World country is very attractive.
Purchasing Your Dream Home - An American Retiree in Jamaica
I have written an article in the past on purchasing land to build a dream house on and some of the problems that could occur. These problems are so numerous that my recommendation was to buy a preexisting dwelling. Chances are the existing house will have endured the test of time so that any faults will probably be visible upon inspection.
"Goodbye 2009" by American Retiree in Jamaica
This was yet another good year for me in Jamaica. As I look back over the past twelve months, I’m reminded of all the different things that have taken place in my life in Jamaica, most of them very positive.
"How I Roped a Cow" by American Retiree in Jamaica
Ann & I had only been living in Jamaica for a few months but during that time it was nearly a daily occurrence to see cows walking unattended through the streets and backyards of our new community. Our property is walled, thank God, so we didn’t have to watch where we were walking in the yard. No cow chips anywhere. However, the cows seemed...
Encore '09 - by American Retiree in Jamaica
Once again Sandals/Beaches Resorts demonstrated why they are the leader in the hospitality industry in the Caribbean. “Sandals Style” isn’t just about what they can do for their guests. They take the same dedication to train and nurture the staff to be the best they can be.
"I Once Was Blind..." by American Retiree in Jamaica
Well…, I wasn’t REALLY blind, but my sight had deteriorated to a point seeing clearly was almost impossible. In June of 2009, I wrote an article entitled “Health Care in Jamaica.” In the article I talked about the problems with my eyes. This month I will tell you the complete story starting with excerpts from the previous article.
"Retiree Jamaican Driver's License - Then & Now "by An American Retiree in Jamaica
In just seven years the procedure for obtaining a Jamaican driver’s license has changed dramatically. Perhaps the process has remained the same but is now being strictly enforced, but I don’t know for sure.
Permanent Residency In Jamaica - An American Retiree in Jamaica
Permanent residency can be granted for retired people and those who have been employed in Jamaica for at least five years. The process takes three years to complete, but it took five years for me. This department of immigrations is not the most efficient. My extra two years was a result of lost paperwork and lack of investigation by the clerks. Each year you are required to visit the Kingston immigrations office where they will extend your temporary residency for another year.
Spay/Neuter Clinic Comes to Jamaica - Retiree in Jamaica
On December 8th
of 2008, Jamaica had its first spay/neuter clinic in Kingston sponsored by the former Noah’s Ark Spay and Neuter Group, now called International Spay/Neuter Network, (ISNN), and the Jamaica Veterinary Medical Board. The clinic was held directly after the monthly veterinarian’s meeting. One of the highlights of the meeting was a presentation by Dr. Bruce Langlois, director of Remote Area Medical, located in Michigan, USA, of a quick spay technique.
Jamaican Utilities - An American Retiree in Jamaica
One concern of moving to Jamaica is the efficiency of its utilities. I will focus on Cable & Wireless, (C&W), for phone and internet service, National Water Commission, (NWC), for piped water only, and Jamaica Public Service Company, (JPSCO), for electrical service. All of my comments are based on over six years of experience living in Montego Bay and do not necessarily reflect those of other communities islandwide.
Weathering the Weather by American Retiree in Jamaica
With Jamaica located in the tropics, most people tend to think of the island's weather as constant balmy breezes, and blazing sun. While this is true most of the time, we do have our changing weather patterns, like rainy season.
Driving in Jamaica - An American Retiree in Jamaica
Driving in Jamaica isn't for the faint of heart. Much can be said for the cultural differences between this Third World country and that of my native America. The art of driving is just as different. Most of my tourist friends shudder at the thought of getting behind the wheel of a rental car here. The bulk of their fears is largely that of driving on the left side of the road. In Jamaica, left is right or should I say correct.
"A Jamaican Love Affair" by American Retiree in Jamaica
The lure of Jamaica is very powerful. Who wouldn't want to spend the rest of their lives in such beautiful surroundings with such happy people. The warm sun and tropical breezes are like icing on the cake. Where else could you find the pristine white sand beaches with the dazzling array of colors of the Caribbean ocean where beneath the warm waters are countless varieties of tropical fish that swim among some of the finest coral in the Caribbean. But, alas, could you really be happy with all that?
Groundbreaking Ceremony - An American Retiree in Jamaica
In August of 2007, I wrote an article entitled "Pomp and Circumstances", about the graduation exercises of Jamaica Christian School For The Deaf (JCSD). This was my first experience of the "differently-abled" children from the countryside of Jamaica. This heart-touching experience prompted me to become more involved with this special school, whether it be financially or otherwise.
My New Car - An American Retiree in Jamaica
The art of buying a car in Montego Bay is not what I was used to in the U.S.A. First of all, there aren't any new car dealers anywhere in town. If I did want to purchase a new car, I would have to travel to Kingston, about a 4 hour one-way drive. Not wanting to venture that far away, I opted for a used car. There are two types of used cars; one that has been driven in Jamaica all its life or one that has been shipped directly from Japan. In either case, the supply is very limited.
A "Grande" Vacation - An American Retiree in Jamaica
Ann and I were married on October 1, 1994, and honeymooned at Sandals Inn in Montego Bay. Each year we celebrate our anniversary at a Sandals resort. This year was no exception. The plans were made a year ago to return for our 3'rd vacation to Sandals Antigua. Three years ago, we renewed our wedding vows at this resort. It was a very special time for us. This romantic escapade was done the same as if it were a wedding. The preparations included picking out flowers, a special evening meal, and even breakfast in bed the morning after. We have wonderful memories of our stay at this property.
Permanent Jamaican Residency Obtained - An American Retiree in Jamaica
It finally happened! On Friday September 21, 2007, my wife and I became permanent residents of Jamaica. This 3 year process took us 5 long years to complete. It wasn't that the requirements were that tough, it was just plain old bureaucracy in action. We were law abiding citizens of Massachusetts where we lived most of our lives. My only "crime" was getting one speeding ticket over 30 years ago.
A Cruise In The Harbor - An American Retiree in Jamaica
With the impending Hurricane Dean nearly a day away, my friend Richard called to ask if I would like to take a 45 minute cruise in Montego Bay harbor. I thought the timing was a little odd until he said he had to move his friend Isaac's 45 foot yacht, Murphy's Law, from the Montego Bay Yacht Club to a calmer lagoon nearby.
FAQ on Living in Jamaica - An American Retiree in Jamaica
Over the past several months I have had several people ask very specific questions about life in Jamaica. I will share some of these questions and answers from my view point and understanding taken from my life in Montego Bay.