Dunns River Falls
The year was 1980 and the place was Jamaica. It was our second year of marriage and we were thoroughly sick of Minnesota winter weather. We packed up our daughter and bought an all inclusive package deal to somewhere warm.
We got burned in the sun, walked through markets and found ourselves uncomfortable at being the outliers in the crowd. Jamaica at the time was over 99% African Ancestry with the money and power in the minority white hands.
Believing that we should see at least one tourist attraction, one day we booked a trip to Dunns River Falls. I had towels, George had Shana in the back carrier. We didn’t climb the falls figuring that slippery up for an hour with a toddler in a backpack would not be smart. The camera was a Canon AE1.
Today I made the trip again. The daughter is no longer just past her first birthday but has turned 34. Jamaica has been through political, geological and meteorological upheaval. A significant amount of money still comes in from the tourists, and Dunns River Falls tops the list.
Since the other part of the tour took me to caves, I figured why not? Besides, there are fruit bats which are always cute
Did I mention that there are 2.4 (give or take a few hundred thousand) million people scratching out a living on this island which traces its written history back to Columbus’ second voyage (1494). The reason I put in the word written is obvious – the island was already occupied when it was “discovered.”
As you can imagine, for the next three hundred years it was a pawn in the pirate, Spanish and British Colonial conquest games with the Brits winning the final prize. It should be no surprise, even after 50 years of independence that there are three districts with distinctly British names even though for some reason the next lower level of government is the parish.
There are resorts and wealthy people, there are also some areas of extreme poverty. Jamaica is in the Guinness Book of records for the highest country density of churches and probably has even more bars than that.
Tourism underpins a large portion of the economy (cruise ships, resorts, golf courses) as well as some minor fishing. The Bauxite mining operation is largely closed down but the clean up certainly appears to be at a stand still. Then there is coffee. it was the only thing I purchased on the island.
This time I didn’t spend any time outside the port area, and only a few minutes in the shops.