As I gaze out my window at the sunlit sweet-sop tree and every bush in and beyond my backyard, my mind races back to Jake. Yes. Jake. My new love.
I never knew I could fall head over heels for anything, anyone, from down south, me being a northern import from the southeast coast and all.
Wait. Huh? What? Huh? What? Who’s Jake, you ask? Did I somehow neglect to tell you about … Jake? I rest my palm upon the crown of my head, press the top of my broad-brimmed straw hat and throw my head back in an exhale of effervescent giggles. “Tee hee hee … tee hee.”
Where shall I begin this mind-twirling, romantic tale, this two-night affair that has emblazoned fond memories across my mind for an eternity?
Shall I begin with the vision of mangoes and pineapples in the foyer; the rich, freshly made mango juice handed to me on my arrival, or shall I begin with the candlelit dinners against soundtracks of piped jazz and Caribbean beats and the backdrop of splashing waves?
And there were walks.
Yes, walks. Walks through verdant escapes and along the shore of the resplendent sea. Walks amidst a mini gallery of crafted cows and commons and the quaintest, most vibrant furnishings I ever did lay mine eyes upon.
And, please, oh please, force me to forget the old, stained, wood floors and the black and white portraits of family lest I faint away …
There were dragonflies, my friend.
Yes. Dragonflies, my friend.
Plus a dog, a mongoose, flying things and nuff, nuff lizards. If your hotel doesn’t have this degree of wildness, your vacation is not off to a screaming start. If you’re not eyeing a lethargic lizzy perched high on a bathroom wall while soaping up your face over a basin, your vacation’s beginning is absolutely unexciting.
Jakes at Treasure Beach in St. Elizabeth reminded me of my maternal grandma’s home—though her home wasn’t so finely decked out. It brought back memories of childhood summers running through bush in my rubber slippers, getting red dirt all over my feet and picking macka off my skirt-tail.
In other words, Jakes was everything I wanted in a home away from home but didn’t realize it until check-in time.
St. Elizabeth, in case you haven’t been browsing through this blog’s archives, is the parish of my maternal roots. It’s rural. It’s red. It’s chock full of farm-fresh produce and the best cooks in Jamaica.
On this trip, my sis and I returned for two days to help an elderly family member move house.
In the mornings, Jakes fueled us with healthy breakfast portions: baked beans and saltfish, ackee and saltfish, scrambled eggs, whatever were the pickings from the day’s menu. Chalkboards on the walls by the steps to the outdoor restaurant clued us in as to what the cooks were fussing over in the kitchen.
If you’re not the outdoorsy type, you would’ve absolutely hated the magnificent shade of trees we were forced to sit under for each and every meal.
If you’re not into wild beasts, a napping mongrel dog beneath a dining table or a mongoose standing upright behind a plant whilst chomping on a morsel secured between its fore paws would’ve utterly failed to melt your heart.
Tempted yet? Heng on, there’s more.
In the days, a taxi service, approved of and arranged by the front desk, transported us to our temporary workplace. After spending hours sweating over the thirty year’s worth of possessions our family member managed to accumulate, my sis and I went home to Jakes, to cold showers (because it was the heart of the summer), to many cool glasses of water (because it was the heart of the summer) and to ample dinners (thank God because wi did well need di re-fueling after all the lifting, tossing, packing, wiping down and running and screaming from lizards hiding behind musty curtains and old tings).
At Jakes, we slept in nice, big, cozy beds to relax our sore, tired muscles. And, oh, that luxuriousness would not have been complete without a generous helping of Wi-Fi on the side. On these house-moving missions, you know how important it is to update the rest of the family on your progress.
Jakes, God bless oonu for having Wi-Fi that’s as good and strong as oonu food.
By the way, Jakes’ use of solar energy is impressive. If you don’t love cold showers like I do, there’s plenty hot water. For our entire stay, the water pressure was wonderful too—unlike a certain popular eating spot I visited in the parish some weeks before and had to wash my hands using an ice-cream bucket of water). … No, mi nah call nuh name.
Then, of course, I have to mention the staff: front desk, food servers, everybody, including our taxi driver/transportation manager, who I felt as though I knew in another life. They were polite, easy to talk to and went out of their way to make us feel at home.
This was my first time staying at a hotel down south and, people, beautiful people, it was well worth the spend. Hands down.
So as I affix my pen name to this post and cast mine eyes upon the sweet-sop tree in mi backyard, a thought weighs heavily on my mind, “Jakes, how much do I love thee? Mi lub oonu so much, mi eyes can’t look pon nobady else. On the south coast, that is.”
Peace and love.