If ‘have my backed massaged by the raging waters of a waterfall’ is not on your bucket list … you need an immediate amendment, seriously.
One of the most iconic associations with Jamaica is its Dunn’s River Falls. There must be billions of vacation pictures floating around vacation albums with persons grinning when they’ve got to the top.
Here’s some background. Every year my school sponsors a trip for the non-Jamaicans to a popular tourist site. It is an attempt, I guess, to show us the touristy side of Jamaica. It is done very early up in the school year because law school escalates very quickly.
Needless to say although I’ve done my own first year trip I was quite excited to crash this one. After deciding I would go, I went through some problems very common to a Caribbean girl… mainly, “which bikini should I wear?” and the necessary follow up question: does this bikini make me look fat?
On the day before the trip disaster struck. My body rebelled against me and I was struck down with a migraine. This was not a mild migraine (if there is even such a thing). It was the ‘puking, pull out my hair, I will bash my head against the wall’ and ‘why in heaven’s name was sunlight invented’ sort of migraine. I was trying (and failing) to console myself about missing the trip with the obvious lie that I’d get around to doing it during the term when something inside me said, “Rilzy pop those painkillers, get your sunshades and pray for the best’. So at the very last moment, I called a friend and had her hold the bus for me. I’ll tell you this, I should listen to my inside voices more often. I admit that it could have ended badly. After all, being on a coach filled with loud, excited people is akin to being in the tenth circle of hell for someone with a migraine. Luckily for me (unluckily for him) there was another person on the trip who shared my dilemma and between sharing mentholated spirits for settling our tummies and painkillers, we made it.
Two hours into the drive the pain eased up to the point that I could take in the scenery. I wish I had photos of the drive from Kingston to Ochi Rios but I guess maybe I should try to find my way back there so I can blog this right. The rolling greens, blue skies and the constant rivers we had to pass on our way probably would have made the trip all worth it. Jamaica is gorgeous, no denying it. But you shouldn’t take my word on it… you should come see for yourself ;).
On entering the Falls I received a brief history lesson. Apparently, very near to the falls a final battle was fought between the English and the Spanish in the 17th Century. The English were victorious but it makes me wonder if it is just that the scenery kept distracting the Spanish. I know I would be too preoccupied with ‘ooohing and ahhhing’ to get anything right :).
The Falls runs into the ocean where it was possible to do water sports. I entertained the idea of taking out a jet ski but in the end I was too afraid of crashing into an invisible wall to try. At any rate it looked quite fun for the people who whizzed by me while I came to terms with just how much of a wuss I am.
The first thing I must tell you about the Falls is that it is cold. And no, when I say cold I’m not exaggerating. In fact, I think the word ‘cold’ is very underwhelming when I try to describe how my blood was turned to slush when I stepped my toe into it. With some help from some friends (read: they kept splashing icy water about my body), I was able to get over the iciness of the water and off we went. It is possible to hire a tour guide to help you through the path. It seemed quite interesting from what we were able to see… let’s just the say the tour guided group behind us sang a lot of reggae songs on their way up. We didn’t get a tour guide. There were enough people in our group who’d climbed the falls before so that we didn’t think it necessary (or financial prudent [broke College students remember? 🙂 ] ) to hire one.
We made a human chain and everyone assumed the responsibility of ensuring that no one else went falling and hitting their heads on rocks. The rocks were at times a bit slippery despite the water slippers we rented and I (quite embarrassingly) almost went down several times. In the end it was completely worth it. There is something about standing with waters rushing around you, blue skies above you and trees dancing merrily. In those moments you are awestruck by the beauty in this world. All the ugliness that human beings bring always fades away when you are struck with the majesty of nature. Those moments, those realizations were even more rewarding than completing the trek up the waterfall and taking my photo in front of the ‘Congratulations’ sign.
In about an hour and half (flew by way too fast) we were back on the beach. We played around, chatted and chilled for a while before we continued along our day trip. As I walked away from the falls and I bid the murals goodbye… I realized that it just might have been one of the most blissful days of my life. It was a well deserved adventure for this Caribbean Girl ;).