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Friday, October 17, 2014

Our Twenty Years in Jamaica.

It was 1990, August 1st, when we moved in our house in Jamaica in the town of Runaway Bay.We spend many happy years in this house. We and the house went through four Hurricanes while we were living there.I just like to put some pictures in this book for keepsake for spending twenty years in this house. Thank you for giving us so much pleasure and thank you for keeping us safe.You are still standing and we hope the people who are living in the house now, will enjoy you just as much as we did.
The name of our house. Windblown
First I like to write about our move to Jamaica and why it was we ended up in Runaway Bay. In January 1989 we went on a cruise with friends. Our friend Bruce Hood, who used to be a well known ice hockey referee, had just retired and had opened a travel business.We played tennis a lot with his wife Joanne and that's how we got to know them. We have so many good memories, they lived in Milton.Our kids were very young, so we visited each others home often. We had lunches after tennis and at Joanne's house we enjoyed an indoor pool and jacuzzi. We had a wonderful time, playing tennis being together with this group of women. I will always have fond memories how happy we were.Some of us are not with us anymore. One of our dear tennis friends passed away last year. Now we are getting older we realize how fortunately we were to be able to have those years.. Life was good to us.Bruce had organized that our whole group would go on this cruise.It was January 1989 and we had to travel to Jamaica, to the harbor of Montego Bay, where we boarded the Britanis, one of the cruise liners of the Greek Chandris group. My husband Ruud and I and twelve of our friends including Bruce and his wife Joanne had a wonder full time.This cruise is a story on it self, which I will write about too. I have so many things I still like to do and I hope I find the time to do all the things which I still like to write down.
Lets get back to our story about the cruise;
On the way back we decided to top our cruise off with a stay at Club Caribbean where we owned one of the cottages at the Hotel Club Caribbean in Runaway Bay.

We were told by the owner of Club Caribbean, Richard Salms, that we were welcome to stay, but that the Hotel was damaged by Hurricane Gilbert and all cottages were under construction.Hurricane Gilbert had struck the island on September 12, 1988 and had caused a lot of damage. We had no idea how much damage this storm had caused. But he told us that he was able to provide us with a couple of cottages and that we had to take care of our own food. He supplied us with a large barbecue, and what fun we had, between all the rubble which Hurricane Gilbert had left behind when it had hit Club Caribbean on September 12, 1988 full force.

Jack McKay and John looking after the barbecue.

Friends from England, Sheena Hartley and her husband Joe, who we would meet every year at Club Caribbean decided to come over and spend the week with us.They owned one of the cottages as well.We both were share holders.

Picking-up Joe and Sheena up from Mo-Bay airport. 
 Sheena had gone back into the airport, cause Joe had lost a shoe. Never found it.

We see Sheena still every year and we became friends on one of their holiday stays at Club Caribbean some time in 1980. When we arrived at he Hotel from our ten days cruise we were shocked to see the Hotel.

Camping at hotel Club Caribbean Feb.1989

Dinner is ready!
 Sheena on the left, Thea in the middle and Joyce on the right. Don't we look like we have done this before?
We were playing horse shoe.Sheena was the best.

We had no idea that Hurricane Gilbert had caused so much destruction.  I cried my eyes out when I saw it, we had no idea.This was our second home,here we spend our vacation every year with our children. We had come to Club Caribbean since late 1976, and would spend some wonder full times with our children Monique and Dan for many weeks every year.. They almost grew up here, both speaking the language patois. Specially Dan our son is very good at it.Oh how sad it was to see the cottages like this...

Here some photographs of the destruction of the cottages at Club Caribbean.

With our friends, camping at Club Caribbean 1989.
Ruud in the middle, left: Thea, Moira Graham, Sheena Hartley. Right: Stewart, Carl Hageman, John Clifton.

Hurricane Gilbert was an extremely powerful tropical cyclone. It was the most destructive in history. This hurricane was the first in 37 years that hit Jamaica directly. It was the most severe storm since Hurricane Charley in 1951.
Because of its devastating impact, the name Gilbert was retired from the list of hurricanes names. We had seen destruction from hurricane Allen in 1980 when we were vacationing in Jamaica but the damage from Gilbert was not to describe. The entire island was ravaged and Club Caribbean had received a lot of damage. It was closed for more than a year, but it was rebuild and we spend many happy years at this beautiful property in Jamaica on the North coast of Jamaica.
When we were invited to stay at the Club in 1989 during the reconstruction of Club Caribbean, we were approached by the owner Richard Salms and were offered to open a dive shop on the property. We were ready to take on this challenge. Building it from the ground up. In May four months after we had spend a week at the club between all the rubble Ruud stepped on the plane and started our new adventure in life. Opening our first dive shop in the Caribbean on the island of Jamaica. Not knowing that we soon would owe four dive operations all over the island and a sand pumping business, building beaches for hotels. Hotels who had lost their beaches in this horrible hurricane.What a life experience. Not many people in their life time would have the chance to do what we did. Of course it took some guts, but we did it, and no regrets. Twenty years we spend in Jamaica and our kids Monique and Dan worked along side with us. What more is there to wish in life, having your children helping you to set up a business in Jamaica.Both Dan and Monique are divers. Monique became a dive instructor in 1990.Dan became a dive master and we had numerous dives together.

So much destruction.
This is how we found the dive shop after we took over.

In just five months of hard work the dive shop was in operation.

Our fleet ready to take guests out  to make their vacation a memorable one.
Our crew, second from the left our son Dan.

More crew members. 
On the left is me Thea, third from the left is Wayne our son in law, Monique our daughter first on the right and Ruud second from the right.Our dog scuba, which Monique found.When she brought it home it looked like a rat, so terrible scruffy. We did not think it would live.But she nourished it and this dog was such a nice dog.She..this dog... would swim every morning with Ruud out to the boats and would sit on the bow pretending she was the captain when Ruud would pull the boats to shore. It was hilarious. This was every morning Ruud's exercise, swimming the boats in. Scuba that's how we named this dog would already wait for him on the beach, ready to swim out.

Our crew at work at the rinsing basins.
 Wayne painted the wall mural, and wrote it in Patois, the language the Jamaicans use.
Patois is a dialect of the common people of a region, differing in various respects from the standard language of the rest of the country. Like we have in the North of The Netherlands, like Friesland, where the people speak Friesian, which people from the other states can't understand a word of what their own countrymen are saying.
Our youngest crew member.
Our grand son Sam and our grand-daughter Saska grew up in Jamaica. They both went to school and it was one of their best time in their lives. What an experience to be able to grow up on an island in the Caribbean.
Saska's first school uniform in Jamaica.
In Runaway Bay at school. Saska middle row third from the right.
Saska, you can't miss her in this picture. At school in Montego Bay.
Sam  with his friends at school in Jamaica, Third from the right.
I love this picture.This picture says it all. We can learn a lot from our children, they do not see color, they only see what is inside. How very fortunate that our grand children grow up in Jamaica, what an experience for their rest of their lives. An experience they will forever cherish and when they become sentimental like Ruud and I are now, they will look back and will say to themselves, "How lucky we were. What good memories we have for the rest of our lives".
We got to know many Jamaicans while we were living there. Jamaicans we still keep in touch with and are on face book. Many of them are living all over the world, England, Germany, Holland, Canada, and America. How nice is that. We share many stories with them. Some of them worked for us and at the time were only twenty years young. They now have their own children and with them we share many, many memories.Children who are growing up in a different country , and hopefully they are able to visit the country where their parents came from. A country called Jamaica, a country which the Jamaicans will tell you, a country out of many, one people.

Coat of Arms of Jamaica.
The coat of arms says it all:: Out of many, one people".

We did not only do the diving but also provided the quests from Club Caribbean with windsurfing, sailing, glass bottom boat rides, snorkel trips and water skiing.To rebuild the club took quite some time but one year
after the monster hurricane Gilbert, the Hotels cottages were ready to be occupied again and the hotel reopened.
See picture below, from the swimming pool.

Slowly the cottages were repaired.

Club Caribbean in full operation again.
It's absolutely amazing how people rebuild their lives after a disaster and start all over again as if no hurricanes exist. We won't be beaten by nature. We will get up and pick up the pieces. Which I had learned from an early age, when we went through World War 2 and lost every thing. The only things we had left, were the clothes on our backs, when the war was finally over and the Japanese surrendered.For three and half years behind barbwire and high fences, almost starved and beaten to death by the Japanese military, her husband (my father) killed , my mother picked up the pieces and started all over.
It's therefor we are thankful that our children are not taking life for granted. While we were living in Jamaica we went through four hurricanes as I wrote in my blog before.We learned many life's lessons. Lessons and memories we should preserve, memories which should be transmitted. If these memories are not shared, they will be forever lost. People often do not understand how breakable ones memory is. It's very important to listen attentively, true tales are meant to be transmitted to keep them to oneself is betray them. Once we reach adulthood, most of us assume we know all there is to know about our parents and other family members. However, if you take the time to ask questions and actually listen to the answers, you may find there is still so much to learn about the people so close to you.
Every person has a story to tell.

We lived on the Runaway Bay golf course.
 At the end of the road lies the Hotel Jewel Runaway Bay which was called before Breezes Hotel. The ocean is across the road, where we had together with the Cardiff Hall association a private beach for the members of this association.  It was nice to there and meet with our neighbors when they were in town. Many of them live in the States and are only in town for three or six months at the time.Some times for me during the summer time it would be a little lonely. I would miss the dinner parties and my friends. The summers would be extra hot.
Our drive way .

Our road in front of the gate.

I loved working in the yard, but sometimes it was too hot.
The front of our house.
A large Almond tree was growing in the middle of our drive way, which was nice because we parked our truck under- neath this tree. It was a perfect shade tree and a perfect place for my many orchids When the orchids were blooming it was so beautiful. Below one of my many Phalaenopsis hybrid orchids.

A Phalaenopsis orchid on my Almond Tree in our drive way.

We loved the design on our gate, which Thea designed.

Our front yard.

Other part of the front yard.
Our living room.

Our kitchen
Our kitchen
Our Den, an extension of the living room.
It was nice to sit here, the breeze blocks would give you some relieve when the evenings were hot.

The master bed room.
We had four bed rooms and each bed room had it's own full bath room. What a luxury was that.

Our house had a wrap around terrace by the pool.

Many nights we would sit on the terrace listening to the sounds of the tropics, with a nice ice cold drink. Our fan would give us some relieve from the sometimes hot evenings in the summer months.

Many, many nice evenings we have spend here serving dinner, with our family and friends. I wonder how it is now. We sold the house in 2011 to two brothers who live in England. They bought the house for their mother. The amazing part is that these brothers are film makers and had just made a documentary of the lives of the mafia in The Netherlands and the mafia in Jamaica.Since we are originally from The Netherlands and were living in Jamaica we found this really amazing and an unbelievable coincident.
Watching the sun sets from the terrace.

Sun is going down. It's around 6 PM

At the end of the pool we had an Orchid house, with many different orchids.

I was a member of the orchid society in Jamaica. We met every month at each others house and talked about new species we had found. Twice a year we showed our orchids at various hotels and many people from all over Jamaica would come to these shows. Compared to some of my friends I was an amateur,  my friends had the most beautiful orchids. Some of the pictures of my orchids I will show here..I have too many to put them all in this album, but here are some of them.

Just clinging to a tree in our front yard.

This white phalaenopsis just grows on the tree by our driveway.
I really can go on and on with my orchid pictures, but these are just a few of them. Have to see if I can find the pictures from inside my orchid house, because I have a beautiful Parrot fountain in my orchid house I like to ad in this album.We also had beautiful hibiscus growing all around the patio by the pool, which I like to show in this album as well. Here are some of them, hope this is not boring.

Parrot fountain in my orchid house.

At the side of the house we had another beautiful fountain.
Everywhere in the garden we had Hibiscus bushes growing. I loved the colors and many of them were double or even triple flowers. My friend Diane Fairchild and I were always looking for other species.She loved flowers as much as I did. Sadly to say she passed away, too young. We have so many memories. Every Wednesday we were doing something else. Many trips to Ocho Rios and many into the mountains.We must have eaten every Jamaican dishes you can think of. The food in Jamaica is to die for. How I often think back on all the trips we made together, either it was Hugh (Teacher) who drove us or Jozef. Later in my story I will go more detailed into it. I have some wonderful pictures from those trips. Often friends who came to visit us would join us on Wednesday.But I save it for later.I am still in my yard now, showing you all the Hibiscus flowers we had.I am showing just the ones which were my favorite.

One of my favorite color.

Okay enough pictures of flowers, but now I am going to the yard, which is very color full as well. We had a gardener and his name was Jack. He took pride in his work and was forever pruning, cutting, and sweeping around the house. Sometimes he got pruning happy and once I came home and noticed some strange things at my orchid house. It was getting dark so I could not have a good look at it, so we turned on the lights. Ruud had made a spot light in the orchid house which was a really nice feature shining on my orchids, so when we came home from work we could enjoy them.
Well, when we turned the spot light on I nearly had a fit!! Most orchids breed from their roots which are hanging down, some roots are one meter long, these roots are their breathing and feeding mechanism.

Roots from my Vanda orchids.

Showing the roots.

I nearly died when I noticed that all the roots from my orchids were missing.
Jack the gardener had been scissor happy, I nearly lost it.Most of my orchids did not make it.  He some times did the weirdest things, and at the end we had to let him go. He was a very simple man with not a bad bone in his body but this was a little too much. We once came home and he had painted the whole front gate black. Now you would say what is wrong with that, but if you look at the picture below..  you can understand why we were mad!

Can you imagine this gate painted all black??
When we asked him why he had done that, he answered, well,,, boss ( he called Ruud )there was only black paint in the shed and I decided that the front gate needed painting.It took Ruud a couple of weeks to get it back to the way it was.We know that many pictures have been taken from our gate..When Breezess Hotel, which was down the road from us, had a wedding the bride and groom drove bye in a horse and buggy, they always stopped in front of our gate and made pictures.

One day we found out that Jack our gardener used the back yard as his toilet under the Poinciana tree. Not only to pee but also to do his big job, as you know what I mean. I noticed one day a funny smell under the poinciana tree and noticed a lot of poop. Now you have to know that we had two dogs, but I wondered why all that poop was laying under the Poinciana tree, and why Jack had not cleaned it up.
The next day when Jack arrived at work I asked him about it. He told me that it was his toilet where he did his doo-doo...he called it.I asked him why he was not using our bathroom, for pete's sake we have four in the house, and one of them was designated for the helper (Annabella was her name) and Jack.He told me that he did not know that he could use the bathroom in the house and I told him in future that's where you go. The next day I get a phone call from Annabella telling me that she and Jack had a fight and if I please could come to the house, because Jack had pulled a moonie at her and she was scared. I jumped in the car and drove home. Jack greeted me at the gate and told me that Annabella had refused to let him use the toilet because he had to do a major doo-doo.She had chased him out the house with an umbrella which she poked at him.So I pulled a moonie at her; he said. I asked Annabella what this was all about and why she did not let Jack use the bathroom. She told me that she used that bathroom and her good clothes were hanging there and that she did not liked Jack to smell up her clothes when he had to do his doo...doo. This is really hilarious, but that's why she did not let him in and told him to go to the Poinciana tree where he always did his job.
We already had a couple of arguments with her, because when she broke something she never told me. Once she broke one of my wine glasses and had put it back together . She had put it back in the cupboard and when I picked it up a big piece of glass fell of and cut my hand. When I asked her the next day why she had put the broken glass back in the cupboard she was showing me how she broke the wine glass and by showing me how she broke a piece off she broke another glass right in front of me.A few days before I had come home and noticed a big piece of glass broken off from one of my cupboards which had a glass top.  When I asked Annabella what happened' she told me that she was dusting and the glass moved and the corner broke off. She then proceeded to show me how it happened.....hmmmm yes.. ....she broke another large piece of the other corner, and told me ...."See missus"....(that's how she called me)..... "that's how it happened".
Needless to say when I found something broken in the house in future,I didn't asked Annabella anymore. She also did not dust under the bed, because she told me "missus I have bad knees so I can't clean under the beds". One morning when I happen to be home I noticed how she dusted. She did not pick up any thing but dusted every where around it.I asked her why she did not move the picture frames and why she dusted all around it. She told me...."missus"....I am afraid to brake these things". I was losing it a bit and told her that she had to be careful and don't be so ruff, pick it up very careful and put it down again very careful.  When we had bought a new electric stove  I had bought dust covers for the burners because our house  has open shutters,this makes the house very dusty. So I had told her that  before you start cooking you have to remove the dust covers.. Annabella decided to cook on top of the dust covers and called me at work that she had trouble with the stove. She said 'Missus' I can't cook today because the stove is setting itself on fire. Well the covers had become so hot that it burned a big hole in my brand new stove. When I asked her why she had not removed the covers, she told me that she thought if she cooked on the covers the burners would not get covered with food, because Annabella had a tendency to let every thing boil over. I had enough of it so I looked for another helper. So after the episode with Jack and the arguing what was going on between Jack and her, I decided to let her go. After Annabella we had Lauraine for 16 years and we believe she is still with the new owners of our house.
Jack our gardener's bathroom under the Poinciana tree.

This is how the tree looks when it is in full bloom.

You never know when the tree will be blooming, it depend strictly on the weather. Some years it was loaded with beautiful blooms and some years we only got lots of leaves.The seed pods on these trees are sometimes 18 to 20 inches long. When they fall from the tree you better do not get them falling on your head.

The flowers are beautiful.
The inside of the seed pods.

Our garden was beautiful, We had banana trees,an orange trees,an avocado trees,a lime trees,a bread fruit tree, a papaya tree and a grape fruit tree and a key lime tree.. We also had a lime tree with enormous large limes, it makes the most delicious lemonade.

Here the banana's are just starting to bloom.
Our breadfruit tree.

When the breadfruit was ripe we roasted them in the oven and cut them in large slices and put them in the freezer. When you fry these slices in the frying pan it's delicious with a little bit of salt and pepper.
Our Papaya tree.
Our papaya tree was growing to close to the house, we had to chop it down, which was a shame.
Our avocado tree.
Our avocado tree was huge, and every year we had lots of avocado's. One year we were gone to The Netherlands on vacation for a month and when we got back all the avocado's had disappeared. We found out that our gardener had taken them all and had sold them to the stores. Oh. boy, were we mad! Same would happen with the banana's.

Our lime-tree.
We also had one plant with scotch bonnet!!

Our delicious sweet juicy oranges, our tree near our pond.
We loved the yard and so did our dog Jessie.
Will continue.....