Continued from previous . . .
Post massage, we began hiking barefoot up the river; walking on stones, wading or swimming through pools, climbing over small falls and ducking under fallen bamboo.
Mosquitoes were in constant attendance but it was so exhilarating to make our way through progressively thicker rainforest. It was totally isolated and there was no sign of civilization. At one point we just stopped and looked at all the beauty surrounding us.
“I think this is what it must have been what it looked like to Adam and Eve in the Garden,” said O. And not even the discovery of two half burned candles stuck in a rock further down the river could remove the impression of Paradise from my mind.
At a fork in the river we turned left. The ascent became steeper until we arrived at a beautiful fall, where water flowed over a nearly vertical rock some 40 feet tall. Standing in a knee high pool with our backs to the rock, water flowing over our shoulders, bright red crabs (or were those spiders?) scuttling out of sight; Jamaica once again flaunted the wonders of Creation.
We hiked the right hand fork in the river, too, and found an even more impressive falls through a narrow opening in the rock. Taller, with water plummeting straight down from the edge of the cliff. The basin it emptied into looked still and mysterious and deeply green and appeared bottomless.
Something that majestic deserved a name. Because of the steeply rising walls of rock that almost completely encircled the fall, we settled on the name Wall Falls. Or Waffles (get it!?).
Our last stop before taxiing back to Morant Bay was at Bath Botanical Gardens, established in 1779 and the second oldest garden in the Western Hemisphere. Kind of mind blowing the things you find just across the road from di mon selling chicken foot soup.
And to top it all off . . .
It was evening by the time we made it back to Kingston. We were walking through Downtown to the buses when a man stopped O and began earnestly inquiring about something. O shook his head and grinned. The man persisted and O told him “No” and shook his head again. When we continued on our way, he was laughing.
“What? What’d he say?” I asked.
“He wanted to know,” laughter, “he wanted to know if you were - “
“What!? But I don’t look anything like her!” and I started laughing, too.
“It’s not that,” still laughing. “It’s just so preposterous that she would be here in Downtown at all.”
But let’s be honest, I really don’t look anything like this lady:
IYG (If You Go): Catch a St. Thomas coaster from the Downtown park. Drop in Morant Bay. Cost: $250 Jamaican. Negotiate for a taxi to Bath. If you don’t mind a walk up the road to the springs, ask to be dropped at the Botanical Gardens. Cost: $190 Jamaica (it will cost you an addition $150 to be driven all the way to the springs).
Local spot, bathing in the mineral water and river: Free, no charge. Local massage: “Whatever your heart tells you.” I recommend letting them know how much money you have for massage (i.e. how much you’re willing to pay) and they’ll treat you accordingly. $200 Jamaican would be about 5 minutes, $1000 Jamaican would probably be the whole package.