Subject: Jamaica travel
I thought I'd say a few words about traveling in Jamaica since I got no response when asking about that before my trip there last week. I gather no one's been to Jamaica??

Anyway, following my husband's 2-week stint with Global Volunteers in the village of Mount Vernon near Kingston to build a house and do some bridge repair work, I joined him for a drive around the island. Just about everyone who travels to Jamaica goes to the so-called exclusive resorts for the sea and sand, so we pretty much had the lush island to ourselves. We enjoyed the people, scenery and historic sites. Drivers lived up to their reputation and many of the roads were heavily pot-holed, but one quickly becomes adept at avoiding them. There are plenty of lovely places to stay along the way.

As you can imagine, we took every opportunity to sample the legendary jerked meat, the zany looking ackee fruit only edible when ripe and opened, and eat our fair share of the popular greens called callaloo. I was told that this is the amaranth plant (remember the Aztec's love of amaranth seed as both ordinary and sacrificial food?) but most sources I've found on the Net say it's leaves are from the taro plant. I'll need to pursue this further. We loved the fried cornmeal fritters called festivals and the great variety of them that were available. If particularly tasty, we took some to go! I also loved bammy, which is made from grated cassava. We spent one long morning over the breakfast table doing enough sampling that when we arrived late morning just to have a look around a most spectacular restaurant, formerly a plantation great house with much history, we were too full to enjoy the culinary delights we found there. So, I can only suggest to those of you heading to Mandeville that you go the historic Bloomfield Great House on an empty stomach! If you're lucky, the gracious Jamaican owner, Pamela Grant, will be on hand. The much-acclaimed restaurant sits up on top of Rocky Hill and commands an impressive view over the city. If you go, do report back on the food!

Joan Peterson