Tripping in Covid-19 Times…

I was super tired of the lockdown measures, I felt as if I was going crazy literally. I decided to book a villa for the Easter holidays, I kept having to change the dates because BroGad (Minister Holness) was constantly adjusting the lockdown timetable. Turns out I wasn’t the only one going cray-cray; I soon had a little group tagging along.

The Airbnb was located 3 hours away, no way were we going to drive non-stop. The first “rest stop” was Buff Bay to check out the jerk man but the food wasn’t ready.

Rest stop # 2 Port Antonio square – Buy groceries and a failed attempt at using the ATMs which had mile long lines. Turns out the parish of Portland is grossly under-served by ATMs. The last ATM was at Buff Bay and the other one was in Manchioneal (which was out-of-service). Bikini Beach located on the Errol Flynn Park property was closed.

Next stop, Blackrock Jamaica, an Airbnb located mid-way between Boston Bay and Fair Prospect, got to admit at this point it felt as if we were in wild-wild west country. We toured the extensive property that was almost empty, just one (1) other guest then went to find some hot food.

View of coastline from the Villa property

We found a cook shop that sold okay food and drove to the Long Bay Beach to eat and chill.

The next day we hit Winnifred Beach and River which was technically closed and then drove back to Reach River; the locals had recommended, “Jump Off” for the river-lovers in the group. Reach Falls was shockingly open to the public.

We were starving, at Winnifred the fish was being caught, I was not gonna eat the jerk from Boston Bay because business is slow and last time the meat was ‘touch’. It was not until we got to the town square at Manchioneal that we were able to get cold food at a mini-mart. Covid-19 really put a damper on things, we never once passed a soup man, a jerk pan or somebody cooking fish and we were right on the coast! Our host told us that if you wanted a warm meal this side of the island someone had to invite you into their home- that’s how scarce food spots were. It reminded me of my tour up the Rio Grande Valley, hungriness buck.

Day two saw us stopping by San San, a private beach which was closed, before we went to Frenchman’s Cove ($1,000 for admission). We were finally fed properly at Frenchman’s restaurant and boy did we gorge ourselves on taste-good, hot food. I did not go in the water much at Frenchman as the sea was very rough and the river icy cold and deep (no thanks). The property was very nice, we probably would have stayed the day if it didn’t start getting crowded after 12 noon. Beaches and rivers should’ve even be open to the public.

With well fed tummies we started the drive back home but not before stopping at my favorite little spot and introducing it to friends. It was night when we left and we still couldn’t buy jerk because all now we can’t get to use a ATM, cash really is king.

Tripping in covid times can be stressing and that’s not the intended feeling you want, so no impromptu trips and plan the heck out of any you intend to go on, unless its a hotel stay. Outside might open up but some places may still be closed. Do your research before you head out, minimize the nasty surprises.

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