Christmas in Kingston

Happy holidays and seasons greeting to you and yours! As we wind down 2011, I hope you all take a moment to reflect on this year, the good and the bad and set your intentions for a prosperous 2012.

I was excited to spend my first Christmas in Kingston, my new temporary home for a bit. I’m finally shaking this sinus infection and starting to really enjoy the city. I spent Christmas Eve in the Christmas/Grand Market in LindsteadChristmas Day at Hellshire Beach and the day after Christmas in Portmore stuffing my face! I fell into a food induced coma and missed Sting, but no complaints from me at all.

In the US on Christmas Eve, things shut down fairly early and those last minute Christmas shoppers are pretty much stuck if they haven’t found a gift by 6pm. But walking the streets of Half Way Tree in Kingston, things were just starting to get going. Vendors lined the streets selling everything from shoes to fresh vegetables, clothes and toys. DJs set up shop on the stoops of local business as the crowds continued to grow. I boarded the bus to Linstead via a connection in Spanish Town for a lot more of the same. Holiday goers flooded the streets with friends and family making it nearly impossible to pass. I headed home around 1 am, but I was told the festivities would continue well into the morning.

I grew up in southern GA and spent 3 years of my childhood in the Philippines, so for me it doesn’t have to snow to feel like Christmas. I actually prefer warmer temperatures. And if there is a beach involved, even better! I finally made my first trip to Hellshire Beach, just outside of Portmore. After some fun in the sun, I turned inside for my Christmas dinner, fried snapper, rice and peas, festival and veg.

The day after Christmas, I spent in Portmore with a friend’s family doing the traditional Christmas dinner. Lots of family and friends and great food! I swear I almost passed out when my plate was passed to me. It was 5 times bigger than I have ever attempted and everything was SOOOOOO good. I didn’t finish, but I sure did try and then the itis set in. One of the best parts was the homemade sorrel. I swear, I am addicted to this stuff and could drink it by the gallon!

On Thursday, December 29th, Jamaicans will head to the poles to vote for a new government. In the past, election time has been marked with lots of violence and blood shed, but luckily there have been no major incidents. I don’t have cable so I only catch glimpses of campaign commercials, debates and other commentary when I’m out and about. I’m still steering clear of wearing green or red/orange until after election excitement has died down, just in case.

I hope you all enjoyed your holiday and enjoy the final days in 2011. Stay tuned or subscribe here for more updates from Jamaica and more tips on how to make your travel dreams a reality.

Looking for a little inspiration for your NYE celebration? Check out Travel + Escape ‘s series on New Years celebrations around the world!