May 25, 2012
Friday morning at Jubilation, after a refreshing saltwater bath in the sea water swimming pool at Jakes, after a classic Jamaican breakfast of ackee and saltfish, dumplings and callalloo, after laughter and ease of being among my entire family here with me for the first time (which involves explaining to people how come my son has become this man-like creature with big feet), I joined a teaming group of freshly awake writers and journalists chattering among themselves.
For many of them who arrived at Jakes in the middle of the night, the brilliance of the sea, the incredible green of the vegetation, and the endearing earthiness and whimsy of the architecture of this resort, was something of surprise.
We headed along the rocky main road beside the resort to a fisherman's beach head to board motored fishing boats that would take us on the choppy waters of the South Coast, first to the Pelican Bar, an edifice made of driftwood, coconut tree fronds and anything that will help this rugged waterhole planted on a spit a coupe of miles out at sea from washing away.
Along the way, dolphins obliged with their presence--four moving in the synchronized manner of such creatures as one would sea in films. So far so good. We had promised the writers that they would sea three things: a) A bar in the middle of the ocean that is not on a boat, b) dolphins, and c) crocodiles. Even to the Jamaican writers the likelihood of seeing dolphins--real dolphins--seemed quite low. But there it was. The first riddle was solved: a bar teeming with giddy Red Stripe drinking tourists and authors in the middle of the sea. And then on the choppy waters, the second appeared with casual grace--dolphins, moving close to the boats. In about half an hour, somewhere at the mouth of the Black River as it poured into the sea, on a raft of still green tree trunks tied together by tendrils of mangrove roots, rested the sculpted prehistoric amazement of a crocodile--a massive creature. At first the writers laughed at the wonderful joke of showing them a piece of art instead of the real thing. And then, as if insulted by the suggestion, the glorious creature moved with that sluggish ease of such creatures, towards the edge of the raft and the made the slow dive into the water, displaying the full violence of its massive body, and gorgeously jeweled tail. Screams, yells, laughter, shock! Three down. The rest as they say was brawta.
This is what happens at a literary festival that is committed to creating a sense of community among the writers.
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