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Jamin News

Issue 8
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Ambergris Caye
Just the Facts

In the 1600’s British pirates roaming the Caribbean discovered an island tucked behind a barrier reef. It is believed that they used the island as a safe haven to hide out and stash their loot. They were also believed to be whalers and collected whale dung, called Ambergris, that washed up on the beaches. The oil from ambergris was shipped to Europe where it was highly valued for its use in making perfumes. They eventually left, but the name remained.

The island is 25 miles long, flat, composed of coral sand and is protected on the east by a living reef that extends 185 miles down the coast of Belize. It is a narrow island with a lagoon on the west. San Pedro Town is the only town on the island.

Temperatures range from 75-90 degrees in the day and is cooled by the trade winds off the Caribbean Sea. The rainy season is May to February, with most of that in the late afternoon and evening. The water temperature is always around 82 degrees.

The currency exchange rate is $1.00 US for $2.00 Belize. Prices are moderate.

Direct air connections to Belize City are available from San Antonio and Austin, with a travel time of around 2 1/2 hours.

Ocho Rios Jamaica

Since our last newsletter, we also made a trip to Ocho Rios, Jamaica, where we stayed at the Sandals all-inclusive resort. We normally don’t stay at all-inclusive resorts since we like to experience as many of the local restaurants as possible. But Jamaica is different from most other Caribbean islands in that the best cuisine is usually served at the resorts. Having spent a great deal of time all over Jamaica both on sailing trips from Grand Cayman and business trips, I also know that it’s generally unpleasant for the adventurous.

There is a saying in the Caribbean that the French are people you hate until you get to know them . Well the Jamaicans are a lot like the French. One on one they are the nicest people in the Caribbean but their reputation of a nation of higglers is deserved.

Higgling over price was once an interesting part of the Jamaican experience. I have spent many hours in the smoke filled huts on Negril Beach, the markets of Runaway Bay and Kingston, Mandeville and Boston Beach, talking and bargaining with Jamaicans. But on our trip to Dunne River Falls, we visited a market at the Falls and were accosted by higglers who now thrust goods into your hand and demand that you buy what you have touched and call you a fool for thrusting it back. As one who loves this country, I felt like screaming at these folks. Let It Be!. But it is not their nature to do so. It will take all of us not returning to this beautiful island for a while for "dem" to change.

The ultimate absurdity about what Jamaica has become is that, despite the impoverishment of its people, everything is expensive compared to any other island destination, except for the Cayman Islands where the people are more pleasant, the amenities are more luxurious, the diving is incomparable and the beaches and sea life are far superior. The only thing better in Jamaica is the natural beauty of the island and the food but that is changing and is not worth the trip. Get your Jerk at Jamin House Café.

Private Parties

With the opening of the new Jamin Too!, we are able to accommodate private functions of up to 120 people. With seating on the deck, we can accommodate up to 200 people. Smaller parties can reserve the bar area which seats up to 90. Sit-down or buffet dining is available along with facilities for speakers and musical performances. Please make reservations with Jane or Damon at 693-3979.


Issue 8
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Revised: March 04, 2014

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