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When you think of Jamaica you think of jerk chicken, jerk pork, oxtail, rice and peas and the many colourful and delicious Jamaican meals guaranteed to tantalize the palate. Fine dining to delicious Italian...


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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Gustav, The Aftermath

Click on image to enlarge

It's a nice bright sunny morning here in Kingston today, well, apart from intermittent showers. Quiet a drastic contrast it is compared to yesterday morning when rain pelted the island and wind lashed violently. From the comfort of my apartment it seemed things were not too bad at all, I only had to contend with a little water trying to infiltrate my apartment under my door. However, I was quite amazed at the destruction then Tropical Storm Gustav wreaked across the island! It was a rather rude awakening when I sat down to watch the news on both TVJ and CVM, as the reported wide scale flooding, landslides, destroyed canals and roadways, damaged and destroyed houses, stranded people and last but not least, loss of lives. If a tropical storm did so much, I don't even want to imagine what would happened if Gustav hit us at Hurricane strength! Hopefully we can recover from this blow quickly, and I guess we can still count our blessings as it could be worse.

Gustav is now a little distance away form our neighbor the Cayman islands and now stronger than ever at Cat 3 with 120 mph winds! It is now on on a track to Cuba as it gains more power from the warm Caribbean Sea. Hopefully our friends in the Cayman islands didn't fare to badly as Gustav hit at about a Cat 2. All eyes are on Gustav still, as it certainly has captured every one's attention since its birth and rapid growth couples with its ever increasing strength. The northern tip of Cuba is next and then it will have it's eyes set on the United States south coast. Even if Cuba weakens this system, it has ample time and fuel to regain its strength and get even stronger when it enters the warm Gulf of Mexico.

I have seen that some of my fellow Jamaican bloggers made it through the storm pretty OK. I am hoping to hear from the rest and also from our Cayman bloggers. I actually went in to work on Friday evening until this morning, wasn't too bad as most things were accounted for by the previous team, but mi want fi sleep yah now! Hope all is well with everyone.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Gustav "Eyes" Jamaica! Update 1

Well as far as I can guess based on where I am, tropical storm Gustav has not affected us here in Jamaica as Dean did last year. I only experienced short bursts of strong gusty winds starting at about 3:00 pm. This did not last long or seem to have done much damage here in the Kingston metropolitan area. As I type this post outside is basically still, however we have been experiencing constant rain starting from about 5:30 pm. despite the relative calm here in Kingston, there have been reports on the news the eastern and southeastern side of the island has been experiencing strong winds and heavy rains. There have also been houses that have lost their roofs and some have been blown down. Below are some videos I captured on my Stunnercam.

Effects of Gustav on Kingston at approximately 4:00pm

Effects of Gustav on Kingston at approximately 7:30pm

Stay safe everyone who is in the eye of the storm.

Gustav "Eyes" Jamaica!

"I just saw the latest projected path. I'm no meteorologist but I doubt the fishermen will even have to come ashore." - Gussie, Wed Aug 27, 03:50:00 PM

A thousand pardons for underestimating you earlier. Please look favourably on our little island and keep the huffing and puffing to a minimum..." - Gussie, Thu Aug 28, 08:21:00 AM

Well, that seems to have been the change in reaction of most Jamaicans to the radical, abrupt and totally unexpected turn tropical storm Gustav made. What seemed to have been a walk in the park with Gustav going north of Jamaica and only delivering some rain to the island has certainly changed! Gustav after been weakened by Haiti from a Cat 1 hurricane to a tropical storm has strengthened to a strong tropical storm and almost at hurricane strength, clocking 70 mph at 10:00am today. It has also changed direction and has lined up Jamaica real good! I seems we will be in for a rough evening and night as Gustav unleash it's fury on Jamaica. It's already cloudy here in Jamaica and there have been a few showers of rain thus far, signaling the definate approach of the impending storm.

I have my water and a couple of tin foods, not a lot though. I haven't battened down the glass piece in my window, but it should be ok though. I am going to get a few candles from my friend shortly , who has a whole box.So I am pretty much prepared for a tropical storm or Cat 1 hurricane. I will be home during this hurricane, and thus at the mercy of the power outages that may be caused by the storm or maybe hurricane. But I will try to post updates periodically during the storm so those outside of the rock can know what's going on. All my Jamaican peeps, stay safe during the storm and the Cayman peeps stay prepared!

Oh just another news flash! There is now another named tropical storm in the Atlantic, called Hanna! I will keep an eye on that too after the passing of Gustav.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Hurricane Watch!

Once again we are in the active part of the Atlantic Hurricane Season and it certainly is proving to be more active than earlier in the season. Fay skimmed us a few days ago amidst our Olympic fever. However, there is a new threat, Gustav which has strengthen from a tropical depression to a category 1 hurricane in just 2 days. To keep you all up to date with the progression of the hurricane, I have posed below live feeds to track the hurricane. I have included satellite images from two weather websites so you can get updates from more than one source all in one place.

National Weather Serivce
Hopefully this one misses us and doesn't do too much damage to our neighbouring islands.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Usain Bolt Celebrates Early ... Very Early

My coworker emailed this video to me today, which is a comical remake of Usain Bolt's 100 meter Olympic record. I found it quite funny, even they are poking fun at Bolt. But I guess we have to have laugh sometimes even of such great moments. Hope you like it.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Gold Rush Continues!!!

Once again, the bird nest Stadium shakes with excitement and great track performances! I know it seems all I have been posting about is the Olympics. But I just can help it! how could I contain the jubilant feeling I have inside when I witness the Jamaica team capture one medal after the next especially the well envied goal medal!

Early yesterday morning local time Veronica Campbell-Brown certainly delivered a great performance as she raced to victory in the women's 200 meter finals and claiming the gold medal. She ran through the race powerfully and confidently from start to finish and it certainly paid off! Congratulations to Veronica Campbell Brown on winning the 200 meter sprint in 21.74 seconds and making her country even more proud!

This morning was no different from yesterday as I was just as filled with anticipation and excitement as yesterday or maybe even more. I am sure the entire Jamaica was feeling the same way. Why? It was the finals for both the female 100 meter relays and the men's 100 meter relays! i was on my way to work when the female race began, as some unknown anomaly messed with my alarm and I got up later than I should. I was looking forward to seeing another historic victory, to see Jamaica take home the gold once again. However, this was not to be, as I listened with horror when I heard that the Jamaica female team dropped the baton. My heart and no doubt the hearts of the entire Jamaican population sank when they witnessed this disappointment. This was indeed a great disappointment as we were all looking for another great gold. Nevertheless, I am still proud of the women, despite this mishap, they all still put on a great show and made our country proud in other events. Such is life, you win some, you loose some.

By the time I arrived at the office and gobbled down some breakfast, the excitement had already started to build, despite the earlier disappointment. Everyone was rearing to go as it was time for the 100 meter male relays. This was a promising race with the biggest track stars on the Jamaica team, the two fastest men in the world, Asafa and Bolt. We all kept our fingers crossed and prayed for safe baton changes, the speed of the athletes in the race was not of much concern as we knew they could deliver on that. Everyone was on their mark with the athletes, and the room was filled with noise as the gun went off, we were all shouting, cheering and beating the table as this will have to be the race to redeem our earlier emotions. Our men relay team certainly delivered and avenged the fate of the female team as the blasted through the finish line, claiming the gold medal and setting a new world record of 37.10 seconds! Congratulations to the men's 4x100 team on an amazing victory! I must also extent congrats to the Trinidad and Tobago team who fished second to claim the silver medal. the entire Caribbean must be feeling proud right now!

This has been such an exciting and record breaking Olympics for Jamaica and it is not yet over as, we still have a few more events to go. Hopefully we can do well in these event's and continue on our Gold rush!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

"Bolt"s of Lightning Strikes China Again!

Who said lightning doesn’t strike the same place twice? Well that legend was certainly proved false today when a Bolt of lightning struck Beijing this morning; wait… what is that I hear? Beijing was struck twice today? Yes the Jamaica team awed the Bird Nest Stadium with not one, but two brilliant, record breaking wins. Bolt unmistakably and phenomenally claimed the gold medal for the men’s 200m, while shortly after Melaine Walker gracefully, yet powerfully took the gold for the women’s 400m hurdles!

My office was evacuated at approximately 9:18am when everyone moved to the lunchroom, as it was time for the big race. The real big man, Usain Bolt was ready to claim what is his. The tension was high, not because we were nervous for him to win, but because we just wanted to see history in the making. As predicted and expected, Usain Bolt delivered an exciting performance as he shattered the current 200m world record setting a new record of 19.30 and claiming yet another gold medal. Congrats to Usain Bolt for setting yet another record, getting another Gold and making Jamaica and the Caribbean proud.

The contingent shortly gathered again in the lunchroom with bubbling excitement for the women’s 400m hurdles. And exciting it was! Not to be outdone, another female of from the Jamaica team comfortably claimed her Olympic goal as she sprinted away from her competitors. Melaine Walker displayed true determination with each jump of the hurdles to set a new Olympic record for the women’s 400m hurdles and the coveted gold medal. Congrats to Melaine on this achievement and making her nation proud.

Jamaica certainly celebrated these historic victories today all over. Reports are that Half Way Tree in the city of Kingston and St. Andrew came to a standstill today, with several vehicles stopped in their tracks and scores of people swarmed the road to watch the race on the huge screen erected across from the Transport Centre. I drove through Half Way Tree late in the morning and the support and pride of the Jamaican people was clearly evident. If I had invested in Jamaica flags before the Olympics I would have been a rich man by now. Never have I seen so many vehicles and people sporting the Jamaica flag, big or small they were blowing in the wind everywhere. There were several people seen selling flags along the roadway, and some of them were surrounded by mobs of people trying to purchase a flag. Jamaica is certainly a proud and happy nation at this moment as our athletes represent this tiny island wonderfully on the world scene.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Females Dominate 100!

Once again our Jamaican athletes made a memorable event that will be imprinted in the books of history, but this time for our strong female sprinters. Following closely on the ultimate victory of Ussain Bolt, our three 100m female finalists demonstrated total domination the event in an unprecedented way by being the first team in the history of the Olympics to claim one Gold and not only one Silver medal, but two Silver medals!

I must say congrats to Shelly-Ann Fraser for snatching the Gold and her compatriots Sherone Simpson and Kerron Stewart who held on to the historic double silver medal when they both crossed the finish line in second place. There in no doubt that Beijing and the entire Olympic audience is in shock and possible cardiac arrest after seeing the performance of Bolt and these three female champions.

It was such a wonderful sight to see all three women crossing the finish line claiming the much-coveted top positions. This was even further amplified at the awards ceremony when two Jamaican flags were raised and only one national anthem rang out in the immense stadium. Our athletes have made not only Jamaica proud so far, but the entire Caribbean community who celebrate with the victories of it’s individual islands. As I said in my last post and I will say it again, “More interesting days ahead as our athletes pursue Olympic Gold!”

Saturday, August 16, 2008

A "Bolt" of Lightning Strikes Beijing!

I know that several bloggers have already posted about this, but how could I not join in the throng of proud bloggers in saluting such a remarkable, record breaking performance, finely executed by Usain Bolt?

This was definitely a well anticipated race as it featured the 100m world record holder and Usain Bolt, former 100m record holder Asafa Powell! As I watch the poised athletes, shoot out from from behind the starting line, a "Bolt" of lightning struck the tracks in the "Bird Nest" stadium in Beijing China, stunning the competing athletes and every singe spectator that stared in amazement! Usain Bold, sprinted like no one has ever sprinted before and snatched the 100m Gold record and smashing his own 100m world record that dethroned fellow athlete Asafa Powell with a bewildering 9.69 seconds.

The world breaking record was amazing but what was even more fascinating was the fact that Bolt slowed down and started to celebrate his victory from approximately the 80m mark! What the hell! can you imagine what the record would have been if he didn't ease up? Usain certainly could have never gotten a better last name, Bolt!

I am, however, disappointed with the performance of Asafa Powell, not because he didn't win, but because he didn't even medal. I was looking forward to seeing at least a Gold and Silver for this race. This is just like a rerun of his past performance in the last 100m Olympic final. It seems Asafa, even with his amazing speed, cannot outrun the power of his mind. And thus suffered greatly for this in the last Olympics and this one.

This race belongs to Usain Bolt, who made his country proud by winning the 100m Gold and breaking the world record once again. More interesting days ahead as our athletes pursue Olympic Gold!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Back from Foreign!

Yes my friends, as indicated by the song above, my tour in "Foreign" has come to an end and I'm back on Jamaican soil. Isn't it so fascinating how much time flies when you are on vacation and having fun? Now I'm back on the rock and with not even a second to spare as I am back on the daily grind for Backra Massa bright and early Saturday morning.

My Flight down wasn't too bad, where time was concerned. I had a connecting flight at Montego Bay and I experienced only an overall delay of about one and a half hours. The flight from New York to Montego Bay was operated by North American Airlines, an let me tell you I have never flown on a plane that made so many scary noises! I staying far from dem old plane deh! I even experienced some serious turbulence that spilled about a quarter of my coffee and mimosa! One thing I have noticed though from my flights on North American and Delta Airlines is that their pilots don't fly as gently as our Air Jamaica pilots. Maybe it's just my imagination, but those pilots rough wid the landing. An Air Jamaica "loyal" passenger like me not used to such rough treatment.

Anyway I have work in the morning suh m nah tarry!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Back in the Big Apple from the Sunshine State

My week in Florida came to an end on Wednesday when I headed back to the Big Apple New York! However, I did have a great last few days in Florida, which added a high note to my Florida trip. Here is the recap.

Saturday Cookout
On Saturday, the family decided to have a cookout as apart from me, my sis and my nephew, my other aunt and her son was also there as well as other relatives. So we had a grand cookout, with barbecue chicken and spare ribs, potato salad, rice and peas, garden salad, corn, well you get the picture. Well of course you do, they are posted below. Let me just state for the record, "I have gained over five pounds thus far!"

Independence Show
On Sunday I was off to West palm Beach, to attend a Jamaican Independence show, that was put on by an active Jamaican diaspora group in Florida. The air was abuzz with the chatter of Jamaicans from all over, punctuated with American accents every so often. There were stalls all over that featured various Jamaican dishes to tantalize the appetite. I had myself some fried fish, with escoveitch sauce, festival and some cool Red Stripe beer to wash it down. Then it was time for the stage show, which featured some local upcoming artistes from Florida. But this was just an interlude to the real acts for the night, which included the likes of Wayne Wonder and Freddie McGreggor. Below is a part of Wayne Wonder's performance that I recorded on my camera from some distance away. Hope you can enjoy it.

More Shopping!
Ever couple of days, I went to a mall or two to browse though and also to get some of the items I had on my list. I didn't do a whole lot of shopping, but I did manage to get a few shirts and a jeans on sale, as well as a Sketchers slippers on a clearance sale.

Game Shark!
On Tuesday, the day before I departed I was treated to a night at Dave and Buster! I was like a big excited kid, as I explored wide-eyed, playing game after game, after game, after game! Car race, bike race, ski race, shooting games and even an interactive boxing game, you name it, I play it! It was totally fun for me, as I have never been to a game place of this magnitude, with these types of game before. I guess, one can't get to old for the kid inside!

So that was it in a nutshell, and now I'm back in New York trying to soak up the last week of my vacation. If only life could be a vacation [sigh].

Following up on my previous post, the entertainment industry has suffered another loss within a day of Bernie Mac's death with the passing of Isaac Hayes.

A cultural icon like Isaac Hayes will be missed.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Bernie Mac Takes His Final Bow

Bernie Mac October 5, 1957 - August 9, 2008

I was going to post a recap of my trip to Florida, but as I was in the process of doing the finishing touches I heard the sad news. Well known comedian and Actor Bernie Mac has died at the age of 50 due to complications caused by pneumonia, for which he was recently hospitalized. Bernie Mac has risen to become a very significant comedian and actor since his early debut on Def Comedy Jam, c0-staring in many big box office movies such as Charlie's Angels, Transformers, Oceans Eleven and Oceans Thirteen. He is also known for his popular television sitcom The Bernie Mac Show, which happens to be one of my favorite television shows. No more Bernie Mac show, damn that's hard to swallow. His great talent and funny personality will be greatly missed.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Jamaica at 46!

Today Jamaica celebrates it's 46th year of Independence from British Rule. It is good to have reached 46 years as a independent, sovereign nation. However, I am not so big on Jamaica's Independence. Don't get me wrong, I am proud of my country and do feel a sense of patriotism as do most Jamaicans. However, based on the current state of our country and the developments it has made since gaining independence I often wonder if... well think I might have been a better country if we were still a dependent of Britain.

Since independence Jamaica has seem to have one bout of turmoil after the other and has despite the many achievements, have been caught in a tailspin and a downward spiral that cannot seem to stop. We are one of the worse Caribbean country economically, we have a very high rate of illiteracy and very few professionally trained people in our dwindling work force, and of course on of the highest crime rate in the region (and the world). Our countries infrastructure, legal system and political guidance is much less than to be desired for the most part.

We have the examples of other islands that did not seek independence, such as Cayman, and they are doing a whole lot better that our country! They have facilities close to a first world country like the United States and their citizens enjoy certain luxuries most Jamaicans only dream of. On the other hand though, there are other Caribbean islands that have gained their independence, but have been successful and has escaped the quagmire that we have succumbed to. A good example of such it Barbados, which has one of the strongest economy in the Caribbean.

This makes one wonder, what is the problem with Jamaica? Why did we fail? Maybe we were not ready for independence at the time we got it. Maybe the leaders where not ready or did not have the experience and knowledge needed to lead a successful post independent Jamaica. maybe our leaders of the charter to have an independent Jamaica had other selfish motives. Whatever the reason is, the fact still remains that we gained our independence 46 years ago and our country is no where close to being a truly successful independent nation.

It is good to have your own, unique flag, your own anthem, your own national symbols and o govern ourselves. However, despite the many achievements post independent Jamaica has to boast, we are still in a very bad position. Jamaica is a country that has been blessed with so many resources, best coffee, bauxite, reggae music and has such a strong presence in the world, there is no way our country should be in the state that it is in.

The government leaders, business people and every Jamaican, yes all of us need to take 46 seriously and take the steps to make our 46 years of independence count. We are a great nation with awesome power, but it seems we just do not know how to use it to better ourselves. Hopefully the ones we elect can enact policies and strategies to make our country more successful. Hopefully our business leaders will contribute more to the countries development instead of only thinking to fatten their pockets. Hopefully every Jamaican will change their mindset to one that will better themselves, exhibit pride in their nation and make a positive contribution to the development of Jamaica. Hopefully, Jamaica will do better and be a stronger country when 47 comes. Have a great independence Jamaicans both home and abroad!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

From NY to FL

So as mentioned in my previous post my trip was to New York and I in fact was I New York. However, as I type this post I am near Fort Lauderdale in Florida! How could this be you may ask? Is Stunner on a our of the US? Well, it seems my family had schemed behind my back and planned a surprise trip to Florida to spend a week at my Aunts House here in Florida.

This is really my fist time to Florida even though I have been to the US ons several occasions. It's pretty differen from New York. A lot of palm trees and lakes, not as much high rise buildings and of course much better looking houses that the monstrosity they call houses in New York. My aunt lives right on a lake, so I am exposed to all kinds of wild life, fish, dragonflies, birds, ducks, toads and even iguanas! I have taken a few pictures but it seems during my absentmindedness, I forgot my camera cable when I was packing to come up from Jamaica. But don't worry I will share those photos with you.

Well I'm off, enjoy your weekend, especially those who are at ATI or RTI, whatever the name is!