Friday, August 29, 2008

Gusty Gustav

So many people including myself got tricked by tropical storm Gustav. At some point in time it shifted from passing north of Jamaica to passing over the dead center of our island. I knew about it but it seemed fairly disorganized for me to be that concerned about it so I went to work Thursday morning as usual. There wasn't much to do there so I was back home by 1pm and started to prepare for the storm.. yes, shame on me for waiting until then to prepare. I had enough tin food from last year so the only thing left was for me to collect some water and cover my stuff with plastic.

As the storm penetrated our little island I watched the news coverage on TV as people called in and reported fires on the power transmission poles, downed power lines and strong gusts of winds. I looked around and noticed I possibly subconsciously arranged what I now dub my 'MacGyver' survival kit on the edge of my pool table. These are items that have probably been all over my apartment for months but now a swiss army knife, 2 lighters, a paper clip, a serrated pocket knife and a $1 coin found them self together. I didn't have a flashlight but I had hundreds of little tea candles that would have provided me with continuous light for weeks if power went away. Was I really prepared?

One thing for sure work had me prepared (supposedly). Before I left work yesterday my boss gave me a so I can work from home if my dsl went or the dialup server died.. how thoughtful. When I reached home I pulled out my laptop and saw a flaw in their plan, my pcmia slot was broken(thats how I received my laptop from them). How could I have forgotten about that? anyway power never went away and I was glad. Everybody who called me told me they didn't have power or water. Up until I went to bed at 2am I had power, water, cable and internet service. I also noticed that there was about 2 feet of water on the main road that was now a river. That was very disturbing but I was high and mostly dry in the ghetto penthouse.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The real parade

This float here was titled the Olympic dream and it was probably the most appropriate float in the parade given Jamaica's performance in the 100m sprints thus far, 2 golds, 2 silvers and lots of records broken/created. I don't need to get much further into this matter as I see pretty much every other Jamaican in the blog sphere has covered it already. We have nothing on China or Phelps winnings but as a small nation we have done pretty well for our self.

Enough olympics chit chat, it was now 2pm on Independence day and I was heading down to Halfway tree to see if I could catch the parade with real people in there.

This was quite the opposite of what I saw earlier in the morning, I thought the promoters where fluffing the numbers when they said 2000+ people would participate in the parade and they did not fail to deliver. It was baking out in the midday heat and yet still there were thousands of people lining the side of the road watching the parade.

They also mentioned a classic and sport car section of the parade. I am not quite sure what this has to do with Jamaica's independence but the people love them some classic cars. Can someone please explain how so many VW bugs made it to the parade? They may be classic but not classy enough to be parade worthy. There was also an unmodified 3000GT in the line up, really now.. maybe I could have entered my civic Vi-RS into the parade as well since they taking every Tom Dick and Harry. At the end of the parade there was also around 30+ bikers on sports bikes just revving their engines. I was at a lost as to their significance in this parade. I guess the promoters where trying to ensure they captured every ones attention. Bikers always seem like a trip to the ER waiting to happen to me.

I think the people in costume depicting various aspects of Jamaican history was the best part of the parade. Those man/donkey people took the cake. Do you see the guy with the Hasselblad camera roaming the streets? maybe not, the picture is too small, but he is the camera guy right behind the red gold and green flag man, if you took a peep over at their website their low budget camera starts at $18,000.. lets just leave it at that.

Then there was the passa passa float that you might have seen from my last post and in true passa passa road side pool party style they had the blow up pool and girls in it. Passa passa seems to have really taken off internationally, to di werl' in true Jamaican style, so I guess it does have some place in the parade. Thanks TG.

The parade had passed, I was sweaty, my memory card was full so I was just following the crowd trying to make my way back to where I parked when I saw a bunch of people looking up and taking pictures. It was Bruce(PM) and his team perched up in a building across from the clock tower. Nice parade Bruce and Olivia, I would have toned it down a bit and spent the countries money on infrastructure improvement though. *clicks tongue*

Independence day '08

This was a few weeks ago on August 6th, so yah I know I'm a bit late but as usual I have been bogged down with other things. Tropical storm Fay passed by Jamaica this weekend leaving me in my house with lots of time to edit photos so you can thank her for this post.

Anyway for Independence day I heard there was supposed to be a few street parades. The first one started at 10am just down the road from me so I saddled up and went down to TGIF to see a handful of people also waiting for the "parade" to start. First of all, as expected, they started in Jamaican time which means for us punctual people we had to wait an hour before the first float started to move, we all sat there wondering if we came late and missed the parade. The next issue was the missing music and the missing people. When the floats started to move they were empty and there was no music. I'll let the photos show how lame the first parade was.

After I had seen enough and was about to leave a guy stopped me and gave me his story. He just came back to Jamaica, was waiting on the barber to open, didn't know anything of a parade hence left his camera at home and would like me to email him the pictures. I found it odd for him to give me such a detailed story but as you can tell from my previous posts I think it's pretty much a given for people to stop me about some photography issue whenever I venture out into public with my camera these days. So guy, I apologize for the delay but here is the first set of the photos.

One thing to note. If you look carefully at the make a joyful noise float you can clearly see that it is church themed. What blows my mind is the back section with the ghost looking wacky waiving inflatable arm flailing tube man that is surrounded by white rum bottles pouring into the float. Bad sponsorship.. float faux paux.

Stay tuned I already have the pictures ready from the real parade later on that day for my next post that should be ready shortly.