This was a trip which I had a lot of time to plan and dream about before going. In 2007 I became interested in an eco-lodge in St. Thomas which I found on a website called worldstogethertravel. Later the same people behind that site posted some videos on Youtube (thebirney) of their friend and guide who takes in guests, a rasta named Mokko.
I hung out and read all the forums on jamaica, negril.com. jamaicaholics, jamaica.com, here, etc seeking all I could on the runnings down there. It was very engrossing! Eventually I found marcline.com, a site gosted then by the poster "browning". She and her boyfriend visited different parts of Jamaica several times, and because they are superb photographers, they were able to document it on their website and in various forums like this one.
They eventually encountered this Mokko rasta and his place in St. Thomas, and I enjoyed reading about their trips around the island with him.
I was going to fly to Jamaica and stay at Mikuzi guesthouse near Winnifred Beach for a week, and then spend a week at Zion guesthouse in Manchioneal - both places are in Portland. Then the rasta Mokko popped up again on my radar when I came across the pilot for a rasta cooking show on Youtube, starring, you guessed it...
I was intrigued with the idea of staying at this guy's yard in the John Crow mountains, but a little uncertain at the idea of being so isolated.
So I phoned up the director and asked him about how he got to Mokko's place and so on, then got passed on to another person, an American woman who sometimes stays with Mokko too, and got her advice, which was to just call Mokko and get the vibe. I did and ended up flying into Kingston. I called Mokko the night before and asked him to meet me at the airport with a cab.
We flew down, a middle-aged couple, and as Jamaicans strangers often reminded us in the street, we were one white man, one Hindu woman..."Hey, Whitey! India!"
We got through Customs - "Sunninghill? Where is that? The middle of nowhere?" "It's near Bath."
We rsisted changing money inside the airport - terrible rates.
Outside in the blinding sun the rasta was waiting for us at the front doors with his painted Riverside Roots Cottages sign and dreads down to his ankles. He was getting a lot of looks from the assembled other jamaicans waiting outside. He hugged my girl hello with a bg smile and fist bumped me and we followed him to the cab, and we got our introduction to Jamaica and Jamaican driving. It was exciting.
About an hour and a half later, after following the twisty coast road east to Morant Bay through some amazing sights and colourful third world scenery, we dismounted in the Parish capital of St Thomas, just in time for Friday market day. It was absolutely perfect. We were the only outsiders and tourists of any kind. We ate a great meal in a little unmarked cottage restaurant (someone's house) beside the market, bought a few things at the supermarket next door, and then we drove for another 45 minutes up into the mountains to Mokko's yard in Sunninghill.Edited: 7:17 pm, July 18, 2013