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St Ann, Jamaica

Back to my parish project which I’ve procrastinated on for some time now, knowing that St Ann would be my biggest one.  So moving east and clockwise from Trelawny, we hit the parish of St Ann.

What I’ve Learned in St Ann

I’ve basically learned everything I know about life in Jamaica in St Ann.  Okay I will break that down for you in the rest of this post but when I think of Ocho Rios, located in St Ann, I think about all the transformations that have taken place in my life because of Jamaica.  Stay with me here and just keep reading.

jamaica flower-  St Ann is located on the north coast of Jamaica and bordered by Trelawny, St Mary and St Catharine.  It is known as the garden parish and is home to the town of Ocho Rios.

–  First, I have learned that most foreigners call it St Ann’s which bugs me because that’s not what it’s called.  Call me OCD but there is a St Ann’s Bay within the parish of St Ann but that’s just a small town, not the entire parish.

–  I learned how to find a place to live in Jamaica in St Ann (Ocho Rios), how to get utility bills in my own name, how horrible customer service of those utility companies is, and how to stand in line for hours to pay those bills.

–  I learned there are a few people in Jamaica that I could trust 100% and I got the best neighbor on the planet when I got my apartment in Ochi.  I have also learned that the people I trusted 100% kind of fall back to about 50% over time (except my neighbor).

–  I learned how to drive in Jamaica, quite by accident.  For years I had wished I was brave enough to drive in Jamaica but felt too intimidated until one day….I had a bunch of foreign friends come down and one of them rented a car insisting I drive them around the island.  There was no turning back now so I just did it and it opened unlimited doors for me!  I also learned how to use mirrors while backing up LOL.  I had always been a shoulder-checking reverse girl until I noticed how stealth Jamaicans were at backing into tight places using only mirrors so I secretly practiced back home in Canada and now it’s second nature.

– I ran into my first (but not last) cow posse on the road near Golden Grove. I still wish I was quick enough to pull out my camera and capture this one because it was hilarious. That was two trips before I started traveling with a dash camera in my rental cars.

badman-  I learned my Canadian dog has a long lost brother in Steer Town, named BadMan.  I consider him MINE and there will still be a rescue mission to bring him back to Canada in his lifetime.  He is the best Jamaican relationship I’ve ever had.

–  I learned there is a Canadian woman on an endless mission to save all the suffering dogs in Jamaica and she needs support in the form of dollars, dog food and volunteer hours.  See The Animal House Jamaica.

–  I learned there IS in fact something beyond that big Noranda aluminum plant you see on the highway near Discovery Bay.  If you turn up the road like you’re driving into the plant itself you actually go through it and end up in a community.

–  I was a TV co-host in Browns Town!  That was one of the most random happenings ever.

–  After spending months at a time in Ocho Rios I learned the runnings of other people’s Jamaican boyfriends.  Truly fascinating.

–  One of the most important skills I learned in St Ann is how to live and fit in as a local.  I fought for a respected spot in my community and I won.  I can’t say I’ve won island-wide yet but definitely in St Ann, and it’s spreading to other areas.

–  I discovered Fire Water, banana spiders and 40 Legs.  AND the best fried chicken on the island.

–  I had lunch with four random police men originally against my will but it eventually turned into a little game.  They pulled up in a jeep while I was sitting on a restaurant patio alone and took it upon themselves to saunter on over – helmets and machine guns in tote – and have a seat with me.  After the little encounter and a few number exchanges they were on their way again.  I will never forget that because a table full of first-time Jamaica tourists were sitting nearby and after the officers got up and left one of the tourists came over to ask if I was okay LOL.  I guessed that perhaps they’d never seen police in riot gear and machine guns while on vacation before.

–  I learned how to file my first police report at the Ocho Rios police station, and deal with the aftermath of a motor vehicle accident involving a private rental car.  It is serious (scary and intimidating) business and I don’t recommend private rentals anymore because of that one incident….unless you have lots of cash in the bank….which I didn’t.  Great reason #1 to become friends with police officers when you get the chance LOL.

–  I have learned that my heart ultimately resides in St Ann, however St Elizabeth is running a close second lately except that I’ll never find a Pizza Hut in the south.

I could never cover EVERYTHING I’ve learned about this parish because I’ve spent so much time there that time has actually escaped me.  But those are some of the things (in a nutshell) that stand out in my mind as I write.  I know there are TONS of you who are Ochi lovers so go ahead and post in the comments below some of the things you’ve learned in St Ann.

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  1. Each point you made was a story in itself! Perhaps you need to add part 2 & 3 and elaborate on why Badman is the best Jamaican relationship you ever had and also why it takes so long to pay your bills? Do they not use Bpay? ha ha

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  2. wonderful, wonderful post!! i so enjoyed reading this!! i spent a few days between st mary & st ann (right on the border) but i think my heart is in port antonio for now lol. and kingston- i actually really love kingston. we’ll see if that changes. loved the police anecdote!!! :)

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  3. Thanks Marianna! And the police story is all true! I will never forget that afternoon LOL. They seem to love me there haha.

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  4. Naomi I actually elaborated on the bill paying in my book. Lining up in a gas station to pay bills is excruciating lol. And I could pay them online if I could get a bank account in Jamaica but that’s also more hassle than it’s worth.

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  5. enjoyed your story to the max!,thanks for sharing it Kristi!,one love

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  6. Thanks Shane! Glad you enjoyed!

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  7. I Love St.Ann parish as well, been there twice. I don’t know if it has a name, the beach directly beside Margaritaville where the local fisherman bring in and clean their catch of the day…it’s a busy place in the morning with locals buying there fish and enjoying an amazing breakfast.. I would Enjoy my coffee, curry goat, fried dumplings and calilloo for breakfast with the cool morning air watching the men clean the fish, this was my all time favorite place to be in the mornings. I stayed in Eltham a small community outside of Ochi and every second day we went early to start are day there and of course bring home omlette fish to cook later!!

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  8. Vera that beach is actually called Fishermans beach. I used to spend a ton of time there when I first discovered it too. Cool spot.

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  9. Oh LOL of course it would be Hee hee…well It really was a favorite spot of mine, so busy in the morning however a peaceful easy feel. I met so many great people there and of course for me the Best coffee in all of a matter of fact I was hard pressed to find better coffee anywhere else on the island, as we toured all but St. Thomas and I’m a coffee fan so I tried it everywhere I went…followed by plenty of run Looolllll

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  10. You sound like me with fried chicken lol. I need to try it everywhere on the island.
    Yea Fishermans beach is a neat place to watch all that goes on and the food is fabulous. My favorite was chunks and beans at one little cook shop (Andrews I think), and the saltfish fritters that Chino used to fry up on the beach.
    There’s a little bar down there right on the water too that I used to ALWAYS hang out at. The owner passed away a few years ago and the spot hasn’t been the same since. Good memories.

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  11. LOL Kristi. I love all the many comments on fried chicken in Jamaica!! I don’t know the name of the place we always got our breakfast from but it had an large eating area & TV in the corner LOL I just love watching all the rushing here & there, the fisherman carrying there catch of the day! Oh now I need to try chunks & beans! Never did try them…So next trip for Sure :D

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  12. The place you’re describing sounds like Andrew’s place. The stream runs behind it right? THAT is the place that serves chunks and beans – you need to try it.

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  13. That’s it! I was going to mention the stream, coffee in hand watch the water flow to the ocean, like I mentioned earlier I found it so peaceful even though it was loud & busy! :D I also love this juice it’s pinkish red & made with a blend of guava & other fruits, it’s so delicious & refreshing I’ve never had anything like it. I would buy it from Andrews place as well. I’m so pleased you knew the name of the spot I love that, Thanks!

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