December 3rd, 2007


Jamaica 1

Yes, we're just about to leave, and I really should have been blogging all along, but really, that's not all that much to tell. We write, we swim, we write, we talk about writing and books. We swim, we eat, we walk back and forth between the villa where most of us are staying and the little resort where I have a tiny cottage built out over the water. We write. Some of us avoid writing, but not for long. There's just too much writing-buzz, too many serious faces bent over computers (all but one a Mac of some kind), to be able to resist the urge.

It's very beautiful here. For the first time, I really understand the Tropical Color Scheme of salmon/peach pink and turquoise. At sunset, right when the sun is touching the perfectly flat sea, the crests of the ripples are just exactly that warm, golden, luminous pink, and the hollows are a deep blue-green. When you're looking at it, either from above or right down in it, as I did two nights ago, with the sky still and flat and the ocean restless and sparkling, it is almost unbearably solemn and grand. As soon as you take a picture of it, the colors flatten out, the prospect shrinks, the grandeur dwindles into cliche. It's beautiful, but it's a comprehensible beauty, bounded by the viewfinder. We've seen this postcard before.

Tonight, however, I saw something I've never seen before. I saw the Green Ray.

Really. Karen and Cecil saw it too: a little chartreuse flash just as the sun was about to disappear; a peridot perched for a heartbeat on the horizon. Of course someone Googled it, and discovered it was supposed to mean you'd marry well. In my case, it's a confirmation rather than a prediction.

I suppose you'll be wanting to know about the food. It's grand. The villa comes with a cook, who has put out breakfast and dinner for us every day. We said we wanted Jamaican food, and that's what we've been getting. This morning, for instance, we had salt fish and a vegetable that looks and tastes rather like scrambled eggs, plus calloo, a bitter green chopped fine, with onions. Dinner was lamb curry, with breadfruit and green bananas (rather mealy and taste-free to my tongue, but nice with the curry, which was very cinnamony). Saturday night we had jerk chicken--not nearly as interesting as the fish we had Friday, which Ellen bought off the fishing boat on Thursday when it pulled up on the beach below the villa.

My computer's about to run out of juice, and there's no place to plug it in out here. I'll post this, then charge up the old battery. I need to get away from the mosquitoes anyway. They're small, but they're fierce.