Cruise Cuisine – Jamaica

When one visits another country, it’s expected that you will look up local foods to try out. In Jamaica, that food would have to be jerked. Jerk chicken, goat, or conch matters not – you have to try something jerked at least once.

We only had one opportunity, and it turned out to be a good one. At the back end of the Shoppes at Rose Hall lies a large deck with a bar at the back end. That deck and bar offer some very tasty jerk indeed.

The jerk chicken was plentiful, served with a couple of corn fritters and some generously hot and flavorful sauce. My partner and I were able to enjoy not only the signature dish of Jamaica, but had the added bonus of washing down with a Red Stripe.

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We were able to explore the duty-free shops in the complex as well, most of them being typical of the tourist trade. There was a coffee house featuring Blue Mountain and High mountain coffees in both whole bean and ground varieties, several shops offering the gamut of tchotchkes from t-shirts to shot glasses, and the ever present round of jewelers.

One enterprising gentleman had a sidewalk display of wooden sculptures, two of which followed me home.

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There was a vendor of fresh coconut, which he hacked open for visitors with a machete.
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There were a few history lessons available.

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Of course there were several individuals sporting local color.

 

Jamaica is an amazing place, even from what little we were able to cram into a single days visit. There is so much more to see, and we hope to be able to go back again and again.

–Ann Cathey

Murdoch’s Bathhouse – Galveston, TX

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Murdoch’s as seen from Murdoch’s!

Bathhouse? As a matter of history, Murdoch’s was originally a bathhouse that rented bathing suits and provided showers for Island visitors. Built on the sand of the beach in the 1800s before the seawall was constructed.

Without the protection of a Seawall, the 1900 storm destroyed the bathhouse. Although the structure was rebuilt in 1901, the storms of 1909, 1915, and 2008 were so violent, that reconstruction was required after each. When Murdoch’s reopened in 1910, it had 542 rooms, 251 for women and 291 for men. The cost at the time to rent the bathroom services were 25 cents.

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Racks of conch and clam shells, that have been a Murdoch’s feature since at least the 1960s.

In spite of such storms, Galveston gets an excellent share of sunny days all through the year, but modern visitors are not all interested in getting sand between their toes. Murdoch’s is a full blown tourist trap full of all kinds of souvenirs, but it also has an outstanding spot to relax, have an beverage, and listen to the wind and waves.

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Grab a seat ad relax for a while.

Murdoch’s is a long-standing seawall tradition on the Island, offering seashells and toys, t-shirts and shorts, hats and sunshades, and tons of other cute, kitschy, brightly colored memories of your visit. The building is built out over the surf on piers, just as the original building had been back before Hurricane Ike. There are two entrances leading into wide, airy showrooms, connected by a long stretch that houses more gifts, a bar, and an outdoor covered porch. You can sit in one of the many rockers and simply be, watching tourists on the seawall side, or the waves and gulls and tankers all the way to the horizon.

DSC_0745It’s a great place to sit back and relax for a little while in between walking stretches of the seawall, or without having to fight off kids, sand, and overzealous seagulls.

DSC_0649Watch out the for the pigeons, though. As with pigeons anywhere, they beg. They also flock in the area around the building and net beneath it side by side with their seagoing cousins.

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The Pleasure Pier as seen from Murdoch’s.

Murdoch’s Bathhouse
2215 Seawall Blvd
Galveston, TX 77550
(409) 762-7478

— Ann Cathey