Fort Charles, The Armour of Kingston

Greetings everyone,

There is something about living in a routine. Having a scheduled life. Day in and  day out, you do the same set of things or a pre-listed set of tasks. It keeps you organized and productive, but it can also lead to many missed adventures. Not to mention it is quite BORING!!!! Spontaneity is the spice of life. It keeps us energized and vitalized and it’s most definitely fun. To learn, to travel, to experience and to make lasting memories to quench your thirst and satisfy the insatiable appetite for life. My goal is to travel every nook and cranny of my beautiful island of Jamaica and to help find some fun yet relatively inexpensive ways to enjoy myself and create memories that last a lifetime. Later, I take on the world at large.

During high school, one of my favourite subjects to study was History. I loved to learn about the past of my country, region and the world. I had a thirst for knowledge that could be quenched once I knew as much as possibly about a particle era. Unfortunately, reading and experiencing are 2 different things. Like me, many persons have heard about historical sites in their country but have never ventured outside their normal routines to even visit it. Well that had to change.

A few years ago, I had an exchange student from Spain staying with me while he was on his medical elective. And one of the things he said to me which I actually found quite funny was that he didn’t think Port Royal really existed. He thought it was a made up place from Pirates of the Caribbean much like Gotham City in the batman cartoons, comics and movies. When he told me this I had to laugh. It seems that many persons in foreign countries really think it’s a mythical place rather than the place of rich history that resides on the island of Jamaica. Therefore, I think you know where I’m going with this. Our first stop in this Road Trip JA feature will be taking us to ……… dum dum dum…….. Port Royal, Jamaica. And for those of you who didn’t know PORT ROYAL REALLY EXISTS!!!!!

  
Let’s start off with a little history lesson. Originally colonized by the Spanish, but attacked and captured by the English in 1655, Port Royal was a prominent coastal community during Jamaica’s colonisation by the British. It was actually one of the richest places in the world of the time and one of the largest English towns. It was designed to serve as a defensive fortification, guarding the harbour entrance, and providing a platform for the easy loading and unloading of ships- large and small.

My friend Juan, the exchange student. Seeing is truly believing

However, it’s social milieu left much to be desired in the realm of morality. Because of its good natural harbor and key position, Port Royal quickly became a major haven for pirates and buccaneers, who were made welcome because of the need for defenders.  It was a place of criminals, pirates, concubines and rampaged by every demoralized person of the time. Or so they say. It was filled with gold and jewels from all over the world.

The Folly Playhouse

So whatever happened to it you ask? Why is Jamaica a third world country despite these periods of prosperity? Well apart from our poor management or rather the government’s poor management of our funds and our underdeveloped industries, there were a few earthquakes and much of Port Royal is now buried below sea level. The major earthquake which lead to the ultimate desolation of Port Royal was the one in 1692. Aha! So that’s what happened. Yes yes it did.

Fooling around in the Folly Playhouse

My friend Keyva. Can you say planking?

Today, Port Royal is a small coastal fishing village. It has retained very little of its previous structures, although some old buildings and artifacts are still intact. So if you’re a history lover or just a regular old traveller, then you should check it out. Rumour has it that much of the gold is still buried underwater, not that i’m sending anyone to go diving for treasure or anything.

For a more detailed history, check out these sites: History LessonHistory Lesson 2History Lesson 3
We ended up visiting Fort Charles, a re-erected structure originally called Fort Cromwell. It serves as an official heritage site with a museum, restaurant, a gift shop and my favourite the Folly Playhouse wheee!!! (you’ll soon see why). The official opening hours for you travel lovers are Sunday to Saturday 9:00 am – 4: 45 pm and it’s closed on holidays. There is an entry fee of $400 for Jamaicans and it’s $20 US I think for foreigners I’m not too sure but you’ll have to check it out. I personally think it’s a little costly, though not really expensive but we aren’t really doing much rather than walking around and looking at a few artifacts but I think it is worth the trip to learn a little more about Jamaica’s history. It’s better to go as a group though much more fun.

Captivated by the view

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