West Indies

Life, Travel, West Indies

Trench Town, Jamaica and the Symbol of One Love.

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 A Dreadly Rockin’ Morning in Trench Town, Jamaica, was written after an inspiring visit to the iconic urban ghetto in Kingston, Jamaica. The story was first published on The Expeditioner travel website on the 20th of February, 2016.


Reggae music pulses from inside the compound as wafts of marijuana smoke float skywards under the blazing morning sun. The enormous sign, painted in the Rastafarian colors red, green and gold outside the gate at 6-8 Lower First Street reads, “Welcome. Trench Town Culture Yard. Birthplace of Jamaica’s Legacies.” It stands alongside a huge black and white portrait of the late Robert “Bob” Nesta Marley O.M., the acclaimed Jamaican-born rock star who took reggae to the world.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect the morning I ventured into the heart of Trench Town in Kingston, Jamaica. Since the late 1960’s (in the aftermath of Jamaica gaining independence from Britain in 1962), this poverty-stricken area of West Kingston has maintained a reputation as a dangerous, crime-ridden neighborhood. For much of the last half of the 20th Century, politically motivated violence between militant gangs aligned to rival parties — the JLP (Jamaica Labour Party) and the PNP (People’s National Party) — left urban Kingston reeling. Some guidebooks still warn against visiting. Though things have improved and shootings are less common, it’s still one of the Jamaican capital’s poorest neighborhoods, worlds away from the beachfront resorts that lure most visitors to the tropical Caribbean island.

But lured I was on a recent odyssey through spellbinding Jamaica, compelled to pay tribute to the place that inspired many of the world’s great reggae artists. In the bleak, violent reality of ghetto life, the Trench Town community fostered pockets of incredible creativity and spirituality. And it was here, in this hotspot of humanity, where opportunities to lift oneself out of the zinc-fenced yards were almost non-existent, that reggae and its musical predecessors rocksteady and ska were born.

To read the full story go to http://www.theexpeditioner.com/feature-articles/A-Dreadly-Rockin-Morning-in-Trench-Town-Jamaica.

Cricket, Travel, West Indies

Sabina Park, Kingston, Jamaica. 13th June, 2015.

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Marvellous Effort That!

In a comical tribute to the late great Richie Benaud, who passed away earlier this year on the 10th of April, 2015, Australian fans turned up to day 3 of the Second Test match against West Indies dressed as the much loved cricketing icon. The question is… were they wearing the cream, the bone, the white, the off-white, the ivory or the beige?

Cricket, Travel, West Indies

C’mon Aussie C’mon, Dominica, West Indies.



Call me crazy but…put me on a tropical island with the promise of test cricket and I truly do find heaven. So when the stars aligned in 2015 for some cricket watching West Indian style on the islands of Dominica and Jamaica, all that was left to do was pack the bags and start dreaming of Zen.

The First Test began at Windsor Park in Roseau, Dominica on the 3rd of June. After two absorbing days of cricket viewed from the stands, having seen the Australian bowling line up of Johnson, Starc, Hazelwood and Lyon dismiss the West Indies for 148 before tea on the first day, and thirty-five year Adam Voges steady the visitors first innings to become the twentieth Australian to score a test century on debut, my two young boys requested a change of scenery on day three. “Please take us to the hill mummy. It looks really fun there. We want to go to the hill. Come on, let’s go, pleeeaaasse mummy,” they both implored.

So off I traipsed to the rickety makeshift ticket office outside the ground to purchase additional tickets for an afternoon on the hill under the blazing Caribbean sun. And thanks to the good natured, kind hearted fun loving Australians we met soon after, that’s when the fun really started.

Within a few minutes our cricket bat was spotted and seconds later a ball appeared. Before we knew it some of the guys from The Fanatics touring party and eight of their jovial tag-a-long mates, dressed by the way in delightful green and gold mini-dresses and matching yellow headbands, had surrounded the kids for an impromptu game of cricket.

Chaos ensued as these friendly, good natured, beer drinking Aussies proceeded to embrace and entertain my two young boys for the rest of the afternoon. When they weren’t playing cricket on the hill, they carried the boys on their shoulders, danced with them, included them in everything they did and went out of their way to make sure they were having the time of their life! My seven year old later declared it the most fun he’d ever had!

At one point they staged a hilarious mock wedding with a ‘bride’ and a groom called Gravy, named after the well known West Indies cricket fan from Antigua called Gravy.

For those of us actually watching the game…the cricket was absorbing as the experienced Marlon Samuels, 74, and debutant Shane Dowrich, 70, fought hard for West Indies in the second innings putting on a solid partnership and for a while it looked like the game might go into a fourth day. But West Indies again capitulated losing their last seven wickets for 35 runs, setting Australia just 47 runs to win the test. Enter David Warner who belted 28 in the blink of an eye as we cheered Australia to an emphatic victory late on the third day.

Cricket, Life, Travel

Submerged beneath the turquoise water. Barbados, West Indies.


And so finally I returned. On a pilgrimage of sorts. To the small Caribbean island nation of Barbados. I wondered whether the sense of belonging that overwhelmed me sixteen years ago, the first time I visited, would again take hold. For years I had carried within my heart incredible memories of my first trip to Barbados, when I was twenty-six and alone in the world. Inexplicably back then it felt like I’d come home.

Midway through May, 2015, I found my way back. To the same little strip of beach on the south coast of the island, at a place called Worthing, in the parish of Christchurch. From my balcony I stood mesmerized by the sparkling Atlantic. Ever-changing shades of turquoise and blue like a colour swatch card made purely of water. Overtaken by a strong magnetic pull to be submerged beneath the warm tropical water; akin to the pull of an infant to the breast. An energy source crucial for survival.

If I listen closely to my heart’s desire, time and again it leads me to the water’s edge. In his landmark book, Blue Mind: the Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do, the American marine biologist, Wallace J. Nichols, describes the human – water connection as, “A mildly meditative state characterised by calm, peacefulness, unity, and a sense of happiness and satisfaction with life in the moment.”

There are many other things that bond me to Barbados. For a start we both share a deep love of cricket. And though the West Indies team is not the great cricketing force they once were, cricket is still a popular national pass-time. Historically cricket represents so more than just a sport. As the great Antiguan cricketer Sir Vivian Richards once told me, “…cricket is more like a religion than a sport.” When West Indies teams of the past were unbeatable, the spirits of the entire region lifted. (more…)