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After corresponding for two years with Leroy and Amy it was great to finally meet them in person in Negril. We met on the day before the wedding at a beautiful cliff-side restaurant called Rick’s Cafe. After an evening of dinner and drinks, the party bus came and took us all back to the Rockhouse Resort. The party gathered again back by the pool…
The highlight of the evening was the Queh Queh ceremony (an old Guyana tradition) where everyone danced and sang songs in a circle around the bride and groom. Then the bride was taken away to a hiding place (which is easy to do at the Rockhouse since the place is like a maze anyway). Then everyone formed a long line behind the groom (still singing and dancing) and snaked around and around the area searching for the lost bride. And of course if she couldn’t be found then the wedding was off! Or so the tradition goes. I suppose in the old days this gave the bride one last chance to run for the hills! But Amy was in no mood to run and Leroy eventually found
her hiding in the shadows.
The wedding day had not a cloud in the sky and everything fell into place perfectly. Immediately after the ceremony we took some family group shots then did a couple shots of Amy & Leroy out on the cliffs with the sunset in the background. Amy was quite the trooper as Leroy and I helped her out across the razor sharp Coral rocks in her Jimmy Choo spike heels. I doubt Jimmy had that in mind when he designed those shoes. The shoes will never be the same but the light was so beautiful that I it was worth it.
The reception lasted far into the night. One of the most hilarious things I’ve ever seen in the several hundred weddings I’ve attended was the “dance-off” that took place very spontaneously between the local Jamaicans (the DJ and Rockhouse staff) and the Groom’s relatives from Guyana. Pictures simply don’t do justice to something as fast moving as this dance but I can tell you it was a RIOT! I haven’t laughed so hard in a long time.
As I was shooting table settings in the late evening, one of my 5D cameras (the one I’ve shot probably 200 weddings with) started making a funny noise when the shutter went off. When I held it over a table and took the lens off, the mirror fell out on the table! Yikes! I always bring two camera bodies so it wasn’t really a big deal. The next day I walked down the road looking for some super glue but the tiny little Jamaican stores in that area don’t carry too much in the way of glue – except for finger nail glue. Upon closer inspection, I realized this stuff was the same cyanoacrylate chemical as super glue so I took it back to my hotel room and glued the mirror back in place. It’s still going strong, but yes, I am overdue for a new camera body. Maybe I’ll convert this one to Infra Red.
Two days after the wedding (and barely recuperated from waaaay too much rum punch) Amy, Leroy and myself met up with my long time Jamaican friend Ricky, for a drive out into what I call “the real Jamaica.” We drove out to Roaring River where we swam in the river and got the royal tour from a very real Rasta. He chopped open fresh coconuts, pick local wild fruits and herbs, and even cooked us lunch in what was perhaps the most humble setting I’ve ever eaten anything. But the food and the Jungle and the swim in the river and the leisurely stroll through this humble pastoral village could not have possible been more filling both to our stomachs, and our souls.
More driving through the countryside and up into the hills along twisting bumpy rocky roads that would barely meet the standards of a goat trail in the US, finally brought us to a private bird sanctuary nestled back into the thick Jamaican jungle. We arrived late in the evening as the bird life was at it’s busiest. Strange calls floated out of the Jungle, and the strangest of them all was the high pitched twittering of the Doctor Bird, Jamaica’s national bird. Like Tinkerbell, this tiny creature seems so strange that it could easily have jumped right off the screen of a Disney movie. A tiny hummingbird that glows and sparkles iridescent green and blue as it rushes here and there on wings that twitter loudly sound as it darts through the thick tangle of forest branches. The iridescent green tail feathers split into a V and trail behind the tiny bird nearly a foot. So busy is it that most human activity goes completely ignored and it often passes so close that you can feel the wind from it’s tiny wings as it zooms past your face.
Leroy and Amy, I can’t thank you enough for inviting me to share in your Jamaican adventures.