The Convergence Experience

The flight to the Ganges took a little over an hour on Alliance India. The flights were schedule according to groups, so we were the first to leave.
Three of the most beautiful ladies catered to us during the flight. We were fed a traditional breakfast of a wrap made out of rice served with a spicy bean gravy. It was awesome sauce.

We were taken by boat to the head of the river. What I thought would have been a long boat ended in a couple minutes. It was smooth sailing on this journey. The view, the sounds, the people, the birds, the music was electric. I was ready for what lay ahead.

 When we arrived, the scene was breathtaking. Thousands of persons from all over the world were gathered, to bathe in the Ganges and absorb what it represents. I put my feet in the water and washed my hands and face, just soaking in the spirituality and significance of where I was standing. It was a humbling experience and I was honored to be there.

Press Interview with Sania Biryaani

Kumbh Mela 2019

The staff of the beautiful Hotel Lemon Tree, welcomed us so warmly and as we got checked in we began greeting each other, we were then briefed and given our itineraries and ID’s.  
Illuminated artwork in the Lemon Tree hotel lobby

The delegates were divided into seven groups named after Indian rivers, Brahmputra, Ganga, Godavari, Kaveri, Narmada, Saraswati and Yamuna, I was placed in Godavari.

It is said that the flowing waters of these rivers are believed to acquire divine qualities because of their unique astrological planetary positions during the Kumbh period.

It was a tight schedule of activities, so we were told to get some rest after getting our packages and having dinner as the following day would be an early start with several stops throughout the day. Of course we didn’t listen as while we ate everyone got to know each other, both in our groups and otherwise.

In the briefing room

 Being assigned to our groups

Delegates from Guatemala and Morocco… And me

Delegates from Guyana, Indonesia, and Iraq… And me again 🙂

My official Kumbh Mela ID

Long Walk To Freedom

8 years……. That’s how long I’ve waited, to see the love of my life, Mark Myrie, aka Buju Banton, aka Gargamel.

I anticipated and was prepared for my “long walk” to the stadium, due the road closures for the event, and with the exception of a selected few, no one was allowed to park at the venue. I left my van and hopped into a route taxi with my brother and my friends, which dropped us close to the national stadium, where our journey started.

We got to the stadium around 2:00 pm, and I was not surprised to see hundreds of supporters at the gate, patiently waiting for it to open at 4. As time drew closer to 4, the hundreds grew to thousands, all wanting to get in to secure their seats before showtime at 8.

8:00 came, it was showtime.

There were performances from Wayne Wonder, Wayne Marshall, Gramps Morgan, Delly Ranx, Marcia Griffiths, LUST, Etana, Agent Sasco, Romain Virgo, Christopher Martin, Ghost, Chronixx, and Coco Tea, who brought on the new sensation Koffee to share a song with him. Everyone delivered stellar performances leading up to the reason for the evening.

Fans from Jamaica all over the world, filled the National Stadium for the “Long Walk to Freedom”. The stadium is built to seat approximately 30,000 persons comfortably… Approximately 40,000 persons were present. I do not think the stadium seen so many persons in attendance for an event.

There was a band and set change, the moment we’ve all been waiting for was just a few moments away. Elise Kelly (for the non-Jamaicans) an announcer on the reggae radio station Irie FM, walked out to begin introducing the man we all are now on our feet waiting to see.

The lights in the stadium went out, and all camera phone lights came on (including mine), all wanting to capture the moment. The crowd was ecstatic and the cheers echoed in the nearby communities of Mountain View. The spotlight came on and lit the center of the stage, which raised the decibel of the crowd even higher.

Buju Banton, slowly walked out dressed in a full white suit and stood at the mic, I couldn’t even scream, I just smiled and looked and recorded the moment we have waited for, 8 years, 6 months, 27 days, 13 hours, 5 minutes and 26 seconds.

The Long Walk to Freedom concert began and my heart was full to be among the many persons witnessing Buju’s return to the stage.

SUMFEST is next to BBC!!!

Chronixx skankin  sweet

Up close
The man of the moment.

Wayne Wonder and Buju

Untold Stories

Beres Hammond and Buju 

Gramps Morgan and Buju 

Performing Psalms 23

Destiny!

Welcome home Buju

Misty Bliss – Mountain Pleasures and Treasures

Misty Bliss held yearly in Holywell in the cool and misty Blue and John Crow mountains. It is Jamaica’s first national park, and one of our prominent natural areas. It was a special day, filled with arts, food, and entertain

ment.

Families and friends turned out in their numbers to indulge in what the day had to offer. Across the park were tents with an array of food items, from our national dish to fried fish, and ital “sip”, which is a meatless soup, indigenous to the Rastafarian faith.The art form ranged from handcrafted necklaces, bracelets and earrings to a live sketches done with charcoal by local artist Jeffrey Perry. His work was amazing.

Naturally, we couldn’t be in the Blue Mountains without mentioning coffee. There were various booths with the coffee in different forms, as well as coffee by-products, including chocolate covered coffee beans, which I’ve tried….Mmm hmm good!

The entertainment included the National Youth Orchestra of Jamaica, the Immaculate Conception High School’s Glee and Steel Band, just to name a few. The evening ended with a stellar performance from the Charles Town Maroon Drummers and Dancers which drew patrons closer to the main stage. It was a sight to behold; the the expressions of the drummers, the chants, and the melodious movements to the beat by the dancers.

The day lived up to it’s name, misty and cool weather, but it was bliss. 🙂

A must see for persons living or visiting Jamaica.

National Youth Orchestra of Jamaica 
Views
Immaculate Conception High Steel Band
Immaculate Conception High Glee Club
Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee
Saltfish fritters from one of the food vendors
All 4 Betta Children Drummers
Local  sketch artist Jeffrey Perry
Jeffrey in his element.
The Charles Town Maroon drummers preparing for their set
with a splash of white rum.
The drum
The singing
The dance
The move to the beat of the drum
All were welcomed
The dancing continued

The Land of Eternal Curry

All aboard!

My journeys continue to be Blessed. This time I traveled to Dehli India, to participate in the celebration of Kumbh Mela. 168 delegates from around the world were specially invited guests of the Government of India. Special thanks to the Jamaican Indian High Commission especially High Commissioner M Sevala Naik for affording me this awesome experience.

The Kumbh Mela (the festival of the sacred pitcher) is anchored in Hindi mythology. It is the largest public gathering and collective act of faith, anywhere in the world. Kumbh Mela draws tens of millions (yes millions), of pilgrims over the course of approximately 48 days to bathe at the sacred confluence of the three rivers, the Ganga, the Yamuna and the Sarasvati.

The Indian people I found to be very warm and inviting and open in sharing of their culture. I tried everything and it was spicy and full of flavour. I was surprised how chilly India was in the mornings and late evenings, always thought it was hot year round. The cool weather is of such until March.

The journey began with a 3 1/2  hour flight from Jamaica to JFK, then 13 hours from JFK to Dehli.  Needless to say, it was a day of flights, some turbulence here and there, but manageable. With 10 hours ahead of the local time, and a detailed itinerary of the next 5 days, India was ready for me, as I was ready for the new experience and meeting new people. A new country for 2019, Namaste…

New Friends…

Graduation

All’s well that ends well they say, and China did just that. Each day was an experience that I will forever treasure. The adventures, the food, the culture, the people; all moments worthwhile.

Three weeks passed so quickly and graduation day was here, and sadly a few hours after the ceremony we would all say good bye to each other. A bittersweet moment, but that wasn’t the last of us. I had the honor of being chosen to give the reflection and thank you on behalf of the group.

We haven’t lost touch, as we have a group on WhatsApp with all 57 of us from 17 different countries, easily one of the biggest groups i’m a part of. We share things Dahongmen, while updating everyone with what’s going on in our neck of the woods.

It’s been real China.

All 57 of us

Mr Lee (coordinator)

The Jamaican Team

My men from Turkey

My men from Cuba

Lights.. Camera… Action!

“Ok Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my closeup”… The famous line from the classic film noir Sunset Boulevard starring Gloria Swanson. Haven’t seen it yet? Then you should.

At NXTV in the Control Room

On our fourth, maybe fifth day, we were granted the opportunity to visit prominent TV and a radio stations in China. We visited NXTV where we toured the broadcast booths and control room. We also went in the studio and recorded ourselves on set.

Our takeover didn’t stop there, we went to CGTN, where we met news anchor Liu Xin, had a little chat with her on the news set, and took pictures.

We also visited an actual radio station, Zhingwei Travel Music FM. It is the only structural radio station in the province as most stations have adapted the online platform. They provide daily travel updates and plays various selections of music. We met and talked with radio personalities and were given a guided tour of the radio station. It’s along the same premise as local station KOOL 97 FM, where they provide flight updates daily, while engaging listeners with  timeless music selections, and informative programmes. Another awesome day in China.

In studio at NXTV

Liu Xin and I at CGTN
Jim and Yannick
behind the lens.
Selfie!
No we weren’t on air.

Desert Anyone?

Another fun filled day in China with new experiences, began the night before on a 14 hour train ride, which was interesting to say the least. The journey was not done when we arrived in Ningxia, on boarding our bus heading to the desert, on the journey, we danced and sang songs from the different countries to pass time on the 3 hour journey.
It was a scene out of an Aladdin move, Arabian nights, like Arabian days, it was just sand… sand… and more sand. Did I mention sand? It was beautiful.
We went horse back riding and we rode camels. My camel had an attitude, he wasn’t about that life, but after a little chat, we became besties.
We ended the day riding through the desert on an ATV. It was totally wicked!

Not everyone was adventurous enough to participate in the activities of this awesome sauce day.

My peeps!
Me and my new bestie
Horsie!
Ready…
Roll out!

I’m on the Wall!

Yes that was a click bait. No, not that wall – The Great Wall of China. Tick one off my bucket list.

Located in Huairou China, the wall started over 2000 years ago where dynasties such as Qing and Ming were integral it’s development. The wall spans along the east-to-west borders of northern China, made from stone, tamped earth, brick and other materials.

What was historically built to protect the Chinese state and empires against outside interference, has become the biggest tourist attraction in China.

The length of the wall is 21.19618 million meters and it’s also said that the wall can be seen from outer space. I’m yet to test that theory, but I when I get there I’ll let you know.

New adventure, new friends. 57 of us from around the world out of 17 countries climbed the Great Wall of China for the first time. We promised to complete it together, leaving no one behind. The scene was breathtaking, the walk was exhilarating, and in the end all laughter as we took pictures and danced at the top of the wall together. The group of us were participants in the Radio and Television Techniques course put on by CCTV. The wall was the first of many outings, when we were not in seminars.



The Journey begins…

My travel bucket list, contains places in my home country of Jamaica and around the world.

As a child I would imagine that one day I would stand on the Great Wall of China. I would read about the country and look at pictures of the wall, but never thought I would ever get there as it seemed worlds away from my little island home.

Always spoke it into being that I would get there one day but it was a dream. Well, that dream became a reality May 2018 when I traveled to Beijing China as part of a 17 country contingent to participate in the Radio and Television Techniques Course.

The 15 hour flight, although long and an experience in itself as I watched movies, read books and magazines, talked with fellow passengers, walked around the enormous China Air and slept, I look back at the journey and smile.

Stay tuned…

Me and Yannick from Jamaica.
%d bloggers like this: