The Calabash International Literary Festival 2016 is set in its usual venue, the aptly named Treasure Beach, a collective name for a string of five fishing bays to the south of Kingston Jamaica in the parish of St Elizabeth, where approximately 3,000 people call home.
It appears a much lesser number as you enter though.
The scene is quaint and so bloody relaxing!
Breezes so volatile and intrusive invade your room, swirling curtains and small fixtures as you fight not give in to sleep. The place is uniquely rural Caribbean with a proliferation of guest houses strung along the winding road which needs repaving.
But that is alright.
I am staying at the Nuestra Casa, a guest house owned and operated by an Englishman Roger, an adventurer in his own right. He built this house for his mother when she retired and coincided with his work at the university in the late 80s. It’s a beautiful house with walls adorned with lots of rootsy art pieces and unvarnished teak louvres and furniture. Adjoining my room is a truncated balcony with a table and two chairs that beckon me to have that gin and tonic that soothes and delights with each sip.
As I write, It has begun to rain and the pitter patter of the rain falling from the rafters to the ground is blended with the drone of the rain on the galvanize roof. Just magical!
Described as an industrious rural fishing community, the villages, and the aggregated communities blend as one for Calabash and extend open arms to an influx of writers, teachers, and poets, would be writers, and members of the literary world who religiously descend on Treasure Beach for each staging of the Calabash Festival.
There was a welcome buffet dinner at Jakes last night.
We were told that the restaurant is a named after a parrot. A Rastafarian who crooned like Maxi Priest while displaying his versatility playing the sax while singing many popular reggae songs, accompanied by a drummer caressing the skins of his African drums, provided entertainment. Jakes opens onto the sea front and the wash of breaking waves combined with Jamaican cuisine of pepperpot, grilled Mahi Mahi, black beans, fresh salad, sweet potato pie and soft breadfruit, topped off with bread pudding and ice cream, made for a splendid first night.
The festival begins in earnest at 7.00 p.m. tonight.