Negril, Jamaica: Day Four (Or, Royal Palm Reserve and Cool Spot)

I’m sorry, Internet. I haven’t been updating this blog nearly as much as I should. I can assure you it’s all for good reason, though. You’ll just have to take my word for it.

Anyway, where where did we leave off? Oh yes, Jamaica. On our fourth day, I enjoyed my requisite breakfast at Country Peppa before arranging for a ride to take me to the Royal Palm Reserve, a 300-acre site within the Negril Great Morass. The reserve boasts 114 plant species and 300 animal species, though it seemed most of the animals were hiding when we visited.

Royal Palm Reserve

Royal Palm Reserve

The sun was shining harder than usual during my walk around the grounds but the forest provided ample shade and I kept busy by trying to spot the alligator reputed to roam the reserve. Luckily for me, I didn’t find it, but I did see tons of birds and butterflies, including a duck species unique to the reserve that makes a chirp-like noise instead of quacking.

The ride back was full of more domesticated wildlife, or goats and cows to be exact. Baby goats are everywhere in the Negril countryside and I never got tired of seeing them. By the time I arrived back to my cottage, I was hungry, so I walked down Norman Manley Boulevard in search of conch. I had been wanting to try conch fritters or grilled conch since my arrival, but every restaurant or stand that I approached was out of supply by the time I’d asked.

I settled on a meal at Cool Spot, a beachside restaurant on Seven Mile Beach. Alas, they were out of grilled conch and conch fritters as well, so I ordered the only other conch on the menu: curry conch:

Curry Conch and Coleslaw

The conch was not very flavorful and the curry sauce was pretty average. Texturally, it was like calamari, but slightly thicker and softer. If nothing else, at least now I can say I’ve tried conch. The accompanying rice and peas, though, were well-prepared:

Rice and Peas

After our meal, I returned to the beach and observed a storm approaching. Instead of going indoors for cover, I took a dip in the ocean and really, I cannot emphasize how fun it is to wade in the (warm and calm) water in the middle of a rainstorm. (Can you imagine people doing the same in San Francisco’s freezing Pacific waters? Terrible idea.) The dark clouds that had approached in less than an hour were gone just as quickly, and I dried up just in time to enjoy a gorgeous sunset.

Sunset at Seven Mile Beach

All that hype you’ve heard about Caribbean sunsets? It’s true.

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