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"Walk Good" by Rolly Reimer

November 12th, 2002

Today we are featuring the second book written by one of our Negril online community members, Rolly Reimer! The book links can be found in our Jamaican Marketplace, Things To Do and Classified Ads sections. Give them a click! ‘Walk Good’ is an adventure travel story chronicling the experiences of the author in Negril, Jamaica. It’s an escape to the sunny beaches, the seas and the mountain back roads of the island. The culture of the island, including the food, the music, a smattering of history and the character of the people form the backdrop of the story. Join the author for a stay at the notorious Hedonism resort, an 'adult-only' adventure. Scuba dive in the crystal clear emerald waters of Negril, attend a mass nude wedding on the beach in Runaway Bay and take a trip to Bob Marley’s mausoleum in the high green hills of St Ann parish.

'Walk Good' can be ordered at:
Walk Good - Travels to Negril, Jamaica

Excerpt from 'Walk Good'

The Pickled Parrot

‘We run t'ings, tings noh run we.’
Jamaican Proverb

I creep tentatively to the edge of the cliff, my toes clutching mightily at the rough cement pathway. There's a circular platform at the edge of the drop-off. I crouch down and lean forward to peer over the precipice. Thirty-five feet below is the sparkling blue Caribbean.

It looks more than thirty-five feet to me, much more. The water is crystal clear and I can see down to the sandy bottom another twenty feet below the surface. When the height of the cliff is added to the depth of the water and my six feet are thrown in, I’m looking sixty feet straight down, but even from this height the water looks so very inviting, and in spite of the slight vertigo that I’m feeling, I really do want to jump.

It’s calm today. The sun, high in a cloudless sky, massages my shoulders, already brown from weeks under its hot gaze, with familiar, comfortable heat. I look through the spangles of sunlight sliding over the surface of the water to the bottom. It’s mostly light colored sand, broken by the occasional darker patch of eelgrass and the pink of coral heads.

I’m standing on the cliff diving platform at The Pickled Parrot; a restaurant nestled in the belly of Pirate’s Cove in Negril, Jamaica. Amy and I had come here to swim, have a few Caribbean cocktails and catch the sunset. The Pickled Parrot is our number one, all-time-favorite spot for watching Negril’s glorious sunsets.

I retreat a step from the drop-off, turn and, for the third time, read the cautionary sign propped against the seaward-facing wall of the thatch covered, gazebo style restaurant-bar. In bold white lettering on a bright red background it proclaims;

Pickled Parrot

I recall the words of the young rope swing attendant when I asked him about jumping off the cliff. “Keep yu feet togedder,” he said (I had already thought of that). “Hit de water feet first,” he told me, “doan belly flop or yu split yu belly wide open.” Not exactly words of encouragement but it’s nice to know what you’re getting into.

I look across the cove to the diving platform at the Pirates Cave, another cliff-side restaurant about one hundred yards away. The drop there is forty feet. A young Jamaican man executes a perfect swan dive from the platform. He knifes into the water with hardly a splash. A few seconds later he bobs to the surface, lets out a war cry and gives his dreads a shake. It looks easy enough from here.

Except on days when the water is too rough, which are few and far between in this nook of paradise, there are always a few tourists who dare to jump the cliff. It's fun and provides a sideshow for the patrons of the restaurant. There’s a rope swing too, and I’d done that quite a few times, bellowing like Tarzan as I arced out over the water. But the rope swing is situated on a lower terrace and the drop doesn’t look anywhere near as scary as does my present view from the cliff top. Two days ago Amy had finally gotten up enough nerve to go off the rope swing. She squealed when she let go of the rope, limbs flailing like propellers. She crashed into the water making a surprisingly big splash for someone her size. When she came back to the surface she was minus her bikini top.

Today we had watched several cliff jumpers, and as usual, every one of them survived the plunge. There was one kid, who looked to be about fifteen, who jumped. He took a long time out on the platform, but he finally did it. He survived too. It makes me wonder if the odds are for me or agin me. That’s how it all got started. After the kid surfaced I said, “If that young buck can do it, then so can I.”

"Go ahead Hon, jump! You’ll be fine,” Amy urged.

“Ahhh . . . not today, maybe next time,” I said, immediately regretting my comment about the kid.

“Oh, you always say that but you never jump! Go on, do it . . . I dare you!”

How many people have jumped, dived, climbed or otherwise gone to their ultimate demise as the result of a dare? Quite a few, I’d wager. And that’s how I ended up here, standing at the edge of a cliff thirty-five feet above the water. I peek back over the edge; the water is mesmerizing. I feel myself sway forward a little.

In my younger days I was a skydiver, an adrenaline junkie. I logged ninety-three minutes in free-fall before I packed my rig for the last time.

That was the day that a friend of mine, an experienced jumper, inexplicably delayed too long before opening her parachute. The lowest altitude that I jumped from was 2200 feet, the highest 13,000. This ‘little cliff’ is a mere 35 feet. Maybe it's the intervening years, or the lack of a comfy parachute strapped to my back, but this comparatively little jump is giving me a lot more pause than any skydive ever did.

I'm keenly aware that several people are watching me, waiting for me to take the plunge; I can feel their eyes on my back. I look over at Amy, sitting at a table under a thatched awning on a lower outcropping of cliff, camera in hand. She’s smiling tentatively, but I can tell she’s not entirely sure about this either. I shrug my shoulders and put my hands out to my sides, as if to ask her final permission. She nods and brings the camera up. The photo may come in handy when we present our case to the medical insurance adjuster.

It’s now or never, but in fact I was committed the moment I stepped up to the plate. I would never live it down if I backed out now. Foolish male bravado!

I look up from the water and out to the horizon, it’s easier that way. I take a big gulping breath and squeeze my nose shut with one hand; with the other I reach down and cup my ‘boys’.

I hesitate a moment, then move my right foot out over open space, and push off with my left . . . .

End of Excerpt

Daily Music News: The Negril Entertainment Network is ready for the Wednesday webcasts and chats at noon from Fun Holiday and at sunset from 3-Dives. Then it is back for another fun webcast and chat from the Jammin' in the Jungle party on Friday night and Sunday morning webcast with the Overtakers at Selina's Coffee Bar and Eatery! For the most current music news, keep checking here, the Shows & Events listing and our new NEN (Negril Entertainment Network) page located in our Entertainment section! As always, you can check the Negril Message Board for more information about the live webcasts and chats! As the time for each live NEN event approaches, check for details on the Negril Message Board and the new NEN section. This will guide you through the procedure to join in the live web cast and chat in the Negril Chat Room. To make it to the Negril Message Board click on the Main Menu above or below and then look for the Negril Message Board link!

At 10:10pm - bass off in the distance... The temperature is 86° F, 30° C.

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