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Banana Shout Sunset

March 19th, 2000

This week we are resuming our Sunset of the Week - although this is has a twist! Today's page features another short excerpt from Mark Conklin's Banana Shout novel available at! To set the scene, Tavo, our hero, is taking his first walk up what was then the West End path - no road to speak of - at all! Here goes:

"As he walked, he was dumbstruck by the natural wonder of this stretch of coastline. Ocean caves thirty feet high meandered into limestone rock walls that undercut the dirt path. At their feet, coral reefs teeming with exotic sea life dotted crystal clear waters tinged every shade from blue to green. The cliff edges blazed with fiery red poinsettias and yellow-green coconut trees. The rich spectrum of colors produced a rainbow for his eyes.

Every half mile or so, he saw a local family's board shack or a seven feet by seven feet bamboo store that sold Red Stripe beer, canned goods, rice, and rum nestled in a palm grove. But they barely disturbed the natural beauty of the place. No cars or other vehicles passed him; the trail was too rough and where would they be going? There was nothing here. It looked like it would take a car more than twenty minutes to travel the three miles; there were so many deep ruts and holes along the way. He walked the entire length of the West End kicking up dust but found no compatriots or expatriates, no hippies, so he turned around and headed back.

A few locals walked or bicycled to the roundabout circle that marked the midpoint between the cliffs and the beach but they seemed shy, and didn't stop to talk to or show any special interest in him. His initial thought that Willie's Bar was the center of town was correct and in fact Willie's was town, so he headed for there thinking maybe it was a focal point might offer some personal contact. Willie also owned a grocery store directly across the street that sold the same dry goods and spirits as the little shacks, only in greater quantities and at somewhat reduced prices. The rest of the inventory consisted primarily of ketchup, tinned meat, sardines, salt mackerel, rice, and flour. The West End road separated these establishments. When it was dry, the dirt road sent up great puffs of dust, when the torrential rains fell, it turned to oozing mud.

When he reached the Wharf Club, he decided that even Ernest Hemingway wouldn't go in there, even if he were dying of thirst. But he was boiling hot, sweaty and thirsty, so he peeked inside saw that the interior was not as bad as its faded front and went in. The inside of Willie's bar was surprisingly dark and cool compared to the heat and glare of the day outside. The bar was a bamboo counter fifteen feet long behind which was stacked an assortment of cheap vodkas, rums, and garishly colored liquors. Hand-printed misspelled signs behind the bar amongst the clutter of liquor bottles read: NO BAD LANGAGE, NO SPITTING, NO IDDLERS, NO FITEING, NO CREDIT. "

Daily Music News: The Negril Entertainment Network will be taking a break on Sunday and Monday in order to get ready for Tuesday night performance of the Big Mountain/Luciano concert at Tropical Insanity! Be a part of the live webcast and Negril Chatroom by checking the Negril Message Board for the latest information on how to join in the fun! To make your way to the Negril Message Board click on the Main Menu above or below and then look for the Negril Message Board link!

At 10:31am - the sand highway starts... The temperature is 84° F, 29° C.

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