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Free Science Events in Toronto for August 2015

July 30, 2015 | Jeannette | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

The Science and Technology Department of North York Central Library compiles a monthly calendar of free science and applied science events in Toronto. Applied science includes health, gardening, pets and food; all subjects found in the department's collection. Here is the August calendar (PDF).

August's highlights include:

The Toronto Public Library also offers many free science and applied science events:

At the library, August's highlights include:

  • August 1 & 2: Maker Festival, at Toronto Reference Library. Two days of discovery, experimentation and innovation. Learn more about 3D printing, wearable technology, robotics, woodworking and more.
  • August 4: Garden Club, at S. Walter Stewart branch. For teens 13 - 18. Get your hands dirty and plant, grow and maintain the library's new flower garden.
  • August 21: Play with... 3D Selfies, at Fort York branch. Learn how to create 3D self-portraits using our Xbox Kinect scanner and software. Get a 3D scan of yourself that can be saved and printed using a 3D printer later on.
  • August 22: Easy Homemade Baby Food, at York Woods branch. Participants will learn how and what to feed their babies in the first year. Learn how to introduce solids, how to make baby food at home and proper storage.
  • August 26: Project Animal Farm: An Investigator's True Story, at Brentwood branch. Author, Sonia Faruqi will discuss her experiences investigating animal farms around the world. She will offer a riveting and revealing look at what truly happens behind farm doors and she will describe the impacts of factory farms on animal welfare, human health and the environment.

Can't attend a program or want to read more about the topics covered? Try some of these titles:

The life and love of cats  Health and healing after traumatic brain injury  ROM field guide to butterflies of Ontario   The big book of maker skills

Everyday garden solutions  3D printing  The amazing make-ahead baby food book  Project animal farm

Starry starry nights

July 24, 2015 | Carolyn | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

In summer I love to look at the night sky, and the Perseid meteor shower in August is, for me, the highlight of the season. Don't take my word for it; here's what NASA has to say: "The Perseids, which peak during mid-August, are considered to be the best meteor shower of the year. With very fast and bright meteors, Perseids frequently leave long "wakes" of light and color behind them as they streak through the Earth's atmosphere." 

Snowy Range Perseids Meteor Shower, courtesy of David Kingman via a Creative Commons Licence

 Snowy Range Perseids Meteor Shower
Photo courtesy of David Kingman via Creative Commons Licence

Meteor showers occur several times every year when the earth passes through bands of comet debris. This year should be especially good for viewing the Perseids because the crescent moon won't brighten the sky.

Getting away from urban light pollution enhances the stargazing experience. Dark sky sites are light-restricted areas where it's easier for visitors to appreciate the wonders of the night sky.

I love meteor showers because I can see them without a telescope. You don't need any equipment to look at sky at night, but using binoculars or a telescope will let you observe objects in more detail.

This year, for the first time, I'm going to see the night sky from the southern hemisphere. I figured I might need a little help getting oriented to a new skyscape and, of course, there's an app for that. Actually, there are many apps. This article was helpful when I was choosing a night sky app for my iPad; for Android users this advice might be useful.

If you're interested in learning more about astronomy, you can meet fellow stargazers, ask questions, and learn about equipment at local events and meetups. And of course resources are available at your local library:  

The Beginner's Observing Guide: an introduction to the night sky for the novice stargazer

 

 

Magazines for amateur astronomers are available in many libraries, or through our website: 

August 2015 - Sky & Telescope ASY150801  
     

 

This Month in Music History: One of the Greatest Songs of All Time

July 17, 2015 | Maureen | Comments (4) Facebook Twitter More...

Bob Dylan
This image is in the public domain
There are songs that demand we crank up the volume when they come on the radio. There are songs that make you drop whatever you’re doing, songs you give yourself up to completely. Bob Dylan’s Like a rolling stone is one of those songs. You can’t resist singing along, but not in the way you’d sing Kumbaya or This little light of mine. This song sounds like anger, confrontation, challenge, contempt. It could be the sing-along song for the enraged. It should have been included on the recordings that Voyager 1 and 2 are carrying out to the stars as messages for extraterrestrials. Physicist Stephen Hawking suspects that extraterrestrials would conquer and colonize us if they discovered our existence, but if they heard the searing in-your-face intensity of this song they'd turn their invasion fleet around and find some other planet to mess with. With all due respect to Chuck Berry, the cheery rock song Johnny B. Goode (also on the Voyager recordings) sure wouldn’t scare off those bug eyed monsters. 

Like a rolling stone was released on July 20, 1965. It was a watershed moment in music history. Defying the song length convention of commercial radio (three minutes or less), the song was more than six minutes long and like nothing anyone had heard before. The two drum beats that begin the song “sounded like somebody kicked open the door to your mind” Bruce Springsteen said, when he was inducting Dylan into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Mysterious lines of poetry burned through radio speakers to the sound of an improvised organ riff and Mike Bloomfield’s lead guitar: You used to ride on a chrome horse with your diplomat / Who carried on his shoulder a Siamese cat. Who was the diplomat? Who was Napoleon in rags? Who was Miss Lonely?

Dylan performed the song for the first time at the Newport Folk Festival, on July 25, 1965, shocking some members of the audience by bringing a band on stage for his three song set. Some die hard folkies felt betrayed when the poster boy of their movement, who'd penned the folk anthem Blowin' in the wind, went electric. Some people in the audience booed. Myths have grown around this infamous rock and roll performance, including the oft repeated story of Pete Seeger, a beloved patriarch of folk music, threatening to sever Dylan’s electric current with an ax. You can see footage of Dylan’s performance at Newport in Martin Scorsese’s documentary on Dylan, No direction home.

A few years ago, Rolling Stone magazine put together a list of the 500 greatest songs of all time. Like a rolling stone was number one.

The Toronto Public Library collects sheet music for your use. Would you like to know how to play Like a rolling stone and other Bob Dylan songs? The two books below can help.

The Best of Bob Dylan The best of Bob Dylan. (sheet music, including Like a rolling stone, All along the watchtower, Forever young, If not for you, Blowin' in the wind, Tangled up in blue.
  The best of Bob Dylan chord songbook. (sheet music, including Like a rolling stone, All along the watchtower, Subterranean homesick blues, My back pages, Mr. tambourine man.
Bob Dylan Chord Songbook

 

Highway 61 revisited The basement tapes - complete
CD. Highway 61 revisited opens with Like a rolling stone. Set of 6 CDs.
 No direction home  Bob Dylan Don’t look back
DVD. Directed by Martin Scorsese. DVD. Critically acclaimed documentary directed by D. A. Pennebaker.
Dylan Goes Electric Like a rolling stone - Bob Dylan at the crossroads Chronicles Bob Dylan Another side of Bob Dylan

If you want to know more about Stephen Hawking's chilling thoughts on extraterrestrials, watch this DVD:

Into the universe with Stephen Hawking

Summer 2015 Travels Part 2: Beautiful Lisboa Portugal!

July 6, 2015 | Emoke | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...

 

Lisboa
Lisboa, Portugal

My second vacation of the summer took me to Portugal's dynamic and beautiful capital, Lisbon. Being a librarian and all, I went well prepared with notes I had prepared, icluding an itinerary after having read through one of the Society And Recreation Department's (North York Central Library- 3rd floor) travel guides, Fodor's Travel- Portugal.

 

During my two-week stay there, I had the privilege to alternate between city days and day trips to historic towns and beach resort towns.

Some of the most beautiful ocean cliff views can be seen in Portugal. One happy accident had me taking a ferry ride across the Rio Tejo to a city called Almada, where we had the most delicious seafood rice dish (Arroz de Marisco) and then took a walk to an elevator lift that takes you to a cliff-side bar looking over the ocean and providing an incredible view of Lisbon on the other side.

Portugal is not the typical European destination to visit, but once you visit, it is as if you have discovered a hidden travel secret. For it has pretty much everything I can think of when imagining a perfect vacation. It has beautiful city life and great shopping (leather sandals and antique jewelry particularly stand out), delicious food (succulent seafood dishes and the traditional pastry, Pastel de nata with espresso), warm weather, beautiful beaches (which can be reached by a very efficient public transportation system in under an hour). In terms of the arts, what really stood out for me was the architecture and jewelry design.

Just on my trip alone, I visited at least a handful of palaces, castles and towers, on day trips to Queluz (National Palace of Queluz), Sintra (which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site) (National Palace of Sintra, Park and Palace of Pena), and Lisbon itself (Castelo de S. Jorge- National Monument) and in Santa Maria de Belém, the Belém Tower, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Some of the great beaches seen were: Guincho (where a James Bond film was filmed in 1969), Cascais, and Estoril.

The city of Lisbon really stands out with its cobblestone and tile- patterned ground, intricate monuments and buildings, and orange-red roofed housetops. Any view of the city is quite impressive, as you see the ocean in the background, a beautiful bride across the Rio Tejo, and the characteristic red- roofed homes.

Lisbon is also great to get lost in its winding streets, full of unique Portuguese shopping and seafood restaurants, and not to mention the countless bakeries and coffee shops as we call them, or Pastelerias, as they are called there.

The public transportation also includes trams, which some say are reminiscent of San Francisco. And even though some days, we would walk till we dropped, exploring Lisbon on foot is really the best way to get close to the action.

European vacations are really close to my heart (not just because I was born there), but because as with any European vacation I have ever had, the usual love for life, and slower-paced intense appreciation for some of the best things in life (art, music, food, cafes, architecture, friends, beauty, city, and nature) were all fully present to the max in Portugal.

Obrigado Lisboa!

Pastel de nata
Pastel de nata
Arroz de Marisco
Arroz de Marisco
National Palace of Sintra
National Palace of Sintra
Park and Palace of Pena
Park and Palace of Pena
Castelo de S. Jorge
Castelo de S. Jorge
Belém Tower
Belém Tower
Guincho beach
Guincho beach
Cascais beach
Cascais beach
Estoril Beach
Estoril Beach
Beautiful Lisbon waterfront
Beautiful Lisbon waterfront

Please find books (and ebooks) on Portugal and Lisbon that can be borrowed from the Toronto Public Library below:

Lisbon book  Lisbon book 2  Lisbon book 3  Portugal Book 1 

Portugal Book 2  Portugal Book 3  Portugal ebook  Portugal Book 4

Last Day of School!! Now What?

June 26, 2015 | Jeannette | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

This week marks the last day of school for many students in Toronto. Today is also my daughter’s last day of preschool. It was a long, hard fought journey. But we made it! She cried every single day, for the first 2 months. Thankfully, she eventually adjusted and now she absolutely loves school.

Now, what am I going to do with her over the summer?

Here are some things you can do with your kids using the Toronto Public Library:

TD Summer Reading Club

The TD Summer Reading Club is back! And today is the first day you can sign up by visiting any library branch. In addition to earning stickers and prizes for reading, there are lots of programs happening over the summer.

TPL TEENS

If your child is a teenager, there are library events for them, too. Keep up with the teens’ blog over the summer for programs, book recommendations and reviews, contests and more.

Toronto Public Library Programs, Classes & Exhibits

There are lots going on at the library over the summer for yourself, too. Attend talks about arts and culture, business, health, science and much more.

Sun Life Financial Museum + Arts Pass (MAP)

The Museum + Arts Pass allows you and your family (2 adults & up to 5 children) to explore the best of Toronto's arts and cultural treasures for free. Venues including the Aga Khan Museum, Art Gallery of Ontario, Ontario Science Centre, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto Zoo and more.

With your valid adult Toronto Public Library card, you can take out a pass for your family at any Toronto Public Library branch. Quantities are limited and rules and conditions apply.

Free Science Events in Toronto

The Science & Technology department of North York Central Library compiles a monthly calendar of free science and applied science events in the city. This is a great opportunity to attend nature walks, astronomy talks, science lectures and much more.

There are also things you can do in the comfort of your own home with your kids.

Why not try some science experiments:

The Exploratorium science snackbook  The hungry scientist handbook  Sneaky science tricks  The ultimate book of Saturday science

Bake and cook together with your kids:

Baking with kids  Baking with tiny tots  Everyday kitchen for kids  Little cooks

Teach your kids how to sew:

My first sewing machine book  Sew kawaii  Sewing for children  Sewing for kids

Garden together:

The book of gardening projects for kids  The garden classroom  Square foot gardening with kids  Touch a butterfly

How about building something together? A treehouse, anyone?!

Black and Decker the complete guide to treehouses  Build your own treehouse  Fun family projects  Ultimate guide to kids' play structures and tree houses

Is your child attending summer school? Or do you want them to study and be prepared for the next school year? The Science & Technology department has a wide selection of math, science, biology, chemistry and physics textbooks for students from grades 7 to 12 that can be used in the library:

Mathematics 7  Mathematics 8  Principles of mathematics 9  Principles of mathematics 10

Functions 11  Calculus and vectors 12  Investigating science and technology 7  Science and technology perspectives 8

On science 9  Science connections 10  Physics 11  Physics 12

Chemistry 11  Chemistry 12  Biology 11  Biology 12

I hope some of these ideas will be helpful. I hope you all have a safe and wonderful summer!

Free Science Events in Toronto for July 2015

June 23, 2015 | Jeannette | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

The Science and Technology Department of North York Central Library compiles a monthly calendar of free science and applied science events in Toronto. Applied science includes health, gardening, pets and food; all subjects found in the department's collection. Here is the July calendar (PDF).

July's highlights include:

  • July 1: WoofJocks Canine All Stars - A 30-minute variety show that is both educational and entertaining by a team of Southern Ontario professional dog trainers and their very talented dogs.
  • July 18: Walking Tour: Cabbagetown's Medical Heritage - From the site of the first medical school that specifically taught women to the prominent physicians who lived in the neighbourhood, hear stories of the sites and personalities that figured in our city's early medical history.
  • July 18: The Hidden Lives of Galaxies - This lecture will focus on how galaxies are transformed throughout cosmic times and how they interact with each other.

The Toronto Public Library also offers many free science and applied science events: 

At the library, July's highlights include:

Can't attend a program or want to read more about the topics covered? Try some of these titles:

Dog tricks   The history of medicine   Galaxy   Food junkies

Sams teach yourself HTML and CSS in 24 hours   The amazing monarch   Your water footprint   Exercises for brain health

Summer Awakens the Wandering Traveler

June 22, 2015 | Ann | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Rouge River in Wikipedia
Rouge River at Kirkhams Road Toronto. Released into public domain by  author, WilyD at the English Wikipedia project.

The weather in Toronto tends to linger on the cooler side for about two-thirds of the year. The Summer Solstice arrived yesterday to welcome in the hot clammy weather that many Torontonians will gratefully endure so that they could swap their heavy dark winter apparel for lighter and brighter fabrics.  

This is also the best time to go hiking when the landscape is drenched in deep lush greenery. 

If you are staying within the Greater Toronto Area, here are some suggested books about places worth getting your feet kicking:

  Historical walking tour of North York Centre: celebrating the 25th anniversary of North York Central Library, 1987-2012 Historical Walking Tour of the Danforth Historical walking tour of Deer Park Historical walking tour of Lawrence Park Rev. and expanded ed.
Historical walking tour of Kew Beach Historical walking tour of Kensington Market and College Street Stroll: psychogeographic walking tours of Toronto Sculpture in the city - twelve walks in downtown Toronto

 

For those travelers itching to wander off the beaten path, here are some suggested Pinterest Motivational Quotes to Hike By and hiking trails around Toronto. Also have a look at the following links: 

Here are more suggested titles from our library collection on hiking:

Paddling & hiking Ontario's southern shield country Country walks: cottage country Long-distance hiking Paddling and hiking the Georgian Bay coast
Hiking & backpacking Hiking trails of Montreal and beyond: including Laval, Lanaudière, the Laurentians, Montérégie, and the Eastern Township Temagami: canoeing, kayaking & hiking Hikes & outings of South-Central Ontario

 

If you are planning to travel far away for your walkabout, take these titles with you to send your feet off to breathtaking places:

Out of London walks: great escapes by Britain's best walking tour company Shanghai: a walking tour Paris: an inspiring tour of the city's creative heart Tokyo: 29 walks in the world's most exciting city
Waterfront: a walk around Manhattan Historic walks of Regina and Moose Jaw Stairway walks in San Francisco: the joy of urban exploring Bangkok: a walking tour

 

Enjoy the summer weather and get your feet going before the season ends. Go take a hike anywhere, starting today. 

Harper Lee and the Most Exciting Literary Event of the Year

June 19, 2015 | Maureen | Comments (12) Facebook Twitter More...

To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper LeeWhen students ask me for a copy of Harper Lee’s To kill a mockingbird, I like to walk them to the shelf where the author’s one and only book lives. It gives me a chance to say, “Did you know that Harper Lee only published one book in her whole career?” If they look surprised or quizzical I say, "This book is so good, she didn’t need to write another one.” Sometimes I see a little spark of hope in their eyes –- the hope that this book might be pretty good -- unlike some of the snore inducing stuff they've had to read for English class.

During the short walk to the shelf I don't have time to tell them the story of how a young woman from a small southern town ended up in a cold water flat in New York in the 1950s, determined to try her hand at writing. Harper Lee (or Nelle, as she's known to family and friends) had been following in the footsteps of her father and sister, both lawyers. She attended law school at the University of Alabama, writing for the campus humour magazine in her spare time, but her heart wasn't in the law. Against her father's advice, she dropped out of school and moved to New York at the age of 23 to become a writer, as her childhood friend Truman Capote had done before her. She got a job as a clerk at an airline and wrote in her spare time. Years passed. Then, in 1956, friends gave her an amazing Christmas gift. Inside an envelope labeled "Nelle" nestled in the Christmas tree, was a note that read, "You have one year off from your job to write whatever you please. Merry Christmas." The financial gift allowed Lee to quit her job and write full time. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Go Set a Watchman - Harper LeeSoon, I won't be able to say that Harper Lee only published one book. On July 14th, 55 years after the publication of To kill a mockingbird in 1960, Go set a watchman will be released. In 2014, Lee’s lawyer was checking on the condition of the original manuscript for Mockingbird when she discovered the manuscript for Go set a watchman, which was thought to have been lost. It was written before Mockingbird, but it takes place years after the events of that novel. Scout, a character beloved by Mockingbird fans, is grown up and living in New York City in the "new" book. After Lee submitted the manuscript for Go set a watchman in the 1950s, her editor advised her to tell the story from the perspective of Scout as a little girl. “I was a first-time writer, so I did what I was told,” Lee said.

Harper Lee's editor was right. To kill a mockingbird won the Pulitzer Prize in 1961. (In a 1964 interview, Lee described her feelings about the book's success: "I never expected any sort of success with Mockingbird...I was hoping for a quick and merciful death at the hands of reviewers.") A powerful indictment against racism published by a southerner during a time when segregation along racial lines was still the practice in public places such as schools, buses, restrooms, and restaurants in the Southern states, To kill a mockingbird is one of the most widely read and loved American novels. Oprah Winfrey remembers, “just devouring it, not being able to get enough of it.” Author Wally Lamb read it as a teenager. “It was the first time in my life that a book sort of captured me. That was exciting; I didn’t realize that literature could do that.” Mark Childress says the experience of reading To Kill a Mockingbird at the age of nine is the reason he's a writer today.

In 1962, the movie version of To kill a mockingbird, starring Gregory Peck, won three academy awards, intensifying the spotlight on Lee. She walked out of that spotlight around 1964 and never looked back. For years, fans waited in vain for another book. Lee kept a low profile, splitting her time between her native Monroeville Alabama and New York. For a time, she worked on a book about a murderous, self-ordained preacher, based on a true story, but eventually dropped the project. It seemed that one book by Harper Lee was all the world was going to get. Until now.

How do you get ready for the most exciting literary event of the year? Here are some suggestions:

1. Reserve Go set a watchman. Here are the formats the library currently offers:

To kill a mockingbird2. Watch the classic movie To kill a mockingbird. (You can reserve a copy from the library.) Nominated for eight Academy Awards, it won for Best Actor (Gregory Peck),  Best Art Direction, and Best Adapted Screenplay. Here's a suggestion within a suggestion: bake a batch of southern style biscuits and watch the movie with your dad on Father's Day. Can you think of a better movie dad than Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch?

 3. If you've already read Mockingbird, and are one of that curious breed -- those who won't read the same book twice -- try reading another southern writer, such as Eudora Welty, Carson McCullers, William Faulkner, Richard Wright, Zora Neale Hurston, Alice Walker, Flannery O’Connor, or Pat Conroy.

Hey Boo - Harper Lee and To kill a mockingbird4. Watch the movie Hey, Boo: Harper Lee and To kill a mockingbird. Authors and celebrities talk about the influence the book has had on them, but the best thing about this movie, in my opinion, is being able to listen to the delightful Alice Finch Lee, Harper Lee's older sister, who died in 2014. Lee has said that the character Atticus Finch was modelled after her lawyer father, and her lawyer sister, who she called “Atticus in a skirt.” Alice practiced law in Monroeville, Alabama until she was 100 years old!

 5. Read a biography of Harper Lee. I recommend Mockingbird: a portrait of Harper Lee, by Charles J. Shields. I'm currently devouring this unauthorized biography. I've come across some delicious southern names in the book, such as Theodocia Eurfassa Windham (Harper Lee's grandmother), Truman Streckfus Persons (Truman Capote's birth name), Lille Mae Faulk (his mother's name) and Archulus Julius Persons (his father's name).

Infamous

6. Watch the movies Infamous and Capote. Harper Lee is depicted in both (played by Catherine Keener in Capote, and by Sandra Bullock in Infamous.) These movies cover the time period when Truman Capote was researching the murder of the Clutter family in Holcomb, Kansas in 1959 for his book, In cold blood. Lee went with Capote to Kansas, acting as his research assistant.

7. Listen to the audiobook version of To kill a mockingbird, which is narrated by Sissy Spacek. I applaud the publisher for choosing Spacek. Her southern accent makes me think of honey melting on a hot biscuit on an August afternoon.

8. Reread To kill a mockingbird. What better time is there than a sultry Toronto summer to revisit the small Alabama town of Maycomb, where "Men's stiff collars wilted by nine in the morning. Ladies bathed before noon, after their three-o'clock naps, and by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frostings of sweat and sweet talcum."

Here are the formats the library offers:

Healthy Cognitive Aging

June 8, 2015 | Jane | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

As baby boomers approach old age, and as we’re living longer, topics like brain health and prevention of age-related cognitive decline are making headlines, but also a matter we come across in our personal lives. The brain is at the centre of everything we do, who we are, what we make of our lives, so of course we care, and of course we want to learn as much as we can.

A great start would be to come to a talk at by Ryerson professor Dr. Alexandra Fiocco and PhD student Katie Peck. Fiocco will be talking about  “the predictors and prevention of cognitive decline.” Peck, also from Ryerson, will be talking about her research into the effect of music on brain health.

 

     AlexandraPlease join us on Tues, June 16      Katie                North York Central Library                                5120 Yonge St.

              2:00 to 3:00 pm

 

 

 

 

If you can’t make it to the talk, there are lots of other ways to pursue good practices, and to find out more about the brain’s many mysteries.

What are the day-to-day ways I can practice good brain health?

 

Are there organizations that can help me plan care for myself or for someone I love?

We are fortunate in this city to have lots of resources for research and for care of people with aging brains.

On May 22nd, Baycrest Health Sciences in North York announced $100 million in federal and provincial funding for a national brain research hub. Baycrest also has services for "geriatric residential living, healthcare, research, innovation and education, with a special focus on brain health and aging." 

The Alzheimer's Organization of Canada has lots of resources for learning more about brain health and resources for finding help with care and planning. It also funds research. 

The Alzheimer Society of Canada has "been dedicated to providing help for people with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias and their caregivers. That help comes in many ways."

The Canadian Home Care Association provides "an array of services for people of all ages, provided in the home and community setting, that encompasses health promotion and teaching, curative intervention, end-of-life care, rehabilitation, support and maintenance, social adaptation and integration and support for the family caregiver." Its membership includes public and private stakeholders.

 

 

 How do I find out more about the human brain and its strange ways?

 



 

 

Summer 2015 Travels Part I: Jamaica, No Problem!

June 8, 2015 | Emoke | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...

Beach in JamaicaDuring the last week of May, I took an all-inclusive holiday to Runaway Bay, Jamaica with my parents. It was my first visit to the Caribbean and first all-inclusive vacation. I can now see why people opt for this type of vacation! Everything is cooked and arranged for you, all you have to do is show up and enjoy the good food, drinks, and beautiful beaches. Jamaica is a very culturally vibrant place, very proud of their cuisine (spicy Jerk chicken and patties) and their music: Reggae and Bob Marley.

During my stay, I ventured away from my lazy resort routine twice. Once, to visit Ocho Rios, a town in the parish of Saint Ann to visit the local shops and crafts. This was quite a unique experience, as the artisans selling their work were quite enthusiastic about making sure that you don't go home empty-handed! I bought some local hand-woven baskets, wooden sculptures and drinking cups made of bamboo. Something sparkly also caught my eye; a blue Jamaican gemstone known as the Caribbean Topaz - the stone of true love and success. Of course, I also could not go home without getting some of the famous Appleton Estate Rum!

The second time I left the comforts of the resort was to visit the birthplace of Bob Marley, Nine Mile, Saint Ann, Jamaica. Fans flock there to visit the King of Reggae's final resting place. Here you get to walk through the home he lived in as a child and see the neighbourhood and home that influenced him to write some of his most famous songs. Perhaps the most memorable part was when our Rastafarian guide stopped in his tracks and suddenly joined a Reggae band to sing "One Love" for us!

It was also quite educational on the Bob Marley tour to see how the local people live in the mountaneous, curving countryside villages. Here, I saw homes that were half-finished, as the local people tend to finish them only when they have enough money saved up to do so. According to our tour guide, this could take up to 15 years. In the meantime, they make do with whatever parts of the home are finished and live there as a large extended family.

All in all, Jamaica was a very beautiful island nation, with lush green scenery and beautiful, clear waters, and a colourful culture to match.

I highly recommend seeing it for yourself. And if you do go, please venture off your resort and take advantage of the tours offered to see what the real Jamaica looks like!

One Love. One Heart.

Emoke with parents




Beach image

Emoke with parents

The Early Life of Bob Marley
On the Way to Bob Marley's House

 

 

Image of Emoke and parents in Bob Marley's room
Bob Marley's Room

 

 

Inside the Bob Marley House
Inside the Bob Marley House

 

 

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