New friends in Negril

Negril Travel Blog

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Ocean views all around

As we headed back to the castle with the intent of finding a taxi to take us to check out the resort Riu, with its all-inclusive appeal because of free food and drinks, we passed by another restaurant we'd hoped to try while we there.  This restaurant was called the Royal Kitchen and it's an 'ital' vegetarian restaurant that was recommended to me by a friend.  As we walked by, even though it was closed, there were a couple of men seated in the patio area and one of them kindly asked us to join them for a bit.  For whatever reason, we were feeling shy and were reluctant to go over but I thought to myself that one of the things I most wanted to do was meet the locals and this was the perfect opportunity so why be shy?  I asked my friend, "Why not?" and we entered the patio and took a seat at the table with the man who had just invited us.

Looking out onto the blue
 

We introduced ourselves and learned our new friends' names.  Sitting back a ways being a bit shy himself was Steve (a.k.a. DJ Zone) and the one who invited us was named Viggo.  Very soon, we were joined by the proprietor of the Royal Kitchen who introduced himself as Errol Ites.  Not long after that, a woman joined us who is a waitress there (but whose name I've forgotten) and we were all chatting happily, enjoying the beautiful afternoon while watching the people and traffic go by. They were closed that day since it had been slow due to low season for tourists so they were just taking it easy.  Our friends shared stories with us and Errol gave us some great history on the area as it was when he moved there during the 'hippie discovery' era in Negril.

Pewee's Restaurant & Bar only steps from the Blue Cave Castle
  He also brought out a couple books he was featured in for the Rastafarian religious movement as well as a photo he was in along with many notable Jamaicans such as the famous reggae artist, Luciano.  During our conversation, we told them we were staying at the Blue Cave Castle and explained that while we liked most of it, I wanted a better shower and Jayeesha wanted to be able to swim so we were going to cut our stay there short.  We asked for a recommendation to a nice, locally-owned establishment and Errol suggested we check out the Bar B Barn which was right on Negril's Seven Mile Beach.

As we sat, visitors came and went and a man in a chartered taxi eventually arrived which worked out for us since we wanted to go check out the beach resort to see if that was indeed where we wanted to move to and if not, we'd next check out Riu for availability.

Pewee's dining area with amazing views
 We quickly went back to the castle and gathered our day's supplies and were met a short time later by the taxi driver just outside the resort's gates.  Our new friend Viggo was accompanying the driver and it was kind of nice to have him come along since we felt we could trust him.  Less than three miles down the road, we pulled into the lot at the Bar B Barn and went in to the office while our driver and Viggo waited for us. The young woman behind the counter checked on rates and availability and again, since it was slow season, there was no problem getting a room and the rates were extremely reasonable at $70 USD a night for a room with two double beds. She called another staff member, one of the housekeepers, to come and give us a tour of the resort.
Our first ackee sighting
  It has a beautiful garden, quaint and comfortable rooms with excellent water pressure (I checked), a bar, two fine restaurants and beachfront access right there.  We were almost instantly sold on this charming little resort and arranged to check in the following day since we wanted to at least stay two full nights at the castle. 

We returned to the car and were off to the next destination, Rick's Cafe on the cliffs!

mellemel8 says:
yummy i would love to try that
Posted on: Dec 12, 2007
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Saltfish & ackee, prepared specially for us

After a good, refreshing night's sleep, I again woke earlier than my friend which gave me time to ready for the day at a liesurely pace.  It was nice to wake to the sounds of waves crashing against the cliffs and I felt renewed like I hadn't in a while.  Once I was fresh and ready to go, I climbed the steps up to the penthouse to wake my friend and get her going so we could have our second breakfast of saltfish & ackee.  While she got ready, I explored each of the three decks we had private access to because my friend had the penthouse.  Each offered a different view and I had fun taking pictures from virtually every angle.  I also took pictures of the penthouse and the views from it which were as phenomenal as those from the decks.

Augustus, our friend, cook, gardener & tour guide

Jayeesha was soon ready and we ventured out onto the street in daylight this time.  We were immediately greeted by our friend the jewelry maker from across the street who seemed to delight in keeping us from heading anywhere quickly.  Just a few moments later, it seemed from out of nowhere appeared our 'tour guide' friend from the night before who whisked us away from the jewelry maker and led us to the breakfast spot, Kool Brown's restaurant, where he told us the night before we could get saltfish & ackee.  It was funny how he just seemed to appear from thin air as if he was a magic man keeping tabs on our every move.  When we approached, the proprietor of Kool Brown's let our friend know he was closed since he'd run out of gas for cooking and was awaiting delivery of a new tank that hadn't arrived as expected.

The cliffs behind Pewee's
  So, it seemed we might not get our breakfast of choice.  Faster than we could blink, we were being led off to a new location tucked back off the road enough to where we didn't notice it the night before.  The sign here read 'Pewee's' and we followed our guide into the establishment and past the kitchen where a man and woman prepared dishes, then out onto a partially enclosed open-air patio dining area.  This was an accidental find we wouldn't have otherwise known about that ended up being a great surprise.  The views from the dining area were amazing and the property had steps leading down to the water at the cliffs.  There were four other tourists seated at another table having breakfast and by looking at the menu on the wall as we passed, we determined they served mostly omelets and other continental-style breakfasts.
Mia's Internet & Wine Bar
 

Once seated, our friend let us know he'd have to have our breakfast made special but he needed some extra money to buy the saltfish.  Reluctantly we agreed to the $140 JA ($2 US) and wondered if we were being hustled yet again.  I'm always cynical until I know a person or situation better so I was even more skeptical of the situation than my friend.  She handed him some money and he was off to who knew where.  After several minutes, he returned as I was on the steps leading to the water taking more pictures and seemed somewhat alarmed that I was there saying, "oh, come up, I don't want to lose ya already".  He had us come back to the table and told us his next step was to go and pick some ackee fruit.  We were amused at this point at each step in the process he went through to get us our breakfast.

Royal Kitchen on a day off - come sit & chat a while
  Soon he was back with a saucer of cooked ackee for us to taste.  We each took a nibble and while we found it interesting, agreed that its main function was to soak up the flavor of the saltfish which hadn't yet been added.  We teased him about whether this would be poison or not since we learned from our driver the day before that ackee must open on the tree and ripen by releasing its gas which is toxic and can make you very ill and some Jamaicans claim can kill you.  We learned at that moment that the one thing you don't joke with a Jamaican about is food.  While we laughed, his face turned decidedly disgruntled and he stomped off to the kitchen muttering about what we just said and he was going to show us.  He came back with the actual fruit in hand, opened naturally as it should be and began to disassemble it in preparation for cooking to show us everything was okay.
Errol Ites, rasta & proprietor of the Royal Kitchen
  We enjoyed seeing the fruit for the first time and seeing how it looks before made (and of course we had to take a picture).  A short time later, we were being served our saltfish & ackee with toast and agreed that it was at least as good as the morning before if not even a little better.  It turned out that our friend was the cook which we found odd since he didn't seem to work there and even odder that the people who did work there didn't have a problem with what just took place. That sort of thing just wouldn't happen here.  I couldn't imagine walking into a random restaurant I brought people with me to and using their kitchen to make them a meal.  During our discussions with him that morning, we learned his name was Augustus and discovered that he had something to do with Pewee's although he wasn't employed there.
Our friend Viggo who we met at the Kitchen
  Things were very shady but we still felt comfortable in his presence.  It felt that he was partly hustling us and partly looking out for us.

Later we learned that Augustus lived at the top of the building and his mother Winsome was the woman we first saw cooking in the kitchen.  Pewee's also had a sign indicating you could rent rooms there so it's an all-purpose sort of establishment apparently.  Once we finished eating, Augustus checked on us to see how we enjoyed our breakfasts (to which we proclaimed how much we did) and to settle on a reasonable price of $600 JA for both meals.  Again he seemed to vanish into thin air and we were off to the internet cafe to seek out other accommodations with some on-line research.  Our original intent was to stay at the Castle for the entire four nights in Negril until our trip to Treasure Beach but earlier that morning I'd warned my friend of the incredibly low water pressure I discovered after my first shower and she was disappointed because conditions were not good for swimming due to rough waters at the cliffs.

Steve, a.k.a. DJ Zone rolling up another one
  We decided to spend one more night and leave the following day to go to the beach where swimming and nightlife would be available (and find a place with good water pressure so it wouldn't take forty minutes just to rinse out shampoo). 

We walked a short distance to the internet cafe and wine bar next to the restaurant Choices where we'd had our first dinner in Negril.  It seemed expensive but we had no other options so for the $200 JA per half hour, we connected with the world back home briefly and sent some 'everything's good' updates.  Jayeesha researched several places on-line and finally, despite some reservations about it being a large, corporate resort (since our preference is to support small, locally-owned businesses), settled on Riu which would be all-inclusive.

Street view from the Royal Kitchen
  With the way we imbibed, we may actually be able to get our money's worth out of the resort!  After a while, we left the cafe and headed down the road.

thenewextrememimi says:
Sounds like a great locale!
Posted on: Dec 12, 2007
Rick's Tings

Our driver took us back up to the cliffs where we passed the castle and a mile or two beyond there where we arrived at Rick's with plenty of time before the sunset.  As we approached the entrance and the two 'security' guys, they let us know we couldn't take our water in so we'd have to drink it right there....okay then, finishing bottle of water.  We also were almost deterred from going in because Chumbawumba's Tubthumping (I had to look it up since I could only remember the lyrics "I get knocked down but I get up again....") was blasting from the speakers and it was almost more than we could bear....it just seemed like too much of a tourist trap. Fortunately, the next song was much improved since it was a good reggae song (though I can't remember what one) and from then on the good reggae continued to flow, putting us at ease once again.

Lagoon at Rick's Cafe
  Admittedly, this is a sickeningly touristy spot but regardless, it's still something anyone visiting Negril should make a point to do.  The only actual Jamaicans there are the staff, bartenders and 'professional' cliff jumpers. Everyone else seemed to be American or European tourists gawking (as we were) at the brave men and boys jumping from varying heights on the cliffs. Nonetheless, the cliff jumping is truly fun to watch and if I'd had my suit on, I'd have jumped!

One funny part was the young boys on the cliffs across from Rick's posturing and yelling at all the tourists, "Two dollars, two dollars!" in an effort to make a few bucks for jumping off the cliff.  I don't think they were able to collect on any of that but they sure tried.

The finale just before sunset was when two of the men climbed to the top of the tree above the highest cliff after some showboating on the steps below.  They began by doing handstand pushups and things of that nature to show us just how virile they are!  Then, each man climbed to the very top of the tree where more showboating took place and first one took the huge leap, plummeting to the waters below and then the next one did. 

Stay tuned....lots more coming including our dinner at the Rockhouse and getting to know Augustus!

Ocean views all around
Ocean views all around
Looking out onto the blue
Looking out onto the blue
Pewees Restaurant & Bar only step…
Pewee's Restaurant & Bar only ste…
Pewees dining area with amazing v…
Pewee's dining area with amazing …
Our first ackee sighting
Our first ackee sighting
Saltfish & ackee, prepared special…
Saltfish & ackee, prepared specia…
Augustus, our friend, cook, garden…
Augustus, our friend, cook, garde…
The cliffs behind Pewees
The cliffs behind Pewee's
Mias Internet & Wine Bar
Mia's Internet & Wine Bar
Royal Kitchen on a day off - come …
Royal Kitchen on a day off - come…
Errol Ites, rasta & proprietor of …
Errol Ites, rasta & proprietor of…
Our friend Viggo who we met at the…
Our friend Viggo who we met at th…
Steve, a.k.a. DJ Zone rolling up a…
Steve, a.k.a. DJ Zone rolling up …
Street view from the Royal Kitchen
Street view from the Royal Kitchen
Ricks Tings
Rick's Tings
Lagoon at Ricks Cafe
Lagoon at Rick's Cafe
Ricks cafe pool
Rick's cafe pool
Dive from the lower level
Dive from the lower level
One of five specials we tried
One of five specials we tried
The Wild Thing ready to party with…
The Wild Thing ready to party wit…
The Royal Pub at the back of the R…
The Royal Pub at the back of the …
View across the street of the tiny…
View across the street of the tin…
The Royal Kitchen Vegetarian Cafe
The Royal Kitchen Vegetarian Cafe
Steps to the water
Steps to the water
Views from the castle
Views from the castle
Looking out from one of three decks
Looking out from one of three decks
Blue Cave Castle grounds
Blue Cave Castle grounds
A different view of the grounds sh…
A different view of the grounds s…
Medieval decor
Medieval decor
Blue Cave Castle penthouse
Blue Cave Castle penthouse
Looking down onto one deck from th…
Looking down onto one deck from t…
Best views in the place
Best views in the place
Looking from the top towards the h…
Looking from the top towards the …
Dont look down!
Don't look down!
Top of the castle
Top of the castle
Jayeesha with the penthouse behind…
Jayeesha with the penthouse behin…
More views from Pewees
More views from Pewee's
Looking towards Blue Cave Castle f…
Looking towards Blue Cave Castle …
Pewees tiki bar
Pewee's tiki bar
Wild rock formations on the steps …
Wild rock formations on the steps…
Cliffs at Pewees
Cliffs at Pewee's
Morning sail
Morning sail
G-Spot night club for rent
G-Spot night club for rent
Chicken-size pigeons
Chicken-size pigeons
They were the largest pigeons Ive…
They were the largest pigeons I'v…
Doesnt it beckon to come relax?
Doesn't it beckon to come relax?
Interesting architecture
Interesting architecture
This place started out much much s…
This place started out much much …
Castle grounds
Castle grounds
Begs you to lounge
Begs you to lounge
Jayeesha up in her castle
Jayeesha up in her castle
Taking a picture of Jayeesha takin…
Taking a picture of Jayeesha taki…
You can swim here when the water i…
You can swim here when the water …
Too rough for swimming
Too rough for swimming
Blue Cave Castle pond had many cri…
Blue Cave Castle pond had many cr…
Tiny turtle
Tiny turtle
The bottom of the steps to the cave
The bottom of the steps to the cave
Little waterfall
Little waterfall
Waterfall in the pond
Waterfall in the pond
Koi fish
Koi fish
The stage and tourists watching th…
The stage and tourists watching t…
Only $50 US to hang out under thes…
Only $50 US to hang out under the…
A splurger
A splurger
Jumper coming out of the water
Jumper coming out of the water
Bar at Ricks
Bar at Rick's
Looking to the adjacent property
Looking to the adjacent property
Jayeesha sipping a cold one
Jayeesha sipping a cold one
Crispy blue
Crispy blue
Several shades of blue
Several shades of blue
Nice little cabana next door
Nice little cabana next door
Almost sunset & here comes the Wi…
Almost sunset & here comes the 'W…
Sunspot on the distant water
Sunspot on the distant water
Doesnt it make you want to swim?
Doesn't it make you want to swim?
The stage & national flag
The stage & national flag
Come party with us!
Come party with us!
Ricks bar & upstairs restaurant &…
Rick's bar & upstairs restaurant …
Beckoning
Beckoning
Looking to Pewees dining area
Looking to Pewee's dining area
Looking to the castle nearby
Looking to the castle nearby
Close up of the nearby castle
Close up of the nearby castle
Looking from the next highest deck…
Looking from the next highest dec…
So green
So green
Many hues of blues
Many hues of blues
As you enter the Blue Cave Castle
As you enter the Blue Cave Castle
Turtles
Turtles
Going back under
Going back under
Big & small
Big & small
Lovely flowers
Lovely flowers
Blue Cave Castle watch dog
Blue Cave Castle watch dog
I swear, as big as chickens!
I swear, as big as chickens!
Susan, the owner of the Blue Cave …
Susan, the owner of the Blue Cave…
My room on the right
My room on the right
Blue Cave Castle grounds again
Blue Cave Castle grounds again
Pewees dining area and Augustus …
Pewee's dining area and Augustus'…
Castle pond
Castle pond
Treasure chest
Treasure chest
Theres booty inside!
There's booty inside!
Enter
Enter
See the turtle?
See the turtle?
Mias Internet & Wine Bar (& bicyc…
Mia's Internet & Wine Bar (& bicy…
Negril Nightlife & Entertainment review
Rick's Cafe is an incredibly touristy spot that is still a 'must do' should you find yourself in Negril. If you're an off-the-beaten-path kind of tra… read entire review
Negril Restaurants, Cafes & Food review
Perhaps it was because we had just come from Rick's Cafe after five of their cocktail specials and after that much 'juice', even Dominoes Pizza seems … read entire review
Negril Restaurants, Cafes & Food review
Pewee's Restaurant & Bar in Negril's West End on the cliffs is a hidden jewel tucked off the road enough where if you blink, you may miss it. We were… read entire review
Negril
photo by: bashmentbabe