Sundays; we all hate them, right?
Usually hungover from Saturday night, terrified to look at your Snap Chat story and last dialled list, and generally dreading another mundane Monday.
But since moving to Jamaica, Sundays don’t look like that for me anymore.
And I’m not bragging at all, because some weekends I’d love nothing more than to be nursing a hangover in my old bed, in my old apartment, more than likely ringing 37 Dawson Street to see if they found my handbag and my dignity.
But since moving to a tropical island, I don’t want to waste a single moment having a lie in or feeling sorry for myself lying on the sofa crying over the Notebook.
So now my Sundays often look like this.
And this actually.
This was last Sunday with beautiful friends in a beautiful little sleepy fishing village called Port Royal.
It just so happens that said sleepy little fishing village is home to one ofthe nicest seafood restaurants I’ve ever eaten at.
And this is what I actually love most about Jamaica. The fact it’s so raw and unpretentious.
Because the local places spend no time fussing over whether their crystal chandeliers match the crystal cocktails glasses. They spend all their time making sure you eat like a king and feel right at home.
Gloria’s in Port Royal is a hidden gem you have to see.
It’s what my mum would call rough and ready.
We ate at a plastic table, sat on plastic chairs and served ourselves drinks out of the fridge.
In fact, it’s so popular that there were no tables when we arrived. So instead of being told to wait or come back another day, they just took a table out of some storage shed and plonked it down close to the other makeshift tables.
Yes, the outdoor dining area is kind of just a road – but that’s what made it even more special.
I wouldn’t go there hungry, especially on a Sunday, as you will have to wait.
But because Jamaica is so laid back, I’ve gotten used to waiting – and thankfully I’ve become a lot more patient.
Anyway, when my shrimp arrived and I tasted my first bite, every second of that wait was worth it.
Plus what is a few hours in the sun on a lazy Sunday afternoon chatting with friends after a lovely morning on the beach?
The true beauty of Gloria’s is that we were sitting eating less than a stone’s throw from where our fish came in off the boat.
And we sat and watched as it was washed and cooked on the street corner.
Being here has given me a much greater appreciation for, and awareness of, what I’m eating.
When something isn’t in season, you can’t have it. Full stop.
Sort of makes you wonder how supermarket shelves in Ireland are basically full of everything all year round.
You can’t imagine how mouth-watering it is to eat a mango that you’ve just picked off the tree in your garden, or to drink out of a fresh coconut some fearless man climbed a tree to pick for you.
And forget your meals in fancy restaurants (I do love a fancy restaurant and a ridiculously overpriced cocktail, don’t get me wrong!).
But wait until you’ve tasted the chicken off ‘chicken man’ as we affectionately call him.
Sitting on a Friday night eating the most delicious chicken with ketchup out of tin foil, washed down with a Red Stripe.
I usually share so much luxury from dream trips in exquisite hotels, which we’re lucky to have on our doorsteps.
But it’s the late-night dashes to chicken man, the coconuts from the roadside and the jerk shacks that make Jamaica truly exquisite and unique.
And they’re the parts I’d miss the most.