Richard Morais & Janet Silvera, Gleaner Writers
After fighting Hurricane Sandy on the high seas, Colombia's naval training ship, Arc Gloria, captain José Guillermo Rodriquez and his crew were overly excited to call on the historic Falmouth port last Saturday morning.
Here to celebrate Jamaica's 50th anniversary of Independence, the captain and his crew of 164 members were met by Ambassador of the Republic of Colombia Luis Guillermo Martinez Fernandez, Mayor of Falmouth Garth Wilkinson, other emissaries and dignitaries on arrival.
It was an afternoon of pomp and pageantry for the naval crew which spent the last seven months on the ocean worldwide. Jamaica was their last stop before returning home and Ambassador Martinez was bent on making their final sojourn unforgettable.
Showcasing the rich cultural heritage of Jamaica, infused with the Latin flavour from the DeCameron Hotel's home-grown entertainers, the visitors were fêted at a welcome reception that attracted the likes of Clelia Barreto de Hunter, consul of Ecuador to Jamaica, Panamanian Ambassador Jorge Constantino, Dr Ivor Connelly of Falmouth Heritage Renewal, captain Sydney Innis and Commander David Chin Fong of the Jamaica Defence Force coastguard.
On Sunday, Tristan Alvarado and his Colombia-born wife, Laura Mazabel, opened up their fabulous estate at the Tryall Club, Hanover, hosting the captain and a selected number of crew members to lunch.
The couple, who operate the Montessori School and Solo Jamaica, in Montego Bay, unplugged all stops and laid out a feast of spare ribs, roasted chicken, roasted corn and potatoes. An open bar, a sinful dessert table and a spectacular view of the ocean was the icing on the cake, and the perfect send home gift.
On Monday, the ARC Gloria departed Jamaican shores, but not until after the Colombians tasted the vibrancy of a country celebrating 50 years of Independence.