Chester Francis-Jackson, Contributor
Luvs, Kingston is definitely one of the preferred cities in which to chill out and let the North American freeze take its course this season. And, indeed, little wonder here, as the cosmopolitan flavour of this fine city with all its historical sites, make-up and cultural appeal make for a simply fabulous outing.
Dears, Kingston is definitely socially, culturally, architecturally and historically, the hottest city in the Caribbean and most fab place to party for the international jet-setter or even the backpacker!
Indeed, the story doing the international rounds now is of the American international business consultant who, during a visit to Kingston, decided on taking one of the city's much-talked-about mini-buses from Constant Spring to Parade, only to be warned by his colleagues and some Jamaicans about the supposed dangers lurking in the proposed excursion.
Opting to ignore the bleatings of the naysayers, the consultant got on the bus and made it to St William Grant Park, where he not only enjoyed a stroll around the city, but a few of the local dishes sold on the roadside. He also took in the National Gallery before returning to his upper St Andrew place of abode on a mini-bus, without once having encountered any hostility or people who wanted to victimise him.
Well, imagine a few weeks later, the same consultant on a trip to one famous European city, staying in a posh hotel, and minutes after stepping out of the hotel was viciously attacked by the 'natives' and robbed of his cash, credit cards, iPhone and even his passport.
Well my dears, suffice it to say, this is not an urban legend, but a very true story making the rounds.
Now my dears, speaking of international travellers, not that this couple ever needed any cajoling to make it Kingston, as indeed, having served the Canadian Foreign Service and earning three postings to Kingston, they consider themselves 'honorary Kingstonians'.
The fab couple is Canada's former first citizens here, former High Commissioner Claudio Valle, and his fabulous and oh-soo-charming wife Louise Valle, both visiting from Ottawa.
Well, my dears, caught up with the fab Louise Valle over lunch at Kingston's most happening restaurant - The Rojo Restaurant - over there in the ultra-chic Spanish Court Hotel, on Monday, and luvs, what a treat it was to share cocktails - champagne no less - and a very late lunch, with this tireless advocate for Jamaica and things Jamaican!
Luvs, talk about a thing of beauty!
And the celebrity sightings considered on Wednesday of this week as well were the fabulous Beverley Heron Ruddock and her stunning daughter, Chante K. Ruddock, both visiting from Brooklyn, New York, as were the oh-so-fab couple, Jermaine Deans and his stunning wife Novlet Green-Deans, she being the untiring president of the Rotary Club of Liguanea Plains. The couple was still a picture of bliss following on their nuptials last year.
And speaking of beautiful people and places, dears Diplomatic Week is nigh upon us, so wait for it, but congrats are in order as indeed the Diplomatic Corps has a new dean - His Excellency Yuri Gala Lopez, the Cuban ambassador to Jamaica. We are anticipating a new and exciting period under his stewardship, so more anon.
And Aquarians continue their celebrations my dears, with among the notables celebrating this season: Former MP and Education Minister Maxine Henry-Wilson; famed hotelier and bon vivant Josef Forstmayr; songbird, the gorgeous Pam Hall; Robert Swaby; the fabulous Simone Smith; the affable Peter Blake of Gymkhana; Chester Walder; Shane Christie; the lovely Janet Mastin, in Florida; Ray Robinson, formerly of Linstead, St Catherine, now resident of New York; and Trevor Outar, formerly of Seaforth, St Thomas, now in Queens, New York - who all celebrate their birthday, today.
Celebrating tomorrow, Saturday, the 2nd, will be: Paul Issa; Terry Williams; socialite Novia McDonald-Whyte; investment banker Mark Berry; RJR's Heather Grant, 'Brown Sugar' to her fans and listeners; the stunning Natasha Ghantous; the dapper Tavis Smith; the fab Tracey Hamilton; the affable Alexei Russell, over in Ocho Rios; the fabulous Kadean Smith, formerly of Hedonism III, now in North Carolina; the lovely Sharon Fraser, now in New York, New York; Yvette Johnson, in Chicago; north coast habitué Ann-Margaret Olmos, of Long Beach, California;
On Sunday, the 3rd: the charming Marjorie Frater-Rickards; the lovely Toni-Ann Kelly; and Stephen Ashley Jr, will be among the celebrants.
Come Monday, the 4th: Mrs Carla Seaga; celebrated musician and musicologist Mikey Bennett; the lovely Karen Simms Booker; the fab Jacquie Williams; Lynval Clayton-Rowe, now in New York; Chef Joseph Kalyniuk, formerly of Hedonism II in Negril, now with Norwegian Cruises; Anika Chance, in Trinidad; and etiquette and grooming consultant and organiser of the Miss Jamaica UK pageant, the fab June Daley, in London, England, will all share the same birthday.
Tuesday, the 5th: media personality Claude Mills; the affable Olympian Lyndel Frater; the charmingly fab Janji Shakes; Michael Buchanan, in Yallahs, St Thomas; Tajh Williams from Mandeville, now in Pembroke Pines, Florida; former lead dancer of the NDTC Adrian Fletcher, now in Florida; the charmingly fab Tyrhonda Pinkney, north coast habitué in Washington, DC; and Janelle Lobban, from Glengoffe, St Catherine, now in Gaborone, Botswana, all sharing the same birthday.
And on Wednesday, the 6th, folks the world over were commemorating the birthday of international reggae super star and icon Bob Marley. Also celebrating will be the fabulous Donna Feltis Coore; the über-talented Bunny Rugs; the lovely Legal Eaglet Andrea Moore; the enterprising Makonnen Blake-Hannah; the gorgeous Raquel Jones; Devar Shaw, in Mandeville;
On Thursday, the 7th, athletic dynamo Allodin Fothergill; the fabulous Carla Newsam; model Russell Magnus; Howard Hylton; Marlon Fink, over in Mandeville; and the lovely Sidonie Thompson, now in South Bronx, New York; will be among the chief celebrants.
And a very special belated birthday wish to Winsome Jackson Fairweather, 'Jean' to her family and friends, formerly of Riversdale St Catherine, and long-time resident of Brooklyn, New York, who celebrated her very special day on the 28th.
Many happy returns all around with champagne toasts and beluga treats.