What happened today is unfathomable. Luckily, my daughter captured a video. At the end of this blog, you shall see the footage that confirms this uncanny synchronicity! A conspiracy of countless improbable events transpired, with a climactic ending in Jamaica.
The chain of events began almost twenty-two years ago. In fact, during the fall of 1995, I was a pre-medical student in college at F.I.U. To release stress from studying, I was singing and dancing to reggae in the dance halls of Miami. Buju Banton was my favorite artist. His now famous album “Til Shiloh,” was released in the summer of 1995. Laboriously, I memorized organic chemistry jargon. However, I effortlessly committed to heart every song on that album. My favorite track was “Til I’m Laid to Rest” which starts with the lyrics, “Strange, this feeling I'm feeling…”
Ironically, my wife and kids witnessed me sing this song out loud all day after what unfolded in Jamaica. Truly, the twist and surprises in the story are “strange.”
Momentous events have transpired in my life since my college days in the dance halls. I am a husband, father, doctor, business owner, author, professor, and have moved to the Great Northwest. Twenty-two years have passed since I burst into song with a Buju Banton tune.
This morning, our Liberty of the Seas cruise ship stopped on the large, gorgeous island that Usain Bolt calls home. Despite my wife’s best efforts to plan every waking moment of our vacation, today was a free day. Impulsively, the family decision was to sojourn at a world-renowned snorkeling spot. Jamaica has spots. Alas, Rockhouse and Ocho Rios were too far away from port. Surprisingly, there was a special healing beach known as Doctor’s Cave, discovered by a famous Osteopath! We were thrilled, especially after learning there was snorkeling there, too!
We were delayed disembarking from the ship and all a bit frazzled. Coordinating the biorhythms of five people proved no easy task. Once we finally got to the taxi station, my kids said I look at home in the Caribbean since I am from Cuba. The native hostess reported the cost is $20 per person for our trip to Doctor’s Cave. Nevertheless, we all jumped into the small van. A special healing spot with renowned snorkeling was only 30 minutes away. We could hardly wait.
Yet, we sat in the small van waiting and waiting…
We waited for 30 hot minutes in the “taxi.” I mustered the courage and said, “Eh mon, how much longer be the wait, mon?” The driver reported that the small van cannot leave with only five people. Unfortunately, we should find a small “taxi” in order to leave now. I summoned the remaining bodies out of the small van and began a quest for a personal “taxi.”
Another nice Jamaican man offered to take us to our special Doctor’s Cave “right now but it will cost you more money.” We changed our plans yet again… Inconceivable, how many times our plan vacillated. We were stranded at the Port of Falmouth, crushed by the thought we would never see Montego Bay, so close yet so far away...
At that instant, a charismatic, young Jamaican man drove by in a small taxi and said, “Wah gwaan wid yuh todeh?”
Since I am multilingual, born in the Caribbean and raised in Miami, I naturally responded, “Irie mon, weh yuh ah seh.”
This driver offered to take us to a nice beach only 10 minutes away with free wifi and beach chairs. The cab fare and beach admission were reasonable. However, this beach did not offer world-class snorkeling or the majestic Dunn’s River Falls. My disenchantment was transient.
Everything that transpired next is magical. Things happen for a reason.
I loaded my family into the taxi. After escaping the shiny gates of the Port of Falmouth, we encountered the real Jamaica with reggae music blasting in the distance. Then I asked the taxi driver, “When is Buju Banton getting out of prison?”
“Buju me brotha” states the driver with a serious look on his face. He grinned. “He me brotha from e notha motha” as he chuckled. Our driver sported a short sleeve white guayaberas shirt and tall head wrap concealing his dreadlocks. He wore a scraggly beard and was slim. Indeed, our personal taxi driver is Buju Banton’s double as you shall see in the video. What happened next is eerie…
“Strange, this feeling I'm feeling, But Jah love we will always believe in, I know you may think my faith is in vain, Til Shiloh…” spontaneously our taxi driver burst into song. He serenaded us with one of my favorite songs from twenty-two years ago! Glancing back, he noticed we were vibin’, swaying our heads in approbation. My daughter realized I was silently singing along. Consequently, he sang my other favorite song, “While I'm Living, Thanks I'll Be Giving, To the Most High You know, I am living while I am living to the father I will pray…” and I got goosebumps as I lip-synced to his singing. He glanced back and smiled.
He dropped us off at Blue Waters Beach Club and it was epic. Live reggae music, comedy, tropical white sandy beach, Red Stripe beer, warm waters and sun bathing. We all forgot about the world-renowned snorkeling. Here is heaven on earth. This moment is what love feels like…
In fact, a few days ago I was pondering a title for my new book. After much deliberation, I decided on a title: "L.O.V.E.S: The Answer" A myriad of possibilities exist when choosing a title for a book. I was left wondering, “is this the right title for my book?” Ultimately, the universe, in her own mysterious and most surprising ways gave me the answer…. A resounding “Yes!”
A few hours later, our taxi driver friend took us back to the cruise ship. My wife kindly asked him, “Please sing us one more song?”
Immediately, he responded, “May I sing you an original?”