As Scotland strikes out again to try seize its freedom following the vote for independence parties in the Scottish election, your global traveller is flagging up one Scots-infused country of Empire which did… Jimmyaica.
No, Jimmyaica isn’t my lame efforts at Jamaican patois.
It’s more a recognition of the Scottish imprint on Jamaica (Scots are playfully known as Jimmys) and particularly its flag.
Jamaican flags will be flying even more proudly next year as the Caribbean Island celebrates 60 years of independence and some of you might wonder why it has that St Andrew’s Cross at its centre.
Flags are us
If some of you are tentatively wondering that it might have something to do with Scotland then go to the top of the class.
You may very well be a vexillologist, or somebody who loves flags and have found a link too between the Scottish flag and the Tenerife flag too.
I did when I went out to the Canary Island with CanariaWays and found that they have the exact same flag.
The initial suggestion for the flag was a Tricolour of green (agriculture and hope), black (the struggles of its people) and gold (sunlight).
But that was thought too similar to Tanganyika’s (now Tanzania).
But then you knew that already.
Besides, a missionary from Glasgow, Rev. William McGhie (he’d obviously considered his ain Glaswegians well past saving!) had the ear of the Prime Minister Alexander Bustamante.
The Man of the Cloth persuaded him to embed Christian imagery into the flag.
And so the X of the St Andrew’s Cross found its way onto the flag to mark how the Apostle had lost his life.
Glasgow belongs to I and I
The Jamaican Glasgow on the west of the island is, of course, just one of a number of place names we both share.
Among the others are Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Inverness, Dundee, Greenock and ouch… Culloden!
So we’re off… with our official countdown to the 60th anniversary of Jamaica’s independence.
And I’m bringing you this in association with Flag Up Scotland Jamaica which helpfully also seems to want to promote Caledonian preserves – flagupscotjam.
Universal is serving up a real treat with its International Flavors of Carnaval from February 6 to March 28.
Eat around the world
When it will showcase dishes from New Orleans, Puerto Rico, Trinidad & Tobago, Brazil, Spain and er Germany (who knew?)
Glasgow Bar with owner Karl in Tobago
Of course carnivals have long been choreographed to the minutest detail so you’ll not even notice social distancing.
There will be floats throughout the park and a Big Easy Bash.
Jambalaya mia my-oh
And from personal experience it is the done thing to start at breakfast time with Jambalaya, a Sazerac and a jazz brass band.
You want a taster of some of the other culinary delights.
Moe’s and Jimbo’s
Cajun cuisine from New Orleans, such as a Crawfish Boil, Jambalaya, Beignets and other Big Easy delights.
Classic Carnaval dishes from the islands, such as Pernil & Mofongo from Puerto Rico, a vegan Pholourie from Trinidad & Tobago and Jerk Chicken from the Bahamas.
Pork Schnitzel Sliders and Bavarian Pretzels from Germany, iconic Paella Mixta and Leche Frita from Spain and Belgium Liege Waffles from Belgium.
Other flavours from Brazil (Moqueca de Camarao), Canada (Beef Short Rib Poutine), Colombia (Carnitas Arepas), Cuba (Cuban Sandwiches), Italy (Caneloni), France Poached Pear Creme Brulee Crepe) and more.
I had all planned to take a whizz around the Florida Keys before the other Donald closed America off in March but hope to put that right when I get the chance.
And it’s those areas with natural distancing like the Keys and island nations (and yes a lesson here to the UK and Ireland too) who have an advantage.
Sail away in Croatia
And when you’ve got 1200 islands then there’s ‘one for everyone in the audience.’
As they like to say in the world’s longest-running TV chat show, Ireland’s The Late Late Show, or whatever the Croatian equivalent is.
But here is a country which, as a Balkans state, dealt better than the rest of Europe with the virus.
And which is perfectly placed to host the tourist’s new requirements during and post-Covid.
One area is in small boat holidays and yachting around the islands, another adventure in the Great Outdoors.
My go-to people in Ireland for Croatia are Croatia Tours, and I went on pilgrimage with them to neighbouring Bosnia & Herzegovina where I started out on the road to Dubrovnik.
They have a seven-days Rivers by the Sea package, making the most of where the area where the Krka River enters the Adriatic, on June 26 £1255pp.
Where you’ll get to sea kayak, cycle, canoe, rock climb, hike and raft.
The Tuscan Islands
We’ll also be spreading our wings more next year even when we do visit our favourite cities.
And that’ll help hotspots like Firenze breathe as we explore greater Tuscany, its adventure trails, cycling opportunities and thermal waters.
And its seven islands, chief among them Elba, the first island of exile for Napoleon, and Montecristo, it of Alexandre Dumas’ Count.
Able was I ere I saw Elba.
As every schoolchild, well, at least those of certain age and lexical bent, will tell you.
And Tuscany was, and is, ere able to thrive in ‘il novo normal’.
And, of course, the Caribbean
Daddy’s Little Girl, as all our little girls do these days, is wont to show me amusing things she finds on the internetty thing.
And one we both find funny is a Jamaican tour guide who extols the benefits of inhaling the island’s plants.
I grab every chance to hook up with my Caribbean friends, Barbados,Tobago, Anguilla (heck, all of them) albeit these days over Zoom, if only to hope that I can draw some sun out from the screen.
And as usual their warmth came flowing us out as they reminded us that in their island their neighbourliness has helped them through this crisis and referred in passing to London where ‘people don’t know their neighbours but had been getting to know each other this year.’
For those of us too who in the second half of the century of years some of us are blessed to live, our cultural touchpoint for the Phillipines is the Thrilla in Manila, the nation’s capital which hosted Ali-Frazier III.