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HindustanTimes Wed,24 Sep 2014
Tranquil Port Royal a far cry from its wicked days
Somshuvra Laha
Kingston, Jamaica, June 28, 2013
First Published: 01:04 IST(28/6/2013)
Last Updated: 01:11 IST(28/6/2013)

Watching the turquoise blue sea and white beaches from the comfort of a window seat, one failed to understand what could have prompted a frustrated Elizabeth Swann to burst out saying: “This is barbaric! This is no way for grown men to... I’ve had it with wobbly-legged, rum-soaked pirates!”

Yes, we are talking about the movie ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’. The plot was set right here at Port Royal, a few kilometers away from Sabina Park, where hosts West Indies are set to face India and Sri Lanka from Friday.

Port Royal is a quiet village now. No one-eyed pirate with plume-fitted hats lording around with a pistol, a bottle of rum tucked in his belt. Just a few fishermen now tread the seas that were once a no-go zone for civilians.

Upheaval

A massive earthquake in 1692, a fire in 1703, more earthquakes razed everything to the ground. It was God’s way of punishing the pirates, declared the clergy.

Yes, once Port Royal used to be one of the busiest ports but constant skirmishes between pirates and the English kept it on the edge. It’s now a sorry shade, one that Unesco is eyeing for a world heritage site.

What heritage? “You won’t see it, unless you go snorkeling,” said Renford Taylor, a transport officer at Kingston airport.

“Almost two-thirds of the Port Royal is underwater. And if you are real lucky, you might even get a glimpse of the cannons that once shielded it. Even the buildings untouched by the seas are worth preserving.”

“Funny you know,” continued Taylor. “Port Royal was once the wickedest city. But now even though Kingston figures among the crime capitals, there is no crime in Port Royal.”

 


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