After leaving Jamaica a after taste of sweet and sour comes to the mind, unfortunately more sour than sweet. Maybe we did not go to the right places, maybe we did not do the right things, maybe we did not study enough but the truth is: we were happy to leave.
This top 10 of things is based on our real experience, we just asked ourselves at the end of the trip what things jumped to our mind and made a list. No order no rule, just thoughts about the country.
- Taxi harassment
Apparently in every Jamaican lyes an taxi driver, not like Robert de Niro, more like Samy Nacery but less funny. From the first minute we left the airport everyone would call us in any way offering a ride. Half destroyed, no lights no brakes and maybe no driver, it did not matter. All the taxi drives we had were special and also the shared taxi concept common in other parts of the world is also a trend there.
Now we know, if it says downtown, just go up. It looks that what in many cities is the point with most interest is for Jamaicans the criminal headquarters. Not advised to tourists and young chickens with backpacks.
- American acceptance / Not ready to leave UK
We had some opportunities to speak with locals and we did see many US flags everywhere, which was symptomatic to show that there is no anti-US feeling in the people of Jamaica. We also had plenty of feedback that they are not ready to be totally independent from UK and believe it is much better to remain like this. No opinion on this one, just stating facts of the talks we had. A little surprising though.
- Ya man
Man, woman, children or baby I’m assuming that this are the first words of the Jamaicans. It does not matter the sentence or the context, it always finishes with a Ya man. Maybe I’m a little biased here because where I come from Ya man is used but it’s considered rude.
- Green and Hilly
Jamaica is probably one of the most hilly countries of the Caribe and driving across it made it very clear. A green and mountainous landscape was always present which made it a wonder to visit, it reminded me sometimes driving in the highlands of Scotland but painted in green. Beautiful.
- Japanese cars
Even though americans are well acepted in the country there is no way they can sell cars in Jamaica as the lion share of the market is clearly Japanese. We saw all brands we new and even some we never heard of, in a parade of old and new cars made from the Japanese carmakers,
- Holes on the roads
You look in the map and it looks so close and quick to get there that you close and forget it when you hit the road, two hours letter you check the map again and you are almost in the same area. We did not find highways even when they were supposed to exist and you spend so much time worried with the bumps that you can’t go fast even if you want. Then you have the traffic…
- Over Proof and Cannabis
It was no surprise to see most of the Jamaicans on the road under the effect of the marijuana, but to see that the country drink, used in every drinking spot you can imagine even far way from civilization is a Overproof rum from Wray and Nephew. This rum is 65% alcohol and it stands as 90% of the rum consumption on the islands. Reggae capital of the world…
Again this is a view of two chickens, but driving thru the roads of a country and see countless people holding a machete on the hand is something that surprised us. Too many movies, too many stories, but you can’t stop respecting someone with a machete.
- School Uniforms
Most probably an UK legacy but it was curious to see even in very poor looking villages we could see neat school uniforms everywhere. We hope this means the Jamaican commitment with the kids of tomorrow, and indeed it looked an oasis.
Here we have, in a nutshell what thinking in Jamaica brings to our mind.