Sunday, February 15, 2009

You goan a Jamaica?

Our host "Chest" and his friend "Froggy". 1993

As soon as our Jamaican friend in Ottawa found out we (Sara & I) wanted to go a Jamaica, he sent us to his village, Central Village, between Kingston and Spanish Town. (locals call it "Spain".)
As soon as we arrived at Kingston airport, we knew we were in for quite a "ride"!
Since our guest didn't know we were coming yet, he wasn't there to meet us. After many deliberations with local taxi drivers, we opted for the bus. As we were waiting, we thought : "We don't know exactly where we're going." , "We have to take 2 buses." We quickly changed our minds and reached for the taxi driver with the best deal.
The taxi spead along this beautiful coastal road. Ah, the sweet smell of a tropical island.

Passing many rough looking villages."Is this Central Village?" we asked worried. "No" was our answer. We were relieved each time....
Until we forked at a very similar rough village that turned out to be Central Village. Every one was looking at us passing by. We were very worried. We arrived and our host wasn't there. He arrived shortly. It turned out that he was talking to his cousin (our friend in Ottawa) and he told him that we were coming.
Throught out our 3 month stay, many people came to see the "whiteys", who knew their brethren back in Canada.

During our stay:
- we bleached (spend a night awake) at Reggae Sunsplash, the first year in Kingston, taking short naps on our "ragga bed" (cardboard).

- We went to a few dance "sessions" at the Spanish Town Prison Oval. It's not in the prison but on a field next to the prison. One could see the prisoners at their respective window.

- With Chest, we took a shared taxi (4 at the back and 3 at the front) to Ocho Rios, visiting the Green Grotto and, of course, the Dunn's River Falls.

- Visited Bob Marley's museum at Hope street, Kingston. Quite an esoteric experience. Of course, by then, I understood "patois" (the local lingo) quite well and amazed some rastas by understanding what they told me. Eh! Eh!

- We learned how to play dominos. According to Froggy, I ketch it fast mon!

- Went to a few sessions in Kingston clubs. Witnessed the debut of Ninja man. I remember our van being stopped fro a search by machined gun cops at 4 AM!
"4 O'Clock, road block..." like in the Bob Marley's song.

- Hitch-hiked to a Kingston beach a few times, where we were the only "whiteys" there, with food vendors (mainly jerk chicken or fish) and reggae music blaring everywhere.

- Rented a likkle car and together with Roy and Chest, we went to Clarendon, Montego Bay, Negril and Mandeville. We slept on Mo'Bay's beach to wake up to find Roy's shoes gone missing!

- Went to Sumfest in Mo'Bay.

I quickly learned that "soon come", means "See you later" and not coming back soon and that "Raggamuffin driving" is crazy driving.

Althought Central Village is a very rough and poor village, we never felt in danger and the people were very friendly. We had such fun and were very fortunate to experienced the "real" Jamaica.

Found on a BM's Museum wall:
"Time is not measured by the years that you live...But by the joy that you give."