Funnyclown and I had a mission in Jamaica- to meet some real Jamaicans in the real part of Jamaica- outside the port. We were told before and since that our plan was crazy, but we didn't listen to all those people who told us that Jamaicans were going to rob and/or hold us hostage, kidnap us ect. It didn't happen folks.
Although initially leaving port Falmouth was a culture shock for me, I wasn't afraid. It was a bit overwhelming being shouted at from all sides as we left the port and headed down the dirt road that had suddenly appeared before us. The area just beyond the port is jam packed with taxis charging upwards of 80 dollars to leave and return to the port. Merchants lined the road with their wares and one woman actually grabbed my arm and started pulling me toward her "shop". I actually turned and ran away from her because she had startled me. She yelled at me to come back, but I wanted to get out of this cramped area. I told my friend we should just keep walking away from the port, and we did. We turned down a street or 2,
not sure exactly where we were going. We passed a corner lot and saw a huge pile of garbage which we could smell before we got to. It was a stark contrast to the immaculate port only a couple blocks away.
The further we went from the port, the calmer it got. We were now in a modest neighborhood that was realatively quiet. I saw a little store next to a cute little house with a nice, shady porch. The man in the shop came out when we passed and we exchaned greetings. He asked if we wanted some water and I said yes. He did not charge us for it, which was very nice, we must have looked really hot, sweating in the humid 90 degree weather. I asked if he minded if we sat down on his porch for a minute to get out of the sun. To our suprise, he invited us into his home.
It was a cute house with tile floor but I noticed that they had no baseboards or doorframes. Normally I would never notice these things, but the absence of them caught my attention. I guess when your used to things
Chillin on the River
Funnyclown and our new friend who drove us to the Dunns River. By the way, the roadways in Jamaica are craaaazy!
being a certain way you assume that everyone has it that way. Not true. There were two wooden blocks on the floor but their decorations were on cardboard cylinders. I wondered why they werent using the wood as funiture, and I asked him what the wood boxes were for. He told me they use all their wood to carve items to sell. I started to think of all the wood I have in my house and how much they could use all that wood to make money. In fact, ever since I met this young Jamaican man and his family and friends, I spend alot of time thinking about the things that I take for granted. I walk around my house thinking about how I can get all these things I barely use to Jamaica. These people are really struggling and yet this young man invited me into his home and also had a friend take us to a great spot on the Dunns River, where we spent the afternoon sipping Coconut juice and Red Stripe.
There were many tourists that came down the river on rafts past where we were, guided by locals. The raft guides all seemed
Dinner for the children was cooked over this fire.
to know the men we were with, and they all exchanged cheerful greetings. As for the tourists, most of them would not even look at us. At one point Funnyclown was away from the spot where we were standing, making balloons for the children. when some tourists passed and it was just myself standing with the two Jamaican gentlemen, The man tourist asked me if I was in trouble and needed help. The question almost made me laugh, it seemed so absurd since I was having the time of my life. But upon returning to the ship, we found that most people thought what we did in Jamaica was crazy. At lunch the next day a woman asked what we did in Jamaica. When we told her she said that she was suprised we came back alive, right infront of our waiter, who happened to be Jamaican. He spoke up to say that there are alot of misconceptions about Jamaicans. All I can say is Damn Straight.
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