In early 2009, a good friend of mine joined the Peace Corps in Jamaica. It was decided then that me and a bunch of my friends would visit him. On April 1, 2010 we arrived in Kingston, Jamaica. We had a bit of trouble at customs, the address we had wasn’t specific enough. It needed to be a recognized postal address-so remember this for your trip to Jamaica. There were 7 of us and somehow two people got through but the rest of us had to call our friend on the customs phone to get a more specific address. We ended up getting through, no problem.
Our friend, Jerry, picked us up in the 8 person van he rented for us and we drove across the country to Montego Bay. We stayed with his girlfriend, Jess in Beecher Town, outside of Fern Gully (that’s right) outside of Ocho Rios. It was a trek. We popped a tire the first night. Some locals helped us out, not that we needed it, but none the less-helped us and expected a tip. Be aware, if you go, that some Jamaicans are like this, not all, but some.
We went to a couple beaches, paid to get in-these are the ones that are kept clean and are a little bit safer than the others. SO if you don’t go to a resort, don’t be hesitant to pay for a beach. It’s no big deal, especially considering safety. There was one beach I really liked, it was called Flavors. Live music and good food. I had a pina colada-my first strangely. It was very refreshing. The other beach which had bright yellow and blue umbrellas for purchase was in Montego Bay. There was a Jamexican restaurant in MB, that’s right, Jamaican Mexican food, inspired by Chipotle-literally. It was pretty decent!
Surprisingly I didn’t get burned, and I’m pretty fair. Yay sunscreen. In all my pictures I look shiny but not red so I guess that’s good.
If you go to Jamaica, go to the Blue Hole if you can find it. It’s near Ocho Rios. I didn’t get to go but I urge you to since I didn’t.
The food. It was the best. And my favorite part of Jamaica. I love love fish. I had Jerk Conch which was really interesting and worth getting. I also bought some jerk seasoning to take home. I also love rice and peas, which is served with almost everything. The peas are kidney beans. Don’t ask why. Just enjoy.
“Jamaica no problem” is a big saying that the locals use. I appreciated this and used it myself. But going to Jamaica, as my first developing country, it has a lot of problems and you don’t see this if you stay in a resort. You barely see it if you venture just outside the resort. The people are poor and it is difficult to see but it is also humbling and I am glad that I experienced it this way and not secluded in a resort. I also truly experienced the people of Jamaica. They are very laid back and not afraid to chat. Overall I enjoyed Jamaica even though it was heartbreaking at times. I think I learned a lot about myself and about a part of the world that I only saw on television.