Jamaica was an interesting trip. It was one of the stops on the cruise, one of the three islands that we are going to stop at. I’ll wake up tomorrow morning on the coast of Mexico, somewhere, never been really good at geography so I can’t give you much more information than that. After about 5 minutes on the islands (literally) I was approached by about seven different black men that spoke broken English and they were all offering me a taxi ride, or a necklace, or a tour, or a sexual favour (ok that wasn’t me, but there were a few on the boat that we’re offered just that). My dad was more nervous than I was the entire trip, he didn’t trust anyone.
Eventually my dad and I got friendly with a local, named Genie (his island nickname), who took us for a drive throughout the island. We gave him double what he asked for at the end of the trip, and besides being gracious I think it might have been a mistake. He let us go, and ten seconds later he was calling us by name and decided to help us find the rest of the family in case they wanted another tour. So we ate lunch and waited for the rest of our family to show up. Somehow we ended up paying for his meal and fancy drink. Don’t get me wrong, this guy was a super nice guy. In fact, I think he was the only guy on the entire island that my dad trusted. He talked to us about everything, from economics to history to religion and he was very friendly. However, I think he liked us just because of the money.
So after lunch we said that we weren’t going to go on another tour and we let him go. A few hours later we found the rest of the family; two minutes later Genie shows up and just is hanging out around us. He stuck around us and kept up small talk for another hour or so and finally my dad decided to let my sister and mom go on another tour. We gave him the regular asking price this time, and from then on in, he just didn’t seem as friendly. In fact he gave us the shortest ride ever, just a longer way to the boat really.
It was such an interesting experience on the island. For items that they originally stated would be $50 you could bargain them down to around $10. When they see that you are white they automatically jack the price up sky high hoping to make a sale at that price. They force you into spending money you didn’t even know you had in your wallet. If you have no will power you will probably be getting back on the boat with no clothes and your wallet missing for nothing more than a hair braid.
The whole trip reminded me of other things that were just unfortunate. I didn’t feel like I was in Jamaica at all. I felt like I was in the United States with a Jamaican twist. It was not really Jamaica. Western culture had completely taken over the area. The goal was money, and more money and to get as much as you can. People didn’t matter, what mattered is your business. For some reason I don’t think that real Jamaica consisted of what we experienced. Because when Genie took us to villages on the outskirts of this little tourist attraction they looked like crap. They looked nothing like Jamaica was portraying itself to all its tourists.
Thank-you consumerism and materialism for taking over yet one more part of our world.
On a more positive note. My cruise is going amazing and I’m having such a good time with the family and experiencing luxury probably for the only week of my life that I would actually want it.