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Nabeel Farah

Jamaica 2003

Jamaica, land of all that is Rasta...


Landed in Kingston, the bus stop in downtown Kingston stikes the visitor as a rather rough place. I lingered for a bit then headed out to Port Antonio in the North away from all the tourist hustle and bustle found in the port towns where cruise ships doc.


 The ride there was harrowing.Little minibuses called "coasters" are the cheapest way to travel. The ride was like no other, perhaps 20 people crammed into a little bus. It was cramped but oh for the sound system, 12 inch sub-woofers abound and the music is loud enough to make you forget that the sweat between you and the persons on either side have mixed into a sweat cocktail because you are arm and arm, leg next to sweaty leg. Anyway the dichotomy of music coming from the stereo was peculiar. It alternated between hard core reggae and Celiene Dion. For those of you who have not listened to Celeine Dion at 10,000 decibels, its well.. a uniquely surreal  experience. These minibuses careen down narrow mountainside roads, smaller oncoming cars swerve because in  Jamaica the bigger vehicle is the king of the narrow road.


Port Antonio is a quant town on the northern shores where Jamaican go for sun and fun. Later made my way to a bit of a  tourist trap called Ochio Rios, a concrete jungle in Marleys words but not a bad stop. Next headed to endless sand and turquoise waters of Negril. Reggae on the beach,  amazing bands at night. The ubiquitous aroma of bruing spiffs pervasive in the air like an omnipresent cannabis incense. Eventually ended up in Mo-bay as the locals call Montego bay.  Locals with pendulous dreds and the de rigueur mesh shirts  accosted hapless tourists ..."Eh soldja, rasta-far-i, when ja gonna buy deh ganja furom mee". Roadside jerk chicken stands are delicious, chicken cooks over charcoal in hallowed out oil drums, truly delicious. Oh to be in beautiful Jamaica...