Oh how I love Jamaica so. Let me count the ways!
I adore this little island sitting in the middle of the ocean more than anyone (in MY fact book). But I tell ya there are some things that drive me to alcoholism there! Of course I love rum anyway and don’t need help over-indulging but there are a few things that really draw me closer to the bottle in Jamaica.
10. The police and their island-wide love for me. I can’t even count the amount of times I’ve been randomly pulled over in how many parishes. Doesn’t matter where I am they catch me. I can’t say it’s a bad thing because I love trying to deal with the police in a comical way – whether they respond well to it or not but it shaves minutes off my travel time.
9. Speaking of police, the guy in the picture to the left gives me a small heart attack every time I see him because he’s not real but at first quick glance you don’t realize he’s fake. He also makes appearances island-wide.
8. Wildlife on the road. Even though most of the animals that roam the island are smarter than we think they are it doesn’t change the fact that I also have a small heart attack at the dogs and goats that saunter too close to the road. I’m amazed at how the dogs (most of them) will wait until the coast is clear before crossing the road. The cows aren’t as bright but it doesn’t matter because they’re bigger than us so we just have to sit and wait.
7. Lack of clear direction. More often than not when I’m driving in unfamiliar territory there’s at least one missing road sign and no street names that could give me clear direction to where I’m going. This has caused many a roadtrip gone wrong. Although it’s not always a bad thing because getting lost is fun but it can be exhausting. And forget about asking a Jamaican for directions because you’re undoubtedly get an answer like in the video below.
6. All the Digicel phone codes. I’ve been going to Jamaica for more than 10 years and STILL don’t know more than two of the eighteen million codes you can dial into your phone for various services. I know how to add credit to my phone and that’s it. I have NO CLUE how to send credit to someone, activate my international plan, activate my data plan, etc. I carry a cheat sheet in my bag at all times so I can figure out how to navigate through it all. It’s mind boggling.
5. High beams. Jamaicans ALWAYS drive with their high beams on at night. No question, it’s ALWAYS high beams and it blinds me. Driving through Fern Gully or on deserted country roads in the dark is life and death for me because I can’t see a damn thing with oncoming high beams glaring at me. Yet when I decide to turn on my high beams oncoming cars flash the crap out of theirs to make me turn mine off. ??? I don’t understand.
4. EVERYTHING in Jamaica seems to be a speed-dating episode. I can never, ever just go somewhere without several men thinking I’m there to find a date or that I’m their soul mate. Nuff said.
3. Wait time. I have spent what feels like half a lifetime waiting in lines that go nowhere. Bill payment line ups (when I lived there), Western Union trying to collect money, food shops, convenience stores that aren’t so convenient, etc. The wait times are horrendous and it’s mind numbing. To add to the frustration I’m usually the only foreigner in each line up and it seems I’m invisible because Jamaicans just cut in front of me like I’m not there….until I get rude and stand my ground.
2. Digicel 100% drives me to drink. Any dealing I’ve ever had with them is a nightmare (yet I continue to own a Digicel phone). I cringe if I know I need to go into one of their stores because it’s chaos. They NEED to implement a “take a number” system because there are no line-ups. People who need service just stand around anywhere, there’s no order to the process, no one knows nor cares who was there first, and the customer service reps behind the counter deal with at least 3 people at a time. No joke – they could be fiddling with your phone at the same time as making a call for the next person AS WELL AS selling credit to a next person. It’s beyond frustrating and there’s no urgency in their service at all.
And the #1 thing in Jamaica that drives me to drink?
Logically, it’s the price of liquor and how readily available it is. If you love rum and hate spending money Jamaica is a fantasy playground for you. If you’re privy to the more local lifestyle in Jamaica you don’t need more than $10.00 to enjoy a good many drinks, complete with chaser! If you’re not privy to the local lifestyle….have fund spending a fortune at the touristy spots!