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10 Things About Jamaica That Drive Me To Drink

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.

My List

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.

jamaica police9. 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!

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15 Comments

  1. This post made me laugh so hard i almost knocked my computer off my lap!

    Its funny, but as I am reading through your list of things in JA that drive you to drink, I can relate with everything you said!

    Through all those police pull overs, damn high beams in my eyes when I am driving, trying so hard to stay on the right side of the road, and KINDLY telling a man that no I do not have any children, and no I would not like any from him LOL.

    All in all, even after thinking of some of the things that make me want to run into the ocean and swim away, I still love Jamaica so much, piss offs and all, I am a lifer :)

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  2. LOL Emily your last line describes it perfectly……from one lifer to another hahahaa.

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  3. No.10…police…St Ann is our worst parish for this……from when we hit it the police are there….end of

    No.9…cardboard cut out….he’s good isn’t he?

    No.8…animals in the road…I find the goats to be rather slow at times…..anyone for curry?

    No.7…directions…what? you haven’t been charged yet for that privilege? (beg yuh $100?)

    No.6…Digicel Phones…after nine years of living there I can add credit, send credit and find my own number? Impressive eh?

    No.5…high beams…..high beams and even more high beams….I’ve come to conclusion Jamaican cars don’t have dip switches for their headlights..

    No.4…speed dating….yes…

    No.3…waiting in line….Yes I’m always the only white person in JPS, Post Office, NWC but when it comes to Cash Pot…huh! Queuing is not an option here because it’s a free-for-all and the first one to the window is the winner!!!!

    No.2…Digicel stores…..Kristi you just haven’t got it….as I walk in the store they fall over themselves to serve me…I decided they must be on a commission and think I must be there to spend big money!!!

    No.1…The only time I drink white rum is to mix it as a stress reliever with Stones Ginger Wine…

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  4. LOL Janet the ONLY time I didn’t have to wait in line was at the police station to file my car accident report. There was a bench FULL of Jamaicans sitting and waiting and the desk officer called me ahead of everyone. I actually refused and told them I’d wait my turn. I felt bad to get served before others who have been waiting longer. Guess that’s the Canadian in me.

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  5. I can see why everything on your list is frustrating, as a Jamaican descendant, the most frustrating is the waiting times to get anything done, no sense of time. Don’t mind waiting, until I get to the counter, and you tell me I can’t have what I came in for in the first place, because you don’t have X, Y or Z!!

    The rest I can deal with without stressing out. No problems with animals walking in the road, have time for them any day.

    Digicel, they are there deliberately to frustrate you – my last trip, at KIN airport, tried to tell me that I couldn’t have a chip unless I bought a phone! When I challenged her, if this was so in every shop in Jamaica, she changed her mind. I have since contacted Digicel via email who assure me that is not suppose to happen. I now use the online service to send credit, use their triple top up promotions whenever, success every time.

    I’ve been stopped by police and the speed gun, for them to be only disappointed that this chicks ok. Your speed dating made me laugh – dismiss them with bring me proof that you’re really that good.

    High beam them until they dip theirs – works every time.

    Directions, try and avoid asking, get the person you’re visiting to come get you or you end up giving the person a lift, and no nearer to where you need to get to.

    Well done Kirsti

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  6. LOL Betty, thanks for the comments. Even as I re-read the list I still laugh. And yet we still love it!

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  7. Only a foreign gal would think its “fun” to be pulled over by the police in Jamaica…smh…trust me its not fun to be pulled over by the police being a black person anywhere in the world…u lucky you are white and don’t have to face certain harassment as real Jamaicans would go through.

    Sweetie, the men don’t want to date you, they just want your money….

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  8. LOL NAVI you obviously don’t follow my blog regularly or you would know that I KNOW that’s what Jamaican men want. Trust me. I’m writing a book about it LOL.
    And while you say I’m “lucky” to be white, try being a white female living alone in Jamaica. I face many other harassments that DO make the police look fun! It’s unfortunate that we each have our own crosses to bear because of our color.

    Thanks for the comments! :-)

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  9. furthermore NAVI Jamaica,

    native women like you give jamaica women all a bad name/rep. cool off! you seem tense. that would be my number one pet peeve of JA-SOME of the women can be rude because they THINK all women come to JA for their men! its annoying to have to fight off stares and bad attitudes bc of this misconception! puh-leaze save all of that race/color talk for some other post.

    sincerely,
    a black woman.

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  10. Oh I loved reading this! #9 gives me the creeps too :) #6 I only started to learn about during my second trip #4 interestingly enough I notice more of in the country then in Kingston…

    and from my personal experience, the sound of crickets at night (in the country) woah they are LOUD!! And it goes on ALL NIGHT… like a general assembly of crickets that just doesn’t stop. I need earplugs to sleep :)

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  11. LOL I grew accustomed to the sound of crickets and tree frogs so much that when I returned home after months of hearing them, I couldn’t sleep with the silence.

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  12. So True. People in JA drive like they are drinking. I found the directions hilarious. I once had to take every turn off from a roundabout to find my way since there were no signs at the roundabout telling you which way to go. Crazy.

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  13. LOL Char I have that same problem in Spanish Town every single time I go. I ALWAYS get off one of the roundabouts at the wrong exit and end up in a part of town I have no desire to be in. Then I always turn back and get the right exit. I’m not sure why I can’t just get it right the first time now.

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  14. I stumbled upon your site tonight and have been so enjoying your musings. This particular piece especially made me laugh! All of it, so true.

    I had three different interactions with the police in one day last month over in Portland, Jamaica. I had not experienced their interest in me nearly so much in Westmoreland and Hanover. I was not enjoying this new attention at all as the third stop had the police lady asserting for some time that we did not have all “of our papers”. We finally convinced her that she had left some of our papers in her patrol car.

    And, the part about the phone store and dealing with three people at one time? They do it at the Lime store too.

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  15. LOL Ginger glad you’re finding entertainment here haha. I feel like I could buy shares in the JCF with all the times I’ve dealt with police there. Mostly fun though and always something to write about.

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