Serves me right for not visiting the north coast of Jamaica in over a year but seriously, it’s only been one year and three months since I ventured away from the south coast and visited Ocho Rios. I’ve known about the new super-highway in Jamaica since it opened but because I’ve been hiding out in the bush for so long I really had no idea where this highway to Kingston began. I always had it in my head that it was probably a spin-off of the old Mt Rosser route.
So a couple weeks ago I was driving to Ocho Rios from Montego Bay at night, yes it was dark out. I know this road like the back of my hand since I had been a north coast girl for probably eight years, so there I was just motoring my way through the dark when I approached a roundabout that WAS NOT THERE just a over a year ago. Because I’m so smart I entered the roundabout, followed it around and kept driving in the direction I was originally driving. It was very soon after that I noticed how beautiful the road beneath me was and…..a sign that said “Kingston and Spanish Town”. Ooops.
Now WTF was I supposed to do? How did I not notice the directional signs BEFORE I took the wrong turn? And since when is ANYTHING this large in Jamaica built in ONE YEAR??? Man, those Chinese work fast because none of this roadway existed a year ago. And why isn’t there a “mistake” turn-off to get the hell off that road? Because once you’re on it, you’re on it! There’s no way out.
So anyway, there I am driving up this amazing super-highway in the dark wondering how far I actually have to go before I see an exit. After quite a fair distance I finally reach the first toll booth and I’m planning my speech for the toll agent about how I’m a dumb tourist who took a wrong turn and I need to go back. She looked at me with an unfriendly, blank stare and said I would have to pay the $200.00 toll, drive through until I reach see the Golden Grove exit, stop at that toll booth and then make my turnaround. I begrudgingly paid her and drove through.
Soon after, I reached the Golden Grove exit and approached a next toll booth. I plead the same stupid tourist story hoping I could save myself the toll fare. Again, the girl in the booth gave me a blank, mean look but her eyes mischievously glanced toward the toll gate (which she had opened). The look on her face was as if she was saying, “This is a limited time offer so push the gas pedal now or forever hold your peace”. I thanked her and drove through, proving that the first toll girl COULD have done the same thing had someone not peed in her cornflakes that day.
After passing through the second gate I knew that shortly after I’d reach the original toll booth going in the other direction. Again, I wasn’t so lucky. I actually argued with this third toll girl and told her how mean she was being to a tourist who made a simple mistake but she wouldn’t give an inch. So ultimately I forked over another $200.00 to get through.
After $400.00 and a half hour of my life I’ll never get back I re-did the roundabout and ended up in Ocho Rios. It’s a pity this all happened in the dark so I didn’t even get to see the giant highway in the light.
Let this be a lesson for you if you haven’t driven to Ocho Rios since early 2015!!