Over the years in Jamaica I have found one amazing thing to be true: Almost every Jamaican has the same educational degree.
What degree is that you might be asking?
A Masters degree in Navigational Engineering, of course!
It doesn’t matter where you are on the entire island, when it comes to backing out of parking stalls, exiting parking lots or just plain trying to get somewhere, a Jamaican has got you covered like Geico! And this little story happened in Port Maria.
Earlier this year I was headed to Port Antonio and had to pass through the pretty little town of Port Maria. It had been years since I went through that town and I remember the last time I did it I went the wrong way at the main roundabout.
Now, the thing about the roundabout in Port Maria is that it’s NEVER quiet like pictured above. Every single time I’ve ever driven through this roundabout it’s bustling and clogged up by people, vehicles and vendors. So if you end up taking the wrong exit here you can’t correct yourself very easily because the streets are crammed. You have to drive up the beach road and figure it out from there which isn’t as simple as just going the right way in the first place. Nothing is as simple as going the right way the first time around but that’s just not what I do lol.
So on this journey, in true Kristi fashion, I exited the wrong way at the roundabout and ended up on the beach road. Only it had been so many years since I’ve made that mistake that I forgot how to correct it.
After driving a little ways up the beach road I pulled over and decided I’d ask someone to speed up the process of being lost. A youngish guy was riding his bicycle slowly past my car so I rolled down my window and hailed him over. He looked as though he just found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, like as if he didn’t believe it was him that I was hailing. He swerved his bike so sharp he nearly fell and then approached my car window.
I told him I was headed to Port Antonio but made a wrong turn at the roundabout and asked him how I could get back to a main road to get out of town. Well you know Jamaicans and their directions….he turned what could have been really simple into a thesis on exiting Port Maria. But he was so sweet about it I couldn’t just tell him to stop talking and give it to me straight!
He literally wanted to ride his bicycle in front of me the entire way out so that I didn’t get myself into any trouble. He warned me about all the possible bad men I could encounter on the way out and that I should not stop and ask ANYONE ELSE for directions because they wouldn’t be nice people. And last but not least he thought I should take his phone number so I could call him if problems arise and then call him when I reached Port Antonio so that he could sleep that night knowing I got there safely.
Ooooooh boy, this encounter with the young man was video worthy if only I had thought of it at the time. In the end I did take his number on paper and told him I would let him know when I got out of the town safely. And I think I did text him to let him know. I just couldn’t leave him hanging because he was so ridiculously concerned for my safety!
The moral of this story is that when a Jamaican is navigating you into or out of a situation take comfort in knowing that he has a university degree in what he’s doing so you’re in good hands.