What I’ve Learned in St Ann
I’ve basically learned everything I know about life in Jamaica in St Ann. Okay I will break that down for you in the rest of this post but when I think of Ocho Rios, located in St Ann, I think about all the transformations that have taken place in my life because of Jamaica. Stay with me here and just keep reading.
– First, I have learned that most foreigners call it St Ann’s which bugs me because that’s not what it’s called. Call me OCD but there is a St Ann’s Bay within the parish of St Ann but that’s just a small town, not the entire parish.
– I learned how to find a place to live in Jamaica in St Ann (Ocho Rios), how to get utility bills in my own name, how horrible customer service of those utility companies is, and how to stand in line for hours to pay those bills.
– I learned there are a few people in Jamaica that I could trust 100% and I got the best neighbor on the planet when I got my apartment in Ochi. I have also learned that the people I trusted 100% kind of fall back to about 50% over time (except my neighbor).
– I learned how to drive in Jamaica, quite by accident. For years I had wished I was brave enough to drive in Jamaica but felt too intimidated until one day….I had a bunch of foreign friends come down and one of them rented a car insisting I drive them around the island. There was no turning back now so I just did it and it opened unlimited doors for me! I also learned how to use mirrors while backing up LOL. I had always been a shoulder-checking reverse girl until I noticed how stealth Jamaicans were at backing into tight places using only mirrors so I secretly practiced back home in Canada and now it’s second nature.
– I ran into my first (but not last) cow posse on the road near Golden Grove. I still wish I was quick enough to pull out my camera and capture this one because it was hilarious. That was two trips before I started traveling with a dash camera in my rental cars.
– I learned my Canadian dog has a long lost brother in Steer Town, named BadMan. I consider him MINE and there will still be a rescue mission to bring him back to Canada in his lifetime. He is the best Jamaican relationship I’ve ever had.
– I learned there is a Canadian woman on an endless mission to save all the suffering dogs in Jamaica and she needs support in the form of dollars, dog food and volunteer hours. See The Animal House Jamaica.
– I learned there IS in fact something beyond that big Noranda aluminum plant you see on the highway near Discovery Bay. If you turn up the road like you’re driving into the plant itself you actually go through it and end up in a community.
– I was a TV co-host in Browns Town! That was one of the most random happenings ever.
– After spending months at a time in Ocho Rios I learned the runnings of other people’s Jamaican boyfriends. Truly fascinating.
– One of the most important skills I learned in St Ann is how to live and fit in as a local. I fought for a respected spot in my community and I won. I can’t say I’ve won island-wide yet but definitely in St Ann, and it’s spreading to other areas.
– I had lunch with four random police men originally against my will but it eventually turned into a little game. They pulled up in a jeep while I was sitting on a restaurant patio alone and took it upon themselves to saunter on over – helmets and machine guns in tote – and have a seat with me. After the little encounter and a few number exchanges they were on their way again. I will never forget that because a table full of first-time Jamaica tourists were sitting nearby and after the officers got up and left one of the tourists came over to ask if I was okay LOL. I guessed that perhaps they’d never seen police in riot gear and machine guns while on vacation before.
– I learned how to file my first police report at the Ocho Rios police station, and deal with the aftermath of a motor vehicle accident involving a private rental car. It is serious (scary and intimidating) business and I don’t recommend private rentals anymore because of that one incident….unless you have lots of cash in the bank….which I didn’t. Great reason #1 to become friends with police officers when you get the chance LOL.
– I have learned that my heart ultimately resides in St Ann, however St Elizabeth is running a close second lately except that I’ll never find a Pizza Hut in the south.
I could never cover EVERYTHING I’ve learned about this parish because I’ve spent so much time there that time has actually escaped me. But those are some of the things (in a nutshell) that stand out in my mind as I write. I know there are TONS of you who are Ochi lovers so go ahead and post in the comments below some of the things you’ve learned in St Ann.