Be Aware of Your Surroundings

It’s not very often that I post something that could deter people from exploring Jamaica but a good dose of common sense never hurt anyone either.  Here’s a little story about something that happened to me in Jamaica recently which immediately sparked fear into my soul for a brief moment, which is very rare.

A long, long time ago I heard from someone (can’t remember who) that sometimes when you’re driving in remote areas you could be in danger of a roadblock setup.  Bad people could block a road in some way in order to make you stop and then they would rob you.  Although I’ve never been fearful driving around the island alone that ONE piece of caution has always been in the back of my mind.

Last month I was doing my usual driving in remote areas alone, somewhere around the red circle on the map below.  I was on my way to a friend’s house in a small town to pick up some things.  This particular road was extremely quiet.  I hadn’t seen another vehicle in a good while.

 

map of jamaica

 

As I drove along, minding my business and listening to a nice reggae mix a black car drove up behind me.  I kept going my casual speed because I knew he’d pass me eventually.  I drive cautiously on unfamiliar roads.  Indeed, the black car pulled out to the side and proceeded to pass me, no problem.  But once he got in front of me he put on his brakes and stopped, blocking the road so I that had to stop.

My heart sunk into the pit of my stomach and I went into panic mode.  The first thing I did was lock my doors, then I shoved my purse under the driver seat and put both my cell phones down my shirt.  There I sat as the driver side door of the black car opened, a man stepped out and started walking towards my car.  I didn’t want to act like a freak so I kept my cool and cracked my window  just in case he had something worthwhile to say….like, maybe tell me I had a tail light out or something.  I had no idea what I was expecting but I was very fearful out there alone.

As the man came closer I heard him say, “Kristi, right?”  I thought to myself, “What the heck?”

Then a lady stepped out of the car and I immediately recognized her as the mother of the person’s house I was headed to.  The man was her son, the brother of the person I was going to meet.  Oddly enough I’ve met this man before but it’s been so long since I’ve seen him that I didn’t recognize him immediately.  I’m pretty sure it’s because my brain was clouded with complete and utter fear.

The reason they stopped is because when they passed they saw that it was me and knew I was headed to her house.  They just wanted to know if the mother could catch a ride with me the rest of the way so that he could turn back and go home.

Anyway, I’m not sure what the moral of this little story is.  It’s not meant to scare anyone from doing what they want to do but sometimes I get lazy about realizing that I’m in a foreign country all alone most of the time.  I think nothing of exploring freely.  But on these remote, desolate roads in the middle of nowhere we all need to keep our safety in mind.  If this had been a bad situation there’s nothing I could have done to avoid it if it happened, except for cooperate and hope for the best.

While you’re out there enjoying Jamaica, BE SAFE!

 

 

 

8 Comments

  • Erica says:

    It’s just too risky to be driving around alone. You may want to rethink that.

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  • Kristi says:

    I do think about it but in all honesty, Jamaica would be boring if I had to rely on others in order to explore freely. I would have never done the whole island end to end if I didn’t have my independence.

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  • pat says:

    is crime really prevalent in jamaica? or very dependent based on which area in?

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  • Kristi says:

    It is like everywhere else Patrick. Crime can happen anywhere. In Jamaica there are areas where there’s a higher risk or probability of crime happening but never should it be a reason for you to not travel to Jamaica or travel around the island. There are US cities I’d be more afraid of than any place in Jamaica. Like I said in the blog post, be aware and be diligent and you’ll be fine.

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  • Doro says:

    What a “happy end” 😉 But I can understand your feelings well at the moment. We hadn’t such situations during our three-week roadtrip around Jamaica, but there where some queasy moments too. We walked through Kingston to visit the Trenchtown Culture Yard, because we missed to take the bus. Everyone warnes you to do that. But we did it and we realized only while we were doing what we were doing. But it came out well, no one has attacked us or even robbed us.
    Then we were one evening on a ride to Treasure Beach from Alligator Hole along the wetlands and through “bushland”. There was no vehicle expect us, left the wetland, right the rocks and the path was very narrow and bumpy. It was already dawning. And we reckoned every moment that someone would jump out of the bush with a big machete or we could land with the car in the wetland and would never arrive in Treasure Beach. But we make it and finally there where a “goat herder” in front of us, who rounded up his sweeties with the horn of his car into the beautiful sunset. So we had “happy endings” too.

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  • Kristi says:

    Awwww Doro I LOVE your story!! I’m so glad you had a happy ending as well! Jamaica is a beautiful country!

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  • Rochelle says:

    Maybe being from the island makes me a bit more paranoid and cautious, or it could just be growing up with a typical Jamaican mom who believes Ja (and the world at large) is too dangerous a place to be travelling alone in. As an adult now I’m trying to shake that which was drummed into my head but I still haven’t done a solo trip around Jamaica. Having to rely on friends to travel around is seriously holding me back but I’m planning to let go of that fear soon and just do it, esp since I have my first car now. 🙂 Glad you were safe though! Here’s to hoping those words of caution in our ears never come to haunt.

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  • Kristi says:

    Thanks Rochelle. Every once in a while the universe gives me a little shake and a reminder that I still need to be aware. I’m not invincible even though I feel a deep sense of comfort everywhere I go in Jamaica. Complacency can get a person in trouble!

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