Where am I?

Created this blog to document my travels, experiences & thoughts thru Central & South America but hell plan to blog my travels to where ever. Goofy harmless Free Spirit hoping to spend most of my time with locals & enjoy the world! So hang on as I travel, drink cervezas, raise a little hell, maybe piss off a few people & hopefully not give Canadians a bad reputation! Of course don't do these things on purpose but while having a good time well "Shit Happens"!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Decided at the last minute to check out Jamaica as my Jamaican Canadian buddy Hugh or Junior was heading to his home in Jamaica!!!

Just got my visa for China as hope to go for a trip to Philippines, Laos, China/Tibet and Mongolia. But then my Jamaican buddy Hugh (who's gym I go to work out) mentioned he was heading to Jamaica. So he invited me along so thought why not as I had never been there!

We both went on different flights so Hugh arranged someone to pick me up & had a place to stay there. So arrived in Montego Bay Jamaica & was picked up by Hugh’s brother Karl, his son and his buddy. This was kind of a first for me as usually find my own way. But had no idea where his family lived as it’s about a hr drive to the village Grange Hill where Hugh's family live. It's near Negril Beach one of the resort areas in Jamaica.

They took me to this Guest house which Hugh’s Mom and Aunt own even if they live in Toronto. Guess they bought this house as some type of investment or retirement home in Jamaica or whatever. It’s a good thing they took me to this guest house cuz that’s the only place to stay in that village. Unless of course I stayed at someone’s home but most homes are pretty small there!

I thought shit man these guys went out of their way to pick me up so figured I’d give them some money as a thank u! Cuz thought they were doing it cuz Hugh asked them to so I offered them $10 just as a thank u! But guess they had a reason to pick me up cuz the guy owning car says Oh I charge like $500 Jamaica or $60 Canadian! Duh I just about passed out cuz I thought shit no wonder he was anxious to give me a ride! Hell the guy used his car as a taxi service!! Hell if I knew has going to charge me that much well I would have looked around for a bus or some cheaper way! Cuz hell I’ve never paid that much for a taxi before. In fact I never take a taxi!!! Jamaica is a very poor country and I found out that a visitor to the country is expected to pay for things. We had to drive about 1 hr from Montego Bay to Grange Hill where Hugh’s family lives. I dam near fainted cuz I don’t usually pay that much for a ride, especially when I’m in another country traveling.

So that was my introduction to Jamaica and I wasn’t impressed. Of course my image was fuck man this country is expensive but poor! So everyone here is out to make a buck off foreigners! I’m tight when I travel cuz want to conserve my travel $$! Hell I hate it when I go to a place and can’t really chill and enjoy cuz the $ I’m spending is on my mind! Hell Hugh was the one who set this all up so couldn’t argue about the price. Hell he even arranged the Guesthouse cuz after all it was owned by his Mom! So he wanted me to pay him before I left which was like $420 CAD!! I have never paid that much for a place before but what could I do as he had already arranged it!

Hell he told me normally they charge $60 a night which is like the Hyatt or some place in my mind! So thought OK I’ll do this once but never again! The Guest house was nice by Jamaican standards but I would have rather paid less and shared a bathroom. Cuz shit man I normally do and how many times do u use a bathroom?? The people working there were all family friends and were nice! It was kind of hot so had to keep the fan on all the time as didn’t want to open the windows! Cuz the fuckin mosquitos were pretty bad and I usually get eaten alive!

Grange Hill is a farming community where they grow and harvest Sugar Canes. I found the village very poor and like Hugh called it a Ghetto where his family lives! But his mother and aunt who live in Toronto, Canada own a Guest House in Grange Hill. So he had me stay there but to me I didn’t care cuz I would have stayed anywhere. Also I found out that they were charging me $30 a night to stay there. Now I’m kind of a tight ass when I travel so I thought that this was too much. But of course the Guest House was nice for Jamaica and I had a my own bathroom and shower. Not that I wanted it cuz had no choice.

The next day I just wandered around to see what Grange Hill was like. Jamaica kind of remindsme of Africa cuz there’s as a lot of poverty. Plus a lot of people there were telling me that I shouldn’t walk around alone at night cuz a lot of guys liked to rob tourists!!! The young guys are cool during the day but get a bit more bolder at night! It was odd cuz I was probably the only Non Black person in Grange Hill so I stood out like a sore thumb! So everyone there was calling me a white tourist which of course I wasn’t. So yeah I walked around at night but made sure I wasn’t in sketchy areas!

So the second day drove out to the Montego Bay airport with Hugh’s brother to pick up Hugh! Of course after driving 1 hr to get to the airport we find out his flight is delayed 2 hrs. So we just hang around and I walk over to departures to check things out. But we did manage to pick up Hugh and return to Grange Hill as Hugh is excited to be back. He hadn’t been in Jamaica for 2 years so he wanted to see his family cuz of course families are pretty tight there.

Hugh is called Junior by all his family and friends in Jamaica. He was born in Jamaica but then his mother took him to live in Toronto, Canada. But guess he was getting into a lot of shit there so when he got a son well he cleaned up his act. But it’s hard to get out of getting into shit when all your friends are still into it and still want to hang out! So he decided to move to Vancouver and left his 10 yr son in Toronto with his mother. He came out to Vancouver on the bus with hardly any money and no friends. But he was determined to get out of the vicious cycle of hanging out with friends that were a bad influence and who he couldn’t say no to! The only skill he knew was working out in a gym and helping young kids in a community center. So he got a job working in a gym and selling some Jamaican things. He then opened his own small gym in East Vancouver which is across the street from where I live. I had met Hugh at an African festival a couple years ago and we chatted. Then I kept running into him around the neighborhood. My Bro Thomas was staying with me at the time. We both wanted to go to his gym and work out but we could never get our shit together to start going. But once Thomas left I decided in Jan to go to the gym and work out. We became friends and he told me he was making a trip to Jamaica and I should join him!

Well I had been thinking of going west to Philippines and to Laos, etc. But I had never been to Jamaica and I thought it would be cool to go and check it out! But one Sat I went to a travel show and found a flight to Montego Bay return for $600 so I bought it. I later found out that it was a day after Hugh/Junior was going but what the heck. He arrange a cheap place (relative I suppose) for me to stay in his village in Grange Hill. It was just as well cuz there were no hotels or anything in that village & hey I didn’t care where I stayed!

There’s not much to do in Grange Hill except to walk around and check out the people and place. Hugh never said it was a tourist place or had sights to see and boy was he right! Hell I got there the day before he did so by the time he showed up I had cased the joint and saw all there was to see which is like fuck all!!

But I will say that it was interesting to visit a remote village out in the sticks of Jamaica! The people were mostly quite friendly except most all stared at me!! Hell none of them have every seen a person of Japanese descent before especially with tats and piercings! Shit could feel all the people staring at me but oh well realize that most of them are pretty ignorant as have little or no education! Hell it was worse than Africa cuz hell in Africa the people were too busy trying to get something to eat so had no time to stare. While in Jamaica they had something to eat but that was about it!!!!

I liked the Jamaican food but it got a bit monotonous! Hell a person can only eat so many meat patties , fish and chicken! Or I could wait till the people at food stalls started their fires up to cook Jerk Chicken. But heck I’m not a big meat eater but couldn’t find a salad at any place! They don’t have regular sit down type restaurants where u can order a sit down meal. U can find a take out meat pattie place but I could only eat so much of that cuz a person can get fat eating that a lot! There are a lot of sidewalk food stalls which I frequented but a lot of that was kind of greasy food! I ate at Lydia’s food eatery or what ever the woman who owned it was called but u get the picture. I went to eat there every day cuz there was no other place in town! It was a combination food and bar so yeah that was where I’d go where ever I went out to eat! But hey when in Rome well …… and anyway it was all just an experience cuz not a fussy eater. But when I do eat I kind of like to eat healthy! I did notice that the Jamaicans didn’t eat healthy, they just ate!!! I could tell from the booties on the women! I guess the Jamaican men liked their women to have the big booties or something. But I think guys from other countries like the bootie on chicks to be a little bit less!!! So chicks were nice until they got to be 18 or so and then all hell broke loose!! Maybe it was due to the fact that most started having kids at that age!

I noticed that Jamaican chicks started having babies around 18! Someone told me they had babies cuz they had nothing else to do! Duh shit I can understand having sex if there’s nothing else to do. But shit man who the hell wants babies?

So once Hugh was in Grange Hill with me well we visited and hung out with his brother Karl and his family. He makes bedroom furniture so took us to some stores that sell his stuff. It seems that East Indians & Chinese run the stores in Jamaica!

We also went to visit Hugh’s brother Shaba who is a real Rasta! He lives in a simple house with only a bedroom. He cooks his meals on an open pit fire and grows his own food. The real Rasta are vegetarians and like their Ganja! Hugh’s brother is really a chilled guy who is always smoking Ganja! Hell people in Jamaica are always smoking a spliff (as they call them) but unlike Europeans they don’t mix tobacco in with the ganja, yuck!! In fact they all smoke their own spliff as they don’t roll one and share it like we do! Guess cuz they don’t smoke ganja as something social like we do! Ha ha! But hell I don’t even smoke spliffs as I like to smoke out of a pipe. Mainly cuz can’t roll a joint as don’t do it often as use a pipe, bong, vaporizer, etc. Also when a person gets stoned it’s hard to roll them! Shit I figure u waste a lot of ganja when u smoke a joint/spliff as pipes are more efficient! But that’s me a tight bastard!! Ha ha. These days I’m getting more into cooking with ganja as like to drink Ganja Tea or Ganja Cookies, umm! Anyway back to my story duh , now where was I??

Oh yeah the other thing Jamaica is known well for! Reggae music! Yeah So one day got a chance to see the real Jamaica which most ppl don't see. We went to a Peter Tosh Memorial concert at his old home. There was a lot of good music, a lot of people selling their wares and lots of cool people hanging out there, especially the Rastas.

We went to Negril Beach a few times as that was the closest beach. But we had to take a taxi to get there. The taxis in Jamaica are expensive if u take one alone and not with others. So we would catch a shared taxi there. Which means the taxi waits until the taxi is full before it leaves. So taking the taxi from Grange Hill to Negril Beach wasn’t too much hassle. But if u come back in the evening well it could be more trouble. Cuz not many people take the taxi in the evening so of course it takes a while for a taxi to leave. Another problem is since only a few taxis go to certain places well if u miss one than u’r going to have to wait a while for another one to leave. A funny thing that people do there in the evening is if the taxi is full well they climb in the trunk to ride otherwise they may got get a ride! One time we were riding back to Grange Hill (down a bumpy dirt road) when we could hear someone banging the car! I wasn’t aware that someone was in the trunk and think the driver forgot! Finally someone told the driver, uh u have a passenger riding in the trunk! Shit I thought that anyone riding in the trunk should get a free ride. But there are no free rides in Jamaica like everywhere else lol! Shit wonder what would happen if the driver completely forgot to open the trunk and no other passengers tell him?? Shit there’s no way I’d ride in the trunk cuz for 1 thing I get claustrophobia!!!

So after about a week I was getting a bit bored in the village. Hell u can only hang out with so many Rastafari (Rastas). Hugh’s brother Shaba is a real Rusta and lives a real simple life in the
woods. He said I could camp on his land if I come back again. But actually don't know if I'd go back to Jamaica again cuz it's too expen$$$ive for my taste! Shit I had to pay for everything cuz
everyone is sooooo poor! We had to take a taxi to the beach – my friend, his brother and me! Well shit I'd have to pay as they don't think any thing about paying when a foreigner is with them. It's only about $8 but shit that adds up.

So when Hugh left to come back to Vancouver well I had time so went to the beach to hang out! The economy of Jamaica is driven by tourists!! The tourists that come mostly stay at all inclusive resorts! So that leaves only a few cheaper places to stay. Well I was told the Yoga Center was cheap so headed there to stay about 6 days! Hell even there it cost about $50 to $70 a night! The rooms were nice and the $50 one had shared toilets while the $70 gave u indoor
plumbling of your own! They were kinda bamboo style built among the trees and gardens. There was an open air yoga center in the middle of the place! Shit I stayed 3 nights then had to move out for 1 night then returned for 2 nights. So I stayed next door which was more to my liking. The place had ppl that I could relate to and the price was more my style. I paid $25 for a room to myself with a shared bathroom. There were some people I could talk to who were nice.

When I returned to the Yoga Center I found out that the reason I got the boot was they were having a Yoga Retreat!!! I found out that people who got to these retreats are so friggin Booooooooooring people! Shit I would have stayed next door had I known that. Hell I'll never stay at a place that has a RETREAT!!!!!!!!!!!! They are so boooooring and WEIRD!!!!!!! I was out on my porch/patio listening to my mp3 with my external speakers having a beer and spliff. It was 3 pm and my speakers aren't that loud. But shit this girl next door asks me if I have earphones which I did. But shit it was Jamaica, 3 pm and I was listening to Reggae like most ppl there so it wasn't that loud. Shit she was weird as she was there for the Retreat! They are all so
quiet, do only yoga, don't smoke, drink or socialize except about yoga. Shit I found it so boring at that place. So I spent all my time down at this little make shift bar by the beach run by a Jamaican. I hung out with the locals who sell jewellery, carvings, t shirts and other ornaments, etc. They were more interesting and would talk to you. Shit must have spent most of my waking hrs there!

Met this Canadian guy and one day we decided to sneak into an All Inclusive Resort. We didn't want to stay or actually enjoy the food or drinks. But thought it would be kind of pay back to them cuz they charge so much. Well we'd help our selves to all the food and drinks that they had to offer! So we did and went and pigged out on food and drinks!

Shit all the people visiting Jamaica were either boring ppl staying at all inclusives or these weird retreat types. Not my style or fun as the locals were more fun and friendly! I have to say the locals are cool but get kind of tired of the one who are trying to sell their crafts! Most of their goods are good but the guys just sit in the shade and yell at u across the street to come & check out their wares! Shit I can’t be bothered to walk over to see their crafts cuz if they can’t be bothered than neither can I ! The chicks in Jamaica are a bit different than what we meet in Canada or other western countries. Can’t say as many ever did anything for me! I guess mainly cuz not much for chicks with big booties! I love black chicks as think they’re kind of hot but the difference killer are the big booties! But most Jamaican chicks over 18 had big booties! Yeah if a guy went to Jamaica well it could do wonders for their self esteem cuz have to say that that got hit on by a few chicks (like in Africa)! But hey don’t need an ego boost cuz know that all they want is a ticket out of their poor life style to Canada! The chicks in Jamaica aren’t as fussy about meeting a guy as in western countries! They don’t measure a guy by their bank account, fancy home, car or prestigious job or life style! Their measuring stick is which passport do u carry! All they want is someone to look after them and put a roof over head and provide food! They’;l have kids and look after them. I would want a little more in my life in a chick like compatibility and someone that enjoys life. But I know they don’t care about the same thing as Canadian chicks. Cuz hell I look in the mirror every day so know that shit why would a beautiful young chick see in me except my passport? Why would they want to hook up with a short, dumpy, older guy who is unemployed (by choice) and isn’t looking, doesn’t want responsibility, wants just to have fun, travels a lot, has no money or future, etc. So yeah a lot of Canadian guys may go to these countries to pick up or meet a young beautiful chick. But hey I want to meet a chick on who I am in real life and doesn’t mind! Shit there are lots of countries in Africa, Asia & maybe South & Central America where they can meet a chick for a partner. But dude I don’t want one that badly, in fact I don’t really care if I get one at all! Though I do love chicks but ones that think and are the same as me!!

I like Jamaica and how chill it is but don't think I'd go to Jamaica again unless I went with someone. But shit the tourists who go for a 7 day all inclusive vacation ruin it for others. Hell they don't hardly barter so the price they're willing to pay is the standard for all! Hell those people save their money for 2 yrs to go on a 7 day vacation at an all inclusive. So shit they are going to spend all their money in 7 days before they leave. They love suntanning & sleeping in lounges all day by the beach, then at night get all dressed up and pay shit loads of money for a meal and stock up on souvenirs that they pay a lot for!!!!

Yeah Jamaica is a beautiful country but very poor and the asshole tourists pay whatever is asked so the prices of everything is a lot!

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