26
Nov
07

Lobster, breadfruit, Red Stripe and a faint ganja breeze…

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I’m just back from Jamaica, and ready to tear down a few of your skeptical mainland assumptions, and confirm a few others.

Truth: Jamaican dudes are big ol’ flirts. These smooth talkers love the ladies.They’re also more equal-opportunity than American men. Even if you’re taller than them, older or a good 100 pounds heavier (especially then!!), they’re totally up for whatevah! Out on the touristy beach zones, this is pretty charming…but in the clubs, downtown Kingston, and anywhere else primarily local, it can be a bit overwhelming. Whether it’s downright frightening/dangerous or not, I cannot say. The tourism powers-that-be really kept me out of any overly sketchy situations. So I reserve judgement till next visit, when I’ll make an unescorted stop by Sketch Central.

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Truth: You can and should survive on rum, Red Stripe, fresh seafood and tropical fruit. More than any Caribbean island I’ve ever visited, Jamaica has amazing local food and drink. Fruits and veggies come straight from the ground, seafood is flippy-floppin’-fresh out of the ocean, and Red Stripe is easier to come by than water. Appleton Rum pretty much rules the liquor trade, which ain’t such a bad thing, given that they’ve figured out so many delicioso recipes featuring it. I could breakfast each morning on rum punch and be a happy camper. 

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Truth: Their milkshake is better than yours.  Jamaica is a place where people dance, not walk. This is reggae’s home (like you could ever forget). A cell phone ringtone, a passing strain of Marley (any Marley) from a car stereo, a brisk uphill walk in the Blue Mountains–any of these circumstances will inspire spontaneous hip-swinging, a shuffle, some snapping. The party is in session, all the time.

False: It’s all about the ganja, mon. So sorry. Marijuana is illegal. Not sure whether that means it’s illegal to grow, or to smoke, or what–I don’t partake, so I never tried to figure it out. But if you think that everything good about Jamaica can be rolled up and smoked in a big fat blunt, you’re mistaken. Not only that, but you’ll piss off a significant percentage of the locals if you try.

(Note: I’ve heard from many friends that, when you’re not on escorted American tours, the ganj is sticky, potent and easy to come by. Just like in Hawaii, Amsterdam, Thailand or other famously permissive corners of the world. So don’t worry–it’s not like Jamaica’s gone Girl Scout. It’s just that they don’t want to be known as Druggie Central any longer. Can’t blame ’em for that.)

False: Everyone’s a Rasta. I’ma say, like, maybe 20% of Jamaicans are Rasta. But let’s not forget, Rastafarianism is a religion, as much as a lifestyle. As such, those who practice it usually like to be left alone up in the mountains to do their thing in peace, not parade it around like some sort of wack-ass Disney-style tourist attaction. Don’t take their picture. Don’t think you “get” them because you like to smoke bud and listen to Marley. Above all, don’t think you’re going to give up your tawdry Western life and move to a Rasta settlement. It’s sooo not going to happen.

False: If you come here on vacation, you have to stay on your resort. Gosh, this is a tough one. I heard from so many people that if you go to Jamaica, you’re pretty much doomed to be stuck on one all-inclusive resort all vacation long, since the area outside the resort borders is dangerous no-mans land populated by militants and machine gun-toting soldiers. 

Having been, I can say that’s not the case–with reservations. Jamaica is compartmentalized, fragmented and self-tormenting to a degree that I have seldom seen in other nations. The class system rules, and the government has issues.  But whose doesn’t? Surely not the US! And I’m not sure it’s relevant in this case. What is relevant, is that Jamaica contains a lot more than Hedonism III and Sandals 10, 214. From Negril’s ramshackle cliffside guest houses to the South Shore’s pristine beachfront hideaways to the mystic Blue Mountain retreats, bluemts.jpg

a thousand faces hide coyly behind the nation’s touristy front. And due to spectacular mis-branding, you won’t see most of them unless you specifically set out to do so. Which I suggest you do. It’s much more rewarding than just sprawling your lazy ass on a beach chaise lounge all week long. If you don’t believe me, check out the pics below.

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(big dick-swinging statues… take this one home to the boys at the office)

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Welcome to Montego Bay…enjoy your stay…

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Me and my homeboy Dominic…owner of Altamont West and quite obviously a handsome stud)

 All photos copyright Steve Petusevsky except photo Lena and Dom Wine w/Me, copyright Christian Fuchs Washington Times 2007


3 Responses to “Lobster, breadfruit, Red Stripe and a faint ganja breeze…”


  1. 1 experienceaurie
    May 26, 2008 at 1:59 am

    did you have a wonderful time??

  2. August 31, 2008 at 10:25 pm

    Nice post and photos! 😉

  3. January 7, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    Keep up the fantastic work! Look forward to reading more from you in the future. I think it will be also nice if you add “send to email” tool so people can forward the articles to their friends easily.


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