The first and most significant fact I learned about Jamaica can be summed up with the words “No problem”. I was introduced to this important concept as soon as I arrived on the island by the people who live there.
We spent one memorable week in Jamaica – basking in the sunlight. And that was the greatest joy because, when we left, the weather looked something like this.
We went swimming with dolphins. I, personally, also kissed a stingray. For that, I was promised ten years of good luck. How could I miss out on such an opportunity? Then, when I told about this adventure to my mom on the phone, she was quiet for a moment, and then said “You always manage pull something like this.” (I was also told that, for kissing the guide who showed us the stingray, I would get 14 years of good luck. I declined under the guise that the stingray was just so appealing.) Swimming with the dolphins was a fantastic experience. Just being near these otherworldly creatures left an unforgettable impression.
I really liked a joke that one of our tour guides told me. In Jamaica, jerk sauce is very popular – on fish, chicken, or any other meat. And if a wife calls a husband a jerk in Jamaica, according to our guide, all that means is that he’s hot and spicy. The people that we met in Jamaica all had a sharp sense of humour and they were quick to react with a witty phrase. Almost like Russians. It would be interesting to see a battle of wits between the two. At least in my case, I kept having mini-duels with words. You can be proud of me – the people I spoke to laughed while clutching at their sides after we were finished talking.
One time, at an overfilled bar, the bartender refused to give me what I asked for. I had to sing a rendition of “Red Red Wine”. That was quite effective.
Every evening, in several spots around the resort, it sounded like somebody was swinging on a rusty swing. The sound was loud, persistent, and it wouldn’t let up for even a minute. No, it wasn’t a swing. It was the sound of loud Jamaican crickets. We imagined that they were even giggling as they were swinging.
I was told that, if I try Jamaican coffee, I will open my eyes for the rest of my life. I can attest to that. The coffee is not so much strong as it is fragrant. It’s as if you’re not drinking coffee, but something else .The flavour lingers on your tongue and you want another cup, and then another one.
Jamaican rum is really very good. I think that the best and most delicious rum is the one you actually buy in Jamaica. The same can be told of Jamaican Red Stripe beer. Maybe those drinks taste differently after a day of pirating adventures, or maybe they just save the best bottles for themselves and the guests.
Our hotel was very crowded and, having been spoiled in Cuba, I completely forgot what it’s like having to wake up early to find a spot on the beach chairs. I had to remember that almost immediately. Having spent the first afternoon tucked in next to one of the bars, where I got to listen to the latest reggae hits all day long, I decided it was best to wake up at 6 am to go find a quieter spot.
We spent our whole vacation to the sound of reggae music. I have never heard so many songs about people’s mothers in my whole life. Mother-themed songs appeared under different motifs. Some of them were dedicated not simply to somebody’s own beloved mother, but to all the mothers of the world. I would say that almost every fifth song on the radio was about a mother in some way or another.
Something that I will definitely miss is the ocean water in the Caribbean. If you put your hang into the transparent blue water, sometimes you will find some curious fish swimming up to you – red ones, black ones, stripy ones, all kinds of different ones. Some of the most excitable ones will poke you right in the finger. I never knew this could happen. The water in the Caribbean is like a big aquarium under a warm southern sky.