We got onto the shores of Falmouth, Jamaica bright and early this morning. It was a lot how I expected, with men in dreads and brightly colored outfits walking around with their ukuleles, singing, “Don't worry 'bout a t'ing.” Seriously—that was my first impression of Jamaica. We shopped for a few minutes and then boarded a bus and rode for forty-five minutes to a river further into the island. I loved the bus ride because I got to see a little Jamaican village, where many people lived. It was very poor and rundown, which made me sad. The best part was seeing the little school children come walking down the streets, dressed in their uniforms. I also got to see a lot of the Jamaican landscape. It was nice to get to see the “real” Jamaica and not just the resort part.
At the river, we had to store our cameras and belongings in a locker, so I don't have any pictures. I wish I could have taken some, since everything I saw was very lush and green and beautiful. We climbed into the back of a truck and held on for dear life as we began one of the most scary car trips I've ever experienced—second only to Kenya, Africa. There were potholes and cliffs and deep puddles of mud everywhere we looked. The entire vehicle was rocked about like crazy. To make matters worse, the driver wouldn't stop speeding and we didn't have seat belts.
There were three guides who helped us through the river: Dennis, Thiopia, and another one whose name slipped my mind. They all seemed like best friends and constantly bantered, teasing each other nonstop and talking back and forth in their own Jamaican language called Patois, which is actually a mixture of broken English and slang, which was fascinating to hear.
One of our guides ran up to us, singing loudly and shouting, “I just listened to Bob Marley! I'm feelin' good ri' now, mon!” In fact, throughout the entire journey, the young men would frequently burst into song. They usually sang Bob Marley, interjecting with cries of, “Oh, yeah, mon! Dat's ri'!”
As we drove in the rocky car back up to the main building, several youths hopped onto the back of the car. One fell off during a particularly rocky spot, but he turned out okay.
After we returned, the kids went back onto the ship and my mom and I stayed behind in Jamaica to shop. There were many little shops with all sorts of little things to buy. I found a freshwater pearl necklace that I absolutely loved, but it was thirty dollars. I finally managed to bring it down to fifteen dollars (I have no idea if that's a good price or not, but I sure felt like it was!).
The man who sold me the necklace said, “If I sell you dis for fifteen dolla, my lady, will you t'ink of me ev'ry time you put it on?”
“Yes,” I finally stammered, unsure of what else to say.
“Promise me,” he insisted.
After I promised, he asked to be the one to put it on me and then he said, “If anybody asks you where you got dis, my lady, tell dem dat your sweetheart in Jamaica gave this to you.”
I smiled and said I would.
In fact, I seemed to be a hit with the men in Jamaica. My whole family was laughing. At one point, while Mom was looking at t-shirts, I heard a knocking on the window beside me. There were about six Jamaican men in construction hats who were whistling and waving and blowing kisses at me. “You are beautiful, beautiful!” they kept saying. I waved back. I was too embarrassed to even think about blowing kisses back at them.
The last thing I bought was a t-shirt that said Falmouth, Jamaica. The t-shirt vendor was a fairly older man and he actually gave me five dollars off, although he refused to bargain with any of the people before me. Before I left, he actually called my mom over to us and said, “You mus' tek a picture wit' me to remember.”
“O—okay,” I finally agreed. I didn't have much footage of Jamaica anyways since most of our day had been in the water. Perhaps this would be an entertaining picture... and it was, but for different reasons than I thought.
It seems that this man also liked me, even though he wasn't a young guy like the others. When we posed for the picture, he got a little... close. I'll let you see for yourself.
The man put one hand on my stomach and the other hand on my lower back. And then he was sure to get as close as he could with his face on my head. Mom later said, “I was afraid he was about to molest you while your mother was sitting there taking a photo!” Thankfully, he didn't get THAT close.
Dinner was casual, so there isn't much to report about that. I love our waiters: Faycal and Odalis. They're two of the sweetest men I've ever met.
When we got back to the room, we couldn't find a little towel friend. We were disappointed, thinking our housekeeper must have forgotten. And then Luke looked up towards the ceiling. It was a bat! Our little towel friend hung from a hanger hooked to the ceiling. We all had a good laugh about that.
Tomorrow we arrive in the Cayman Islands. It should be an interesting day.