April 11, 2011 – Song 158

Once, I went on vacation to Jamaica.

And I have never been able to shake it.

Part One of Two. Song 158.

Many years ago I went with my then boyfriend and another couple to Negril, Jamaica. We stayed at an amazingly bizarre resort called The Point Village. We didn’t really know what to expect, but I will say that both my friend Martha and I had… grand visions of getting to dance to real sound system DJs. And of course dreams of hanging out in the most perfect of oceans.

When we got there though, we were disappointed to find that every resort was a fort unto itself, literally guarded at the entrances by armed men. Our resort was the only one there owned by Jamaicans, something that rules, because one of the issues for the economy there is that a large portion of the tourist money that flows into the country leaves in the hands of foreign investors. There was also a nude resort next door called Hedonism II. Don’t worry, you didn’t miss anything, unless you really like raisins. Ewe. The Point Village also ruled because everything was just a tad “off”.

I guess it made sense to try and recreate things “Westerners” would like, but all of us would have rather had Jerk Chicken over Italian Night any day. I guess we were a minority among guests. We got into the groove though as the week went by, although we could never understand the rhyme or reason of many of the events that took place there. It was like everyone else knew the drill, like Tuesday was Omelet Day and Beach Volleyball happened at 2pm. We couldn’t seem to figure out if people just wandered into this stuff or if there was something we just weren’t getting.

On the second to last day there, I was standing with Martha in front of a pile of pancakes discussing what appeared to be “maple syrup”. We had learned by then that things were never what we thought. And why would they be? There are no maple trees there. I don’t think so anyway. Martha dipped in a spoon and tasted it and said “licorice”. Anise syrup to be exact. We had a good chuckle about how grossed out her boyfriend Jeremy would be. And then we noticed the sign that had been on the wall, right above the breakfast line, the entire time we were there.

It was a daily schedule of events, and at the bottom, listed all the tours you could go on for a nominal flat fee. Earlier in the week we had tried adventuring out and had moderate luck, if you include paying like $80 or something for what totaled about 4 miles in a cab. We had also tried to bar hop one night but ended up getting chased by a dude on crutches down a pitch black street. A moment during which, Jeremy decided to tell us that a friend of a friend of a friend had gotten their throat slit while on vacation there. Thanks Bolen!

Anyway, we only had time left to go on one trip. Martha and I pushed hard for the tour of a Spice Farm on the outskirts of town. I guess we were anxious to see something real. And well, we succeeded.

But that’s a story for another day.

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