J in Jamaica: Day One

The events of Friday July 13th.

So Usain Bolt wasn’t on my flight and that was pretty disappointing. But so far so good. I’m safe and I’m sound (whatever that really means).

Leaving a grumpy and then friendly custom agent behind me at the airport (apparently the Jamaican version of good cop bad cop) I was reunited with two things distinctly Jamaican: aggressive taxi drives and beef patties.

The later is a taste I’ve missed dearly.

A simply ground beef mix inside a delicious flaked pastry. I demolished one as I waited just outside the airport at the perfectly named Grumpy Grouper. I quickly followed the first patty with a second and debated going back for a third.

I was saved from engorgement as my group arrived in time to make my decision and pick me up.

Leaving Montego Bay I was reminded of the realities Jamaica holds. The grit, rubble, and trash of what could be often confused for a war zone. The unfinished buildings mixed with buildings that have seen too much wear and all of them wearing the distinct rot iron covering the windows and patios as well as serving as fences and gates.

The aggressive chaos that is Jamaican traffic and the selling of oddities at streetlights, or moving traffic for that matter, which include but certainly aren’t limited to: cold drinks of many fruit varieties, bags of frozen fruit flavored ice, papers, and trinkets of all sorts of tourism.

We immediately left Mo’ Bay, a larger and more tourism oriented town, and headed for Savanna-La-Mar. An old Spanish port an hour and a half southward on the southern coast of the island.

To get there our overloaded van hustled through the elevated jungle roads as we hurdled the mountains that reside throughout the middle of the island. Swerving, sliding, and bouncing through the rural curves we made it to our motel, the Kibo Inn, without a flat or accident, an applauded achievement for any trip on a Jamaican road.

In the humid evening we unpacked, went for Chinese at the local take out, a surprisingly safe food option in these parts of the world, and grabbed some groceries from the local market.

After our nightly devotional the full day of travel set in with 3:30am wake up calls, flights, and jungle caravans. I made plans for a morning walk to the Spanish Fort on the coast and a stop at the fruit market, then I slept hard.