ONE LOVE - MY TRAVEL EXPERIENCE IN JAMAICA
POSTED AUGUST 12TH, 2017 | BY TONI POSTELL
So if you haven’t been to Jamaica I would say...YOU NEED TO GO. My trip was amazing and here are a few things I learned and experienced while I was there.
I stayed at the beautiful resort called the Royal Decameron that was located in Montego Bay. We were right in the heart of Hip Strip that is one of the most popular places in the city. The resort was right off the beach that was beautiful and so clear compared the beaches in the USA. You never were able to sit down because there was always something to do from walking on Hip Strip to enjoying the nightlife of Pier 1 and Margaritaville. The people who worked there welcomed us with open arms and always made sure we had a good time.
Now the food has its own section because there was never a day that I didn’t eat. I ate 3 full course meals everyday. Sure... my body was not able to adjust to it but I made it work because it was just that good. All the jerk chicken and plantains I wanted. I even tried goat curry for the first time and I would eat it again. Definitely the Jamaican Rum was to die for and is now the only drink I will want...for now. What I didn’t understand is how the most popular restaurant in the country is KFC...yes KFC. I remember one of my friends who I met there told me people will wait over 2-2 ½ hours just to go and order the chicken from the register. What I did recognized is how there was a Burger King in the town but not a McDonalds. During the Mad Cow Disease epidemic, Jamaica was one of the main countries affected by it. When they asked McDonalds to change their policies to allow ingredients from local areas to be used in their food. When they refused, they got the boot. #DontEatMcDonalds #EatAtYourOwnRisk
Music is heavily influenced in Jamaica especially with legends like Bob Marley who is a Reggae icon and the first Jamaican artist to achieve international superstardom. They did tours for his house as well as a museum that often the top tourist activities. Even just looking at the different elements of the culture either through the performance or at the club, you always feel the vibes of celebration and love the culture through their music. If you don’t know how to dance, you definitely need to get your life together before going because you will not be up against the wall at anytime.
This may be a topic I may dive into deeper in another article but you can definitely see a difference when you are in the Tourist verses non-tourists areas. In the resort, they make you see a picture of Jamaica that is façade of what it actually is. They let you see the dancing, music, beaches, and rum. I remember asking a guy who was taking us snorkeling what it is really like in his country and he said it perfectly:
“They only show you want the whites will handle. They won’t show you the real hustle and troubles of Jamaica. Once you step out of the resort and go into the inner cities, you will see the pain and hustle we go through everyday. Everyday is a hustle. We never get a break. I would love to getaway from here...but at this point...there is no way out.”
A main issue I notice was the many people in the community who so Jamaican bleaching. It first took notice after the Michael Jackson Pepsi commercial incident where he was caught on fire. Once people notice how you can use cream to make you skin look white, they were amazed. Especially being under British rule and seeing how those who were lighter skin tone often were given better treatment than those who were darker skin. Now I knew about this topic when I saw artist like Lil Kim and Sammy Sosa using this method. To actually hear from various people how this fad is becoming outrageous was crazy to me. What made it worse is how much people really didn’t know this was happening. When I was talking to our tour guide about it she said she has friends and family who do it all the time. A woman, who was white, came into the conversation and said, “Why would they do this? That is ridiculous? Who would put creams or pills in their bodies knowing they are causing harm to their bodies?” My tour guide responded, “To look like you.” Even with that comment she didn’t understand. Even with the media bringing awareness to loving and embracing our black skin, it is not really reaching in other places. In fact, skin bleaching is not only an issue in Jamaica but in the Philippines and India as well. Just experience this and other discussions I had with locals made me realize we have a lot of work to do to bring issues like this to light. Race, especially the color of our skin has and always will be a power of an illusion that is not gone away.
Overall my trip was amazing and I would recommend to going out a travelling the world. The fact I had not data and Wi-Fi, I was away from my everyday world of America. I was forced to really be in tune with the culture and customs of Jamaica. Being challenged with taking chances and not worrying about the end result is what I took away from the trip. Especially during their Independence Day that landed the day after my birthday was a chance for me to appreciate why the people love their country so much. Its rich with culture and love that can never be taken from them. I can’t wait to go back again...NEXT YEAR!