The crown jewel of the Caribbean. As cliched as it might sound, we all know their music, food, landscape and of course their accent.
It’s quite annoying when you travel outside of the Caribbean, that everyone automatically assumes you are Jamaican once you begin to speak. When my husband (who is Jamaican) and I went to France for our honeymoon, whenever someone would ask us where we were from, we both just said Jamaica. Whenever I said Trinidad and Tobago, I always got the confused nod and awkward smile. But when we said Jamaica, there was always a big smile with an “ahhhhh, how nice!”.
I love love love Jamaica. I may be biased, but I enjoyed there more than any other place I’ve visited. Even though I spent close to two weeks, it was hardly enough time. There is just so much to see and do. I’m not a fussy traveler by any means, I take what I can get. Jamaica though, truly surpassed my expectations. Here’s why!
Jamaican people are as authentic as you can get. They are warm, patriotic, hardworking and proud. They really love to dress up and have a good time. As a tourist I felt very catered to and even outside of the tourist areas, people were busy living life and on the move, but were generally polite, respectful and very willing to accommodate. Something I am not used to at home. We Trinis are not the most welcoming, might I say so myself.
I also noticed how different women are treated compared to here in T&T. I got no heckling, no cat calling, no harassment. Pregnant and older women were fussed over and men generally showed more respect to women. I know what you’re thinking. If you are to base your judgement on what you see on TV and the internet, you’d tend not to believe me. The life of an average Jamaican is not filled with violence, dramatic dance parties and whatever else you hear in the lyrics of their songs. This is why I love to travel. You get to bust the myths and see the real truths about a place. Whether it ends up being what you expected or not.
There are two types of people in the world: those who live to eat and those who eat to live. I’m usually an eater to live, however when I travel, if the food is hyped up, I have high expectations. And boy did Jamaica not disappoint. I stayed at my in-laws’ house, so everyday I got fresh fruit, tea with freshly picked mint leaves, a full course meal for breakfast (I couldn’t believe how heavy breakfast was) and food that was overall home or locally grown and healthy.
My diet while there was full of mostly complex carbs and vegetables. I’m trying to remember what meat I ate other than the few times I had jerk chicken and all that comes to my mind is fish. If you like breadfruit and green bananas (green fig as we Trinis say), this is your heaven. I have never seen that many breadfruits in my life. I usually cannot swallow or stomach breadfruit (mind over matter) but my mother in law made it in such a way (roasted I think) that it didn’t taste like the breadfruit I know. It was so smooth and luxurious! OMG!!!!! Don’t even mention the ackee and saltfish. It is so hyped up but certainly lives up to it’s name, or maybe it was just my mother in law’s cooking.
In addition to these greats, I had the likes of patty and coco bread, jerk chicken and festival (from a place called Scotchies), bulla (this is NOT a word we use in Trini), both fried and boiled dumplings, callaloo (not the Trini one, this one has no ochra), rice and peas, gizzada and so much more.
My poor mother in law is always bogged down with food whenever she visits. Bless her heart. Jamaica is worthy of a visit just for the food alone.
Oh! I almost forgot Devon House Ice Cream! It is silky smooth with just the right amount of flavor and sweetness. Not something to forego.
The landscape of this place is so organically beautiful, that it’s hard to imagine. When I thought of Jamaica, I thought of the beaches and I believe most people think that when they hear ‘Caribbean island’. They see palm trees and crystal clear water. And by all means, there are miles and miles of pristine beach on the island. But Jamaica is so much more than that.
The first thing to strike me was how lush and green the place is. Full of waterfalls, rivers and mountains, it’s heaven for the outdoorsy type.
Where my family lives (in Ocho Rios), is quite a recluse. The air is so rich and clean, wildlife is abundant and flourishing, and there is always that serene and tranquil essence in the atmosphere.
Well, what can I say here that we don’t already know? Let’s just say that we hear more Jamaican music in Trini, than we hear Trini music in Trini. Evident is the plethora of music and pure talent resonating from here, Jamaica is an island full of rhythm and beats. It has been a powerful force worldwide. The music of Jamaica is limitless, and includes genres such as reggae, mento, ska jazz, dub, dancehall, rocksteady and many others.
If you want to know more about the history of music here, feel free to visit musical sites on the island such as the Bob Marley Museum, Jamaica Music Museum, Peter Tosh Memorial Park and Reggae Xplosion.
Again, regardless of where you go, once you are of Caribbean origin, people will take you for a Jamaican. You hear bits and pieces of Jamaican language everywhere. On TV (which are usually awful), in music (that is not indigenous to Jamaica), in books, in art. It’s everywhere. Yes, their language is standard english, but like most places, they have their on creole/patois/accent. And people love it. I sometimes have a hard time understanding, but once heard often enough, you’d get by just fine. It’s just one cool sounding language.
I just love this place (although the driving is not for the faint of heart). I sleep well, I eat well, I have great company. It feels like home. Life is simple and that’s how I like it.
Have you every been to Jamiaica? What do you like about it?
Thanks for stopping by!
P.S ~ See 40 Amazing Things About Paris !!