More journaling from last month’s trip.
We roll into Jamaica aroud 8am, and I am in the fitness centre. When I arrived here at 6:30, you could see the entire island of Jamaice, from east to west, like someone painted a picture across the windows of the gym. As I pedal on an eliptical machine, U can see the island more clearly. Rows of hills, lined up like students in a class photo. Tallest in the back and smallest in the front. Clouds lay between each line of hills to protect the valleys from the harshness and reality of the sun. In a few hours, the sun will deny the valleys their coverr and the clouds will dissolve into the sky, valleys left unrequited.
So I am in the gym, with the other crazies who: must. work. out. and Jamaica approaches, or we approach Jamaica, rather. Green lucious hills look like they are covered in astroturf, but they’re not. God greated that vibrant green colour in nature, man only copied it later. The people in Jamaica are slow, they walk slow and talk slow and drive slow. They get your food slow, which is highly irritating to most Americans. They’re not really slow though, they just aren’t so rushed like us. I joke that if I have three hours on a Sunday afternoon, I will make a list of things to do that will logically take 4 hours, and then race around to get everything some in a smaller timeframe. I do this all the time. An hour to make dinner? This recipe will take an hour and 15 minutes, but I will stress myself out trying to speed it up to be finished in an hour while my “30 Minute Meals” cookbooks laugh at me from the bookshelf. I feel like I have to rush around. I don’t know why.
We dock, and take a taxi into the town, and wander around until a guy offers to take us for a tour. Sure, we say, but he’s already leading us through the streets of downtown. He keeps saying “hey, Mon,” do this, or “heymon” look at that. Later we learn his name is Paul, but for now we just call him Heymon. Heymon takes us downtown through Montego Bay, MoBay to the locals. We round a corner and Heymon points to the left, “that’s where the Pakistani markets are.” what? but there’s no point in asking, we’re now down to MoBay’s market and Heymon is stopping traffic for us at each intersection. The only other tourists whiz by in tour busses abd peek out the windows at the locals. We weave through shops with shoes and hats, and head south from whence we came. We pass schoolgirls in uniforms. The uniforms are a reminder of the country’s British past. We end up in a ‘tourist market’ and Heymon tells us his name us Paul. He points us to his brother’s stand in the market. Jon thanks him for the tour and shakes Paul’s hand as Paul asks for $20. Jon gives him a $5, and they both feel like theye got a good deal for the 10 minute tour.
Later, we head the Pork Pit, where we had lunch: half a chicken and Red Stripe while pondering just living here forever. We could slow down, we say. We could take each day as it came, we say. We could live off the land and lose everything we own when a hurricane hits. Maybe later, we say…maybe later.
We walk the three miles back to the shop in the hot 2pm sun, the rays beat down on my back and we’re often sharing the sidewalk with staggering men. It’s all the same as home.