Friday, July 27, 2007

Thoughts about Jamaica

My wife and I have just completed our vacation to Jamaica. It was a special and wonderful time for both of us.

Now, with that being said. Let me start being me. I had a few observations...

The first was the Jamaican handshake. It includes the phrase "Much respect, much respect, my name is Omar (or whatever)" They extend the hand, fingers pointed downward, the thumb pointing toward the intended victim. They cannot mean the handshakes that they are inflicting on the poor tourists. The squeeze is tentative at best. The only decent handshake I got all week was from a man from Latvia. HE understood the importance of a good handshake.

The second observation is that guilt is not an effective sales tool. Trying to confuse, guilt or shame someone into buying whatever is being sold cannot possibly work. One man even went so far as to tie some red, green and black twisted yarn around our wrists as a 'gift' to show everyone that we understood the true Jamaica and then, as we let him know that we did not need any of the overpriced jewelry he was trying to sell he began asking for a tip for the free gift he had just given us. He was also giving us a very nasty buzz because the smell of weed was so strong that my wife actually got sick and I had to help her back to the bus. As I am half carrying her the 100 yards or so through the stalls most of the people see her white face and very sick eyes and try to offer us water or sympathy but a few, like the man, still want to try and suck the last dregs of money or enjoyment from us before we get away, all the while chanting, "Respect, much respect". Somehow, I just couldn't buy it.

The third observation is that reggae music is good atmosphere for 36 hours. After that, you begin looking for something else. ANYTHING else. Waves crashing, tree frogs beeping, crickets chirping, or small foreign cars zipping by horns blaring. After 60 hours, you begin longing for a friendly gang-banger walking by with a boombox blaring rap music or a cowboy in a pickup.

In all fairness I have to end this with the truth that MOST of the people were genuinely nice, helpful and seemed truly interested in my enjoyment of thier country. I had a great time there, just don't ask me to shake hands again.


CrossPointeDave said...

Just be thankful that none of the handshakes were of the very wet or very crusty kind that I often get when being greeting in Africa!

Sounds like a great time! Thanks for the gift as well. What a wonderful combination of caffeine and nicotine!

Cathy H said...

Your telling of the story of my "contact high" was much more dramatic than it was on my blog. True, but dramatic.

robinegg12 said...

I've always felt the same way about Reggae music - only my limit was about 36 minutes. Glad you had a wonderful time!