The point of any successful vacay should be to lead a life that is completely opposite from your normal day-to-day routine, and in Jamaica we managed to do just that. Some fools brought Blackberries and laptops, which seemed hideously out of place in the Caribbean paradise, but I was perfectly content not to stare at a single screen for five days.
Instead, my hours were spent in a consistent state of active relaxation, swimming, eating, kayaking, snorkeling, eating, mingling with locals, dancing, napping, and beaching. One afternoon, when we were holed up in a Rasta hut after getting caught in a torrential downpour – it happens every afternoon in the tropics, they call it liquid sunshine
, when the rain shoots directly through the sun – I learned the real way to eat a mango. Apparently, the trick is to peel each strip of skin back with your teeth and then bite into in a rotating fashion, using the cluster of skins for leverage, similar to eating corn on the cob. From then on, while some guests were hooked on the ganja, I was addicted to the fruit, both of which were available in equal abundance.
Negril, the area we were staying in, is about an hour from Montego Bay and full of gringo tourist traps that you have to navigate through in order to find the true destinations of the locals. Some of our best meals were had in shacks, and I went on an all seafood kick, only breaking from it when tasting the occasional jerk chicken plate.
When the Jamaicans are comfortable in your presence, though, they let their real accents out in a slow rhythmic mix of slang, and it becomes hard to believe that we’re all speaking the same language. The only other base of comparison I have to this language barrier is drinking pints in the UK with a couple of old Irish villagers. Or, stateside, it’s kind of similar to trying to differentiate between a Boston and Maine dialect.
The wedding itself was lovely, with less than 40 people in the ceremony, and directly on the beach, sunset in the background. In the company of such a small amount of spectators, it seemed almost like we were spying on a couple’s elopement. My favorite part of the ceremony, though, is that for some reason we ate the cake before
dinner, which is how I think every meal should be fulfilled.
Indeed, it was a life of fantasy, the best kind really. And now I’m back in the daily grind, thinking about how I’d give anything to trade my job tasks with the stress of deciding how much SPF to use or whether to order a Pina Colada or Daiquiri.