The Long Road Home

Trip Start Nov 23, 2011
Trip End Dec 29, 2011

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Where I stayed
Breezes Grand, Jamaica
What I did
Green Island

Flag of Jamaica  ,
Wednesday, December 28, 2011

As we mentioned Jamaica is pretty repetitive and mellow so there's not too much to report for days at at time.  We're just eating, drinking, swimming, floating, shopping on the beach, experiencing Christmas, etc. 

Yesterday Thera headed back home so it's just us now.  Per our previous posting, each evening we head over to Hedo at 5:30 to see the sunset,   which can not be seen from our resort across the street.  And each day we take the same seats at the end of the short concrete pier. This is also where one would sit if one hoped to score something from the dudes in the boats that service the area.  It is here we meet Devon and Carleton.  A couple of days of chatting and we determine that Devon is okay and can be trusted to take us out to see the 'real' Jamaica.  So we agree to meet him this morning and head out.

The trip starts at noon on his boat, which takes us across the bay. Once there we say goodbye to Carlton and hello to Pedro, our cab driver (read: dude with a car).  Today we will be going to an area called Green Island, which is not actually an island but a neighborhood of about 400 people.  We have met some creepy locals stepping outside of the resort properties so we are guarded.  We take a long, bumpy meandering drive well off the beaten track.  We have stopped seeing other white people (with rare ex pat exceptions) a while ago, but as we gaze out of the windows at Jamaican people living their simple lives, we are heartened by something.    This is a third world country. It is also the only country more dangerous than our own we will visit on this trip, but like every other third world circumstance we have encountered, the locals, when smiled at... smile back!  We are not in Kingston or even Montego Bay; this is the country and the people in the country are farmers and workers and live their lives by the 'it takes a village' book. We stop at Devon's brother Derek's house,  a small but solid structure on a hill. If this thing were anywhere near where people with any kind of money wanted to be, the view alone would put it in the millions of dollars. Plus it's sitting on a big old chunk of land on which Derek farms cane and some other stuff.  Not so much a commodity to bring to market, the stuff people up here acquire, whether it's fish or root vegetables, goes toward a lot of bartering.  Everyone needs to eat and cooperation helps it happen.  These are poor people living, in some cases, in actual shacks,  but we'll give them this - it's a hell of a lot cleaner than most of SE Asia!  Also at Derek's we meet his and Devon's dad, Hendricks, a work-worn 60-something with a beatific glow about him. We will be giving Hendricks a ride somewhere and also stopping by Pedro's to drop off some big, weird looking root vegetable that may be his family's (wife, two kids) entire dinner.

On the way out of Green Island we stop and visit with a family Devon knows.  There are three women, a bunch of little kids, including twin infants and "Boney" the Rasta patriarch.   Steve and Boney, who carries a machete, but we're getting used to that, get into a great philosophical discussion which makes Steve realizes, right on the heels of the realization that he is Buddhist, that he is also a Rasta.  Okay, not really, but the two men bond and Boney is genuinely saddened by the news that we won't be in town for New Years Eve when the community, which cannot afford anything for any holiday, will celebrate the way they always do, with a giant barbecue on the hill. It kills us that we can't be there, but changing flights, etc. would be a costly pain in the ass.  Fond good byes are exchanged (men tend to hug Steve. You figure it out) and we head back to Negril. On the way Devon finally satisfies our request for real, local jerk chicken.  He takes us to stand called Bigg's.

And so, our heads will rest on our pillows once again filled with the dread of a trip headed into the history books.  Tomorrow is the real thing...we will travel back home.  Since the van won't leave until 1:00 we will get our last float, last cocktail and last meal in before we go.

There are things we miss at home: our family, friends, and of course Sammy the cat who has been staying at her grandparents place this whole time and is probably more fucked in the head by this vacation than we are.  There is our bed and the other comforts of home. But when we ask ourselves seriously if we could go on and just keep going on, exploring, traveling, experiencing, finding our way in and out of trouble, the answer is a plausless yes.  We are travelers and so we will never feel like we've had enough.  But for now, for tonight and tomorrow we are still on the road. We will wake up and eat a hotel breakfast, enjoy a wake and bake swim and use this place like we're never going to leave.  And many hours later, maybe the moment we walk through the door, we will start planning for our next big, stupid trip.

Here is the final Noel Gallagher tune.  The synergy of his having released his album and played his concerts just before we left and the not so coincidental circumstance of his lyrics and music playing directly to our sensibilities, have made Noel's music, both with Oasis and solo, the perfect soundtrack to our trip.  We know it sounds unlikely, but it seriously would not have been as good without him.
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