Tuesday, March 11, 2014

13 Things To Know When You Visit Jamaica

You've always heard about this beautiful island and it's hospitable people and great energy. Let's be real, every country has the good, the bad and the in let me assist you somewhat.

1. Pedestrians are your eyes and ears.
Ask questions of the people around you, bus routes, prices for something you're thinking about buying, places to eat. The local mind is your best ally. 

2. Google Maps.
Yes it works here. If you want to find a business place or attraction, Google it. Also, a cab company or the JUTC will prevent you from being lost or price gouged by roadside cabs. Need the number for any service, search for it at The Jamaica Yellow Pages .

3. The smell of urine.
It's all over Half Way Tree and Downtown. We apologize.

4. Be ready.
For anything really. A quick brunch will turn into a trip to Portland and a street dance in Kingston 4 till sunrise. We like to drink. All through the day. Just enjoy the moment.

5. Foursquare.
You can get a lot of helpful tips left by locals at literally every restaurant/bar/hotel/beach.

6. Roadside Food.
If there's no waiting line, don't buy it. 

7. Make friends.
Wherever you go, talk to people, find out what's happening tonight, tomorrow night, this Saturday etc. There's a huge event every night in Kingston and these new friends will tell you about them.

8. "Down di road".
What this means, when someone says "Oh it jus down di road", we mean, it's a 15 minute walk. The older the person who told you this, the further and longer it is. Don't make me say i told you so.

9. Jamaican Rum.
We need you to understand that you are not in Kansas anymore. You're probably used to beer and if you want to venture into the world of rum, Jamaican Rum...know this:
9a) For every 2 drinks, have some water.
9b) If the bartender is laughing while he pours your drink, you're fucked.

10. Forever and a day.
Is exactly how long we take to do anything. 

11. Irie and Yeh Mon.
We don't say it, you shouldn't either. We know it SOUNDS like we're saying "mon" but we aren't. And I've never heard any Jamaican say "Irie". Ever.

12. Explore.
This is particularly for those of you who are staying on the North Coast. Get out the hotel, peruse the town, buy some food on the street side. Ask your hotel Activities Coordinator to take a group of you out. Drink out of a real coconut. If you're in Kingston (or nearby) go to Blue Mountains. You won't regret it.

13. Don't be scared.
We don't run through the streets, guns blazing. Behave as if you're at home. Be aware of your surroundings and don't do anything you wouldn't do at home. Except have fun.

Monday, October 14, 2013

We Should Wear Burkas

Being a woman is Jamaica has got to be one of the most challenging things on Earth. We aren't as free as the other gender thinks. Every day there is a personal attack on my anger management and sometimes i have to buy myself a cookie as a reward for coming such a far way.

Let me explain...

Last night i was at a local bar/lounge having fun, i sat most of the night because my heels were killing me. Now and then i'd get up and dance then sit back down. This guy, who was there with his friends, came over to me and said something that i can't recall...but while he was talking, his hand was on my thigh. I quickly answered his question and turned my head so that he would go away. A few minutes later he came back and immediately rested his hand on my thigh again, this time i looked down at his hand, and removed it. He then turned to his friend and said "Come mek we leff yahso yaah man cah it comeen like a bere lesbian in yah!"

Now.....some of you know that i listen to Mantras to focus my energy and such. I literally had to close my eyes at that bar and centre myself. At first i tried "1 Potato 2 potato 3 potato..." Then i just went straight into a Mantra. Cus i was SO close to snatching him by his goddamn neck. My entire night was ruined, my bredrin who i was there with just couldn't understand why i was still angry because to him, what they guy said was rude yes, but shouldn't rest so heavily on my mind. Basically, to him, it was not that serious.

But it was. And i am tired of it.

WHY is it that Jamaican men think that no one should ever turn them down? WHY do they think they can say, do anything to you and you should just take it because you are woman and shouldn't complain cus "Big man a look you"? WHO is training these fools? Which Academy of the Daft did these assholes attend?

I wonder sometimes if men understand how much of a task it is just to run errands on a day to day basis. I could wear a turtle neck and straight legged pants with sneakers, i'd STILL be subject to some of the most vile, disrespectful comments you can imagine. Jamaican women are emotionally, physically, sexually harassed every single day by strangers and so called friends. And i'll get to the friends part soon.

"Baby how u pussy so fat?" 
"Babes yuh bress dem jus a jiggle so mek mi suck pon dem nuh?"
"Bwoy baby yuh front jus buff up inna yuh pants deh doh.."
"Girl...if i eva hold yuh today i put a piece a fuck pon you, u see"

......And then you have the men who will grab onto you. And if you flash your hand away or reprimand them..

"Aye gyal guh suck uself!"
"Yuh hype eeh...u want a man fix yuh bizniz"

The other day a man grabbed at me and i said "Don't fuckin touch me"..his friend snapped back with "Ay gyal yuh a cuss badwud afta man like u nuh know say u will get beat up in yah!". "In yah" being the Papine taxi stand. Yea? Yea. A man legit threatened to BEAT me, in public, because i cursed at a man who was grabbing at me.

One of the biggest disappointments are the male friends, the "bredrins" who you've know for years and years, that suddenly feel it's ok so squeeze your ass or breast when they're greeting you. Then when you reprimand them, they respond with "Is wahpm...yuh man deh yah?". just violated me and our friendship...and your response to me telling you to stop is to ask if my man is here? AS IF I don't have rights to defend my body. AS IF I should let you do whatthefuckever you want until a man has claimed me. I'd love to see you sit and watch this happen to your daughters. Really.

Let's go by your "Only if you're taken should i not touch you" logic....

Suppose i DID have a man and you didn't know, and he was standing nearby and saw you do that? What would you say? "Sorry bossy mi neva know say u did deh yah.."?? If i'm in a room full of people and i'm sitting beside a guy who i've just began dating, you come in and hug me then squeeze my breast, because you THINK you can...this guy has quite possibly, lost ALL respect for me. Cus if a guy can touch on me as he pleases, why should he claim me? If i was a guy and saw that, that chick could just lose my number because clearly this is something that happens ALLLLL the time.

What is it about the Jamaican male ego that makes them act and think this way? I can wear whatever i want in the U.S. without feeling like meat. Jamaican women are tired, i'm tired...and on the verge of violence. 

If i ever get a taser or pepper spray, dog nyam unnu supper. Friend or stranger.