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.
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.
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.