A fortnight spent in Ocho Rios complete with enjoying coconuts by the side of the road, sweeping views of the sea, rabbits hopping around our lush garden and a rum-stocked cupboard. Jamaicans are loud, boisterous, fun and kind, and listening to the rhythmic sounds of Patois as I walked around comforted me deeply. People are unpretentious, straight-talking and they accept you for who you are. Nobody cares about your socio-economic status, where you bought your shoes or any other superficial element; people say hello, smile and stop for a chat (and always offer rum when you visit their home…). Humans connecting. My favourite moments were spent at home: in the garden with my dad and the rabbits, picking avocados, cutting fresh aloe vera and just chilling. No make up, wild curly hair and the sun beating down on my pale skin. An old friend came to stay for the first week, and it was interesting to hear her thoughts and, mostly, observe her interactions with a culture/country she is unfamiliar with.
I love a water view, but was reminded that I really dislike being in the water. Initially, I thought swimming made me feel helpless. Upon reflection, I realise I feel afraid, and I don’t enjoy such an emotion. Recently, someone shared his fondness for being at sea; a sense of being enveloped by spirituality and at the mercy of God when swimming and diving. A beautifully-comforting feeling, and one I experience in the desert. But being in a body of water makes me uncomfortable (plus it’s far too cold). I’ve finally reached a place in my life where I feel confident enough to accept the concept of living outside of one’s comfort zone doesn’t always apply, and that’s perfectly ok.
I was, as always, disappointed by Jamaica’s supermarkets. Shelves of imported American products, laden with chemicals and fat. As such, obesity is rife, and Jamaica doesn’t have adequate resources to deal with the accompanying diabetes and heart disease. For me, fruit and veggies growing in garden and the ability to buy fresh produce from locals was a real treat, not to mention satisfying knowing my money goes to the people, not large corporations. Enormous coconuts for 75p (approx. £5 in London) and kilos of ginger for less than the cost of an espresso yet again served to question whether I could make the move… I so enjoy having access to diverse museums and cuisine on my doorstep in the UK but, as my father ages, more frequent trips to Jamaica should be a priority.