Yo, Jamaica mon
Trip Start Feb 19, 2010
257Trip End Jan 31, 2012
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Where I stayed
Bethel Court GuestHouse
Also the free internet a bonus for planning the rest of my trip given my round the world ticket runs out on the 20th of Feb and I dont need to be in China til April. In the end, ended up deciding to terminate my world trip ticket in Hawaii and start paying for flight from their. Extra time won in the time Vs cost tradeoff.
Day 1 - Centro, Hip Strip
Started out by finding a cafe and getting breakfast
Before heading into town had an orientation presentation from the hostel owner about things to do in Jamaica. Lots of info and I guess part of it is to try and sell tours for the drivers who work for him.
Hostel out in the suburbs and a bit far out of the center of town but like cuba, taxis do the bus runs and one of these ran straight by the hostel. Easy enough to get a taxi but found that it didnt take the expected route. Seems that its possible to get the driver to take a small detour for you and drop you off where you want. Luckily driver noticed me looking at the map I had and explained it to me. In the end ended up getting dropped off near a KFC since this was an easy enough landmark to find.
From here had planned to head to the hip strip but decided to head in the opposite direction and visit the city center. Lots of tall people around. Until now hadnt realised how tall I was feeling given the general small size of most central americans. Definately not the case here. Lots of interesting people again but not to many photos. definately need a better zoom to take photo incognito
While walking around got approached a number of times asking what I was looking for or if I was heading back to the cruise ship. Guess that there must be a lot of cruise ships passing through here with locals trying to get money out of them. Given the number of richer old americans guess there must be a number of gullable travellers around.
From here headed back towards hip strip but first decided to follow the road up the nearby hill to get a birds eye view of the town. Seems like a nice bay though the cruise ships in the distance dont help the view.
Wandered back down to hip strip and found that it reminded me of Kuta in Bali. Lots of Hotels, bars restuarants and tourist shops. Could see one bar where there was a trampaline sitting on top of the water and people jumping on it.
Definately thought there were way to many resort hotels around the place. Also thought that it seems that whenever you get a whole pile of american tourists appearing in a place its soon followed by a whole bunch of resorts.
Didnt really feel like entering any of the bars/private beach areas so after finding the resort that had the tour company in it wandered back into centro and then around the suburbs a bit. decided to head in the general direction of the hostel but decided the map wasnt good enough to find my way back. Lots of interesting looking people around. Eventually found an internet cafe where I stayed a bit before heading back.
Was getting late and since I had been dropped off somewhere other than the normal taxi rout wasnt 100% sure where to get the taxi back to the hostel from. While the taxis have their destinations written on the side of them (in english thankfully) wasnt able to get one of the few cabs I needed. Thankfully sure that anumber of them had come out of a particular street so headed that was and managed to hail a cab home.
Spent the afternoon talking and playing poker with some german guys and aussie girls
Day 2 - Ocho Rios, Duns Falls, Poker and Rum Night
Decided to do a tour out to some falls and stop off at some markets on the way. Thought the tour was a bit expensive but talking to some guys at the hostel found out that the entrance fee for the falls was $25. Definately a lot of money for the privallage of walking up through some water falls and in the end probably not worth it. Guess thats what happens when you boat loads f tourists being brought in on cruise ships.
Had an early start since I had to get down to the resort in order to get the tour bus and this was a fairly long walk from the taxi stop. Jumped on the tour bus after having to convince the sercurity guard at the gate to let me in so I could get the bus.
Had lots of older tourists on the tour and ended up going to about another four resorts to pick up more people. Resort guests are certainly another species of traveller
Had been expecting to visit markets similar to those I had seen in the middle east and central america. Unfortunately this was not the case. Seems like the markets here, unlike these other places, is purely for tourists. Lots of shops selling the same stuff.
First place was basically a shop selling tourist goods so decided to go out on the street for a wander around Ocho Rios and managed to find some nice gardens in the process. The second place was a bunch of market stalls selling exactly the same types of goods, though at least these were locally made by locals trying to make a living. Bit of a hard sell though. The third place was a shopping complex with shops once again all selling similar stuff from jewlery to tourist souvineers. At a guess I'd have to say these shops are all here to cater to cruise and resort tourists that are taken here by the various tours around the town. Given the number I don't know how all these shops can survive.
Definately not worth the extra money visit the markets but at least got to visit somewhere other than just Montego Bay.
From Ocho Rios headed to the falls. The trip up the falls basically had a guide who guided you up the falls. Mostly a series of cascades and small falls rather than anything particularly big. Guide had people holding hands but as for me the falls werent that difficut to walk up so decided to do a bit of wandering by myself. Seemed like lots of foot holds had been cut into the falls and even in the places there werent there really wasnt enough water running over the falls to make it a difficult walk
Sat under the falls in a few places while the line slowly moved up the falls and took a few short cuts that looked more fun. Definately had the weirdest sensation of motion when looking down at moving water rushing past my feet.
After the tour wandered back to the taxi stand and along the way picked up some sugar cane. Lots of it around the place and you can basically get pieces of chopped up stalk. You then need to chew on this in order to get the sweet water out of the cane and into your mouth.
Got back to the hostel and ended up playing the evening drinking rum and playing poker with a few guys. This time we were playing for hundreds of dollars (Jamaican that is) and since I used up all my luck the night before falled to win the pot.
In the end we decided to head down to pier one for the dance party there and almost got into a fight. Supposedly one of the guys bumped a local and the local had his drink spilled though I believe the guy actually tipped his less than half full drink out on purpose
Got back and sat outside for a bit before finally crashing in bed around 6am in the morning. Probably the most drunk (lots of rum) Ive been in a long time.
Day 3 - Transit
Managed to get 2-3hrs sleep before getting up and backing up/processing photos on the computer waiting for my taxi. After checking in got my flight to Dallas and arrived there in the early evening (8pm) where I unfortunately had to leave the secure area since I had to re check my bags in (should have had them checked all the way through).
Managed to find a relatively comfy lounge in the airport where I pulled out my sleeping bag and went to sleep.