Welcome to Jamrock

Trip Start Oct 01, 2006
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Where I stayed
linkage guesthouse

Flag of Jamaica  ,
Sunday, July 15, 2007

A not so happy welcome to Jamaica comfronted to me.. Whilst I was in Miami I half heartedly tried to get my onward ticket to Cuba.. online air Jamaica don't accept bookings for the Havana route, after I checked-in in Miami airport I went to the air Jamaica counter to be told that he can't sell it to me unless I was in Jamaica.. Fair enough.. Whilst waiting in line to go through the security check to board the flight, I was singled out for a routine check, shoved into a box and puffed with air before my bag was searched and I was on my way to Jamdown..

The immigration girl just didn't like me, first she quizzed me on where I was staying, it was written down on the form but she was obviously just testing that I didn't have Alzheimers. Next problem was a ticket back to the UK that she wanted, I tried to explain to her that I'm not going back home after my trip here and that air Jamaica wouldn't let me buy my onward ticket outside of Jamaica. I told her I would buy one in front of her now.. she called her supervisor over to tell her there's a problem and that I have this 'travel thing going on'... her boss told her to escort me to the air Jamaica ticket office to buy a ticket to Cuba and back to the UK, and also to get a bank balance reading from the atm.

I knew the bank balance wouldn't show up on the tiny con-artist type of atms that want to charge an extra fee, I told her but she still wanted me to try.. I was right. At the air Jamaica counter I asked the lady to book me a ticket for Cuba and home for 2 months time, but the immigration office 'recommended' me to get it for 2 weeks time, 'whatever' I thought, I'm gonna cancel it anyway.. I also ask the girl if the ticket was fully refundable, this pissed the immigration girl off for some reason and thought that it might jeopardise me getting into Jamaica so left it as a regular ticket.

Now that she'd manage to make me buy a ticket I will never use she was hassling me about my bank balance.. I went to show her the balance online but as my unluck would have it my banks homepage was down for maintenance. Another thing she wasn't happy about was my choice of guesthouse, she said it's not one of the tourist boards recommended resorts, I tried to tell her that I wasn't here for resorts but for the gritty downtown areas, she warned me it was dangerous anyway. This time-wasting episode took over 2 hours before I was let go... as I was walking away I thought I'd see what her response was to 'sorry for wasting your time' she replied 'no problem'

My luck continued to grow, when I went downstairs to claim my backpack it wasn't there, I stood in the line with other abusive passengers who'd lost theres. I've learnt from my 6 years at William hill bookmakers that flaring up at workers sat behind a desk doesn't help ease any matters and just makes the workers shit job even shitter, so even though I was pretty pissed and frustrated I remained polite and followed the procedures of filling out the forms and getting stamps.

I settled in to the guesthouse and deservedly decided to hit the red stripes, after a night on the town I arrived back at about 2 or 3am to find my backpack waiting for me, it had a serious going over treatment inside but nothing was missing. At first I thought it may have been stolen from the baggage claim area but now I'm thinking the immigration decided to carry on harrasing me.

My next trouble happened the next morning, both my atm cards had stopped working.. after paying my guesthouse and the night out I was pretty broke cash wise, but I continued through the weekend on my emergency money pissing it up the wall thinking it'd work the next day, finally on Sunday I managed to get through to the bank to let them know I was in Jamaica and everything was ok, I still have to send my bank an email telling them the voice recognition security part which canned 5 minutes of time before a real person came on line is a waste of time and money.

On the Saturday I also thought I'd take my new waterproof Pentax W30 (which I bought in Miami to replace my stolen W10) to the beach and check out the reef there.. Bad luck runs in "more than 3's" for me as after swimming 10 meters out and turning the camera on I noticed water moving around behind the screen, I immediately turned it off and swam back with my hand out of the water looking like a plum who'd forgotten to take his regular digital camera out of his pocket. I waited 2 days for it to fully dry before I turned it on again, but it is totally dead and my blog will be photoless for the foreseeable future.

Anyway apart from above my time so far in JA has been pretty fun, yesterday I was in Kingston to check out the Bob Marleys home, studio and museum. and for the next few days I'll relaxing and trying not to dance too badly whilst under the influence at the reggage sumfest .."One Love"
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