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Mike’s Next Adventure

Banff, eh.

IMG_5448 The Bad: No beating around the bush — Jamaica is a poor nation (97th GDP/capita, out of 187) . The country’s economy has been on a rickety roller coaster since the 70’s resulting in high unemployment rates, inflation, unfinished or abandoned houses/shanties/infrastructure and a (current) dependency on tourism for a quarter of all jobs. It’s also a very violent country with a severe, legal anti-gay (read: lynch-mob) mentality, and the 6th highest murder rate in the world.

It’s hard to shake the echoes of the colorful legends I’ve heard over the years: “While we were in Jamaica a tourist got shot for stepping just outside the border of a resort…” and “…dude totally got hacked with a machete” and “I knew a guy who got kidnapped trying to buy weed.” Then, the banality of “we never left the resort” which I always assumed was a wink-wink PC way of saying “we never left the room”.

Not so much.

It’s easy passing surface commentary on Jamaica’s drab socio-economic situation from the passenger seat of a taxi, whilst sipping ice-cold Red Stripe on the way to a luxury spa resort. We (friends) pass garbage-piled shanty after garbage-piled shanty —not dissimilar to say, Detroit — but framed by stunning mountainous jungle landscape. And even with the bad voodoo stories in my head, I don’t want to just lounge poolside; i want to get outside the froufrou, and explore. IMG_5437 IMG_5503 IMG_5464 The Shitty:

Majority of Jamaicans we meet along West End Road/restaurants are kind, open, and happy to chit-chat about World Cup, World Games or generalities. But there are a brazen few who shatter the comfort bubble, especially when traveling with attractive women, specifically targeting my tall, curly-blonde friend, Bones.

Bones receives some cat-calls at first, then, flamboyant invitations. She’s a good sport until ignored “invitations” grow to invasion of her space, then aggression.  We get circled by a couple of locals on a beat up motorcycle walking back alone from dinner the first night.  After a few smiling ‘no thanks’ to buying weed, we’ve, according to the passenger, “disrespected the Jamaican nation”.

bob-marley-drugs-weed-marijuana-famous-miley-cyrus

I’m offered a joint again, and give a more terse ‘No. I don’t smoke’, which causes a dramatic and angry exchange of Patois between driver and passenger and hostile finger-pointing towards Bones. They peel-off down the street a bit, still yelling, then circle back towards us. Whether or not it’s for show, I’m not about to fuck around with spidey-senses going off. I calmly walk us into a run down but very conveniently open general store, and we buy a grocery bag full of Red Stripe waiting for the motorbike to leave.

Giving it another go outside the resort, vibes are weird again the next day walking to Negril to get cash out of the ATM. The attempted weed sales are non-stop the entire 10 minute walk downtown, which, isn’t any different from aggressive hagglers anywhere in the world and let’s be honest, weed IS legal here in the states (CO & WA), but I don’t want to spend three days in the Jamaican slammer buying off an undercover.

The misogynistic machismo is certainly an eye-opening experience, and the two females in the group ignore the comments, but I can tell they’re on edge. Just before town, a smiling dread-locked dude cooking salt fish on a makeshift cart goes deadpan, and very seriously says, “Don’t stay in one place for too long, mon.” I think he’s looking out for my pasty-eastern european skin being so close to the equatorial sun, but quickly realize he means ‘keep moving’.

Tacky-Tourist-Costume

I also realize much too late that grabbing cash out of an ATM booth in downtown Negril without a taxi waiting is a dumb fucking idea, and for the first time in my life, I’m glad I don’t have my trusty Nikon in tow to make me look like a complete tourist. We’re watched, touted relentlessly, and followed for an uncomfortable distance even after ducking into a souvenir shop, where the proprietors get pissed when we don’t buy the chintzy “local Jamaican goods” made in China.

Another instance in a restaurant later that night, where things really go south when a gentleman strolls in and after a drink, starts trying to rally the other male patrons gesturing (sexually) towards Bones. It takes a lot to do so, having once visited a remote village in Turkey that started grabbing her hair because they thought she was Shakira, but the situation has rattled Bones and she smartly asks that we finish dinner and get the hell out. The crew decides not to explore Negril anymore, and past stories bear the unfortunateness of rapey fruit.

I hate Jamaica.

The Perfect:

I love Jamaica.

What? You can’t do that, Mike! You can’t have both!

Watch me.

The West End, or cliff side of Negril is absolutely stunning. The resorts and massive Moroccan/spanish style houses built right into the sharp coral rock all the way down the coast create a paradisal landscape. The Spa Retreat is amazing —the staff, incredible. Waking up everyday in a jungle paradise 20 steps away from pellucid turquoise waters deciding whether to eat a fruit cup for breakfast, get a massage, or go snorkeling (again) is really, really tough. Relaxing is exhausting.

IMG_5398

Eats:

3 Dives  – Restaurant on the water- basically a pavilion with picnic tables underneath and a shack where the cooks prepare everything.

How do they get their food? Well, while we’re sitting there, two divers come up from the cliffs with a couple mesh bags filled with various sea creatures. A tall dude walks in from the street with a massive bag of shrimp on his head. 3 Dives proprietor hands over the cash, shrimp becomes a tasty grilled special. Ocean to table.

IMG_5432 I have the conch with ochre and peppers, served with rice and beans, and collared greens. There’s homemade fire sauce on the table, capped with tinfoil. So hot. So good.  Top 5 meal in my life.

Chicken Lavash – another staple on West End. I get curried goat with veggies. Somehow 4 or 5 Red Stripe slip down my gullet while I watch street traffic and boats sail by in the background. Easy-breezy.IMG_5411

Snorkeling – No lifeguards, no buoyed boundaries, no worries – freedom to swim all the way to freaking Cuba. Where most resort area reefs I’ve seen were depleted of any sea life due to over-fishing/constant sun tan-lotioned patrons, this reef is like swimming in a carefully curated exotic aquarium. Barracuda (inevitably getting the song of the same name stuck in my head for hours), sting ray, lion fish, sea urchin, clown fish, jellyfish, with a constant flickering of reflective light on the colorful sea floor visible for seemingly a hundred plus feet; it’s overwhelmingly beautiful.

I see a bored-out conch shell buried in the sea floor and dive down to get it ala Jacques Cousteau bringing it back to the Spa Resort. One of the bar tenders sees me emerge with the conch, and says he’ll clean it up. He sands the conch, slaps some varnish on it, and brings it to me the last day of our stay – one of the nicest things anyone has done for me while traveling. Thank you, Tonnis.

R&R – I won’t tire you with more of the vacation side of things, but this was the first relaxation trip I’ve been on since Tulum, Mexico three years ago. This left a lot of time for reflection…

IMG_5511

photo by Bones

I both love and loathe Jamaica. It’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been, and has such awesome people. There’s also the bad side, the side that made me say, for the first time in all my travels, “We should have stayed at the resort.” No wink wink. No nudge nudge.

Let’s hope the little dude in the picture below picks up the warm, beautiful, easy-breezy, open-minded side of the cultural ethos of Jamaica.

-Mike

IMG_5466

IMG_3772

Photo by Bones

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86 comments on “Scary Beautiful: 3 Days in Negril, Jamaica

  1. It all depends on where you go, there are some scary places in Jamaica. I am glad you still got a chance to enjoy the beauty of the island.

    1. mabukach says:

      Yeah – one can say the same for anywhere – Columbus, OH even, and I’m sure it would have been different if I was traveling alone, but it got interesting with lady friends present.

      1. ohliza says:

        I get it. And I know this post is a couple of years old but i just found it so I’ll tell you MY secret – don’t go to Negril. Or MoBay. Or Ocho Rios. Go to Treasure Beach or Portland or Kingston or most anyplace in JA but those 3 major tourist areas. TB, especially, is a place you and your friends could have walked everywhere and chatted with folks and never been hassled in any way at all.

        That said, I still go to Negril for one reason and you were lucky enough to find it – THREE DIVES. Fantastic food, vibe, people, sunsets, more food, freezing cold beer and the owners and staff are just amazing. I suffer through a little Negril time every trip just to hang out at 3 Dives.

        🙂

  2. Sahara says:

    Amen amen. After a hustle-filled cruise stop in Ochi, my husband emphatically didn’t want to go back, but I really did because it’s so beautiful. We went to Montego Bay, and stayed on a resort (I know) but it was gorgeous and the hustle was less and a fantastic trip overall.

    1. mabukach says:

      That’s awesome, Sahara – would you go back?

      1. Sahara says:

        Oh, absolutely. Actually, we talk about going back every year because we had such a relaxing and good time. I actually found more to love. I think it helped because we were insulated by the resort and because we were prepared for what we might encounter. I’m so glad we went back.

        1. mabukach says:

          Good to know – next time I’ll just sit resort side, soak up the sun, and drink rum drinks. 🙂 Thanks, Sahara!

  3. ballerina95 says:

    I’m glad your friend came out ok from your exploration outside the resort. Pretty scary.

    1. mabukach says:

      Hey Ballerina! How’s it going?

      Thanks, me too. Lesson learned!

      1. ballerina95 says:

        I missed your funny travel posts. But I guess the hibernation has lead to “important” changes in the personal life eh? *wink* *wink*

        1. mabukach says:

          That’s nice of you to say – promise I will be more diligent with my posts. There have been quite a few changes in my personal life *nudge* *nudge*. How observant of you – 🙂

  4. Paul says:

    Some good points, nice post. Great pics as usual. We saw the same things in Mexico, Russia, Cleveland, everywhere if you think about it. We explored the island as well and had a great experience, but had a local with us to show us around. Only saw a few things from the cab window. Like ATMs. It definitely helps to make friends early on and listen to feedback from the locals when deciding where to go.

    1. mabukach says:

      Thanks, Paul.
      Yep – same look, feel – it actually reminded me of the last time we went to Cleveland, but, there was actually something IN Cleveland before.
      Lesson learned for next time – speaking of, want to go to Jamaica?

      1. Paul says:

        Only if I can get some of those cat calls tossed my way.

  5. I had a similar impression when leaving Jamaica, the beautiful left me in awe and the bad sent me running. That being said, I can’t say I would never go back, I’m a sucker for a beautiful beach!

    1. mabukach says:

      Hey Alexxandra,

      Where did you stay when you went? 7 Mile beach?

      1. alexandra says:

        I was actually on a Carnival cruise and we came into Montego Bay! We took a lengthy drive through the green mountains and past many small shacks and houses, to end up on a tubing excursion on a beautiful river! The rest of the day we spent piddling around the main streets and relaxing on the beach! I would love to go back for a little more time to explore.

        1. mabukach says:

          Wow – that sounds like an amazing time – might have to get some recommendations from you next time I go.

          Thanks, Alexandra!

  6. Brigitte says:

    Mike, I visited Jamaica–Montego Bay, Negril and Ocho Rios over two decades ago and it sounds as if nothing’s changed. They liked my hair too and I did the touristy thing and had it cornrowed, with beads. I know, I know.

    People also tried to sell me weed all the time–on a bus from the airport–and on the resort. I wasn’t as brave as you–going out on my own, though even riding crazily down one of the curvy roads and exploring some kind of Jamaican flea market, I felt very exposed and well, not exactly well-liked by some of the locals. A woman at the resort kept trying to buy my sandals–they had some kind of sparkly fake jewels on them and I’d constantly get the money thing mixed up.

    Anyway, this is YOUR story, wonderfully told as always and I so get the love/hate thing. I guess some things really don’t ever change. Hope you were able to get some sun at least, mon. Everything’s irie, right? Yah, mon.

    1. mabukach says:

      Hey Brigitte – I want to see you with cornrows. do you have photographic evidence of this…event?

      Yeah, it’s essentially the same, but no one tried to buy my shoes. 🙂 I’m not sure why they don’t just legalize weed there – it basically is – then again, this is a country where same sex (male) relationships are punishable up to 10 years in jail (if you survive the sentencing).

      Yah, mon! Respect!

      1. Brigitte says:

        I do. Got the corn-row pics to prove it. Really. Bo Derek did it a while back. I figured what the hell.

  7. The scary parts could have been Memphis or Jackson, MS…you got to know where and where not to go.
    Good post Mike.
    What’s up next? Afghanistan?
    -Jim
    meyouand62.com

    1. mabukach says:

      Funny, last time I was in Jackson, MS – someone shot out the tire of our van (used to be a driver for a tradeshow company), so, agreed.

      Ha – nope, not Afghanistan yet. Still waiting on the creation of bulletproof jeans.

      Couple of domestic trips coming up, and booked for Portugal in Sept – nothing too crazy.

      Thanks, Jim!

      1. Ha! Shooting out a tire is nothing in Jackson… That’s called practice…There was an Exxon station on Northside Drive who had a sign for $5.00 if shot while filling up… -Jim Meyouand62.com

        Sent from my iPhone Jim Hollenbeck

        1. mabukach says:

          Man, what a welcome to Jackson…do you live there now?

          1. I live 9 miles north of Jackson… in a community called Gluckstadt (founded by Germans in the 1920’s)…Not a lot of crime here other than kids going through you car at night. Last time I was hit, they took a 6-pack I bought earlier that day,but left several books on tape worth hundreds of dollars.

            Literacy is not a real big deal here in Mississippi…

            Most of the time you can find me travelling
            U.S. Highway 62…writing Charles Kuralt-esque stories about the people and events found along Route 62.

            BTW…Rt.62 travels through Columbus, OH…I would love to interview you, and anyone else as crazy as you that might be worth talking to about the Capital City.

            Let me know when and if you are interested, and when you might be are available to talk with…

            -Jim

            jim@meyouand62.com
            hollenbeckjim@yahoo.com

            1. mabukach says:

              They took a 6-pack from your car? Blasphemy.

              Sounds amazing, ‘On the Road’.

              I’d absolutely be open for an interview – I’m probably not the most exciting interview, but could talk about Cbus fluently.

              Thanks, Jim

  8. Awesome post. Since you can’t snorkel in Cleveland or Detroit or Memphis, I’d want to stay in a resort and avoid the unsightly. What an American I am. I think I’ll go elsewhere and avoid the whole love/hate situation. Maybe Virgin Islands. Or Fiji.

    1. mabukach says:

      Thanks, Cindy – I snorkled in the Cuyahoga in downtown Cleveland once, haven’t been the same since…

      Fiji would be amazing – my friend Paul went to the British Virgin Islands recently, looked amazing (he’s four comments up).

      1. Sweet. One day, one day. Best I’ve snorkeled has been the Great Barrier Reef. Now I’m really picky. 🙂

        1. mabukach says:

          Yeah, Great Barrier Reef sets the bar pretty high – can’t really beat it!

  9. Laura says:

    Loved the photos and colors, here Mike. Amazing resort. Scary otherwise. I think I’ll never go to Jamaica. My love/hate travel currency was all spent in Haiti. But I will watch the Bob Marley documentary again and love Jamaica from afar, and from aRoam. Well done.

    PS How was AZ??

    1. mabukach says:

      Thank you as always, Laura. Colors were spectacular – leftover Spanish influence. Yeah – seemed like you had a decent time in Haiti.
      Ooooo Bob doc? I want to see.

      Gracias – AZ was great. Still writing a piece on it, but also writing things for a local magazine, so, I have to split my creativity. 🙂

      1. Laura says:

        Cool. What’s the piece for the local mag?
        And yes! Watch the Bob doc, it’s fascinating. Or so me thinks.

        1. mabukach says:

          I’m writing for a mag called FIT614. They just published a piece I wrote on running in Japan. Pretty cool stuff.
          I will watch the Bob doc! yeah, mon!

  10. tedtones says:

    Those pictures are incredible! Especially love the boats.

    1. mabukach says:

      Thanks, tedtones –

      Can’t take credit for those pics – that’s my friend, Bones. She has a great eye for photography, and loves boats.

  11. Missed your writing! Loved the look at Jamaica. Keep coming back with more.

    1. mabukach says:

      Hey battle!
      Good to see you. Will do, sorry I’ve been flakey. Thanks for stopping in.

  12. Wasn’t the Cuyahoga the river that caught fire? Randy Newman sang about it.

    1. mabukach says:

      Sure did. 9 times, actually!
      He sang a song about Cleveland in general.

  13. calahan says:

    The good and the bad, your life is pretty awesome, Mike.

    1. mabukach says:

      You know, it really is a pretty cool life. How’s everything with you, kind Sir?

      1. calahan says:

        Things are good, man. Finishing school.

        1. mabukach says:

          Nice – how much longer you got?

          1. calahan says:

            I finished as of Friday evening. 🙂

            1. mabukach says:

              Congrats! Dr. Calahan?

  14. Mike…re: interview.
    Contact me at Jim@meyouand62.com
    To set up date for phone interview…
    Keeping writing my friend…-Jim H

    1. mabukach says:

      Sounds good – thanks, Jim!

    1. mabukach says:

      Hey Softseat,

      This bad boy went in my spam for some reason.
      Thanks for the reblog!

      -Mike

  15. I’ve been to Jamaica twice, once on a work incentive, and once for a work conference, and although I agree the country is great in some ways, it was a big nightmare in others.

    Point one, being gay in an openly homophobic country is scary as Hell. I can deal with places where homophobia exists, but people restrain themselves or simply talk about you behind your back – never fun, but I’ve learned to let things slide off. Going to a country where even the customs agent has the guts to tell you he doesn’t understand your lifestyle, and downright refuses to check your documents, is worse.
    Let alone knowing you are in a country where gay people are brutally lynched on a regular basis and the police not only turns a blind eye, but in many occasions participates in the lynching.

    Aside from that, the country feels dangerous all together. Gun-carrying guards protecting the entrance to a resort’s private beach, constant news on the radio advising of the multiple daily murders in the island, and locals constantly arguing heatedly in public, is enough to take away any R&R you might get from laying under the sun sipping on a fruity cocktail.

    HAVING SAID THAT, I agree with you: Jamaica, naturally is STUNNING. The mountains are incredibly green and lush, and the ocean is a stunning turquoise. The beaches are better in some parts than others, Ocho Rios I’d give a 7/10 in all fairness, while Whitehouse gets a proper 9/10 at least! Overall, based on it’s natural appearance, Jamaica is a gorgeous country.

    Being a foodie, I also am in love with Jamaican cuisine. Everything from jerk chicken (or anything with a jerk spice)m to ackee and salt fish, and delicious Jamaican patties (my favourite), I love the flavours of Jamaica.

    AND to contradict myself (hey, I’m allowed to, you contradicted yourself as well!), the people. While Jamaicans can be hostile and have volatile personalities, I was lucky enough to really get to interact with a couple of Jamaicans that I absolutely loved. Yes, they were all resort workers, and yes they get paid to be nice to their guests. Even still, I returned home with two good contacts I interact with regularly to this day (about four years later?) on Facebook. The best part is they were aware of my sexuality at the time and they were accepting of it, which makes me believe Jamaica still has potential to become a better nation… but it will take time.

    1. mabukach says:

      Hey Claus!

      Thanks so much for writing – for some reason your comment was buried in my spam folder, glad I checked it before deleting everything.

      Can’t believe the customs guy wouldn’t check your documents. That’s crazy – I just don’t understand, nor do I have time for such ignorance. I actually had to edit this post, as it contained a pretty lengthy diatribe on Jamaican ignorance/lack of awareness. But, for the few amazing folks I met while in Negril, I took out.

      Never even heard of Whitehouse, will have to look up.

      Fellow foodie, huh? Any other favorite foodie destinations I should know about?

      Ha – I totally contradicted myself. 🙂 Glad to hear you still have some contacts down in Jamaica – I guess that gives a slightly redemptive quality about the country (aside from the natural beauty).

      Thanks, Claus.

      -Mike

      1. Hi Mike,
        I honestly often think about Jamaica often, and I struggle to decide how I feel about it over all, with the many cons, because some of the positives did end up making my time there quite good (again, most of them happened within the confines of a resort, so hard to say if it’s actually the country itself). I actually started writing a post based on my experiences, after reading your post and replying (especially as my reply alone was almost half a post in itself ;)) but haven’t had a chance to polish and post it.

        As for food, I am a sucker for Japanese, so Japan was one of my favourite destinations. You have to be prepared to try different things with it though, and open to the idea that sometimes you won’t know exactly what it is you’re eating! Another foodie gem in my case was Peru. Before visiting I had no idea there was such a thing as Peruvian cuisine (I know, so ignorant, but i had never heard of it!). I was surprised to find out it is one of the most diverse culinary experiences, I honestly was in heaven trying the different dishes!

        Look forward to reading more of your posts 🙂

        1. mabukach says:

          I’m with you on Japan. By far my favorite food destination so far.
          Haven’t been to Peru – surprising to hear you praise Peruvian cuisine. That’s amazing – where to you go in Peru?

          Thanks, Claus – I’ll check out your blog very soon.

          1. Ah Peru is awesome, and the food was honestly great. I went to Lima, then up to Trujillo and Huanchaco (a small surfing town near Trujillo), then went south to Cuzco and Machu Picchu 🙂

            1. mabukach says:

              Muy bien, Claus! Sounds amazing – I’ve had my eye on Peru for a while now.

    1. mabukach says:

      Thanks for the repost!

  16. Love the way you’ve written about this, in such a jovial and entertaining way. Kept me on my toes, but also really felt for Bones. Good to see you guys got out un-scathed. I might just live Jamaica through your travel story, then again, I’m always pushing the boundaries. So hopefully if I do ever go, I’ll have the same luck as you!

    Amelia

    1. mabukach says:

      Thank you, Amelia.

      Keep pushing those boundaries – with caution of course. 🙂

  17. Debra jacobson says:

    You have Negril portrayed wrongfully your ego stands in the way of reporting truthfully and this bothers me yes the people are poor and they sell just about everything to make a pot of food for family and children. Your budget is tight your spending habits tighter its tourists who want free vacations and come to Jamaica to save money. So that is why you reflected the weed theory just not so the police department is five minutes from the square so it is highly patroled. Your masculine ego is confused by Bones Jamaicans love women with meat on the bones hate to break up your ideas with the sea theireflects your own inner demons just to t the record straight Jamaican people are far lovelier than you represent weed is smoked as a medie for meditation the issues are far deeper than you write about

    1. mabukach says:

      Hey Debra,

      I appreciate you reading and responding.

      Travel well,

      Mike

  18. Debra jacobson says:

    Also its impossible to report fairly this is christian country jah reflects attitude to portray racial sterotypes this is English country manners are highlu bred in the people thry are high achievers in the music world have been slaves and feel the burden radio shows can provide the heart felt attitude of people searching for unity and one love vibes for it is everywhere social acceptance is part of the path poor these folks are rich in spirit Negril nursed my wounds helped me to learn about life it has interwoven the lessons I recieved it is a spirtual home where love abounds look closer next time peace Shevorah

  19. Modern Muze says:

    You have an interesting blog and such an inspiration.

    1. mabukach says:

      Thank you Modern Muze – Appreciate the love.

  20. STokar says:

    Hey mabukach! We are just getting ready for an adventure in Negril at the beginning of March. Did Ocho Rios last year around this time, and tbh, the “walk” through Ocho Rios was relatively uneventful. Yes we were constantly asked if we wanted weed, asked if we wanted a guide…etc. We (a girlfriend of mine and myself) walked nearly 2hrs before we decided to head back to the resort. Literally as we were turning around a gentlemen walked up to us, pants somewhat unzipped and “accosted” us. I was all ” lets keep walking” in a quicker pace, while my gf started to panic and kept saying “omg, he just grabbed me (repetitively). We quickened our pace and had another gentlemen ask us if the other one touched us. I quickly nodded as we stead fastily walked in the direction of our resort. The second man returned to us and apologized for what happened, explained that the young man was not right in the head and profusely apologized. All in all, it was not an awful experience, just a bit shocking!

    1. mabukach says:

      Awesome, STokar! You’ll love Negril – are you staying in the resorts? Which one?

      Your story sounds terrifying…and really bizarre. Sorry you had to run through pervy locals – yeesh!

      Curious to hear your opinion on Negril.

      -Mike

    1. mabukach says:

      I did. We did. Interesting name you have there, buttcheese.

  21. This post has stirred up quite a bit of controversey. It wasn’t my intent to “hate on” jamaica or tell people not to go there. I simply wanted to start a discussion which would hopefully improve to the tourist board and police taking a more active roll to keep tourists safe in town and on the beach and cliffs.

    I felt my post was taken two ways. Some people agreed with me, yes even Jamaicans and tourits with 30, 40 and 50 trips under their belt.

    Others however called me names, told me good don’t come back, etc.

    I love Jamaica, it’s by far my favorite travel destination in the world. That said I want to feel safe on my vacation. I know myself as well as others are very protective about Jamaica and its reputaiton because of all the unfair stereotypes about how Jamaica is dnagerous and you can only stay at an AI and don’t leave the “compound” lol.

    In years past I laughed at people with that attitude however these days it’s seemingly like that may not be bad advice.

    I think too often people are so quick to jump to the defense of Jamaica that it can lead to burrying our heads in the sand about real issues going on.

    Anyohw, I recently read on both facebook and trip advisor another troubling incident that happenned on property at a hotel, conveiently while security was changing shifts. We’ve been hearing a lot about things like this recnetly.

    I did a follow up post regarding this incident as well as the origional post which can be read here…

    http://rulesforrebels.blogspot.com/2015/03/update-on-jamaican-farewell-why-i.html

    1. mabukach says:

      Man, Rules for Rebels are clickbait masters. I’ll let your comment(s) stay just because, as a marketing guy, I’m tepidly impressed with your copy and paste abilities.

      -Head Cheese

  22. Nancy Gustafson says:

    I’ve been going to Negril for years. I actually recognized all the places in you pictures. When you are out on the street and someone wants to sell you weed, don’t say ” I don’t smoke” say “I’m all set mon, have a good day” Works every time.

    1. mabukach says:

      Thanks for the tip, Nancy. Now I know next time I’m in Negril.

  23. JWal says:

    So definitely Jamaica, Mike. It can be dreamlike or nightmarish on any given day depending on your circumstances. Traveling there for the past couple decades has led us to hang at the resorts for the most part. The Jamaicans we meet are intelligent and kind with a pragmatic approach to life on the island and dealing with tourists, for the most part. The “streets” in the tourist areas I liken to the areas in large cities worldwide where predators tend to gather. Predators are generally not my type of folks so I stay away from them.

  24. ive been to jamaica over 120 times from usa ,permeant resident now but after 35 years of that country,time for a change,now living in phillipies 6-8 months ever year,bouching thru asian counties,what a world of difference,jamaica sure has gone downhill since the 80s the gov is to blame,making it so hard for the peple,and jps has control of electricity and rates are thru the roof,more than half the population steal the light,just cant pay

    1. mabukach says:

      Jamaica to Phillipines is certainly a big move, James – very different. How do you like your new home?

  25. Willham says:

    Did you really wish you’d stayed at the resort? Come on people the same things can happen in New Orleans. If you want a sterilized vacation Cancun might fit the bill. Jamaica is charming with all her beauty and bumps and bruises too. I understand the machismo and aggressiveness towards women is not ideal when with a lady friend for sure. I’ve been to Negril 6th times and know how to handle myself and have a great time always. I’m never surprised to read all the comments of people who want a tidy slice of the world cut out of a destination that suits their needs. Better stay in the resort!

    1. mabukach says:

      I’m glad you haven’t had any bad experiences in Jamaica, Willham. As you can see from the above, unfortunately, some people do.

      It’s a violent country with over 1,200 murders in 2015 alone. To say “I haven’t had problems at 7 mile beach or Cliff Side in Negril/Jamaica therefore, you all need learn how to handle yourselves” is just, well, skewed thinking, because you’re right in saying bad things can happen anywhere.

      If you’re familiar with Roam About, you’d know my disdain for sterile resorts of say, Cancun. That’s why it was such a big deal for me to admit we would have been better off staying at the resort in Negril, if only for the safety of the females in the group.

      This isn’t just a ‘Mike’s offended by the machismo of Jamaicans’, this was more ‘we need to get the back to the safety of the resort so we don’t get fucking killed’. See the difference? Ever been in a situation like the latter whilst traveling, unprovoked or not?

  26. paulina stamatiou says:

    I have been in Jamaica over and over again! I never stay in the resort too boring ! I go out wirh the locals and NEVER felt threatened. Living in NYC Maybe helps lol Jamaica is stunning and just like any other place were you travel you have to be carefully ! But staying in the resorts will defeat the purpose of experiencing this beautiful island.

    1. mabukach says:

      That’s awesome, Paulina. Maybe I’ll take some pointers from you next time. Is relaxing on a beautiful beach with beautiful people and a delicious cocktail all that boring?

      I lived in NYC for 6 years, not sure how living there helps when me and my friends were being threatened by locals in Jamaica…the country, not Queens.

  27. beenthere done that ten times. says:

    I lived in Jamaica back forth for 19 years. I never liked Negril for some reason and never stay there to long or at all. but one time to take photos and go back. I lived in ghetto in moray and seen it all. I also travel all over .. I went to Kingston and went to Negril for bob marl birthday bash to see jah cure and I was not my real self walking around because of also recent and constant gigolos trying to peg me for a white tourist type girl lookin for a man, and I had seen snuff of that shit . usually someone looking for a hitchhike out of their not being able to hack the work scene. I came to Jamaica and worked for nothing enthused about work not money even if someone is working for a living to support themselves. doing things out of passion and love get the most. I was going to get paid 6. dollars a day. and took the job and made a contract for my skills and got paid larger money.. the guy who was trying to take advantage of me and my skills was going to pocket my contract and pay me as a 6.oo laborer. ok like that. but I got the boss to hire me as a contract.im a girl.. I did a lot of construction.. and painting. and hacked it. ok.. so most of people in Negril are looking for a dream girl with dollars to come and take them away and trade off sex . most of them don’t are what they look like as much as how much money and my friends in mobay told me tales about the cotton tree and rent a dreads. I thought it was during seventies but Negril thrives on rental of sex trade for money.. anyone and they come to Negril for that. to sell tourist something mostly sex to deaf dumb blind women with bored life and some money and a nine to five. I did not fit that bill…I was an artist about my life and art and living on a dime as I rise up and loving my life in Jamaica. l loved Jamaica until I went to Negril..ok I have seen gunshot dead friends and funerals but the people in Negril are th worst in arrogant people who are getting high on coke and other peoples money to feel big and large.. although moray is a lot about hawking tourist . its defend in Negril. its just on road in and out and everyone nknow everyone in area and same party every night . pimps sell weed and sex and hang out at the same bars every night, and u have to be very down with hood and friends with them at time I went here. something had happen to me and my self was off and I needed a lot more space from people and it made for a very bad thing.. so I tried to keep to myself more. on first time I went to Negril it was a shock to be around white people tourist culture.. but I got used to it. the water was great. it reminded me of also being in chi where there was to much of that your my next meal not my best friend or something.. ok. I loved to ride bicycle there it was perfect to just be free and have bike but then there are lottery scammers and greedy murding blood thirsty people is all arranged around tourist dollars. even the American scamming is about taking and an insult to Americans and money they see as Americans all be rich and a target to tsell drugs to turn u into a drug sale and other.. its to thick and u cant rebreathe at times but I came down also with someone from Kingston who targeted me same way. a pimp singer who was very abusive.. I also got caught up with a real pimp rent a dread who took me for that kind fo girl and mistake and after I friended him and felt sorry for his sorry yard he did notlift a finger and and wanted me to come and invest money in it. I was atistic ambitious but not stupid and did feel inspired but not a fool.i said id also help him start a restaurant but he wanted to take my money and make me do all work and sell drugs out of it. I spent a few years in his yard but not want to be the married person to support a man and he got homicidal on me and to get his friends to target me to.. and a very sweet or charming pimp out side of rickssell weed but has a very evil and sick side to him . as goes for anyone in that area who is looking for a woman to come down and turn them into their adult son and support them for few dollars to have sex and so on.. if ur into that , good for you. I was not. and this person and the other one did not go away when I split . he followed me even after he got a Canadian woman blind to his other side and want of money, not love and had kids with her he still wanted to get even with me and kill me and is also inwith the motor cycle murder people he w ould not quit until he took my life which ahd survived abuse and made me kind to people but not to kind and rising up to my own money would come to a halt off this kind of person looking for a easy dollar when u have to sweat it and work. they don’t like work.. or to hard to get work and feel that just jamaians have it hard and have to go through the test in life.. and if they fail its ur putting spells on them and cry so forth.. if u go down the go up.. not that they see something and strive and its also deeper about using anything as a revenger for some slavery thing to. a form of tourist scam terrorism to get even with white people for slavery.. so u have to know the roads in life even if someone is kind up front.. if hes rude to the waiter and kind to you. its about he sees u as an easier dollar and they are realy not with the respect and manners.. to much at times . but I was not my usual self where I could get along with anyone.. and they talk to much about money and other ur money and u have to respect them for not having it at all which is fuct up and why trump is keeping people out of the country. take what u need leave rest. Negril is very corrupt and I coud not stand the attitude of some of the lower minded people feeling big about money are reason so many people are killed there for greed.. its infected the place. so look past it keep ur eyes open and don’t walk stupid..

  28. beenthere done that ten times. says:

    ps I used to joke about Jamaica and my ghetto area as almost being as bad as my job in an art gallery in nyc. I was very happy suning myself in middle of gunshot and murder around me and happy for some of the people I know in nyc who would kill me for my soul not there. then it al turned to Negril an they were..

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