Friday, 17 August 2012

GREAT MOMENTS IN TRAVEL: BUFF BAY, JAMAICA

FRESH FRUIT and MOONSHINE FOR SALE. CHEAP.This roadside stand was in the remotest spot imaginable. I bought some fruit ... 
and two shots of rum, because that's what you do in Jamaica ... and asked if this 
was the road to Port Antonio. She laughed and said, "No, mon! Bush road dis."
Ignoring all sound advice to not drive in Jamaica, where Stop signs are just a suggestion and almost every road wants to murder your car with its bare hands, a friend and I rented a Jeep and toured the entire north coast, from Negril to Port Antonio. We learned a coupla things along the way. For instance, we learned that the term "highway robbery" was probably coined here. (The phrase was originally "muggers disguised as cops," but that wasn't as catchy.) We learned that the mountain people are the poorest and also the most generous. We learned that everybody in this country can cook even if all they own is an ackee tree, a chicken and a barrel. We learned that nobody can drive better than a Jamaican because they grow up thinking that the roads with hairpin turns and craters the size of mules are the "good" roads. Most of all, we learned that Jamaica is one mind-bendingly beautiful piece of island, and that rum is often a better . . . and always a more fun . . . travelling aid than a map.