Day Nine: Ochi by minibus

So why am I deliberating in my mind whether or not to wear a seatbelt in the front seat of a minibus? It’s standard to wear seatbelts in Canada, but somehow in the last week I see myself converting to the ways of this island. Normally it’s a good thing to adapt, but we don’t want to adapt the negative qualities as well, do we? Especially when we know this one decision could cost lives! Wearing a seatbelt in a Jamaican minibus should be mandatory. Have you seen the way they drive in Jamaica? Have you seen the way the roads are? The twists and turns, the way they overtake- even in incoming traffic. No fear! People need special training to drive here. On my way to Ochi (the way that Ocho Rios is referred to) in the minibus was an adventure of itself. I sat by a corner seat with the window open. The cool breeze made the trip a pleasure. At times I thought I was on a roller coaster with all the dips and curves- holding on to the sidebars so as not to lean on the person next to me. The view was beautiful.. The bus drove along a river of green water, through trees, on flatbridge, through fern gully and other mountains. I saw bauxite waste, cows, donkeys, higglers, and one truck turned over on its side. The minibus didn’t stop so no idea if anyone got hurt. But case in point, it should be a necessity to wear a seatbelt here.

When I arrived at Ochi, smiling from ear to ear, I see people of all colour walking around. Although I’m used to seeing groups of white people everywhere amongst others, it is such an odd sight to see them walking around on this island. Yes I know ochi is tourist town, but something about it looked odd. Well I recall having met a another group at Devon house but it had seem fitting for them to be there, or maybe that was still normal to me seeing it was my third day. After a week and seeing so many white people in one location just made it strange. I saw them climbing the falls, holding hands to form a long chain. Did that make it easier for them to climb the falls? The tour guide got “the tourists” to scream and do all kinds of craziness. It was fun watching them, I was anticipating my own experience climbing the falls.

Me, I decided to do it the local way, except for those rubber shoes on my feet which I rented for $600JA. That and the other costs – locker rental, entrance fee, bus fares and two taxi fares caused me to run out of money! I thought Jamaica is supposed to be cheap.

By the time I arrived on the beach, after that long decline off stairs, I was greeted by a man who was looking for customers to jet ski. “I would love to!” I said.

“Then come nuh”

“I have no money, I spend it all already!”

“Den pay mi lata”

“If it’s not for free, I can’t come with you, I have no money” And I walked off into the sea. The water was a little chilly at first but in no time, I was in the water swimming like a fish. To think that not even a week past and I’m at the beach again. This would have never happened in Canada!

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