Jamaica: Yah Mon

Jamaica

All-inclusive hotel vacation in Jamaica? I never thought about it. There are more places higher up on my list for me to spend my extremely limited travel budget on. However, I am very happy that we got to go on this vacation in paradise thanks to our friends’ destination wedding.

窮到沒多少錢玩耍,真的沒想過會去牙買加吃住全包的飯店渡假,一切是因為男人和男人朋友的婚禮。

Day 1: PIT ─ JFK ─ MBJ, Montego Bay, Jamaica ─ Grand Palladium, Lucea
Day 2: Grand Palladium, Lucea
Day 3: Negril Beach ─ Rick’s Cafe
Day 4: Destination Wedding in Negril ─ Reception at Rockhouse Hotel
Day 5: MBJ ─ ATL ─ PIT

On the way from New York to Montego Bay, the plane hits a patch of turbulence. That was by no means the worst turbulence I’ve ever experienced, but definitely the most terrifying one. Because of all the dramatic gasps and screaming in the cabin. A lady sitting in the same row was holding tight on her bible, gasping heavily ever time the plane went down, and uttered in a fast pace, “Jesus please help us!” Luckily I had an arm to hold on to. The psychological effects of gasping and screaming and fear were no joke.

飛到牙買加的路上遇到亂流,不是我這輩子遇過最可怕的亂流,但是是最恐怖的一次,這班飛機上的阿姨大嬸也太戲劇性、太會尖叫跟抽氣了吧!坐我們隔壁的一位姊姊死抓著他的聖經,每次飛機掉一點點,她就超誇張的吸氣然後連珠炮地說 Jesus please help us! 要不是旁邊有人手臂可以借我抓,真的會被整班飛機嚇死。

This was the first time I visited the Caribbean and I have never been to a more touristy place. Once we passed the entry point and custom, I was intrigued by the scene of the ground transportation lobby. The entire lobby was full of travel agencies. What welcomed us was a group of representatives from different travel agencies trying to identify and pick up customers.

這是我第一次到加勒比海,也是第一次到這麼觀光的地方,入境之後,機場大廳別的沒有,排滿旅行社的店面,整個大廳都是旅行社的人在等著接觀光客去飯店。

Don't buy gummy at the Montego Bay airport. We knew it was not going to be cheap, but did not expect that to be $18!

Don’t buy gummy at the Montego Bay airport. We knew it was not going to be cheap, but did not expect that to be $18!

The ride to the hotel was quite interesting. If not for my company, I would have thought I was in Taiwan. Lots and lots of bougainvillea and the tropical species of plants reminded me of countryside in Taiwan. On the side of the street, goats can often be spotted─the type of goat people make curry goat with.

要不是旁邊的人都在講英文,窗外風景看到來像回到台灣,安全島和路邊種了好多九重葛,右邊是海、左邊是山,加上熱帶小島的植被偶爾看起來真的很像台灣。路上不時會看到小山羊,就是當地人拿來煮咖哩羊的山羊。

Bougainvillea at the hotel. 飯店的九重葛

Yah mon, soon come.

When locals are talking to each other, I could not understand anything. I tried so hard, attempting to pick up a thing or two, whenever we passed by a group of staffers talking in the resort. Most of the time I failed.

If there were to be a survey about fillers Jamaicans use the most, “Yeah mon” would probably top the list at least in touristy areas, followed by “everything irie” and “no problem.”  Those are all very understandable. Yeah mon most of the time simply means yes or some sort of agreement or confirmation. The one phrase that made me perplexed is “soon come.” This could in a rare occasion means right away. Most of the time when you are told your food or whatever “soon come,” it is more like, I’ll get it to you when I get it to you, or in some cases such as my postcard mailed from Jamaica to my apartment in Pittsburgh, never.

每次在飯店經過一群飯店員工在聊天都會偷偷注意聽,當地人在聊天的時候用方言夾雜牙買加英文,我通常都完全聽不懂。

如果有個統計調查牙買加人的口頭禪,第一名大概會是yah mon (至少在觀光地區),再來是everything irie 和 no problem,yah mon是yes man的當地口音版,表示贊同或者只是打招呼用,everything irie (everything all right) 和 no problem充滿牙買加人樂天的個性。這些都還很好懂,最費解的是”soon come”,太陽從西邊出來的時候soon come表示馬上來,通常是你慢慢等的意思,或者偶爾像我從牙買加寄的明信片一樣,永遠不會來。

You good? Good.

Near the airport, locals tried to make money from tourists, banging on the windows of our van to get attention. Some couple on our van rolled down the window and handed the two young guys a five. I played dumb. Then one of the guy approached my window. “You are beautiful,” he yelled. “I love you! I LOVE YOU!” Now, one would think I was going to be the one who got attention for the following days. But no. It was Aaron that got all the smiles and thumbs up and how are you from the hotel staff everywhere we went. It was so obvious and lopsided that I even asked him why people were so warm to him but not me. After two days on the island, we figured out why.

Thumbs up with a question mark type of face while asking “you good?” really meant: yah mon, are you good on weed? When Aaron smiled back and nod or replied that he was doing well, that was taken as, yah mon, I got plenty of supplies.

The driver that dropped us off at the hotel posted this sign that said “Tip” with a graphic of marijuana leaf on his sun visor. When we reached our destination, the driver pointed up at this sign.  I supposed that was a very convenient double meaning gesture.

靠進機場這一帶,遇到當地人看到紅燈就擁上來拍窗戶要錢,小巴上的一對夫婦搖下車窗給了他們幾塊錢,我靠窗但是認真裝傻。其中一位小哥走到我窗邊然後大喊”You are beautiful! I love you. I LOVE YOU!” 讓我以為接下來五天我應該十分風光,沒想到每天走來走去飯店員工微笑、問好、比大拇指說讚都是對Aaron,明顯到我還說為什麼大家都比較愛你!? 過了兩天才知道問好的奧妙。

原來比大拇指然後問你說”you good?”其實是在表達yeah mon, 你缺不缺大麻快來跟我買?Aaron每次微笑點頭說他很好大概都被解讀成他存貨很多每天都很嗨。

機場到飯店小巴的遮陽板上貼了個標誌,上面寫了超大的「小費」和畫了彩色的大麻圖案,司機開到飯店的時候,比了比頭上這個標誌,想必很雙關。

 Jamaica travel 101

U.S. dollars are widely accepted in touristy areas. We used U.S. dollars to tip at the resort, buy souvenir in the resort shop, and pay at outside restaurant and even a street food stand. One U.S. dollar is about 100 Jamaican dollars (JMD). We were able to use U.S. dollars to check out at a local supermarket. However, the change would be in Jamaican dollars.

We mostly used cash. I heard that credit card theft is quite common in Jamaica.

大部分地方都可以用美金,我們都用美金付小費、在飯店紀念品店買東西、外面餐廳付錢、甚至還在路邊攤買吃的。我們還用美金在當地超市買東西,只是找錢會找牙買加幣。

我們幾乎都用現金,據說信用卡竊盜還蠻常見的。

In the touristy part near Montego Bay, violence is usually not in touristy areas. However, petty theft is common. Remember to use hotel room safes to keep your belongings. Kingston sounds like another story.

在左上角的觀光區牙買加,大部分遊客會去的地方都算安全,只是小偷好像很尋常,在飯店千萬要用保險箱把東西鎖好。這是Montego Bay和Negril這一帶的觀光海灘牙買加,Kingston沒這麼好。

Jamaicans drive on the left. That is definitely not the number one concern about driving around in Jamaica. Downtown traffic tend to be slow. It seems to be a bit scary to get stuck in narrow streets while locals eyeing on you up close. The most scary part seems to be getting gas. One American in our group rented a car during his stay. When he went to get gas, he had to paid off someone with a twenty dollar bill or more so to keep trouble away.

Tours arranged by travel agencies is the easiest way to get around for an individual or a couple. If you have more than four people in the group, negotiating a price with a cab driver seems to be the cheapest and most convenient way to get around.

牙買加開車開在左邊,同團有人租車,但聽起來自己開車真的很可怕。市區通常車速都很慢,路又小條,超多當地人會離你很近打量你,不用下車就算了,最可怕的是加油,同團的人一到加油站下車馬上一堆人擁上來,最後是塞了至少二十美金鈔票給一位當地人才躲掉麻煩。

飯店都有很多旅行社可以安排一日遊,一兩個人報名很划算,如果有四個人以上,跟運將談價錢坐計程車最便宜又方便。

Jamaica Negril wedding

Destination Wedding

Jamaica has one of the most amazing beach in the Caribbeans for its blue water. There are plenty all-inclusive hotel and wedding package options. It seemed to be a great place to host a destination wedding. The wedding that we attended was absolutely beautiful. The reception was held at a very iconic hotel, the Rockhouse Hotel. The ocean-side rooms sit on top of the cliff. You can open the door or your cottage, take a few steps, climb down a ladder and there you are in the water. Those cottages should have a pretty good view of the sunset.

聽同行的婚禮攝影師說,雖然平平都是加勒比海小島,牙買加大概是最漂亮的,因為海水最藍。這裡又有很多全包的飯店和婚禮方案可以選,看起來是個很不錯的海外婚禮地點。婚禮真的很美,婚宴場地是在The Rockhouse Hotel,飯店房間很特別,是一間一間小屋,靠海的房間從後門出來走下階梯再爬個梯子就下海了!住這裡的話就可以直接在後院看夕陽。

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