Monday, June 17, 2013

Coming to a Close

Sorry about the delay in getting this post up, the past few days have been pretty crazy with travelling, visits to waterfalls and a bunch of other stuff.
At the moment I'm staying at the one for the road hostel, just enjoying the evening, listening to this mix by Dave Harvey and Christophe and contemplating the past week or so while being eaten alive by small insects.

Friday was my last day at the shelter, and it also turned out to be the day that we took the clients to Reach Falls with the money that had been raised in the cake sale, so it turned out to be a really nice send off as well. Reach Falls was really spectacular, and we had such a good time there. There was a picnic and then we spent a while swimming in the falls and jumping off rocks and things of that nature. After that we had a little group session where everyone said goodbye to me and it was quite sad, I was particularly moved when one of the clients told me that he was really glad that I was his friend now.

Reach Falls
I think I'll save my big introspective look at my time at the shelter until I leave Jamaica and write it up as part of my overall experience, but I can definitely say that my time there was so rewarding and really affected me in ways I didn't realise at times. There were a large number of challenges but I think it was so much more valuable for that reason. Things like having to deal with some serious mental illnesses for the first time, or even just the communication barrier that really thick patois created for example, really made an impact on me, although one that I think is definitely positive.

Anyway the girls and I came to Negril on Saturday (leaving at 3am in the morning so we could catch a 7am conecting bus) and I've been here since. The girls left earlier this afternoon, but I'm staying for two more nights, before I'll head to Montego Bay and probably Ocho Rios. Negril has been a very interesting experience so far, we've had some very good times here, but at the same time there have been a few lowlights too.
Underwater antics
The biggest thing that really threw us was just how touristy it is here. Prices are so expensive and there are so many really average restaurants selling 'western' food for extortionate prices. It really boggles the mind sometimes when you think what people will happily pay lots of money for and consider it good. The level of hustling that you experience is also out of control. Obviously I try to step back and understand that for a lot of people its the only way they can feed themselves, but sometimes it can really wear you down.

That's not to say that we haven't had good times, we've found some amazing little gems of restaurants and we've had some really cool evenings too. Saturday night we went to a club called Jungle, where entry was inclusive of all drinks, and girls got in for free between 9 and 10. This meant that by splitting the price of my entry, the four of us managed to have unlimited drinks for close to 5 hours for the price of $4 each.

Things got pretty loose, and then got really weird as well. We ended up going to an afterparty at a massive club with strippers (not to be confused with a strip club) which was cool, but on leaving the guy who had taken us there got really upset with one of the girls because she had refused to dance with him. What followed was an extremely awkward five minutes as we sat in the car outside of our hotel and this guy ranted. Eventually we just had to get out of the car, because it didn't look like he was going to stop. Last night was also a lot of fun, drinking in the hot tub in the place where we were staying and just generally drinking a large quantity of rum.

Reach Falls
Tomorrow I'm going to be going to check out some other waterfalls, which should be pretty awesome, then its on to Montego Bay for a couple of days. I'm hoping it won't be as hectically touristy there, but I guess we'll just see. I'll end on this video of a group of guys from the UK called The Oddysee that I was introduced to by a friend, they make some seriously wicked UK hip hop, enjoy!

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