It was 2017 year and as I quit drinking, smoking I thought my life become boring. I was working, studying and after 6 months I thought I want some emotions in my life. Without alcohol, life became a little bit boring. No high or low emotions. I decide to take a vacation in January 2018 and I bought a ticket to Jamaica to get some emotions and adventure in my life. To reduce the cost of travel I decide to use couchsurfing.com website. I decide to stay in Rastaman house in Ocho Rios city in Jamaica to make it more exciting. Rastaman is people in Jamaica who are smoking weed every day, listen to reggae music and are not into a materialistic world. They are close to nature. After that, I thought I will stay in other local people homes in Montego Bay and Negril. I bought a ticket for 14 days in Jamaica. Here is how was my first 5 days.
Arrival to Jamaica- culture shock
When I just came to Jamaica, I really get a culture shock. My Rasta man meets me at the airport in Montego Bay, we took a taxi to the bus station and we needed to travel with public transport to Ocho Rios. Before that I ask Kemar (that was Rasta man name) can we stop somewhere because I need exchange money. We drive inside in so scary area, I thought its just „bad area“ of the city but it was city center on Montego Bay. Looks like from the gangster movies. Black people with big chains, rings, shorts, and t-shirts. The place where I needed change money looks so scary that I said that I will not go even out of the car. That place looks like – if I will go inside I will never go out or if I will go outside then definitely without money. 😀 Near the entrance there were standing 3 guys and looks like they are waiting for next victim.
So we decide to exchange money in Ocho Rios. We take public transport to Ocho Rios – its another story public transports in Jamaica. In small bus where is probably 9 seats, there are 20 people inside. The driver drives like crazy with the overcrowded bus, with no windows in it and feeling is that the bus will break any moment. The same is with a taxi. Taxi is cheap but always full. That was an awesome experience, but after 14 days driving like that, you really appreciate drive in the car alone.
Arrival to Kemar home – another shock
We arrive in Ocho Rios city and when I saw the streets at night I get really culture shock because I thought I could not walk on the streets there. I was scared because the place looks like if someone will kill you nobody cares about it and police will never find anyone. I am white, blond women from Europe and they all look like black gangsters from the movies, everything and everywhere dirt around. Nothing reminds Europe. Then we take a taxi and drive 30 min. away from the city to the mountains, threw the forest and arrive finally – my next home for the next 5 days. It was in the middle of nowhere. I was so shocked by everything that I was happy to see home, that I seem to be safe and from outside it looks really nice but when I go inside…..it scares me. There were Kemar sisters with 3 children but then I saw my room with 2 big beds and that’s it. One bed for Kemar and one for me. One light bulb. They were so poor, they don’t have toilet doors (just curtains), no wardrobe, no tables or chairs in my room. No hot water. Forgot about wi-fi, no phone connection, no tv, and computer. For me – I don’t care at the beginning because I expected to get a great cultural exchange experience. I bought gifts from Latvia and London (before Jamaica I was in London) to his sisters, to Kemar. Sisters were so happy for gifts, they took it and then I never see and talk with them again. They were in the house but they didn’t come to me, didn’t talk to me, they cook for children but never offered to eat something for me. I didn’t even drink water or coffee in that house. (Okay coffee would be too much to expect from them).
„Fun“ time with Rastaman Kemar.
Rasta people are very unique in this world, really but they are not the smartest people in the world. They really smoke weed every day and they don’t care about anything else. Their motto is “eat, drink and be happy”. I feel so bored with Kemar but not happy. I didn’t eat anything at his home, didn’t talk with him sisters, he didn’t tell anything also. I ask, he answers and that’s it. We could not have like a normal conversation. He just everywhere walks with me like a trustful dog or security guy for me. I eat outside in the city and he ate with me. I pay for myself and for him too everywhere where I go. For each tour I pay double. I didn’t enjoy to go somewhere with him because he just doesn’t talk, he is inside in himself. We smoke weed and that’s it – brains not working. He told me that only place where is wi-fi is King Burger, so first 4 days I ate just there. Completely nothing anymore. I eat there because I needed wi-fi to find a way how I can get out of that situation because there was no fun at all. New Year eve I thought I will spend in Jamaica and it will be fun. It was the most boring NY eve in my life. We just go sleep. They didn’t even make dinner at home. Nothing. For Kemar family, it was like a normal day. I didn’t get any cultural exchange. I just have a guy who took me to some beautiful places around (which I could not enjoy with him) and walks around with me like my security because I was so afraid to walk on the streets alone. I could not have a normal conversation to Kemar and also I pay for him everywhere. He offers me to go to the forest and stay in the tent for one night to be „closer to nature“. I said “no” and also I afraid of him. I afraid from people who are so quiet and he liked me too much. I didn’t allow him to touch me, but he all the time try somehow touch my hand or hug me. Other things – maybe I smoke weed with him and my „scare“ feeling become more intensive.
Escape from Kemar house
I understand that I want to get away from Kemar home because I didn’t enjoy all that situation. I expected it to be somehow different. I expected culture exchange, not just a free place where to stay and pay for everything for that Rastaman. For him I was rich, white women from Europe. The problem was that I could not get away from him because I was so afraid to go somewhere alone. I stand out too much and I have so much attention from people on the street. Jamaica is not a safe country. He lives in mountains and there is no transport to get to the city, only taxi who looks like a normal car. No sign that its taxi, just local people know who is whom. For all tourists safe is just to stay in hotel territory. Hotels with security and walls around the hotel are much more expensive than just an average hotel. The average hotel doesn’t have security or something, so it’s dangerous. Also as I didn’t have wi-fi I didn’t know how to find the hotel, and I understand I stuck with this rastaman. I also didn’t know how to tell him that I want to move out. I was afraid of his reaction.
One day he goes to work in construction and I said to him that I will stay at the beach in the hotel area where is security and I feel safe, while he will work. He left me for 10 minutes and straight away another black man come to me start to talk to me. He was Jamaican who lives in the USA but come for holidays to Jamaica. I just said to him that I don’t enjoy Jamaica right now and he said „ I will help you take your bags from that Rastaman and will show you real Jamaica. How we have fun“. He said to me that Rasta people are boring, they are not dangerous but I can’t enjoy Jamaica with Rasta people. He was the first person in Jamaica with whom I talk normally. I had a normal conversation with someone for the first time after 5 days. After 20 minutes Kemar comes back and said „ I will not go to work today. I change my mind“. He changes his mind because he saw that another man come to me, sit and talk with me at the beach.
That another black guy asks me to say Kemar that I am moving out and I need to take my bags from his home. At that moment when I said it to Kemar suddenly, he changed. He becomes angry, rude to me, start talking a lot – why I want to move out from his home, what did he do to me etc. Suddenly from nowhere come another rastaman, other black people with chains (gangsters). Suddenly around 50 people are arguing on the street. About me. Rasta mans against black people gangsters. Everything happens so fast that I didn’t understand from where all that people come from. I was so scared. Because I didn’t know anyone there. I could not trust anyone there. Arguing ends and my new friend black guy said „ Now you need to worry about your life. Better let’s go to the police“. We go to the police and police was so surprised that I came to Jamaica alone and stay in someones home alone. They call another police. Another police come with guns, lifejackets, helmets. We were 3 cars together going after my bags at dark night. I gave to police that Rastaman address but they ask me – do you remember where he lives because we don’t have GPS, we use it very rarely and mostly it’s not working. So I needed to remember road 30 minutes away from the city in the mountains, in the forest, in the dark late night. I did it. I was so surprised but I did it. I found that house in the dark 30 min.away from the city just by my memory.
We found that house, I took my bags, police talk with him to explain himself. It was so scary. I feel like in the movie. That night I get drunk (I didn’t drink 6 months) and I start to drink after 6 months that night. That was my first 5 days in Jamaica. My journey just begins. A lot of things happens after, but the beginning was crazy. I wanted to have emotions and adventures in my life. I get it for 1000%. Jamaica was experiencing what I will never forget. I saw Ocho Rios, Montego Bay, Negril. I have stories from each city, but this in Ocho Rios was the craziest.
Smoking weed in Jamaica
A lot of people come to Jamaica to smoke a weed. In reality yes, a lot of people smoking weed on the street. My rasta man smokes even while he is working in construction. I tried also – real organic weed does not make a big effect to you. I had a feeling that I am not thinking. I smoke weed and I don’t think about anything. We were sitting with our rasta man at the beach, smoke weed and in that peace, we sit like 3 hours. That is how I could spend 5 days with him because when I smoke I don’t think but when I don’t smoke I was thinking how to get away. When you are in Jamaica you need to be careful from whom you are smoking weed. Because if it’s not organic weed or it’s with chemicals, then you could become out of normal and for other Jamaicans it could be the way how to rob you. If you want to smoke really good weed the best place for it is USA legal weed from the pharmacy.
What can I suggest? Do not use Couchsurfing in third countries. I love Jamaica because of nature, music. Reggae music is everywhere. It’s really amazing. It’s easy to buy weed there but you never know what kind of weed you will buy. Also, you will feel like walking dollar around there. They want to take all your money what you have, they cheat on each step. If you are white then you are rich. People bother on the street too much, they don’t go away from you. If you go to Jamaica stay in an all-inclusive hotel and enjoy beach and tours. I saw real Jamaica, talk to police 3 times in 3 different cities and they approve me that is dangerous to walk alone on the streets. I was lucky and thanks god nothing happen to me.
Thank you for reading! :X
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