Saturday, January 14, 2006

Jamaica, 'mon.

I went through a brief reggae phase in high school, which entailed purchasing Bob Marley T-shirts from Hot Topic, wearing a red, yellow, and green bracelet, and trying to push the mantra of "let's get together and feel alright," as I sat in circles with other 14-year old, sunburned white kids in Fresno playing congas and braiding hair.

The pot leaf paraphernalia, the braided wigs, the ganga ... all a part of the American-ized sentiment of Jamaican culture, I thought. And the "hey mon," definitely an exaggerated stereotype on the curtails of the Canadian "eh" and the British "bloody." So went my Jamaican adventures, and my endeavor to prove my 14-year old phase as a phase. But I am shocked to report that while my sentiments in youth might not have been as fervent as they were naive, the Jamaicans really do hold up to -some- of the Hot Topic product line. And much of these trends are deeply rooted in the rastafarian belief.

Laid back ...yes. Kind ... absolutely. Mary Jane ... around but on the peripheral. However, every bus, taxi, and car I got into was playing Bob Marley. Red, yellow, and green tchatchkes were as fervent as the Appleton Rum signs. And the "ya mon" and "no problem" were just as frequent as a Southern y'all. It -really is- their dialect. And what an absolute pleasure it was to hear it, in the flesh. Of the non-white, authentic kind. Now, if only the Margaritaville in Montego Bay would waste away .... I could agree with the Jamaican national sentiment that in their country, there really are no problems.

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