Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Jamaica, part deux

I recently had the pleasure of accompanying miss Courtney to Jamaica. Unfortunately, I too am a former victim of the teenaged white-girl sojurn into the world of Rastafarianism. During my high school years, Bob Marley tunes could regularly be heard playing on my car stereo. What is this phase all about? I can think of many former classmates who took that "iron, lion, zion" journey with me.

Every cab, tour bus, and store I visited in Jamaica was playing Bob Marley. I found myself wondering if they really like his music, or if it is all part of a vast conspiracy concocted by the Jamaica tourism board to perpetuate this image of the fun-loving Jamaican. A sort of tourist-board totalitarian regime controlling the people.

Growing up in Calfornia, I had the opportunity/misfortune to visit Disneyland on a semi-annual basis during my formative years. My early impression of the world at large was what was presented to me in "It's a Small World". I knew deep down that the people of Latin America didn't spend their day dancing around a giant neon sombrero. I kind of feel the same way about Jamaica.

Dreadlocks, rum pudding, bobsleds, Mary Jane.....does it all really exist? Do they continue to say "hey mon" when there are no tourists around, or do they actually speak with a New Jersey accent? Do they still have a bobsled team, even though the film has already been made? Do they take out the Marley cds and pop in Celine Dion as soon as the tourists are gone? Is the marijuana really oregano? We may never know.

1 comment:

Kim said...

Since I spent several weeks in the thick of "real" jamaica I can say that yes, they do say all those things and they do listen to reggae music constantly, although celine dion and rap is also popular. They speak their own slang language, much akin to the american ebonics. Only with that jamaican accent. I have to say I do not have a favorable image of jamaicans, mostly because I found many of them to be liars and cheaters, only trying to further thier prosperity. they are an extremely poor and divided country and i'm sure that our country has something to do with that. i'm just blabbing...