Rough go for the Slovenian today. Normally, I have to keep her from going after the refrigerator, but today, the ol’ Frigidaire attacked her. Tough loss. 6-3, 6-3.
Here is a bird’s eye view of Montego Bay today:
Hundreds of flip-flopping, colorfully-plumaged tourists descend gangplanks and head into over-priced shops in search of something with imitation dreadlocks or sentimental or alcoholic. Two streets over, in a back alley, three shoeless children attempt to kick a sewn-rag soccer ball into a glass-shattered window and blurt “yea mon” with the sort of reckless irresponsibility one expects from youth. Nearby, a barefoot woman sweeps last night’s bug infestation out into the unpaved road. Off in the distance, waves the color of Olympic swimming pools crash on silky white beaches. Red-eyed locals stroll lazily about, their relaxed attitude often misunderstood for carelessness. An omnipresent marijuana scent melds with jerk chicken and burning trash to form an aroma known simply as “very Jamaican.” With an open palm, a political representative pops into vacant tourist shops in expectation of his daily bribe. With great power comes great reward and there are no superheroes here. Melanin-lacking Brits wander aimlessly through the streets in hopes of acquiring sunscreen gloopy enough to ward off the unbearable solar rays. In Jamaica, such translucence is rare and slack-jawed children gawk at these pallid foreigners as though they’ve seen a ghost.
Beneath banana trees, sugar-cane-sucking taxi drivers conspire on the day’s cab rates, those with the genetic gift for greed winning out. Through the lush greenery, reggae rings out the redemptive claims of Bob Marley and other homegrown prophets. Outside a government admin building, green and yellow national pride droops from a rusty pole while unchecked mosquito hoards seek out unprotected tourists for dinner. Poolside, several unfortunately-dressed seniors stagger drunkenly as they push the limits on Jamaican rum, their slurred tropical drink requests sounding more like an illiterate’s scrabble game. Over-sexed honeymooners rub coconut-oil atop bare breasts as onlooking locals smile knowingly. Fierce-faced tourists dig deeply into puffy orange pockets in hopes of securing enough Jamaican dollars to subsidize their ungodly cab fare.
Flowing water is ubiquitous here, the way smog and pretension are ubiquitous in LA. Two teenagers head out onto the hillside to cut chronic buds for the evening’s concert. In the meantime, a soccer game appears to be breaking out on the golf course but two of the home team’s strikers are engrossed in a mental undressing of three professional tennis players who just happened to wander by sporting thongs, shades, and walks that your average hooker would envy. Along honk-filled highways, three tour buses transport overpaying glass-pressed-faces to visit natural rivers and man-made zip lines and rum-processing plants in hopes of earning enough tips to purchase re-soled shoes and un-torn jeans such that next week’s tourist group doesn’t feel like the local homeless folk are taking advantage of them. The native insect population enjoys international human cuisine the way Hunter Thomspon hits illicit substances. Parrots squawk. Outside Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, a woman’s hands lock onto her bikini top as she drops 110 feet to be vomited/launched out into the Caribbean. Her hands fail. Drunk boys laugh. Fastened to an interior floor, the iconic Jamaican Bobsled hosts hundreds of giggling tourists who somehow feel a photo in this thing allows them to experience Jamaican history and is still going to be funny in twenty years. An airplane lifts a small rooster tail from the sea as it crosses just feet above the beach on its way to Mo’Bay airport. Everyone pauses to watch, and smile. Oceanside, propped up with a strawberry daiquiri, an American tourist taps his keyboard and reports on the happenings amidst a Caribbean culture.
Headed home tomorrow.