Day 55 – Braided hair & da Ganja

I totally forgot to write about the last stop on my cruise.  So far we’ve relived killer barracuda’s, a jelly fish attack, severe drunkenness, stingrays and a post office in Hell…  now we’re off to Ocho Rios, Jamaica.

Before I got off the ship I met a Jamaican man who worked in customs.  He said his brother, Garfield, owned a cab and for a flat rate he would set me and my friends up with an all day personal cab and tour guide.  I don’t remember what the cost was but we did it, refusing to pay until after we we were finished and back at the ship.  The customs officer telephoned his brother and set it all up.   Upon exiting the ship I noticed that the beautiful island I saw from the sea looked like a scene from Lockup Raw- Extended Stay!! No joke. There was a reeeaally tall fence that separated us from Jamaica. On my side was the ocean and the ship and on the other side it was a kabillion Jamaican men dressed in navy pants and short sleeve, light blue button-ups and they were hanging all over the fence.  As we got closer these men were reaching for us and calling out, “Preh-teh laydeh.. come, lemme dreye-ve for ya mon.” They were cabbies and they were way too eager for American dollars.   As soon as we crossed through the fence a man came and took my arm.. “Ey-m Garfeeeeld. Come dis way.”  So my friends and I walked to Garfield’s cab- which was a minivan so we all fit comfortably.  After we climbed inside he drove us around the island and explained a lot of going on’s around us. At one point he hopped out of the cab, plucked some leaves from a tree and told us to taste them. Seemed legit. I don’t remember what it was or what it taste like but I do remember that it was tasty. It was something common-  dang it I wish I could remember.

Garfield pointed out hummingbird nests, a house made of conch shells, coffee bushes, and then took us to a marketplace where I bought a bird carved from a tree trunk and had my hair braided (Shrugs) seemed like a good idea at the time.  Lemme tell u about my braids. Oh my gawd it was bad. My hair wasn’t long enough to braid- or at least I didn’t think it was. I don’t know how she did it, but the Jamaican lady had me come to the back of her shop, (like in the storage room) sit on a milk crate and she went to town. I had a hard time getting my hair to do what I wanted it to do with the aid of goo’s and spray’s- I didn’t know how she was going to braid the stubborn pixied mess.  She did it though and when she was done (in about 10 minutes) I had $15 worth of no less than 800 tiny, twisted up braids that had little hairs sticking out all over. Instead of laying flat, mine stuck out every which way.  I looked like albino Coolio. Oh and..they had beads on the ends so when I walked, they clanked.  After the hair braiding I bought a colorful scarf to tie them up with. I totally rocked those braids with a scarf hahahahaha I don’t know for certain, but I’m pretty sure no one knew I wasn’t Jamaican.             Tell me why all of a sudden I’m thinking about the movie, “My Cousin Vinny,” when he and Mona Lisa are having a conversation about attire?

Mona Lisa (me): [Vinny looks at her funny] What?

Vinny (every Jamaican on the island): Nothing. You stick out like a sore thumb around here.

Mona Lisa: Me? What about you?

Vinny: I fit in better than you. At least I’m wearing cowboy boots.

Mona Lisa: Oh yeah, you blend.


Anyway, I met back up with my friends as I walked about the market place. We stopped and had a beer (or three) and watched the funniest thing go down.  Ok so there we were just minding our own business and you see what happened was-  these two (I assume Americans because they had white skin, braided hair and wore brand new Marley t-shirts) were walking down the path when they were stopped by a Rastaman.  I heard him say, “Ah mon, you want da ganja?” (weed)  Of course these fools wanted ‘da ganja mon,”  because they were idiot college boys on vaca in Jamaica-  duh.   Rastaman then pulls out a little bag of weed- like from out of nowhere.. it just appeared.. like *POOF* – weed.  The white dudes took it, paid for it and began to walk down the path again. My friends and I were sitting there looking at each other like, ‘did that really just happen?’ when uh oh happened.   The two white dudes were stopped by what appeared to be Jamaican po-po. The little bit of tan they had, drained from their faces and melted somewhere in the back of their shorts!  I don’t know about you, but I know being locked up abroad would suck major ass- especially for the much hated white American.      The two white dudes accused of buying ‘da ganja’ were given two options: 1) pay the po-po a fine ‘right now mon’ or 2) go to jail, miss the boat and hope for the best.  Hmmm… what would they do??  This was a nail-biter for sure.     The white dudes decided to pay the fine, give ‘da ganja’ to the po-po and skip imprisonment outside of the US.  Good choice!!    After the almost arrest the white dudes mall-walked their butt’s out of sight. As my friends and I sat there laughing about the whole thing and the “I just crapped my pants look,” each of those guys had on their faces we noticed the po-po walking towards the Rastaman.  We got quiet and were like.. dun-dun-dun…     Nope. No scary music needed, more like, “Whoop there it is!”  That cop didn’t arrest the Rastaman; he handed the weed back to him and walked away.  After he had cleared the path, the Rastaman offered ‘you want da ganja mon?’ to another unsuspecting couple of white people. THIS WAS A SCAM!!!

Well played, market place Jamaicans, well played.

Later on that day we ended up at Dunn’s River Falls. What a beautiful sight to see!  As we climbed up, the rocks felt slick under my feet.  The cool water rushed over my legs and when we came to a small pool in the rocks, I went in!!  It was freaking nice to be playing in fresh water after a week of the salty gulf.  Hell, even the pools on the ship were ocean water!!  So yeah, this was amazing. When it was time Garfield took us back to the ship where we paid him for his day of chauffeuring and paid taxes on our two duty-free bottles of rum before coming aboard.

That night on the ship was topsy-turvy.  To get back to the States we first had to go between Cuba and Haiti and then Cuba and the Bahamas all while staying in the ‘safe zone’ (American friendly waters)  I shit you not, while staying closer to Haiti but looking at Cuba you can see Cuban water patrol ships. That’s pretty unnerving.  On top of that, the waters near Cuba are wicked turbulent. Like, the ocean is pissed off at communist Cuba or something.. I dunno, but what I do know is that while walking in the ship, (even amidships) I was leaning one way then soon the other.  I don’t think anyone ate dinner this night. Too bad no one had ‘da ganja mon,’ I hear it’s good for seasickness.



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