This was my last full day in Jamaica. The week went by so fast. Next time I promised myself I’d stay at least ten days.
I don’t know why I was so nervous as I ate my morning vegetarian breakfast. So jumpy in fact, that when the lovely Yasmine appeared all packed and ready for our day on the road, I found myself apologizing for not being ready to go. She sat with me as I finished my coffee, and our friend Alan continued to give us last minute travel tips.
I went back to my cabin to get ready. I did a few breathing exercises to clear my head and to chill my angst. Soon my mellow mood returned and the excitement of the impending day’s adventure took over my anxieties. I did one last mental checklist and out the door I strode.
We waved good-bye to our friends and headed to the Negril Bus Depot. Walking past the roundabout, a gaggle of cabbies called out to us in their special way, but as soon as Yasmine’s French accent called back, “70J to Sav?” they just stopped and pointed towards the bus depot.
In a few minutes we were walking through a sea of white Toyotas at the depot. Again, a dozen drivers told us of the “deals” they had, but once they heard that French accent they gave up and pointed to the next taxi headed to Sav-La-Mar. I guess the Jamaicans think Europeans are not as flahoolic with their money as Americans are. I didn’t care that they thought we were French -it was saving me money!
Since Yasmine had that French thing going for her and seemed to enjoy haggling, I let her do all the talking. When I’m in Negril I have that “Everyone’s my friend” attitude. Though it attracts sellers and scammers, that’s a big part of Jamaica’s charm. You have some fun interacting, and you pump a few bucks into the local economy. Win-Win.
We boarded our taxi for the ride to Sav, once there we’d get another taxi to Black River. The driver had me sit up front with him, and Yasmine sat in the back of the Corolla with three Jamaicans: a mother, her daughter, and a young man with a broken hand who somehow shoe-horned in.
Our driver drove like a sixteen year old kid trying to impress his friends, but as we headed out of town I let myself relax. It was one of those “give in to the moment” situations. The loud thumping reggae negated any ideas of chatting with Yasmine, so I sank into the seat and into the music.