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Thursday, 12 April 2007

Black River Safari w/ Yasmine & Rasta George - Page 2

Written by Vince Bogan
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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.

Soon the excitement I’d been feeling and the energy that was flowing came together. I felt as if I was standing at the precipice of time, fully aware, leaning into the oncoming rush of the present. I wished Sav was a thousand miles away, I didn't want the moment to end, but it was one of those rare mountaintop experiences that are special because you only get a glimpse at any one time.

Sav was very different from Negril, it was less colorful, there were fewer smiles, and the streets were not very crowded. This was where people lived and worked, not where they were trying to impress tourists. I’d heard it really bustles on market day, I’m sure I’ll be back through.

We unloaded in a small lot near the center of town. There were taxis lined up and a few food vendors with dull makeshift carts who half-heartedly advertised their wares. Yasmine walked over and got a jelly coconut from one of them, while I found taxi number two. This time the taxi was a mini-van, we climbed into what we thought was the two-seater up front as we sipped the delightfully strange coconut water with two straws. When the bus filled up, a third person jammed in next to us (so much for the two-seater). Yasmine was a bit squished but at least she was squished against me.

The ride out of Savannah-La-Mar was fast and furious: there were fourteen people shoved in the van and I felt like I was really traveling in a foreign country. However, the people were warm and friendly and seemed interested in us: where we were from and why we weren’t on a tour bus. I answered one older woman, “How else was I gonna meet you?” She smiled wide (and they say Jamaicans are smooth).

It seems the entire tourism industry did everything it could to keep a separation between tourists and normal Jamaicans, the ones not trained by years of working the tourist trade. Part of me knows that's how they make their money, by packaging Jamaica in a polished shell, but another part knows that sadly, this is too close for most American and European tourists. Perhaps I can help spread the word.

Yasmine and I made chitchat: discussing philosophy, politics, and Paris. She was a strong, confident woman and yet so feminine. I admit the idea that these qualities are mutually exclusive is a defective mental construct made up of my past bad relationships, yet I could feel a manly confidence build as we sat close, touched and talked.

The terrain really changes as you leave Sav, the lush tropical feel gives way to grassy, almost desert-like conditions, which I guess why the Spanish named it, the savannah by the sea. Leaving Westmoreland Township and entering St. Elizabeth, the road immediately gets better, and the already racing driver picks up speed.
(Page 2 of 6)
Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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