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Thursday, 12 April 2007

Black River Safari w/ Yasmine & Rasta George - Page 3

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.

The taxi had all but emptied itself along the route. Most of the group getting out at the town of Bluefields, the boyhood home of Peter Tosh, the second most famous Jamaican reggae star, several more at Whitehouse, where they are building a huge new Sandals resort. It stands out like a sore thumb, literally, because it is being built on a small peninsula, and figuratively because it breaks up the natural country charm of the area. At every cross road you see small rum shacks and markets, with small country homes sparsely dotting the roadside between.

Pulling into Black River, it looked a lot like Sav-La-Mar, though there was a bit more color and much more commerce. We each paid our driver, and it struck me what a great trip it was, just over two hours and only about $3.50US.

In Jamaica, the bus depots are not in the tourist part of town, they are in the people part of town. We headed across a small bridge towards the docks along the river. To our right was the Black River Safari, it was the local tourist trap taking a bus load of people up river at a time in covered pontoon boats, complete with music, and sticky-sweet rum punch at the turn around point.

boat We turned left and headed to local docks along the river. There were a half dozen twelve foot multicolored fishing boats lined up complete with local guides looking for more adventurous travelers like us, just like Yasmine’s guide book said there would be.

This is where we met Rasta George. Rasta George was the real deal, he told us of an exciting, fun, educational, and romantic trip into the Black River Morass, and all this for only $2US more than the “Corporate Tour.” He had me at hello, but we haggled a bit anyway. He wouldn’t budge, which somehow was so strange in Jamaica that we said ok and forked over $40US. He told us to wait in a little café right there near the docks where we sipped icy Tings and excitedly waited for our odyssey to begin.

About fifteen minutes later we were climbing into a small fishing boat and were headed up the river. It was only then when I realized I’d given my camera to Yasmine to keep in her bag. As I began taking pictures and I focused on an oncoming big tour boat, the people yelled and waved as they zoomed by, and I looked at Yasmine and we said in unison, “This is so much better!” Rasta George smiled and said that we’ve seen nothing yet, and for years we’d be telling people to come see Rasta George in Black River. He was right.

(Page 3 of 6)
Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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