Beach Bums

The beach in Negril could not be any nicer – in fact, if beaches were models, this would be the old school Cyndi Crawford of beaches. The sand is white and fine as powder. It is also surprisingly clean. The Caribbean in front of our place is like a giant turquoise bathtub. The water is calm and you can clearly see your feet resting on the cushiony bottom in neck deep water. There is no coral, or rocks, or shells to worry about stepping on. Only perfect water.

Now that I have painted a mental picture, time to throw in some reality.

Unknowingly, we have come to Jamaica during the very low season. Good in the sense that the beach is practically deserted. Bad because the hustlers and touts still have to eat so now they have less targets. This place is far worse than Mexico and could come in a close second to Egypt. Every two minutes, someone new is walking up to you on the beach offering everything from fruit, massages, and cigarettes to sex, ganja, and other assorted drugs.

Everywhere that you walk, there is a Rasta wanna-be (the real Rasta is an actual religion here, but most just sport the dreads and smoke the weed without practicing the rest of the religion.) selling something or hitting on a white woman that was walking alone on the beach. Solo female travelers get scooped up left and right, and you even see them in restaurants buying their new dreadlocked boyfriends dinner.

This presents a problem. I did not want to come here as just another holiday tourist. I know nothing about Jamaican or Caribbean culture and I was wanting to learn. Unfortunately, any attempt to talk to anyone, check out art, or look at local goods comes with a hounding to get to your money. Just like Egypt, it would take months to crack this place and get to the insides – away from the people constantly holding their hands out. There are some genuine people here, I have met a few, but for every one of them there is a guy that will not take “no” for an answer.

OK, no more writing. Beach time!

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