Jamaica

Seanna Writes
2 min readDec 29, 2022
Photo by Chris Howell on Unsplash

I like that the people here stare without abandon. They watch you intently and without reserve. Even when you watch them watch you they don’t look away, but why would they? It’s a good thing to take notice of someone observing you. It’s a good thing to be seen because eventually at some point you will long for someone to see you.

The traffic is bad but entertaining. It starts conversations on car loans with 100% financing, crowded roads, debt, government responsibilities, the Philippines with different license plates for different days, how no one’d do that here anyway if they made it law. Window washers with bad attitudes and if their parents even know the little ones are out there shouting, “blop! blop! blop!” from the street giddy with some change in their hands.

It’s hot but you shouldn’t complain about the temperature. It makes you “someone from foreign you can’t take the heat”. And being someone from foreign in that context is lacking but being someone from foreign asking for fruit, like lychee from the neighbors tree, is okay because Jamaicans treat foreigners better than locals. And I guess we do that everywhere.

There is Pear liquid soap that I’ve never seen. And grapefruit and lime peel Zest washes I didn’t know existed. Gas station attendants (largely female), commercials urging you to report the observance of guns most likely undeclared, alarm companies more attentive, organized, and armed than the police, and lots and lots of delicious KFC that outdoes it’s American predecessor.

Babies with white cloths atop their heads and umbrellas their mothers hold above them to walk on the street.

Did you know Boxing Day was they day they’d box up the presents leftover to give the slaves?

Jean back pockets bulging with body, braids to waists, security guard, security guard, security guard, parking lot attendant begrudgingly attending parking lot and who can blame them, Roxanne’s Braiding Studio, two parrots that fly home at the same time every evening squawking in the sky. Cool cool night air with leaning chairs on the patio, confusion with the exchange rate and everything in thousands, and Chinese food. How’d Jamaica get so sweet?

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