The worldwide Augustana College experience

Seems like Paradise

On our first full day in Jamaica, I woke up refreshed and ready to take on the world. I knew we had a day full of plans. I got to breakfast and walked around looking for whatever sounded good. I went up to the egg station where I had the pleasure of meeting Egg Boy, yes his name is Egg Boy even on his name tag. After he asked me where I was from, he told me that he lived in Illinois 15 years ago and the different places in Illinois he went to. For it being early in the morning, Egg Boy was perfectly chipper. There was another man, a guest at the hotel, who was standing next to me hearing the entire conversation. As Egg Boy turned around to get more eggs, the man turned to me and said “Wow, he is really educated” with a very condescending tone. My mouth dropped as I was rendered speechless. The man took his eggs and walked away. As I stood there dumbfounded, I could not believe what I had just heard. The man acted surprised that a Jamaican was educated and knew anything about the world outside Jamaica. Just because Americans focus only on America, doesn’t mean the rest of the world is uneducated. The white tourist assumed and through that assumption, showed his ignorance and acted superior.

While this resort is a dream spot; this is not reality. The beaches are whimsical white sand right next to gorgeous blue water. With the palm trees on the beach, this resort is right out of a commercial. An all-inclusive stay is the paradise most people dream of. Drinks at the pool and employees to wait on you while you bask in the sun sounds like the perfect winter get away.

It almost doesn’t seem real. I keep forgetting that I am actually in Jamaica. Maybe this is because I am not actually experiencing Jamaica and all she has to offer. The employees speak clear English and wait on you hand and foot as they refill our water glass at dinner, bring you towels at the pool, and make you burgers at the grill. So many tourists come to Jamaica and never leave the resort, I do not want to be one of these people.

I am well aware that I am participating in touristy things as I layout and swim at the pool, take a million pictures, go to a cave, and snorkel. I am so ready to leave this resort. I enjoy being here but am tired of feeling and being a tourist. We have leaned too much about the culture and the history of Jamaica to fall into the trap of tourism. While walking past 2 male employees at the hotel talking to one another, I heard them speaking patios (no idea how to spell it) and it made my heart soar. I was so glad that working at a tourist resort doesn’t strip the employees of their native slang. Customer service is not an awesome place to work, but having to tailor your culture for others would be so difficult.

All in all, I am so excited to move on to the Great Huts and experience a more authentic Jamaican culture. Here we go!

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