The worldwide Augustana College experience

Jamaica Journal #1: Runaway Bay

The flight to Jamaica from Moline was shorter than I imagined. Stepping off the plane, I knew that this was going to be a big culture change. Just in the Montego Bay airport, they was a lot of empty space and no shops or restaurants in sight. This was a shock to me because even though it is a small airport, I still expected it have some type of food or shop in the airport. The only stores they had were for rental cars/vans, buses, taxis, and resort information. Once we got the vans, just the drive was an adventure. I didn’t know that in Jamaica, they drive on the left side of the road with the steering wheel on the right side of the car; basically the exact opposite from the US. It was nerve racking driving around because I always thought we we’re wrong.

Once we got to the resort, we were treated like royalty. Our bags were taken to our rooms and we were given drinks right at the entrance. The whole staff was lovely and also made sure everything was taken care of and provided to us. Even though the staff was amazing, I was guilty at the resort. Whenever I looked around and saw the staff running around serving everyone, I felt an uneasiness in me. Through the readings and listening to the music of Jamaica in class before taking the trip, I got to get to know a lot of the hardships Jamaicans had to endure over the years. Seeing the Jamaican work so hard to serve us, being mainly Americans, made me uneasy because of the past of Jamaica. However, the workers showed no signs of this. This were happy, talking with the people at the resort and looking like they were having the time of their lives, which was amazing to see. I was glad they were having such a good time and seemed to really take in the stories and conversations from other people.

Even though we mainly stayed on the resort, we did travel out to Green Grotto Caves. Our tour guide was amazing and made the experience very memorable. He talked about the past history of the cave and how to was first used as a nightclub but that had to stop so the bats can continue to live in the cave. He talked about slave runners using the caves has an escape route, as well as pirates/captains using the cave to get bat dumpings to make gum powder. It was an amazing experience to have and be able to learn more about the outside culture of Jamaica and not just the “resort Jamaica”.

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