I will start by saying this. I love Jamaica. I have travelled the world and can say this without reservation, Jamaica and Jamaicans are simply the best. I digress and continue on my search for the real Jamaica.
Now this may sound strange but, to me the Christmas Silly season does not start until I have made a trip to Kingston Wharves. Now my day at the Wharf was fun filled and adventurous. It began with a call to Shipping Company. This is where they explained to me that my “goods” had already been cleared and all I needed to do is come down pay my fee and pick up mi tings. I was shocked. Customer Service in Jamaica, could it really be so. I headed immediately to their office paid my fees and was handed my paper work. I then asked the young lady who was taking care of me were my “goods” here at the office. She laughed and said “Berth 6 for you! Hope you get your goods by 9 tonight, bcuz dats when they close” Just a note. The time at present was 12 midday. Rahtid! Christmas had begun.
I was appropriately attired in Shorts, T-Shirt and a Star in my back pocket (Required reading whilst at the Wharf). So after finding great parking about 15 minutes walks away from the Berth, I arrived amongst the sea of my fellow Jamaicans. Now each time I go the system changes if even slightly. My first encounter was with a “security” who had obviously been out late last night. So her demeanor was, lets say somewhat aggressive. I approached her gingerly. “Good Afternoon Mam. Would you be kind enough to explain the system to me?”with documents in hand. Her reply in the finest St. Elizabeth English was “Yo rastaman! Du Nuh badda mi, siddung till mi get to yuh!” Wow, Christmas is really here, so I just simply smiled and watched as she barked at person after person. “You tan up an go ova deh so!”; “You nuh hear wah mi seh? Gi mi yuh Documents!”;”Lawks do nuh raise mi pressure”. I simply love it.
So Jamaica is the place of who knows you, and not of who you know. So whilst being entertained by mi security fren, I saw a friendly face in the crowd. He came over and uttered the words that everyone at the Wharf wants to hear from somebody with a badge and a fluorescent vest. “Wappen mi bredda, Cho! Look like you need sum help” . Of Course I need help, I did not want to say at the wharf till nightfall. Weeeee!!!! I was in the fast lane. He assisted me to usher past every line, every security. Cho! I even met the Customs Supervisor. It felt great, I was a VIP.
So just about an hour later I was having my gate passed signed. I took a moment to look across the sea of Barrels and consider for a moment is this the real Jamaica. Hmm could it be? Well Let us examine it. The breeze from off the harbor caresses you gently, a bun and cheese with a bag juice is available on demand. I was surrounded by pure criss cyar, the language being spoken was extraordinary plus service with a smile was there for the taking, you just had to dig for it. Now the wharf is a really a strong contender for the real Jamaica. I love it. It’s a great mix of young hustlers, retired Jamaicans, wig wearers and like me rastamen. Oh I must say this, if you have not read The Star at the wharf you have not yet lived.
Just another small note, I say this from my heart I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and Prosperous New year. My Advice to you though is this. If you come upon an obstacle just say Cho! and walk right around it.