Sunday, April 27, 2014

Jamaica 'Tourist Country' - Do’s, Don’ts and Unrealistic Expectations

By -BarBode
Tourist Country' from a Tourist Point of View

Let me start by telling you a little bit about myself. I am a 40 year old Dutch (white) woman who is single, no kids and a fairly good job in finance. A few years ago I met a Jamaican man who worked in the same building as me and I fell in love with him, Jamaican food, reggae music, track & field and Appleton rum. The relationship did not last, but my love for everything Jamaican remained and I still make a mean ‘yellow soup' with chicken, cho cho, pumpkin, carrot, sweet potato, thyme, scallion and more scotch bonnet pepper than you would expect a white girl to be able to handle. The only reason yellow yam is missing is that I can hardly get it in Amsterdam.

Because of my love for everything Jamaican, it is only natural that I like to spend my holidays in Jamaica. I can try to incorporate as much of Jamaica as I can in my own home but I cannot get the sun, the beautiful nature, the people and the atmosphere in my flat in Amsterdam.

The trouble is that when choosing a destination from the Dutch tour operators that offer trips to Jamaica, I can only choose between Ocho Rios, Montego Bay and Negril... 'Tourist Country' and as soon as I set foot in 'Tourist Country' I am Measured, Rated and Judged. I am a tourist so I must have money and I must want ganja. I am a woman travelling alone so I must be there for the 'big bamboo'.

As for the Ganja... Guys, I am from Amsterdam, Holland. City of coffee shops, Country of legalized ganja. I don't smoke it at home, so I am definitely not travelling to Jamaica to smoke it. To each his own, but I'd rather get mellow on Wray and Nephew on ice (yes, I am a rude gyal) than on ganja, so thanks but no thanks.

As for the 'Big Bamboo'... I have not tried every single black, white, yellow or blue guy there is in this world, but I can tell you there is good and bad in any colour as I am sure there is when it comes to women. I am sure there are 'big bamboos' in Amsterdam if I went looking for them. I don't go looking for them at home and I sure as hell did not travel 10.000 km to go looking for them in Negril, Ochi or MoBay.

As for the money... Which because I am a tourist I must have plenty of and every person in 'Tourist Country' wants a piece of.. I work my ass of in Holland and yes, I cannot complain about not being able to pay rent, put food on the table or indeed afford a trip to Jamaica. BUT… About 45 percent of my gross income goes to taxes in Holland. Those taxes go to infrastructure, public transportation, health care, the elderly, unemployed, sick and disabled, child care (for kids I don't have myself) and all other things that our society provides for and takes care of. I never complain, I am just saying I do pay my dues. I too have to make choices in life.. Do I buy this or do I do that... Do I go out or do I stay home and save the money I would spend going out...I too do not have a money tree in my back yard. When I am on holiday in a country in which I know a lot of people are struggling, I will do what I can. I tip, I will buy you a drink whilst I am enjoying listening to you telling me about life in Jamaica, pay a fair fee to someone who is kind enough to take me to places general tour operators won't take me to (or I prefer not to go to with my fellow country men and women) such as bird sanctuaries or YS Falls.

But PLEASE, stop asking me 'where did you get that bikini and can you buy me one'...

PLEASE stop telling me 'I look like a model in that outfit, can I please leave that outfit behind for you so you can look like a model in it'...

PLEASE don't call me white arrogant trash when I tell you 'no' to you having one of my cigarettes, to me buying one of the pictures your kids made, to me buying them patties cause they are hungry.

PLEASE don't curse me when I don't want to pay for your entrance ticket to a Berres Hammond concert, when I don't want to buy yet another 'Jamaica' bracelet and when I just really want to keep on walking instead of listening to you about what a 'beautiful, sexy Angel I am, the likes of which you have never seen before'.

PLEASE understand that it does hurt me to say no.

But PLEASE also understand that in 'Tourist County' I would be in debt by day 1 if I said yes to everyone that asks me for something. Maybe you just don't care... and maybe that is why I should also exile myself from these places. But this is where the tour operators take you to...


  1. My dear, it is the mentality of some of our Jamaican people. It is not going to change. You don't have to be white and Dutch to have this experience. You just have to live outside of Jamaica and be visiting. Just ignore and continue to enjoy. Blessings....

  2. Your experience is based on how these "sales-people" at tourist spots see the potential target. Many males unfortunately have seen white women visit the island for exotic sex, so they make assumptions about all women. Some visitors also have the misguided belief that Jamaica is a land of reggae and ganja.