Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Monday, March 1, 2010

Jamaica, part three

On the road from Montego Bay to Negril, Ronald asked if it would be okay to make a quick stop at his village.

“I need to talk to my mother,” he explained.

We had started out early, so I didn’t mind. Besides, I wanted to see where Ronald came from. Ronald drove up winding roads in the jungle until we came to a village tucked away in the hills. He had me wait in the car while he ducked inside a hut. He came back quickly.

“She wasn’t home,” he said.

We went to a small building, which turned out to be a bar. We had a couple of Red Stripes and chatted. I asked why I didn’t see more Rastafarians and hear more Reggae music. Ronald himself had short hair and dressed in a light shirt and slacks. He explained that the Rastafarians were a minority and that most Jamaicans were into Country music these days. Kenny Rogers was huge.

From the bar, we walked over to a huge three story house that had been built into the side of a hill. It was the only modern building in the village. Long and flat, parts of it were still under construction. As Ronald and I hung out on the covered deck, villagers of all ages wandered about. An old woman and a young boy played ping pong on one of the two tables set up on the deck. I caught a glimpse of people stirring large pots of food on the kitchen stove.

“We have to keep quiet,” Ronald said. “The owner is downstairs asleep.

“Does he mind all these people hanging out in his house?” I asked. “This is more like a community center than somebody’s residence.”

“He doesn’t mind,” Ronald said. “He’s a drug dealer. Most of the time he lives in England, but then he comes and stays here for a couple of months. They’ve been working on this house for years. I don’t think they will ever finish it.”

It started to rain. Ronald and I waited for it to stop before we got back in the car and continued on our way. In Negril, we drank Red Stripes at Rick’s CafĂ© and watched the sun go down with all the other tourists.

I drove back to Montego Bay. We stayed on the ocean side road and drove around the mountains. We had the windows open. I heard clacking noises and wondered what the hell was making them. I got my answer soon enough when the headlights revealed that crabs were marching across the road in front of me. I veered around them as much as I could.

“What the hell is with all the crabs?” I asked.

Ronald laughed. “They do this at night. They are on the way to their nests. If I wasn’t with you, I would pull over and fill the trunk with as many of them as I could get. I would eat crabs for days.”

When we got back to Montego Bay, I paid Ronald for being my guide. I was leaving the next day. I gave him twenty-five U.S. dollars, a pair of denim shorts and two T-shirts. I was on Weight Watchers at the time and had been losing weight rapidly. All my clothes were too big for me. Ronald was much smaller and thinner to me, so I felt like I was handing him giant’s clothes.

“Sorry these are so big, but they’re all I have,” I said.

“No problem,” Ronald said. “I have a friend who can take them in.”

We then went to dinner. At Ronald’s suggestion, I had the jerk chicken. After that, I went to my hotel and packed. Before I went to sleep, I emptied my pockets on the nightstand.

I was sound asleep when someone knocked on my door. It was an urgent knock that jerked me awake. I was too fuzzy-headed to ask who was there, I just opened the door. Mia rushed inside.

“They didn’t see me,” she said, indicating the hotel employees. “So, let’s mess around, okay?”

“Sure,” I said. I was too young and stupid to ever say no to pussy. First, I had to piss really bad, so I had Mia wait while I headed to the bathroom. When I got back, her clothes were on the floor and she was under the bedsheet.

The sex was okay. A bit rushed. I wore a condom. Afterwards, Mia got dressed and asked for money. I picked up my wallet from the nightstand. As I started to count out some bills for her, I realized that half my money was gone. I had checked to see how much I had left before I went to bed.

I realized what had happened. When I went to the bathroom to pee, Mia had helped herself to my wallet.

“You’ve already been paid,” I said. “Half of my money is missing. You took it.”

Mia denied the theft and tried to act appalled that I would accuse her of stealing just to get out of paying her. I held my ground. She quickly lost her nerve.

“Well, just give me a T-shirt, okay?” she pleaded.

“Get the fuck out of here before I call the front desk,” I said.

Mia dashed out of the room. My last thought before I went to sleep that night was that I was happy to be leaving the country in the morning.

The flight home was uneventful.

I was hassled by the customs agents at the Atlanta airport. The asshole I had to deal with sarcastically asked me why I didn’t vacation in the United States, wasn’t my country good enough for me? He also gave me shit for not having a passport. He didn’t care what my travel agent told me, I couldn’t reenter the country with just a driver’s license. That ended up being bullshit because he let me back in anyway.

I was just glad that I had survived my summer vacation to Jamaica.