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Jamaica - Not what you expect...

421 Views 8 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Derek
So I went to Jamaica for business and I managed to avoid the luxurious hotels of the North part of the island. Instead I stayed for 2 days in Kingston, the capital of Jamaica.

I took pictures, I shot some video too. All of you who expect to see the green beaches and the marvelous landscapes you can forget about it. The Jamaica I saw (and I am glad I did) is a place where prostitution, drug dealing and gun fighting happens not in a dark alley but right in the middle of the street in the daylight. The Jamaica I saw can kill you on the spot just because you're white (it is not a racist comment - but being white gives you out), you can be kidnapped just because you look like a wealthy person (because you're driving an expensive car).

Downtown Kingston, the images I saw will stay in my mind for the rest of my life... So much color, so much life but so gray and dead at the same time. People are starving to death (literally) in front of you and you can't do a damn thing but they will hug you and help you (if you're not trying to screw them). They know they are poor but they're not giving up.

The Spanish town is just an abomination... Not the people, not the buildings (or huts) but the atmosphere. You think that you're driving in a deserted city after an holocaust... Some goats now and then along with the 5 year old ones who are trying to find anything to play with...

The Jamaica I saw has my respect. For now and for ever. I admire these people for managing to hold with their lives.

Pictures: Album

Kingston, Jamaica - Spanish Town
Jamaica public transportation
Kingston, Jamaica - Downtown
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Thanks for posting. We used to travel to the north coast resort areas for 15 years or so every fall. One time we made the mistake of taking a trip over to Kingston. We turned around when the jeep full of soldiers with M16's told us it wasn't safe to travel any further.
Good post. I remember in my MBA graduate classes, especially in international marketing, how Jamaica was listed as one of the most corrupt countries in the world. Someone in the class said " way!?" and a student who had traveled there chimed in with a similar story as the op's (paradise by the beach, but corrupt, dangerous slums outside). I'm willing to bet that alot of the Island countries are similar, if not worse.
Going there with my family in October to a resort... no choice... wedding. Plan on staying on the resort.
Thanks for the heads up!
Jamaica is an impoverished country, no different than many other Caribbean islands.

My sister owns land down there, and her husband's brother owns a small estate there. It is not a safe place unless you know and are known there.

Being in Jamaica via resort is pretty safe, but you don't get to experience the reality of the country if you are stuck in the resort.
Yeah, I figure it was what it was like in the movie Belly.
I don't feel the least bit of pity for them. The culture is as poor as the people. Jamaica could thrive under better governance, but when that will ever happen is anyone's guess.
Going there with my family in October to a resort... no choice... wedding. Plan on staying on the resort.
Thanks for the heads up!
The largest problem you'll have at a resort is a swollen liver.
The largest problem you'll have at a resort is a swollen liver.
^ That. Some of the pictures are from one of the few resorts at the south part of the Island. Captain Morgan something, don't remember. It's like 15 minutes from the airport at the edge of the peninsula. Inside you feel safe. Clean rooms, friendly environment and all. But what you can't see in the pictures is that the premises are actually guarded by security guards and a 10ft tall concrete wall...

Stay in the resorts, you'll be safe. Otherwise, have a local (trusted one) as a guide and for the love of God stay away from the buses!!!
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