Troutcation Part 3: “Things I Did Not Expect”

In this installment of my Troutcation report (brought to you by Apple Vacations and Secrets St. James), I want to share with you some of the stuff I did not expect. I don’t know what I expected, but definitely the things on this list were not it.

People really say “Ya, mon.” I always though this was a stereotype or something out of the movies. It’s totally not. “Ya, mon” is, despite the way it sounds, a gender-neutral expression that basically translates to “okay”, and everyone says it. “Irie” is another word we heard a lot (meaning “good” or “everything is all right”) as well as “No problem” (a driver told us “in Jamaica, we don’t have problems. We have situations.”), and “Respect.” That last one is important; if you have a positive interaction with someone, they’ll probably say this and fist bump you. Say it back. Also, if someone asks you to buy something or if you want something, and you say “no thanks. Respect,” it’s a nicer way of turning down whatever they’re offering.

Tattoos are a novelty. Since tattoos are so common in the U.S., I kind of forget that I have them until someone points them out. In Jamaica, tattoos aren’t as common, and as a heavily tattooed person, I attracted a lot of attention. Mostly, Jamaican people wanted to know if my tattoos hurt, or if they could touch them. My favorite tattoo-related interaction happened at check-in; one of the women at the desk asked which one of us was an author, me or Mr. Jen. Another woman in reception replied, “She is. She’s the one that’s got a story on her.”

There’s a haunted house, but it’s difficult to convince people that you really want to go there. One of the things Mr. Jen and I had planned for this trip was to visit Rose Hall Great House, because I saw it on some random cable ghost show once and I was interested. Ultimately, this plan fell through because we were trying to coordinate it with Mr. Jen’s boss, who happened to be staying in Montego Bay at the exact same time, and things just didn’t line up, so we ended up not going. Which, you know, bummer, but there’s always next time. Though it’s a popular tourist destination, expect some locals to think you’re out of your mind to go there; it’s apparently pretty spooky and freaks people out.

An impression of turtle sex. Remember those salt and pepper shakers from Troutcation Part 2?

Ceramic salt and pepper shakers shaped like turtles. They fit together so as to suggest that they are humping.

 

Mr. Jen spotted these and said, “You have to get these. You have to.” The guy in the shop overheard us and said, “Have you ever seen the video on YouTube with the turtles having sex?” And I was like, “Which one?” You might not know this, dear reader, but I love videos of turtles humping things. Not necessarily other turtles, although that’s funny, too. If you’ve never seen a tortoise in the throws of ecstasy, you really need to. It’s adorably lewd. Anyway, the shop guy and I started listing off our favorite videos: “What about the one where the turtle is humping the bag of trash?” “Have you see the one with the shoe?” Mr. Jen stood by, utterly confused by the entire exchange, while the shop guy launched into an impression of what a turtle sounds like during mating. It was a magical moment. When you go on vacation, you usually don’t think, “You know, I might meet someone who finds humping turtles as funny as I do.”

A hotel bill of $44,000.00 While Mr. Jen and I stayed at the resort, we racked up some incidentals. $44,000.00 worth of incidentals.

Photo of a hotel bill listing over $44,000 worth of charges, with US$ 362.49 written beside it.

Because most tourist places accept U.S. dollars, we never exchanged our currency (until the end, when I wanted some to show our kids). So, we didn’t really know what the rate was. Jamaican dollars, like Japanese yen, are like our cents. It didn’t automatically occur to me that this might be the case when I looked at our bill and had momentary cardiac arrest before spotting the USD amount hand written beside the total. I saved the bill so I can show everyone how rich and carefree with money I am, that I spent $5,848.91 on a bottle of wine, and $2,610.00 on Red Bull.

Stay tuned for the conclusion to my Troutcation spectacular, in which I’ll share my tips for having a good time at Secrets St. James and Secrets Wild Orchid.

 

14 thoughts on “Troutcation Part 3: “Things I Did Not Expect”

  1. Jenny, these are amazing. Yeah, I miss the Jealous Hater Book stuff (because I’m a jealous and bonafide member of that club), but I love that you’ve thoroughly enjoyed your holiday with Mr. Jen. You guys deserve it. *thumbs up emoji, or whatever shows absolute approval*

    1. I will definitely be returning to our usual programming next week, but I’m glad these are fun for other people, too, and I’m not just entertaining myself!

  2. That bill would have freaked me out to!! Reminds me of the time I bought a mascara-making kit from a European supplier, and on top of the exchange rate (I forget the country/currency now but it wasn’t euros) they use commas where we would use a decimal point. Even though I had seen the totally reasonable amount in US$ during the credit card process, that shipping invoice made me look twice.

    Put me in the “came to be a jealous hater, stayed for the awesomeness of you and trout nation” camp too. I loved hearing about your vacation! The story about the shop guy and your shared turtle… Appreciation? Is the best :)

  3. I had a similar experience as your “ya, mon” thing last month. I was in Ireland for two weeks, and I thought them using “wee” all the time was a stereotype. But no, they really do saw “wee” constantly – “would you like a wee bag?” “would you like a wee bit of bubble wrap?” “just go down and take a wee right” etc.

  4. Hi! I’m so glad you had a good vacation! But I wonder if heading to Jamaica gave you pause because of its record on LGBT rights. Homosexuality (aka “buggery”) is illegal there; gaybashing is incredibly common. I realize you were comped — and as a former travel writer I get the appeal of a free vacation! — but it might be worth letting your readers know that it’s NOT a safe place for LGBT travelers (a bit of googling will turn up nightmarish stories)…and vacationers of all identities and orientations who are interested in human rights and spending their own moolah should know that there are far less homophobic destinations in the Caribbean. I’m not trying to be instigate-y, but knowing that my brother and his husband are not welcome by the Jamaican govt and police has made this destination off-limits for my fam. http://www.humanrightsfirst.org/sites/default/files/Jamaica-LGBT-Fact-Sheet.pdf

    1. Actually, this couldn’t have come at a better time. I still have to write the last post. I can put, “Don’t go if you’re in a same sex relationship, check out these other countries instead” as one of the tips.

    2. It’s amazing how many people don’t realise homosexuality is illegal there. The Maldives is another place like that – people just think it’s this fancy holiday place.

  5. Heh, re: money, I’m currently in Budapest and feeling like a high roller with 1gbp equal to about 400 Hungarian Forints. Taking 50,000 forints out at an ATM is making me feel super rich.

  6. I can beat you on the big bills! I lived in Ukraine for a while in the 90s and it was before they got their own proper currency, so they were using this temporary money called coupons. The rate of inflation on the coupons was astronomical and it also was very expensive anyway to call my mum in Canada from there, so when I left I had this phone bill of about 40 million! That was quite something! Anyway these have been really interesting to read.

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