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?
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.
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.