So here goes my first post since I’ve been here…
Jenna and I drove up to Chicago Wednesday night and then we left from O’hare bright and early Thursday morning. Going through all the security wasn’t bad in Chicago and our flight was as scheduled. Once we reached Montego Bay we had to go through customs where we were questioned individually. Dr. Egan had given us a heads up that that some of the workers would probably biggest us a hard time shine they were “giving us the privilege” to enter their country. Well with my luck that was exactly what happened. He looked over the form that I had filled out with my information on it, and my address was where I ran into trouble first. My address read: 1 Deerhaven, Orion, IL. He asked if it was a street or an avenue and I replied neither. He said it’s not a street? I said no. He said it’s not an avenue. And I replied no, its just 1 Deerhaven. After being questioned for a little bit longer about my intentions for the trip, I MADE IT!
We flew into Montego Bay and immediately could feel the humidity! (Quite different than Illinois in December that’s for sure!) it didn’t take me too long to get used to it though. We rented a van that happened to be a stick shift. After a very bumpy start and killing it a couple times…we started to get used to the adventure to our hotel.
We finally arrived at the Jewel Runaway Bay Resort where we were greeted with drinks and tiled to set our bags down and relax! We were showered with smiles and an appreciation from all of the staff. Everyone was very nice! We ate dinner at the buffet and then decided to go for a night swim in the ocean!
Friday morning we decided to get up early and take advantage of the day! We were at the pool by 7:30am soaking up the sun! The experience was your typical “expectation” as a tourist…beautiful sandy beaches, drink in hand, great food, and crystal clear water!
This morning a group of us decided to walk down the beach. At the property line of the resort there wears a fence with barbed wire at the top along with a security guard from the resort. The guard asked for our room number and counted how many of us where going. He said that it was for security purposes, to make sure we came back and too keep those who weren’t staying at the resort out. Once we walked past the gate reality set in. This wasn’t the same Jamaica that we had experienced just a couple feet back. The locals had set up their trinkets within these shops that looked like shacks compared to the luxurious resort that was right next door. We were instantly asked to come look at their things and told that we would be given deals if we bought stuff. I couldn’t believe the economic difference within such a short distance.
We sadly left the resort a little after one to make our way to Port Antonio. On our way we experienced even more diversity within the culture. We saw the nicer houses up on the mountains overlooking the ocean and then the less fortunate making way with what they have. We made a stop along the way where we met some men who were outside. They gladly talked to us and showed us around their property. They told us that four families lived on the property. The houses were very run down and the men’s clothes were dirty from working in them. They had dogs, pigs, chickens, and peacocks that they were raising. It was very interesting to see the environment that they lived in first hand.
What I wasn’t ready for was to be immersed into the culture myself. Once we reached The Great Huts in Port Antonio, it really started to sink in exactly HOW much different this culture really is from what I’m used to. In front of the entrance were locals who were very aggressive about getting us to buy the goods that they were selling. It was very overwhelming for me to take this all in. After getting checked in to the Great Huts we reached our room, which again seemed to be overwhelming all at first. The floor is gravel and rocks, the front door is a half of piece of wood and the only thing that separated us from our surroundings is sheets and bamboo…not exactly what I was expecting I guess. It’s a step up from camping…which I have never done before! We saw a mouse in our room and there are lots of bugs. I’m definitely not in the luxurious resort anymore that’s for sure! Tonight I’m still a little unsure of how I feel about all of the drastic changes happening at once but hopefully tomorrow goes better and I don’t feel as homesick as I did today.
Posted on December 29th, 2012 by abbyfiedler10
Filed under: Jamaica