Monday, August 08, 2005

Part III: Jamaica, Say You Will Help Me Find a Way to Fill These Empty Hours

We docked in Montego Bay, and booked an excursion to ride ATVs to the top of Mt. Zion. I was initially nervous to do it, because the only thing I ever hear about ATVs is how you either get paralyzed or killed on them. In fact, last week's Intervention was about a guy who became paralyzed from the waist down when his ATV flipped and landed on him.
We caught a shuttle where our good-natured driver, at right, said our only responses to any questions should be "Yeah, mon" "No, mon" and "Irie, mon." He wasn't joking, either. If you said, "Yes" he said, "What?!" "YEAH, MON!"

We had a minor freak-out on the way to the ATV place, in which a car in front of us (a winding, hilly two-lane road, it should be noted) wanted to pass the truck in front of him. He went over into the right lane (they drive on the left), passed the truck...and pulled over in front if it with about 2 millimeters to spare to avoid a head-on collision. Everyone on the shuttle who saw it sucked in their breath and marveled at the stupidity. So, the tension was understandable when our driver decided to pass the truck as well a few minutes later. He barely made it, too, but it wasn't as close as the first driver, thankfully. "Hey, you guys trust me?"
"Uh...yeah, mon."
"Hey! You'll be safe, mon! You have to trust me! I will get you there, and I will get you home. OK? You trust me?"

Signing our lives, or at least our legs, away. Note that it is, of course, a Marriott pen.

They told us that you couldn't ride these things under the influence of drugs. I almost laughed out loud, but no one else did, so it was a good thing I didn't. It's just that one of my preconceived notions about Jamaica is that everyone is smoking the ganja all the time and is totally stoned and it's acceptable, and I figured they were just saying that. But actually, they seemed serious. Some friends at work told me that when they were on their respective honeymoons in Ocho Rios that locals would pull boats up to them while they were in the water (as they weren't allowed on resort grounds) and whip out giant garbage bags full of weed, so hey, my thinking couldn't have been that far off. Anyway, I digress...

The view from atop Mt. Zion.

We got filthy.

The other notable thing is how very, very revered Bob Marley is here. That's not really a surprise, except, it kind of was. On the way home, our driver asked if we minded hearing some Marley. "NO MON!" So he cranked it up and we listened the rest of the way back to the ship. It just amazes me that not only was he not doing it for the benefit of the tourists and that he truly loves this music, but no one there seems to be remotely sick of it. The Mr. went into a gift shop, and they were playing "Jammin'" in there. He thought that shop owners must get so sick of hearing it, then noticed one of the salesgirls dancing and singing to it. Pretty cool.