This year I decided that I was going to get out and travel more. From weekend getaways like Virginia Beach to trips that last a couple days like Vegas, the trips I took this year were trips that I’ll remember forever. But Jamaica was by far the best trip (although Mardi Gras comes second) and the highlight of my summer.
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           I didn’t know quite what to expect for this trip except a good time because I was going with family. But the sights actually blew my mind, in a good and not so good way.
            When I originally thought of Jamaica I was thinking of a “How Stella Got Her Groove Back” beautiful island oasis that was similar to Americanized land where everyone lived in nice houses similar to the one that Winston’s parents had (keep up with the movies reference). That’s not what I got.img_9469
               Now don’t get me wrong the island was absolutely stunning. From the beaches to the people, there were so many beautiful sites to see. But the image I had in my head was way less rural than what it actually is.
               Nothing tourist driven was close (we were in Ocho Rios which was 2 hours from the airport). They drive on the opposite side of the road. They let animals free roam (we saw countless goats and chickens walking down the side of the road and cats all over the resort). And outside of the resort a lot of things looked really run down. But that didn’t take away from the pride of the natives.
                 They were all so willing to share the greatness of their culture. I learned a little Patios (wha gwan!). One of our shuttle drivers taught us a little about some of the historic landmarks and how ancestors were brought over during slavery. I got to ride a horse on through a trail and on the beach. And during the trail ride we learned how they use spices and plants for just about everything. I also went tubing down a white river with the entire family which was hilarious.
               The food was good! I tried Grapefruit Schweppes, oxtails, and of course authentic coco bread and beef patties. They offered vegetables like callaloo (similar to collard greens) for breakfast. And the fruit was so fresh! I don’t think I’ve ever had pineapple or mangos that were better than they were there.
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               It was a great trip overall. It opened my eyes to so much. We often think of these exotic places as being much different than home. But we’re all just trying to survive the struggles we were given. So appreciate and support the locals when you travel.