Jamaica. As the great Yakov Smirnoff would say, what a country.
Here’s a rundown of our adventure.
Following a two-plus hour ride through the beautiful and often heartbreaking countryside between Montego Bay and Negril, we arrived at the Sunset at the Palms – a semi-covered, phalanx of public and private wooden hutches that stood in stark contrast to the nearby plantation-style resorts and their ostentatious architecture. Those garish compounds fairly reeked of global leisure-class entitlement and graft. Colonialism dies hard, if it dies at all.
I found my tropical groove pretty quickly. After a mere day, I began to feel like fat Marlon Brando, ready to shave my head and mumble directives in the form of jumbled and ominous prose. Instead, I hung out in the pool and drank.
The bar boys poured merrily, serving up terrorist fist jabs and copious “yeah mons” alongside the cocktails. The all-inclusive food and booze was a cut above anything offered by the Jimmy Buffet Industrial Complex, whose “Margaritaville” establishments have spread through the Caribbean like corporate malaria, obliterating culture and good taste in a bloodless multinational relaxation coup.
But back to the Palms. Among those vacationing alongside us was an obnoxious Australian I called Crocodile Douchedee, whose weasel-surf hair and relentless pursuit of ganja made him an unfunny Aussie version of Jeff Spicoli. There was also a highly attractive but equally arrogant French family, a pair of German couples, a smattering of Americans and a gentleman who looked like a black metaller on leave from grim and frostbitten Scandinavia.
As this was our belated honeymoon, we pursued mostly private activities. We did try to do the tourist thing a couple of times, though. But our scheduled zip-line excursion was completely botched by a Jamaican tour service with little-to-no comprehension of how to operate a time-and-location-based business.
Then there was the beach. How do they get that Caribbean water so thrillingly blue? And the perfect temperature — you could (and we did) spend hours just splashing or floating through the gentle, topaz waves. It would’ve been perfectly peaceful, were it not for the roving drug dealers on the beach and their waterborne compatriots, who patrolled the shallow depths like sharks on Jet Skis. “You want a ride, mon? I give you the best deal around — 40 minutes, 40 dollars. You take it anywhere around the cove mon, no problem.”
The weed merchants were even more aggressive. Product will not be discussed in this or any other forum.
I had every intention of blogging remotely, but the AT&T international data rates are insane, and I was too lazy to go to the free Internet area (which consisted of a single, ancient PC running some long-forgotten iteration of Windows. So there was a period of weaning ourselves from pocket gadgetry and web access. Around the second or third day a strange thing happened: starved of sensory input, my mind became a buzzing hive of ideas. I dreamt up several policy outlines, one of which might fit my job, the others having mostly to do with intelligence reform and how to accumulate propaganda wins in America’s “you break it, you bought it” Mid East operations.
I also came up with several comedy sketches, a couple incidental visual gags, one Grade A internet meme/prank and a system of classification for dystopic and horror conventions in popular American culture. My wife gamely played along with my weird flights of intellectual fancy, injecting valuable input, insights and counterpoints. You’ll get to read some of these half-baked ravings here.
We also brainstormed nonprofit models, because that’s how we roll. I’m not gonna get into any of it now, but I will say that the Rae-Hunter brand will likely grow in the coming years.
So yeah, good vacation. I think with my remaining time off I’ll try to write a policy proposal on digital music (mostly for fun) and record an EP. Oh, we’re also prepping for our equally belated housewarming party on Saturday, January 3. How was your holiday?