Caribbean revisited: Jamaica
Posted by Lissa on June 23, 2008
For anyone who doesn’t know, my mom’s family grew up in Jamaica. I therefore had the misguided, deluded idea that I was somewhat-versed in patois. In fact, it was very similar to my experience in Paddington Station (London) with the cockney guy copying my keys — I knew that the words were kinda-sorta English, and I damn well would have had a better shot at *understanding* him had he been speaking Spanish. Or Latin. (At least in Jamaica the patois was reserved for when the guides spoke to each other so I could simply listen appreciatively. Whereas I asked the cockney guy to repeat whatever he was saying three times, then got embarrassed and gave a nod-and-smile-(desperately).) Anyway, for those who thought I was being kitschy with the “Jamaica’s next, mon!” — um, they actually say “mon” all the time. Really. Possibly just to charm the tourists’ dollars from their wallets, but them’s the facts.
I asked my mom for the explanation behind “irie” and actually got a better (i.e. more interesting) explanation from my younger bro, who claims that it came from Bob Marley-slang for “high.” That’s the condensed version anyway. Someone who is less hungry than I am (when this post is done we’re off to dinner) can check Wikipedia, or Snopes, or a Ouija board for all I care.
UPDATE: LITTLE BRO INFORMS ME — “Irie refers to positive emotions or feelings, or anything that is good. Specifically it refers to high emotions and peaceful vibrations. I’ve heard it in a couple reggae songs and that is about the translation for it I guess” GRACIAS LITTLE BRO!
The obligatory establishing-shot of the harbor:
Mike asked me to take this picture for the amusement factor of the WARNING sign. I put it in the same category as the IRS requirement that you declare any income from illegal activities (hat-tip Jenny). As always, click to embiggen:
Now that we’ve got the whole illegal-drugs-are-against-the-law issue cleared up, this was taken during the boat cruise out to the falls (did I mention the name of the boat was the Reggae Baby?):
See? Told y’all about the snake chain. Class-action lawyers in America are positively drooling all over their keyboards from this shot:
Oh, but Lissa, you say, at least you’re all holding hands. That will increase the safety factor; in the event that a person slips s/he will have a person on either side, each of whom may not be also-slipping at that very moment.
Ah, say I, well then it’s a good thing everyone has to hold hands. Oh wait . . .
For any old-school James Bond fans (you know, before the invisible cars and rockets from space came along) you may appreciate this young woman’s recreation of Dr. No: (Please note that I am not in that camp, as I have never seen the movie, and so you owe this pic too to Mike.)
Finally, as you can tell, I hated Jamaica. A lot. Mm-hmm. Hated it. 🙂