Ross and I are in Kingston and we are having a blast! We’re staying in an absolutely wonderful villa. We have a shared kitchen, bathroom, and balcony, but a private room with loads of space for all of our stuff. The villa is about a 15 minute walk from a bunch of shopping centers, really close to two vegan/veg restaurants, and a little bit longer of a walk to some interesting sites like the Hope Botanical Gardens. It is fairly cheap to stay here and it’s been really great so far.
We’ve only been in Kingston for 3 1/2 days and I have already learned so much about Jamaica. I wasn’t quite sure how to put so much information very quickly into paragraph form and still have it be cohesive. So, here is a little list of things that I have learned so far, with varying degrees of actual relevance.
- It is hot. Yes, even in November.
- ATMs or ”holes in the wall” are in their own wee building with a locking door for your safety. That sometimes makes them harder to find.
- Most everyone is incredibly nice. Kingston has been, for us, one of those places where it’s not so bad being obvious tourists. We’ve been given directions, chatted to, and blessed by so many strangers in our short time here. We were even given free sugar cane!
- “Vegetarian” is often used interchangeably with “vegan.”
- Yet, sometimes “vegetarian” is vegan + fish. This is because of the Ital diet, a diet observed by those practicing Rastafarianism.
- The vegans that are here are very enthusiastic. We went out to our first Kingston vegan restaurant two days ago and the owner sat with us to chat about veganism during the entirety of our meal. They spoke very optimistically about the future of veganism in Kingston and worldwide. We returned the next day for another of their fantastic ackee pastries and found that they had put a VeganTravel sticker in their window already.
- One should always carry small denominations of Jamaican dollars! Many places will be unable to give you proper change, so it’s best to use small notes/coins or use your debit card when you can.
- When it comes to comparing apples and oranges in Jamaica, oranges are the way to go. Apples are imported, therefore not very fresh, come wrapped in loads of plastic, and are very very expensive. Also, oranges are green here and that is super cool.
- Don’t forget to put sunblock on your scalp, or wear a hat. I only have a tiny bit of sunburn, some on my shoulders from where my backpack rubbed off the sunblock, and some on my scalp, where I failed to apply. The scalp is the worst. I can’t brush my hair! Be careful out there!
- $100 dollars is a great price for a lifesaving cab. Cabs with red license plates run up and down major roads in Kingston and will take you to any spot on their route for $100 JMD, which is less than $1 USD. You just stand on sidewalk, flag down a red plate cab, and tell them where you want to go. You will almost definitely be sharing the cab with other people, which is how they keep this transportation option so cheap!
There you go! I’m sure I will learn lots more things in the rest of the time that we’re here and I will keep you updated!