Saturday, April 9, 2011


During the week, I took my usual route to work during the days.  But one of these days was different than the rest.  One morning the coaster (minibus) was full by the time I got on (it doesn't stop more people from getting in).  That in itself isn't so different because my morning coasters are usually full to the point where it's like a game of twister trying to find a nice place to stand and something to hold onto.  This time, it was crowded enough that I stayed on the step of the bus.  Usually the conductor or 'ducta will say step up, telling you to get off the step and actually into the bus.  I figure it could be because he thinks either that it's more comfortable inside the bus and he would rather I be comfortable or that it's not as dangerous inside the bus and he would rather I be safe.  Since coming to Jamaica and seeing the coasters, I always wanted to stay on the step and hang outside the door.  That seemed to be the cool thing to do on coasters.  So on that very morning, I did what I always wanted to do and I graduated from being just a normal coaster rider.

It was in fact more comfortable since there's usually only two people on the step, and I'd say was safer too as there's something to hold onto without playing the game of twister.  Therefore, I conclude the step is exclusive.  And now, my Jamaican experience is complete.  Time to chill on the beach!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sunday Morning

Kingston, Jamaica.  It's straightforward, in your face, full of life and bursting with personality.  The roads are jammed with taxi and bus drivers who seem to compete for who can go the fastest and talk with each other in a language of honks, even in gridlocked traffic; here, it's the bicyclists that come out as surprise winners.  As you walk down the street, you pass by higglers, bag juice and snack sellers, car phone charger sellers, all legitimate or otherwise, and everyone seems to be yelling at each other, at you, or at no one in particular, it's hard to tell.

And he rested on the seventh day..
Then you wake up on a Sunday morning.  You decide to step outside and there's only a few cars on the road.  You don't hear honking horns, and there's not too many people out on the road.  You walk around the neighbourhood and observe peace and quiet.

It's neat how different the city feels.  Today, as I walked to my local grocery store, it felt like I was back at home. Kingston is definitely a city of two faces.  Actually three faces - as a fellow volunteer, Dom, has pointed out, the city at night is again, decidedly different.  Perhaps it's because everyone's at Sunday service, or recovering from Saturday night's parties.  The city itself feels relaxed.  And I quite enjoy it.  We all need a day of rest every now and then to rejuvenate and recharge.

Iced tea on the balcony.  Too bad the grill's there

It took me five and a half months, almost the entirety of my stay, but I found a Chinese bakery, or rather, the bakery found me.  As I visited my local grocery store, lo and behold, inside, they were selling these buns.  A lady comes in every Sunday to sell, and I only have gone on Saturdays or during the week.  Mission accomplished.