How to Really See Jamaica
Maybe it's just me but I generally hate staying in resorts and being completely cut off from the locality. Call me crazy (which I might deserve after some of travels to places like Sudan and Lebanon), but I want to taste the food! Hear the music! So a story to illustrate my point:
I went with some friends on a trip to Jamaica (it was my first time) last January and although I loved the luxury hotel we stayed at, my real memories were hanging out in Negril with Sexy Rexy, a local tourguide. He literally thought of everything; we had booked him from New York and he was waiting for us at the airport, even though we had told him that the hotel was sending a shuttle for us. Thank God he did, the drive from Montego Bay to Negril was about an hour and a half but Rexy made it so much fun, he seemed to have a hilarious personal story attached to everything on the island. Before we reached the hotel, he pulled over to make sure our first meal on the island was authentic: traditional Jamaican patty and a bottle of Red Stripe.
The rest of the trip was incredible: Rexy took us to a local reggae concert, a dance club where we watched a true local dance off, and, of course, the world famous Rickâ€™s where we watched the bird man dive and the beautiful sun set. We also spent plenty of time at his bar, which is just across from one of the prettiest cliffs of the island. There we met his family and friends. His daughter was an incredible dancer and she taught us Jamaican dance moves. Rexy kept wanting to cook for us.
As his name might suggest, Sexy Rexy is truly a character. Ask him about Big Rasta or the time he was a soldier in Cuba or the time he drank 40 beers in a row for his 40th birthday. He is a master storyteller and we all decided that we had more memories of Rexy than anything else in Jamaica!
My only regret was that we never saw Bob Marleyâ€™s hometown. Rexy had suggested it but when we finally got around to agreeing it was almost dawn and our plane was leaving the next day. Rexy just grinned and said â€œNext timeâ€ and, in fact, we are going back this year.
So can safely leave the resorts with a tour guide and really see Jamaica! You can ask around at the resorts, and below I put Rexy's website as referral. Get out and see the world!
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