So I am going to attempt the task of recounting my second weekend in JA in one entry. I feel discouraged already! Friday! I spent the morning researching grants for the NGO I am volunteering with here. There are so many angles with which I could go for a grant but I need to narrow it down to a solid few. So that is my giant task for the upcoming week as well and then start writing! I always get completely distracted when researching on the internet so I tend to stumble across some pretty amazing stuff. Like ICED GAME. Iced Game is a video game that stand for "I Can End Deportation." The goal of this game is to become a citizen of the United States. Basically there are 5 immigrant Avatars who all come from different backgrounds and there game play geared to secure citizenship. GAME PLAY: "As an immigrant teen you are avoiding ICE officers, choosing from right and wrong and answering questions on immigration. But if you answer questions incorrectly, or make poor decisions, you will be detained with no respect for your human rights."
This intent of this product is obvious, but the means in getting the message across was genius. This game is really marketable too, the graphics are good, the ambiance of the game is rebellious but street smart, and the message is powerful! Schools have picked this up, particularly inner city schools with large immigrant populations. www.icedgame.com. So while I wrote the above paragraph I skyped Brittney, signed up for a new mailing list on immigration, received an unknown phone call (more on this later), perused the eLibrary that exists on the Fulbright alumnus page, searched UWI's online Library, and almost bought a book on my Kindle. Distracted like no other right now! Yep so needless to say I played ICED until I realized time crept up on me and Jerk Day at work was approaching! So Ricard picks me up 40 minutes late and drops me at my parking lot were a volunteer had started cooking Jerk Chicken and serving it with Harddough Bread. So good. Ishon and I were able to have a lengthy conversation about his pastoral counseling master's and his thesis, aka 2 sermons written and orated. I've been enjoying getting to know my coworkers on a personal level and I am enjoying all of the work associated with FURI.
After some good conversation and work Ricard picked me up with his other sister and neighbor in the car. We were going to pick up Georgia, drop of his sister and neighbor then get Anita and go to Kingston's Downtown Outdoor Market. We were told it's best to take a local for your first time through cause it can be pretty confusing, the navigating and the purchasing part. But now that I have done it once, I will do it 100 more times. I absolutely love that place. Anita, Ricard, Georgia and I bought as much as my backpack could carry and that we could carry in our arms. Naseberrys, June plums, Sweetsop, Pineapple, Pears, Salad (quiz: what are these two really? You should know from previous entries.), Plantains, Bananas, Lettuce, String Beans, Mangoes and Carrots all for about 2000JA (20USD). Such a bargain, and its local, fresh, and tastes so much better.
After digging in on some of the new fruits we got, with google by our side for eating directions we got ready for a date night, for Anita & Ashley's one week anniversary. We walked to Devon House which is this beautiful old house and adjoining park that once belonged to the richest Jamaican, the first millionaire. It is now a park with shoppes, restaurants, a chocolate store, a famous ice cream place (I-Scream), and wine bar. Anita & I ate at Norma's which is very elegant and serves great food. A bit pricey but worth it. After over tipping the waiter (standard tip here is 5-10% max if at all) 22%, yup still learning, we went to I-scream for some ice cream. The city favorite is there Stout flavor but we tried something else. There will be many other opportunities for Stout I-Scream. We then hit the candy store, bought some really sweet sugarcane chocolate bar then grabbed a taxi home. We wanted to walk but we figured a taxi would be best. We were told we don't have the "Jamaican swagger" yet so we should taxi until then!
TANGENT: I brought my alarm clock from me & Pete's room and it's not operating correctly so it keeps changing time randomly so the alarm randomly goes off, it's odd. I should just unplug it but I'm oddly curious about why it can't count time right! I tried to count the seconds so I could mathematically add the intervals to see if there are extra seconds counted but I got lost in numbers and fell asleep. The voodoo clock lives on to tick another convoluted second.
Since the nightlife scene is hella confusing over here we decided to relax on Saturday so we could go out at night and celebrate Jazz's arrival. She was getting in around 5pm and that means she would still have 7 hours to unpack and settle in before Jamaican's even consider going out. Jazz and I went for a walk to grab Jamaican Beef Patties from Jucci Patti down the road, go to the bank and grab some red stripe, got slightly turned around looking for Scotiabank but managed to complete our journey by 8pm. Dinner, shower, relax, get ready, go out. Our real eastate broker picked us 3 up and we wandered off to the end of Knutsford Blvd, a hub for JA nightclubs. Mind you this is all walking distance and we could roam alone but until this swagger is developed we drive! We hit one club that was cool inside but was a bit dull, then we went next door to "Quad" a club that is considered more "downtown" and had a blast. Around 3 am a giant switch gets flipped and the dancing gets exponentially more serious. Also when a good song comes on everyone in the clubs yell "pop pop pop pop pop"! But if you do it at the wrong time your lame so don't mess this crucial social ritual up! They say it is comparable to the "WOOO" you hear in clubs in the states. I don't WOOO therefore I won't pop pop pop either. We scooted out a bit after 3am and passed out after eating Ramen noodles when we got home! Early morning ahead at Lyme Cay!
So this to the right is Lyme Cay. It is a very small uninhabited island off the coast of Port Royal. Port Royal is a famous pirate city, where Blackbeard and Bluebeard scourged! Kam & Greg, our friends we met through Anita's network, picked us up and brought us to the docking station where you catch a small engine powered boat about 25 minutes out in the Caribbean Sea. By the way Kam knows everyone hence my blog title today. Everything we need, he can hook it up. Good guy to know in Jamaica! The water is ridiculously clear the the island looks as halcyon as ever. We docked and made our way on to the island, greeted the boat party that was lined up in the water, and relaxed in the spa like water. It started to rain but I was imperturbable and we proceeded to stay in the water for at least 2 hours while it rained. The view was gorgeous and the Dance hall that boomed from the boats created a dream like beach party atmosphere. Only downside, the rain soaked all of our stuff cause there is no shelter so we rode home on the boat freezing carrying sandy wet towels and were soaking wet and sandy ourselves from the lack of usable towels. What a hot mess.
I made dinner, my Blue Dolphin job has made me better with Pasta sauces! So last but not least, Unknown Number dilemma. So I guess my new JA number is an old number of a women who lost her phone, so I have been receiving tons of random calls for her. But this unknown number keeps calling at really early morning hours and odd late night hours. Now I don't answer unknown phone calls but I want to put and end to this callers agony. I'll pick it up next time, but I now will leave you with a Dance hall song Jazz showed us to illustrate my unknown number trouble. Unknown Number- Busy Signal ---- click to hear <3
Now check out this ridiculous "pear" seed, had to measure it against a red stripe to really show you the enormity!