Monday, September 27, 2010

Route Taxi Driver, didn't you say we were going to Halfway Tree?

Check out this melded American/Jamaican Flag. We went to the "Jamaica American Friendship Association Concert" hosted by JAFA & the US Embassy. The Whose Who of JA was certainly there. I myself, wearing a rained out black sundress carrying double backpacks after babysitting all weekend for the Genzer Girls and never went home, looked awkward. I had just come from an awesome meeting of the "National Organization of Deported Migrants" (NODM) meeting, where Dr. Headley's efforts have mainly been focused. The point of this group is to collectively push for the economic, social and political empowerment of deportees. They have elected officials from their own population and have built a board representing germane organizations such as, The Red Cross, The Jamaica Foundation, and The Ministry of National Security. Membership ranges in age, both genders are present, colonial capital varied, current fiscal statuses are variegated, yet "still living" was the mantra amongst the group. They have been recently conducting workshops relating to human deportation processes, skills networking, securing proper identification and mapping the resources available to current, incoming and future migrants. I was introduced to the group as someone who is on their side, one yelled out and said "CIA!" I told them that was flattering, but "No" I'm just a student.
Dr. Headley, they call him Prof, told them I was not affiliated with any law enforcement agency, and that they should be happy that a US State Department grant has gone to studying their cause. Someone then shouted, "WHAT LIKE HOMELAND SECURITY!" This may take some trust building, but I'm cool with that. I was taught in basic anthropology courses that being a participant observer is not always a welcomed position. Particularly for a group of people who has felt slighted by government, I believe there skepticism goes without say. Our next meeting is in October and Prof challenged them to have 300 deportees present. I am looking forward to seeing the results; I will also attempt to get a quick survey together for that date, the data opportunity has officially presented itself. After making many connections, getting a ton of numbers and valuable information I joined my roommates for the third annual "Music Throughout the Ages".

So rainy season sucks for a few reasons. 
1) The drainage system/old aqueducts here are inadequate.
2) People decide to stay in because of the rain.
3) Transportation is seriously hindered due to flooded streets and the flocks of people who leave work early on account of the rain. 
This leads to a few problems for someone such as myself:
-Since I am car-less I am forced to deal with the mobbed street. One minute One minute from the taxi dispatcher means anything but one minute.
-Also the taxi phone services get mashed up so I pressed redial 14 times before I could get a taxi for 12:15pm. Since it was pouring I opted against walking down to Devon House for the route, besides I'd be late. But of course I was late anyways.  My awesome driver Marble called me and told me he would "Soon Come" I asked him to define "Soon" he said, "Soon, like don't go outside and get all wet", I was outside already. We talked about my pet snake back at home for 25 minutes. He was fascinated with Roscoe Lee Brown.
- My International Econ Prof never showed to class, so I went for nothing. I decided to overt mental disaster and decided to tackle UWI's library.
- I don't own and umbrella, go figure. Sandal birks, cargos, and a backpack are immediately soaked upon walking across campus. Whatever I am over it, your either sweaty or soaked by rain.
- No backpacks allowed in the library. Cool; check my bag, walk inside, forgot the call number for my book in my bag, accidentally stumbled into the econ section and found the most recent available text on International Econ, 4th edition 2001.  9 years is a long time for economic theory to evolve. By the way, our syllabus says see the 10th edition, shoot 6 too early. I take it out anyways.
- I hate being behind in class, it messes me up, I won't sleep till I know every in and out of the Heckscher-Ohlin theory. I really need a strong econ background for grad school so desperate times call for the 4th edition and Wikipedia.
-So the line to retrieve my bag at this point is 100 people long. 10 minutes later me and my swampy Jansport agree that all dignity in staying dry has eluded us therefore the hike to the route taxi cannot make things any worse.

Route Taxi Process 
So 80J for a taxi home is the best price by far, but you squeeze into a Taxi with at least 3 if not 4 in the back and your either sweaty or soaking wet. But you always get to hear great reggae or dance-hall music. They drive like maniacs and they know every road in Kingston. But they always take these shortcuts if traffic sucks, like it does when it's raining, so then I have no idea where I am and most likely will miss my chance to jump out at a red light close to home. 
Example: Today's trip to Halfway Tree.
" Afway Tree - Afway Tree!"
- cool I think my stop first taxi here! First bit of good luck all day, I get in.
- Ring, phone call for Taxi Driver, "Me Soon Come", he replies 
- QUICK Right, great, I'm lost now, but I know I'm close. I'm sure he will make a left and head my way.
Driver: "We a gwaan south! If ya gwaan nort, ya gwaan get going naw, uzzimi."
- Shit, going Right, no red light in site, I'll wait for the next light. 2 miles later, a red light and a 15 minute walk home versus the usual 5. The above is the result. Enjoy your cute public transportation systems and your efficient street drainage.  

By the way FREE BUJU! Look it up!! 

Saturday, September 25, 2010


Some nights things just work out. Anita's proclivity was confirmed due to her prediction of Saturday night's events. We decided to really attempt to do Jamaican nightlife right, since we had been bumbling around like obvious foreigners coupled with halfhearted attempts at dressing the part and having enough attitude, I think we officially culturally assimilated. Holly and Jody took Anita, Jazz, Iris & I to shop around Kingston and they prepared us for the night ahead. Iris is another one of the 5 Fulbrights here in Kingston, she got in a few days ago so we were happy to have her along for the day. We also picked up Robin (Jody's sister) & her friend Justine; the more the merrier!

After last weekend's emotional overload a we were due for some fun. On our way out of the apartment Jody spotted a roof top party across the street that we could walk to. Deal, we decided to go tonight. We each got an "out of character" outfit for ourselves, then we went shoe shopping. Now here in JA the more outrageous the shoe the better. Your also likely to end up at the bottom of the stairs more quickly than you intended to. Lucky for us Jody is a master of disclaimers and Holly explains everything really well. So when Jody said "wifey walk out" as we were trying on heels we immediately looked to Holly for same clarity. Compliment? Poking Fun? What in the world was Jody talking about! Basically when wifey walks out, the girl on the side (matey) walks on in. Thanks Jody! We'll take it as a compliment! After some sound advice from Jody on shoes, we heeded his advice and waited before we bought the loudest pumps in the store.

We all then went to dinner at this hella good Japanese restaurant and Anita and I were finally able to beat Jody to the bill! It's the least we can do for their constant hospitality, and we just adore them. Their champs for sure since we are always asking ludicrous questions and forcing them to explain everything! Jody is also going to let me drive his car. His Subaru makes me homesick for mine! Driving on the left hand side of the road in a oppositely built car is bound to be thrilling. After dinner we went home to work for a few more hours and actually go out late. Waiting till after midnight to go out and get ready is a new phenomena but we made it happen. We were walking out of the apartment when we met one of our first neighbors! He offered to drive us across the street because, which turned out to be a blessing cause walking across a main four way four lane intersection in pumps would of sucked.

So long story short we met a Canadian guy who was here signing Vybz Kartel, Jamaica's dancehall king, for a Canadian tour. So here comes my phenomenal idea, Vybz Kartel got his US visa revoked (along with Canada & the UK). I'm interested in immigration discrimination. INTERVIEW! So we go meet Vybz within the same hour, quickest connection ever made in Jamaica to come to fruition. Probably the oddest experience was Vybz's personal photographer snapped a frame of us and Vybz says's "4 Copies". 25 minutes later, no lie, 4 printed copies. I don't know where the hell the photographer went but when he came back with prints in hand we were astounded. It was more challenging to get a printing card at our University Library!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

And its only been a month!

So my lovely friend Christian decided to send me a little surprise to let me know he is always thinking about me! So I wanted to share it with all of you! Since one of my recent blogs touched on this subject. 

Even the NY Times is interested!
I believe the appropriate attitude for this year abroad is, "don't worry you can sleep in a year!" I am also trying to incorporate the never say no mantra so I can do everything Jamaica has to offer. Since Tuesday it has been non-stop. Jazz's birthday, first grad class ever, Rosh Hashanah dinner, American football, Samir (Anita's boyfriend) arrived, FURI's founder who live in NY is here for a solid week of FURI work, a trip to Ochie & MoBay and the tumultuous task of keeping up on the personal work I've created for myself.

We kept Jazz's birthday fairly low key, but since half of this trip is dedicated to eating our way through Jamaica we decided to try Market Place a ingenious half outdoor and half indoor restaurant complex. So here is the genius part... if you sit in the middle section and don't pick a specific restaurant you and your buddies can choose from anyone of the 5 or so restaurants. Indian, Chinese, Mediterranean, Japanese and French. So yeah were going to try them all...obviously. We started with Japanese which was outrageously good. Reminds me of some places in NYC, Hagi to be specific.

We all had an early morning, Jazz was getting the "don't fall in love lecture at the embassy" and we told her to be ON TIME. Anita as usual trucks through the "M" everyday, and I started my first grad class ever. Caribbean Political Institutions! So stoked. The class represented many countries, most heavily represented was the French and their overseas region Martinique, about 5 French and 3 from Martinique. I was the only American and there was one Barbadian and 3 Jamaicans. There is a 5 year comparative politics program set up between Bordeaux France , Mona Jamaica, and Martinique. 3 years at your primary institution and then 1 at each affiliate university. Pretty cool! So the teacher taught his first 30 minutes with his sunglasses and his first main point was that Caribbean Political Institutions don't work, and that we should, as politics/governance majors, fix it. Bottom line is the Caribbean function in Crisis governance mode almost consistently. And there are a few major reasons for it. First Caribbean Islands poorest to wealthiest: Based on GDP per capita in USD in 2009.

1) Haiti - $733
2) Jamaica - $4,390
3) Dominicana - $4,949
4) Domincan Republic - $5,176
5) Saint Vincent and the Grenadines - $ 5.261
6) Saint Lucia - $5,671
7) Grenada - $5,969
8) Saint Kitts and Nevis - $10,315
9)Barbados - $13,003
10) Antigua & Barbuda - $13,852
11) Trinidad & Tobago -$15,851
12) Bahamas - $21,529

Needless to say these many of these countries have incomprehensible Debt to GDP ratios, they are in the middle of hurricane territory( Haiti), also on a fault line which makes them highly susceptible to earthquakes (Haiti), the literacy rate is abysmal, and corruptions ripples through most institutions, private and government alike. Not to mention that they are in the middle of the ocean and the polar ice caps are melting, potential HUGE CRISIS. So yeah, maybe the should worry a bit.
But everything is done without careful planning because there is an awful game taking place that forces these nations to always play catchup and use band aids. They are also highly aid dependent and they have a "taking mentality" that is pervasive in their fiscal management but also in the way the they participate in the global market. They import almost everything, and there exports are low. They have a market in tourism that suffers from crime, but not as much as you would think.
There is a lack of foreign investment and the political environment is polarized by violent political affiliations. This all equals crisis governance. So whats in the future for the Caribbean? More after Wednesday! Oh I am also teacher assisting a class on Crime, Violence, & Political Strife in the Caribbean! Someone should probably tell me to "big up myself" right now.

Jazzy & I made our way to the Genzer's for Rosh Hashanna dinner where we had Matzoh Ball Soup & Koogel just like we would at home! We had the traditionally apples & honey for dessert and overall it was a great way to spend the Jewish New Year! Mom, Dad, I hope you guys are impressed that I continued to stay Jewish in Jamaica!

Samir, Anita, Me, Jazzy & Kam @ club Fiction
Samir came on Thursday so we showed him around Kingston for the night which inevitably resulted in Friday being dedicated to some serious rest that was well deserved. I don't think Jazzy & I moved till 10pm when the craving for pan chicken became too strong. I was also resting up for my trip to Montego Bay and Ocho Rios with FURI. Carmeta was picking me up Saturday at 6:30am! Carmeta, Martha, Marleen, Ishon & I were driving through the mountains into the country to see a community of deportees that was really suffering. Martha came from this community and made her way to Kingston and now wanted to bring back FURI to help those she left behind.

We traveled through Spanish Town which used to be the capital of Jamaica, as of April 17th it is ranked as the most dangerous place to live in Jamaica Despite the well known political violence Spanish Town is vibrant, colorful, and eccentric. All kinds reside in the old city that is nicknamed "Prison Oval". Some of the prisoners can see through there bars an oval cricket field and potentially catch part of the match.

In other disturbing news, the Jamaica Gleaner (daily news) posts the death/murder count on the front page of every paper. Also there is monument deep in the "M" on Church Street where all the names of children or teens who have been killed due to violence are listed. Jamaica has many ironies rooted in their violent history. There national hero Marcus Garvey, father of pan-africanism, was a peaceful man (despite the means in which mass movements advocate, protests etc). He is also considered a prophet by the Rastafari and Garvey's legacy is pervasive throughout Jamaican music, poetry, architecture, and political rhetoric. Garvey is quoted constantly. Specific to my cause, GARVEY HIMSELF WAS DEPORTED. Yet most Jamaican's refuse to associate themselves with deportees. I'll be meeting with a few experts on Jamaican criminology so more to come once I'm more informed!

Back to my MoBay/Ochie trip. After Spanish Town, we crossed Flat Bridge and journeyed toward Fern Gully. Which as far as I knew only existed in an animated film from the 90's! Fern Gully also has the coolest street side craft stands.
Phenomenally rooted trees lined F.G

The trees almost form a canopy over the road
Martha & I with a well endowed statue!
Mainly the streets are lined with wooden statues of all sizes that are individually hand carved. Some racier than others! On another trip I'll certainly be coming back with some crafts for mis amigos back in the states.We arrived in Ochie and you cannot help but notice how blue the ocean is. It blows the bluest skies out of the water
No wonder they consider Jamaica Paradise, it speaks for itself

Although the island is beautiful and the history is rich and captivating we were about to step into a clearing in the woods that is home to many deportees that resort to self-destructive behavior because the social services provided to them are close to none. And even if they did exist, say in Kingston, how would one access the facility which is over 4 hours away by car/bus from MoBay Martha first brings us to Fisherman's beach where in the evening she used to hang out with a desperate crowd. Gambling, drinking, drugs, prostitution and violence are a nightly occurrence. During the day the occupants fish and try to earn a buck by selling loose cigarettes, the days catch and bag juice. Even though they face the days wondering how they will eat, they are laughing, singing and haranguing one another about Rasta tenets and political anecdotes.

The Reggae/Dancehall is loud and the vulgar language under the card gazebo can be heard by all. Everyone is thrilled to see Martha! Even though she is clean, dressed and fed they recognize her as one of their own. Before she could even get out of the car everyone left their seats to get a peak at the new Martha. Many gawked with amazement some started with a twinge of jealousy, yet most were happy to see she was alive. After Martha's reunion we made our way to the highway overpass and instead of walking over it we walk right down underneath it to see a house that was built by a deportee with electricity! Indian was a honorably discharged Marine who served in Cambodia and was ultimately deported from California. He now lives under this bridge and attempts to find work as a welder when someone reads his sign that he carries up to the road.
Going Under the Overpass
Indian's Perch
Work is scare but Indian is grateful he has a place to accumulate some belongings. He notes that

Indian's House, note the light coming through the "window"
one of the hardships endured during homelessness is that anything you accrue is fair game for someone to take since you don't have a place for it. But Indian has a place for his stuff the inside is organized quite well. With a make shift closet, hanging Christmas lights, and a fire pit he is "living comfortably". His place is extemporaneously built but he positioned it on the highest ground possible since the river floods during the rainy season. Without careful planning all of Indian's stuff could wash away. After filming 20 minutes of footage about Indian's story we left him with enough money to purchase a phone so he can keep in contact with us while we attempt to find him work.
"Welder Needs Some Work"

 We also left him with rice, chicken broth, beans, bananas and cane. We were then venturing into the thick brush so we could find the Guinep tree Martha used to sleep under for months. Martha led the way and I followed under strict instructions to only take pictures if I am granted allowance by the residents of the wooded area. After introductions to the group of 12-15 deportees/homeless a relationship was established and we handed out business cards to the deportees who may want to seek social services. This is trickier than is said here, but do to causes for concern I'll keep it simple. This clearing is commanded by a Don we will call Mustafa. Unfortunately the same antics at fisherman's beach run ramped here. Unlike the beach these people sleep amongst the pigs they raise for minimal income.  They sleep on Styrofoam slabs
and when it rains they "all go home". Martha tells us that just means they go under Indian's bridge. They are not proud of living like this so they make it seem as though it is a choice. Remember human beings hold onto pride until there is nothing left. Remember many of these people built lives in the United States only to be sent to a country that they originally chose to leave. We also left these people with food and let them know we were there if and when the decided to seek help. Indian has already followed up and called us. He has high hopes for his future dealings with FURI and we will do our best too meet him halfway.

Needless to say this emotional day wore me out so we had a traditional Jamaican dinner back in Ochie, cooked by Carmeta's childhood friend Cecil. She also let the 5 of us crash at her place and she was such a lovely person to meet. Her house that she built from her self run restaurant was gorgeous. Imagine this view every morning. One of our last stops on this trip was Sunday morning service at Ocho Rios Baptist Church. Oh yeah you better believe it, me Ashley, in a Baptist Church! The singing was angel like the music was heartfelt and the testimony about the prodigal daughter was eloquently preached. The prodigal daughter was bathed, clothed and fed by the church. And ironically that was the reason we were there. This church clothed, bathed & fed Martha, she was this churches prodigal daughter! And when it was her turn, her testimony was a paean for the church from the pulpit! No doubt, inspiring for all. She told the story about how she was dirty and hungry and as she approached the church two teenage sisters said good morning to her. She couldn't believe that she was not invisible and that someone actually noticed her. You can always count on the youth in my opinion! They took her to the church and aided in her transformation that day. Lucky enough for us they were there this Sunday morning! So I'll leave you with this heartwarming reunion that was a pleasure to see after hearing so many heart wrenching stories the day before. We should all thank the Universe for what we have.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Can Jamaican swear words be nouns, verbs, and adjectives all at once?

Hypothesis: Island time actually is a whole space and time paradigm shifts that actually encompasses your entire time. So these past three weeks have felt like 3 months. There is so much to do here and the work load is heavy that the mini personal, social, and professional accomplishments feel pretty huge. Just making friends and making sure you don't run out of butter is a big deal, and when your in the middle of cooking Mac and Cheese what do you do with a butter scarcity issue? Eat Wheat Thins.
But seriously time goes by really slowly here in the longer term. In my attempt to recount my weekend please allocate some island time aside to read this potentially lengthy entry. Since most of the time I get to work from home I break up the day with a power walk to my local cigarette distributor. He is at the end of the main road my street is off of behind a gas station under construction. Cheapest cigarettes in Jamaica, they sell my brand. Anita is proposing I use the electronic cigarette that health ministry's are now talking about. There has been talk of a smoking ban in some outside public spaces. If I'm quitting, which I will, it will not involve any vaporizing fak
e metal tube. I'll just stop :) So cigarette guy has surprised me three times so far! All are new and exciting methods of procuring me my 2 pack of Marb Red's. The first involved my super awesome Taxi driver bringing me to the "cheapest loosey's spot". Meaning loose cigarette (1 or 2 at a clip). So they must have cheap packs. CORRECT. About 4US a piece for my kick it by 25 final habit.
  1. I waits outside the cab after I finally communicate that I wants American cigarettes. guy (will find name shortly) grabs two pack after walking into the trunk of a SUV parked at the end of the lot and I give him 7000JA. Deal.
  2. This time he recognizes me and walks across the street past my side of the fence and gets there from...who knows where? Same price. Deal
  3. Were like old friends now, still no name, I think that's Ok though. Jody says I need to start nodding at people to let them know its cool that I am here. I can only envision the internal experience the person receiving the nod from me would think. I think what I am understanding is that well, "She probably looks a bit silly, but I think she is trying a suggestion that someone gave here, I'll cut her some social slack". I hope. I have yet to try this, but anyways. Cigarette man sees me and he is standing on my side of the fence with a cart out there for once. But still my brand is always an invitation for him to take an adventure. This time he walked away from me to the right and hopped on a piece of iron fencing that now leaned into the building window where he had obviously stored them. It's like a quick game of Clue and cheap cigarettes.
So this is how I break up the work day, I am now researching some alternative housing options here in Jamaica for deportees and drawing up some suggestions. It's really interesting and it is basically bare bones grass roots capacity building. At home we used to comb the human capital for recovery resources to build peer to peer support networks. This is a similar aspiration here and I feel very comfortable and experienced in this type of position due to the work I did at home! Another shout out for CTYF. International Networks would be really cool!! That's kind of what I hope to go to school for, so that is a whole other issue that I am tackling. Applying to grad school and essay/personal statement writing. I also memorized 211 GRE words in 2 weeks, it's the little things that really count when you have big things ahead. Flash cards are like down time activities. So I'm sure your more interested in the suggestions that Jody gave us over dinner on Friday night. But dinner first....

They took us to this super picnic style wing resturaunt on this ladies front lawn and driveway. She makes the best wings ever. She may blow TK's out of the water for creativity. Guava Jerk, Strawberry BBQ, and Pineapple Ginger all spiced with the hot scotch bonnet pepper. Really good, and really hot. So Jody is teaching us the appropriate ways of saying certain things, these updates are necessary things change pretty quickly down here. An equally funny moment was when Anita & I re
counted all of these things in our best ways of explaining them. Which I will incorporate below. We attempted to explain to Anita how these terms could progress from fairly Jamaican sounding to much more American sounding in order to decipher them for her blog posting.
  • "Bless Up" ---to "Blessings" --- to like "Good looks" --- to "thanks for looking out I really appreciate it man". Usually this is accompanied by some sort of head nod peace sign to the chest acknowledgment. Got laughed at the first time I tried this because I am pretty sure I reversed the hand motions. But by the end of the night Holly confirmed my partial attempt at success.
  • A likely response to the above "bless up" is "honor" and at the same time you should put a diamond constructed by your fingers to somewhere up against your torso. This has rasta roots we were told. I have yet to attempt this. Maybe at the 6 month mark. No promises.
  • Also we were corrected about the noise and the hand motion when a good song comes on. It's baap baap baap, sounding similar to gunshots and the hand creates the sign of a gun. Don't "bap" at the wrong time. Not exactly "wooing" just like pan chicken here is not comparable to I-hop. More like... a diner at home.
  • "Big Up Yourself"--- is like "props" ---- or "good work dude your pretty cool" They would also say "kris". Remember lesson 1 in Patois? That means cool and there are only K's I think.
  • We learned the whole lot of swear words. We learned how to use them, if they were nouns vs. verbs, or adjectives, maybe even standalone exclamations, dangling participle?! We learned how to combine them to give them a bit more emphasis. Like if one is not enough, which obviously when it comes to swearing never it, why not make it four in a row? Simple economics make them more attractive by adding a greater end effect and their usage will skyrocket. Agreed. Something is compelling me to leave out the details but if your really interested I'll consider it upon request.

Fun fact: Jody & Holly showed us the wing place and we were able to tell like four other people about the wing place. It's official our first time that we knew a Kingston restaurant before a resident is huge news. M
assive social points.

The deal is work all day and earn your night off, if you don't earn it off, sucks. Get back to work. But it is a pretty motivating method of work, living with as equally determined ladies creates for a ridiculously intense work environment. The hours slip away as we all start getting sucked deeper and deeper int
o our laptops. Until like meal time, or necessary eye closing breaks, or regulated grocery store walks to boost mind endorphins, like the one this Sunday afternoon when we woke up at 1:45 pm after a night of partying until 5 am. We do everything pretty strategically here. We are always on our toes, makes for a way more hilarious way of doing things. The plans we all come up with give us a good laugh.

So we worked hard enough to deserve a Saturday night out with Kam & Gregg at Christopher's (the bar under Quad), and then to The Building, known as an indoor street party. Now the building is a fairly serious da
nce party that doesn't even start getting warmed up until roughly 3am. We arrived at 2. Obviously too early. I am napping till 1am next time. Then the dancehall music, like Vybz Kartel, or Mavado, takes over the international rap and pop phenomenons and the dancing gets crazier. It's pretty common to see Japanese tourists or residents out here, they are internationally known as a Dancehall loving culture. They can dance pretty much just as well as the Jamaicans. The dress here is very trendy, potential shopping trip necessary. So we danced till about 4:30, got pan chicken and passed out till 1:45 Sunday.
Planned grocery trip walk, work, brownie baking for movie snacks, and then the movies to see a T.I. produced film. All of the above an adventure. Particularly watching the ridiculous ending to "Takers" only truly seen because according to Anita & I, Paul Walker is in it, and he is worth the $J860. Jamaican movies also have intermission so you can buy more snacks. Not really my thing, messes up the movie flow, and they don't let you go outside! Its to make more money for the theater, it totally works people restock like crazy. Unfortunately the movie got castigated out-loud for its remainin
g 30 minutes. Sorry T.I. who in the movie ironically gets out of prison and in real life he just went back. I actually do find that pretty unfortunate!

Talking about famous artist's, it is also rumored that Jamaica's most popular dancehall artists Beenie Man, Vybz Kartel, and Mavado are all deportees. N
ow wouldn't those be some sweet interviews. Jazz is determined we will meet them and we are always on the lookout for Usain Bolt. Anita has a great Taxi Cab story about if Usain Bolt were posted on a water bottle Jamaica would not be lifted out of penury.

Speaking of poverty, there are people that erect shacks in the garbage littered gully's a few streets away and it is pretty sad. Also the dog's are all sordid and neglected. We also also asked out apartment custodian where the recycling is and he replied, "This foolish country would never implement something as responsible as recycling". One thing on our goal list is to get our apartment building on some sort of recycling program before we leave.
So the above photo pretty much sums up this post. Heres Mavado, a rumored deportee, and his group giving the honor hand signal while standing inside of a gully in front of a strategically erected shanty.

Jazz's birthday tomorrow! She turns 23. Back to work, gotta earn it. Or maybe we will just make Jazz's birthday a Jamaican holiday!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

So when your Jewish...

So a few things happen when you Jewish and people find this out. For me this ubiquitous phenomena occurs because 1) I look Jewish, fairly endemic of most Jews. 2) I have the Star of David tattooed behind my left ear, dead give away. So when people find out I am Jewish they often have many queries about "Jewishness". Do you keep kosher? Do you eat Matzoh? Did you have a Bat Mitzvah? I often elaborate on that one and drop that Wyclef was there! Oh look me and Wyclef! The most common statement that I receive when they find out I am Jewish is..... "Oh you look like Sarah Silverman!" Which my brother's friend Taracka just so kindly reminded me of while I was on the phone with a deportee scheduling an interview who was in the midst of telling me I look like some other Jewish girl I have never heard of before! Since the coincidence was so odd I had to post about this "you look like some Jewish Girl" moment. So here are our two options.
Sarah Silverman: Crude, hilarious, often shocking, Jewish comedian. Everyone in the states compares me to here. Or Karen Goberman: The Jewish girl who falls in love with a Jamaican guy in the movie Brooklyn Babylon which I will most likely be downloading today to watch during this rain storm. Everyone from Jamaica compares me to this Jewish girl! So shall we vote?
So here we have Karen, I'm flattered.

And here we have the infamous Sarah, I find her pretty rocking myself.
Perhaps it depends if my hair is straight or if it is curly.
Which is still obviously a problem everyday here.
So these are some comparison photos. This is rainy day blogging from my balcony!