Jamaica Trivia

Greetings, all, and MUCH apologies for the lack of posting. I will refrain from telling you the long story of my laptop’s odyssey from its Laptop Hospital to me here in Jamaica, which was kind of like the original Odyssey but instead of Scylla and Charybdis there was just lots of incompetent Lenovo Customer Service/DHL/Jamaican government people. And yes, just like the original Odyssey it ended happily, albeit 18 years late.

I’ve been here in Jamaica for two weeks now, and it is a wondrous, magical, crazy place. Now that I have my baby, I promise to blog about all kinds of interesting cultural phenomena. But for now, some random stuff I’ve learned!

– The Jamaican school year ends in mid- to late July and recommences in September. Yeowch! Sucks a lot for kids in schools where they don’t have air conditioning, because it is hot here already and will only get worse.

– There are many different types of mangoes! Wikipedia, in fact, lists 35 separate species. One of the most popular species in Kingston is the East Indian, which is large, bright orange on the inside, and extremely, extremely stringy. One does not so much “eat” the East Indian but rather sucks out the juices from the stringiness. The other popular type and my personal favorite is the Julie, which is very sweet and not very stringy.

– The slang word for weed here is “I-est”, following a Rasta custom of replacing parts of words with I (such as I-nity instead of unity). It should be noted that this substance, while illegal, is sold shamelessly at all stageshows and street parties by Rasta guys who wave branches and branches of it around like it’s cotton candy.

– There are LOTS of Chinese people here, and the stereotype is totally different. Most of these Chinese people came straight from China and so do not usually speak good English (imagine a Chinese-Jamaican accent with me. Yes. It’s amazing.), but they run highly profitable businesses and so their children tend to be rich. Unlike in the U.S., the Chinese immigrants here do not cluster together geographically, so the community of Chinese-Jamaicans is scattered all over the place. There is also not so much the reputation of Chinese kids being smart, although many go to good schools on account of their parents’ wealth. Jamaicans refer to all Asian-looking females as “Miss Chin”, and all males as “Mr. Chin”. Other things you may be referred to include “Japanese Chinese”, “Chiney Girl”, “Konichiwa”, etc. I will definitely write more on this later.

– The radio station DJs here do turntable stuff instead of just play music. It’s crazy.

– A popular soft drink here is Ting, which is grapefruit pop. It’s delicious.

– The music scene is completely dominated by reggae, dancehall, and hip-hop. I’m actively looking for a secret society of punk rockers/ravers/hipsters, but I’m losing hope by the day.

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3 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Tim said,

    WHY DO SO MANY CHINESE PEOPLE LIVE IN JAMACIA?

  2. 2

    janeller said,

    well, many of the chinese went to Jamaica as indentured servants and for the business opportunities as well.

  3. 3

    Mr Sang said,

    My Chinese family been in Jamaica since 1870s, most of us are mixed some are full chinese. Many chinese-jamaicans left for usa/canada in the 1970s-1980s as violence escalated, chinese shop/properties were targeted. However black people did not do the same to the white-jamaicans, which makes no sense to me…


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