Walk Good: Travels to Negril Jamaica
'Walk Good' is an adventure travel story chronicling the experiences of the author in Negril, Jamaica. It's an escape to the sunny beaches, the seas and the mountain back roads of the island. The culture of the island, including the food, the music, a smattering of history and the character of the people form the backdrop of the story.
Ride the bus on the infamous long and bumpy road from Montego Bay to Negril. Take in the sights, sounds and smells along the way, enjoy the rustic beauty of the roadside villages. Ride the bus as it negotiates the myriad obstacles that are common to Jamaican roads; cows, goats, potholes, big ladies with baskets on their heads and oncoming traffic in our lane.
On the beach in Negril we talk to an old minstrel who sings a Bob Marley tune during a glorious Caribbean sunset. We laugh with the vendors who work on the beach, including one tall thin cigarette vendor who looks like The Cat in the Hat (Cigarrrreeeeeettts!). Meet ‘Reddie Freddie’, a wooden carving common in Jamaica that features a little man with a peculiar appendage. A bartender in a run-down shack of a bar introduces us to a local drink called 'Buzzard's Ass'. The drink lives up to its name. Witness the hilarious stumblings of the debauched neighbours, we call them 'The Jerks', who inhabit the room next door. Relax on a sunset cruise party boat where a couple of tourist girls have a bit too much from the open bar and do an impromptu ‘show’. One of the chambermaids at the hotel is startled when she finds something unexpected in the bed ("I t'ought it was a dead mon!"). Experience Negril's night scene; beach-side bonfires, flares out over the water, live reggae music and an incredible canopy of starts above.
Spend a week at the notorious Hedonism resort in Negril. It's a no-holds-barred, full-tilt adult fantasyland, complete with toga parties, nude hot tubs, wet T-shirt contests and ... well, you'll have to read the book. Take a trip to the north shore of Jamaica, on a crazy ride with a wild-man cab driver. Attend a mass nude wedding on the beach on Valentines Day. Make the pilgrimage up into the hills to visit the spiritual sanctuary where Bob Marley, Jamaica's legendary reggae music star, lays. On the way take in the sights in the pastoral rolling countryside. Scuba dive in the crystalline waters of Runaway Bay. Trek up the highway to the famous Dunn’s River Falls, join in a human-chain and climb the cool cascading waterfalls.
Return to Negril, our little slice of paradise. Feast on a steaming mound of spicy jerk chicken. Do battle with a large and Herculean centipede (called 'forty legs' by Jamaicans) that lurks in the bathroom. Encounter a pack of beach dogs, dodge the aloe-gel ladies on the beach. Visit with an old fisherman friend (a Hemingway-esque Santiago) as you peruse his collection of shells and things from the sea. Jump off a 35-foot cliff into the sparkling emerald waters of the Caribbean Sea at The Pickled Parrot, a sunset café.
Each chapter of 'Walk Good' is introduced with a Jamaican proverb. There is also an appendix of Jamaican Proverbs, which are pointed and humorous little gems of wisdom that are steeped in the local culture but apply equally as well to Western society.
- Roland Reimer, June 2011
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