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#1 May 20, 2018 2:11 pm

New Historian
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Kingston: shock at first sight!

It wasn’t exactly love at first sight with me and Kingston - quite the opposite. When I was 18 we moved from London to Jamaica; I wasn't enthused, and my first sight of Kingston did little to ease my fears.

The drive from Palisadoes Airport to the city is daunting enough at the best of times, and at ten o’clock at night on your first visit to Jamaica, it was positively Kafkaesque; a vision of dystopia. From the back seat of Dad’s Hillman Minx I stared out at a rolling scene pure chaos: jerk chicken sellers, pushcart vendors, boys on broken down bicycles, rum-bars with wall-to-wall speakers blasting out reggae music, mad drivers, trucks and buses belching black smoke, dallying motorcyclists, hustlers, stray dogs, dead dogs, vagabonds and beggars. Kingston is an assault on the senses of monumental proportions. Shit, I thought, this place is ker-razee!

Very early on I learned that Jamaica was completely different to “swinging London” – the old rules didn’t apply. On my first day at Excelsior High School, I fell in with two characters who would become lifelong friends: Shacks and Maurice. I tried to impress them by telling them that I had bumped into John Lennon and Yoko Oko at Heathrow Airport, on the way out. Maurice was unfazed:

“A who dem?”

My draw dropped: you’ve never heard of John Lennon and Yoko Ono? God, I thought, this place DAAARK!

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#2 May 20, 2018 2:40 pm

Calypso
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Re: Kingston: shock at first sight!

New Historian wrote:

It wasn’t exactly love at first sight with me and Kingston - quite the opposite. When I was 18 we moved from London to Jamaica; I wasn't enthused, and my first sight of Kingston did little to ease my fears.

The drive from Palisadoes Airport to the city is daunting enough at the best of times, and at ten o’clock at night on your first visit to Jamaica, it was positively Kafkaesque; a vision of dystopia. From the back seat of Dad’s Hillman Minx I stared out at a rolling scene pure chaos: jerk chicken sellers, pushcart vendors, boys on broken down bicycles, rum-bars with wall-to-wall speakers blasting out reggae music, mad drivers, trucks and buses belching black smoke, dallying motorcyclists, hustlers, stray dogs, dead dogs, vagabonds and beggars. Kingston is an assault on the senses of monumental proportions. Shit, I thought, this place is ker-razee!

Very early on I learned that Jamaica was completely different to “swinging London” – the old rules didn’t apply. On my first day at Excelsior High School, I fell in with two characters who would become lifelong friends: Shacks and Maurice. I tried to impress them by telling them that I had bumped into John Lennon and Yoko Oko at Heathrow Airport, on the way out. Maurice was unfazed:

“A who dem?”

My draw dropped: you’ve never heard of John Lennon and Yoko Ono? God, I thought, this place DAAARK!


I am thinking about moving back to Jamaica after bumming around Europe for a while. I want to die among my own kind. I remember Kingston very well. After high school, my friends and I would scout out the areas down by the Wharf for just walk around the  pandemonium of downtown before we escaped by to the comfort of the burbs. I remember the pushcart men, the stench of the fetid water, the market women with their vulgar sing-song voices, mad men and women who roamed the streets, the pickpockets and prostitutes, poverty and wealth all mixed in one. ,

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#3 May 22, 2018 8:20 am

Dancer
Active

Re: Kingston: shock at first sight!

Kingston seems to have improved since New historian was deported to Jamaica  at 18 and was traumatized . Since he said he paid a visit  quite recently the trauma has abated .
Ms Calypso meanwhile,  traumatized as a teen  after running around on the wharf after school is trying to put it all behind and moving back.
>> I remember the push cart men , the stench of fetid water , the market women with their vulgar sing-song  voices , mad men and women who roamed the streets , the pickpockets and prostitutes , poverty and wealth all mixed in one <<
LORD !!!!
I hope she starts looking  for some 'gated community' soon , soon. lol.

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