Jamaica Land to Love


Sounds of laughter everywhere
And the dancing girls swaying to and fro
I must declare that my heart is there
Though I've been from Maine to Mexico
-  Jamaica Farewell

Jamaica is perfect! After such a claim, some voices would rise in protest, "How can you say Jamaica's perfect?" Those naysayers would continue in disbelief by citing Jamaica's faults: taxes, corrupt politicians, crime, water lock offs, power cuts, the anorexic dollar. The island’s detractors have valid points, but believe what I say. To understand The Rock's magic one must be fully awake, and experience the country with heightened senses: eyes, ears, and tongue. The mind can't understand what the senses know.

Eyes: Jamaica possesses overwhelming beauty. Beauty with a capital B. There are few places/people/or things that are endowed with such  magnificent beauty that it hurts/overwhelms/crushes. Jamaica is one of those places. The sky blends into the mountains into the sea. All the same blue.

The children: golden children, chestnut children, roasted black children. All playing under waves of sun. Their beauty would expand the barren bellies of miserable spinsters with love. When you see these children, you want to revel in their sunshine.

The bones in the people's faces: customs officers, the Tastees patty counter girl, the rasta holding the soursop in St. Thomas. It's also true that the simply ordinary in Jamaica's heat and "glow" becomes extraordinary. When I speak of beauty here, it's not with the critical lens of the "beauty" industry; and if I were, Jamaican beauty excels there too.

Ears: Close your eyes and listen to a Jamaican deejay spin on Sunday afternoon. Better yet, listen to him spin at Fort Clarence beach. The thumping of the bass becomes indistinguishable from the thumping of every other organ in your body. Bass and body become one. Jamaicans love music, and it's heard everywhere. Appropriately, another of Jamaica's monikers is Jamdung (Jam down). A Monday evening in Half Way Tree is equivalent to Carnival in any other country. Out of Many One Tune should be Jamaica's motto.

To keep and care it, you got to water it
I've been traveling all over this world
I've never seen no other black rose in no other garden
So you see my garden is so special
-  Barrington Levy

Tongue: Is the tongue the body's greatest organ for joy? Pleasure: a pineapple ice-cream cone from Devon House (cheaper, and richer than Haagen Daz), ripe otaheite apples, fried parrot fish, sugary festival, Red Stripes under blocks of ice, rolled tamarind sprinkled with brown sugar, cold coconut water, stewed peas with pigs’ tail, rice and gungo peas steamed in coconut milk, a patty fresh from the oven of Juici Beef. There’s  perfection in blending four cultures to make one dinner.

If one argues that Jamaica's not perfect, it could only mean that all one's senses are not being used to maximum capacity while in the island, or one has never been to the island at all.