22 Jan AM – The Ultimate Jerk

[Ed: Post title refers to a local restaurant we went to, not the blog post author's opinion about the course instructors.]

In the past two weeks, Jamaica has been nothing short of beautiful.

Awakening every morning to the glimmering waters of the bay and seeing so much wildlife has been surreal. But, despite all the cool things in the ocean, something was missing. The imagery was perfect, but that real Caribbean feeling wasn’t there. Sure I was talking patois with the staff, but I knew there was more outside of the Discovery Bay. When I was told that we were going to the Green Grotto caves, I wasn’t very excited. I figured it’d be just another tourist excursion. You know, the ones where you meet up with a group of other Americans, take pictures of stuff, and practically spend the whole day with them. I wanted something different.

Luckily, right across the street from the caves was The Ultimate Jerk, a small outdoor restaurant right off the main road. Though the place was a bit touristy, I took one look at the menu and realized I was exactly where I wanted to be. When I got to the front of the line, I ordered some jerk chicken with peas and rice and a side of fried cassava. I was so excited to finally get a local feel of Jamaica and speak patois with some local people. It had been a while since I was able to unwind and have a regular conversation with someone in my own language.

Once the sun had set, they turned on some nice reggae music. It felt good to see both my friends and the local people in the restaurant having a great time together. As the night went on, things only got better as we sat around in a circle telling hilarious and memorable stories. I guess you could attribute the good time to the dim lights and smooth sounds, but I think there was something more. I think it was the common experience of immersing ourselves in a foreign world that brought everyone together. For that one night, the tourist-local dichotomy disappeared. We were all friends laughing the night away.


Richard_Jerk Chicken Mon!

Jerk Chicken Mon

Richard_The Green Grottos

The Green Grotto Caves

– Richard

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