Honeymoon in Jamaica part 4. It’s killing time!
After about two more days of lounging around during the day and hotel hopping at night Poptart and I were starting to get a little restless. Don’t get me wrong, there was plenty to do but you can only eat and dance so much. It was time to broaden our horizons. After one night of tripping the light fantastic at one of the neighboring hotels we made our way back to our hotel bar and our favorite bartender Sibony. He made Poptart the letter G and stuck the raspberry, banana, rum needle in my arm and we were happy, comfortable and feeling at one with our bartender.
“Hey let’s get out of here tomorrow. How about going on the tour to Bob Marley’s house?” I said to Poptart.
“Yeah, that sounds good, but did we sign up for it in time?”
“You have to sign up for it?”
“Yeah, haven’t you listened to anything Rolando has said this entire time we’ve been here?”
“You two don’ wanna go on dat tour.” Sibony said to us.
“Why? Does it suck?” I asked.
“No mon, it just full of, well tourists. Let Sibony take you.”
“Ya mon. I have a guy who will drive you up dere for da same price as da tour. AND I will take you on a T’ursday. Dat’s when da Rastafarians are giving da tours. Way better dan any adventure da hotel will give you, mon.”
We had a decision to make. We had been specifically warned not to do the Marley tour with anyone other than the tour guides because the real Jamaica can be very dangerous.
“What do you think? You want to do it?” Poptart asked me.
“Hell yeah!” I said. Guess it wasn’t that much of a decision after all. So it was on. We were going with Sibony who we barely knew and some guy we had never met, to a place we didn’t know, in a country we were completely unfamiliar with. It was going to be magical.
Thursday arrived and Poptart and I were ready to go see Bob. We were so excited. We had to meet Sibony and the driving stranger off the hotel premises though because this was all on the down low. No one could know we were going with Sibony because he could lose his job for this. Also it would be easier for him to dump and hide the bodies. We made sure to bring all of our valuables because we wouldn’t want them to kill us for nothing. As Poptart and I walked off the hotel premises and off to a street outside we had second thoughts about our adventure.
“Maybe this isn’t such a good idea,” Poptart said.
“Oh, now you tell me. What do you think we should do?”
“I don’t know,” he said. “Two naïve American honeymooners getting into a van with two Jamaican strangers. I love Sibony, but this just feels like the beginning of a bad horror movie.”
As we walked and talked, the vendors outside the hotel offered us more kidneys, two pigs and a small child.
“Maybe we should just walk….oh shit is that Sibony?” I said just as Sibony was pulling up in a white van.
“Yes it is. Act natural.” We both just waved at Sibony and he smiled his “I have no intention of killing you” smile and we both immediately felt better. Also the van was pristine. Surely they weren’t going to kill us in a van this clean. Blood is nearly impossible to get out of upholstery.
“Poptart, Stacy, dis is Ivan,” Sibony said as he introduced us to a Jamaican man that looked to be in his early 50’s. He was a smaller man and he had a very calm nature about him. Poptart and I started to get in a Bob frame of mind and started to get psyched to go see Bob’s house with our BFF Sibony and our new friend that we had dubbed “Drivin’ Ivan.”
The drive up to Bob’s house was beautiful. Curving through the mountains and the lush tropics. It was also nice to be able to see Jamaica and I mean REALLY see Jamaica. The culture was really amazing. People just smiled at us and waved as we drove by. Drivin’ Ivan even managed to stay on the correct side of the road most of the time. The only traffic problem we really had was the time we had to stop to let some bulls cross the road, but other than that I will say with all confidence that Ivan was the best driver we had the entire time we spent in Jamaica.
As we pulled up to the house Bob Marley grew up in Sibony jumped out of the van and ran to the side of the road and spoke to a local with long dreadlocks. He was a tiny man with an almost toothless smile. Ivan pulled us up ahead and parked the van. We waited for Sibony and he told us where we needed to go.
“Aren’t you coming in?” Popart asked.
“No mon. You go on ahead.”
“Come on. You have to come with us,” I said. Just then the tiny dreadlocked man with the toothless grin ran up to me and handed me a giant joint.
“For Bob,” he said and walked away. Right on. I LOVE Jamaica! I put the joint in my bag and the three of us went into the compound. We tried to talk Ivan into going too but he decided to stay with the van. When we went inside the gates the place was crawling with Rastafarians. Sibony was right. Thursday was the day to go. The locals just sat around and smoked joints like we weren’t even there. Poptart paid for three tickets and then we were led into the bar area. We were told by the employees there that we could drink and eat at the bar there but no alcohol was allowed at Bob’s house. So the three of us drank some Red Stripe beer and took some pictures together and then decided to go see what we came for.
As you approached Bob’s house there were two huge wooden gates that separated you from the compound and the house itself. This is where we met Joseph. Joseph was beautiful. He had lighter skin than most of the Jamaicans I had seen and his eyes were bright and inviting. He opened the gate for us and took us inside. Joseph must have given this tour tons of times but the way he spoke to us and his passion for the house and the grounds around it was like it was his first. As he took us from room to room he sang Bob’s songs. We had never known how much influence this house had had on Marley’s music. Joseph led us to Bob’s childhood bedroom where there was a small, single bed. Joseph then sang “Is This Love” and explained how this was the “single bed” that Marley was thinking of when he offered to “share the comfort of my single bed.” Joseph moved us on through the house and pointed out a stained glass window that features a brilliant sunrise and three small blue birds. All you Marley fans already know where I’m going with this. Joseph broke into a perfect rendition of “Three Little Birds.”
Rise up dis mornin’
Smile wit da rising sun
T’ree li’le birds
Pitch by my doorstep…
Joseph finished the tour by taking us to where Bob himself lies. He’s not buried because his body is actually above ground in a tomb. The four of us just stood there quiet and somber. I couldn’t believe I was standing at the final resting place of the late great Bob Marley. I noticed the altar and all the gifts that people left him and I didn’t have anything for him. Except one joint. I left the joint and also took off an anklet I had made out of hemp and left that as well. At least there was a piece of me there with him. I left with my heart full.
As we said our goodbyes to the beautiful Joseph and thanked him for singing for us, the tiny, toothless Rastafarian came running up to us and invited us to see his farm.
“Farm? Sure we’ll see your farm.” I said. We had no idea what we were getting into. This was no farm. This was heaven. We walked back into the trees and I stumbled in my stupid wedge heels thinking the whole time, Man this better be good. We arrived at a small tent and met the farmer’s wife and children. I was so busy meeting his family I hadn’t even looked up yet to see his farm. It was a stoner’s wet dream come true. I had never in my life seen or even imagined something like this. There were marijuana plants that grew so tall that they dwarfed our Rastafarian host. I felt like a cat who had just found an entire field of catnip. I wanted to get naked and roll around in it. I took out my camera and began taking pictures. Poptart with the weed. The farmer with the weed. Sibony with the weed. Me and the farmer with the weed. Playboy bunnies with the weed. You name it, if they were there I have a picture of them and with the weed. And that’s when the farmer hit us up for $100. Poptart just looked at me as if to say, “I am going to kill you.”
“Just pay him the money,” I said between my teeth as I continued to smile.
“Stacy you don’t even know what the $100 is for,” my cheapskate husband replied.
“Give the man the damn money!”
We continued to argue under our breath for a couple of minutes until Poptart begrudgingly gave the farmer the $100. The farmer had to tug it out of his tight grip but it was worth every single penny as the farmer took out a Ziploc bag and proceeded to fill it with the kindest, freshest, greenest bud I have ever seen or smelled.
“Th- th- thank you.” Was all I was able to say as Poptart pushed me back out of the field, grumbling the whole way.
“I can’t believe we just gave him a $100.”
“Babe, just think about it. How many white people get to see a field like that in Jamaica and still get to leave with their heads intact? Not that many I bet.”
“Stacy, couldn’t we have given him $50 and taken less pot?”
“Damn it Poptart that was not the time to haggle.”
“I don’t even smoke pot!”
“That is not my problem!”
As we came out of the jungle and back out onto the street were Ivan was waiting for us we jumped back into the van just in time because the cops were just driving by. Sibony let out a sigh and let us know that was a close call. Poptart was still shaking his head about the $100 and I was singing to myself with my new sack of kind tucked safely in my bag. “Don’t worry bout a ting. Cause every little ting gonna be all right.”
We started driving back to the hotel and it wasn’t too long before I noticed we weren’t coming down the mountain the same way we had come up.
“We aren’t going back the same way.” I mouthed to Poptart.
“We aren’t driving back the same way.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes!” At this point we both started to get concerned. We were on a totally different road, in a completely different part of town. And unlike the road we came up, instead of nice locals waving, this one had small groups of men with machetes walking on the sides of the road. As we got deeper and deeper into the middle of nowhere, Sibony and Ivan began speaking to each other in hushed tones, and Ivan began pulling the car over to the side of the road.
Poptart was sitting directly behind Ivan and I was sitting behind Sibony.
I signaled to Poptart that he should grab Ivan and I would grab Sibony. On the count of three.
Poptart’s eyes popped out of his head. Are you serious?
I just glared back at him to say, what else can we do?
“Okay,” he said.
“One,” we just looked at each other as Ivan pulled the car completely off of the road.
“Two,” we both took a deep breath and braced ourselves as the car came to a stop.
“Dese are our aluminum mines!” Ivan said with pride, pointing out the window at large chutes that carried aluminum down the hillside. “Jamaica is known for its aluminum. It’s our biggest export.
Oh my fucking God! We almost just tried to kill two innocent men and all they were trying to do was show us their aluminum mines! Poptart and I pretended to look at the mines as we tried to catch our breath. The panic was immediately replaced by the giggles as we realized what complete idiots we are.
“Wow, that is so interesting isn’t it Stacy,” Poptart said while pinching himself and trying not to laugh.
“Beautiful,” I said, staring at the floorboards of the car. I had no choice. If I made eye contact with Poptart I was done for. I would still be laughing long after they chucked me into Jamaica’s looney bin.
Comparatively, the rest of the ride was pretty uneventful. Meaning that we saw some beautiful sights, but nothing was going to match the aluminum mines of death. Ivan and Sibony took us through Fern Gully, which is a famous place in Jamaica for its beautiful ferns and they also showed us a port that was well known for pirates. They dropped us off back where they picked us up and we thanked them and made sure to tip them extra, you know, since we almost killed them and all. Once we got far enough away we broke down laughing to the point of tears as we took turns making up fake Jamaican news broadcasts.
“Be on da lookout for dese honeymooners. Da girl be 5’10 wit’ red hair. She get up to 6’2” when she warin’ heels, which is most o’ the time. She smell like jasmine perfume and sticky green bud. Da man be 6’0 with dark hair. He likely to have cash on him because he a cheap bastard. Him no partake of da ganj, but if he sober he can drink to the letter J. Dem unarmed but extremely dangerous, and mos’ likely crazy in da head. Last seen in Fern Gully beating two hotel workers wit’ da girl’s high heels. If you see dese two, do not attempt to apprehend. Just t’row booze and pot at dem until the police gets dere.”
To be continued…
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