Miss Rose`s World is spreading its wings!
“Awesome!” was my immediate response when Theres, a young Austrian lady passionate about Caribbean culture and music approached me recently to contribute to my blog. As a long-standing Soca and Reggae/Dancehall music fanatic, Theres has spent quite a bit of time in both Trinidad and Jamaica over the past years, first as a volunteer in Jamaica when she was 19, and she loves to share her cultural experiences and anecdotes with us, her fellow European Soca-addicts! Since she is a cultural anthropologist, we love to hear her insights on some of the always-interesting and sometimes-strange Caribbean cultural traits, which we die to live and understand. Soca-family, we are ready to share her first blog post with you!
Go with the flow or don’t go at all
by Theres Preißler
I am sitting on the back of a motorbike, going up a steep and bumpy road. I am having severe difficulties keeping my eyes open as the rain is pouring down on us like crazy. We are on our way back from the centre of Port Antonio to the hostel where I am staying at. To reach the hostel, which is located on top of a hill, you have to deal with a good amount of holes, puddles, stones, rocks and mud.
My driver is called Devon. He works for the hostel owner taking hostel guests up and down the hill. I am absolutely amazed how Devon is able to drive so easily on this kind of “road” which is so full of obstacles without even covering his eyes from the rain (he didn’t wear a helmet), while I can hardly even keep my eyes open. Halfway up the hill we suddenly stop. I don’t know why until I see him heading towards a small bar which is partly hidden behind trees and bushes next to the road. I follow him into the bar - soaking wet from the rain - where I spot two chairs in front of the counter. There are no people, not even a bartender. Like in so many other bars in Jamaica the walls are full of Wray and Nephew and Magnum (brands producing popular drinks) posters showing girls with huge butts in tiny bikinis and sexually suggestive poses.
Devon explains to me that this is his bar and invites me to sit down. He gives me some rum and a spliff, treating me very nicely.
So there we are, sitting, drinking and smoking, while watching the heavy rain falling outside the open door. Of course, I had no idea we would stop here to have a drink and I also have absolutely no idea how long we will be staying here. A very typical situation in Jamaica which I have experienced more than once. Sure, I could say something and tell Devon that I would actually like to return to the hostel soon but I already know that wouldn’t make a lot of sense because obviously, Devon wasn’t ready yet (of course I also appreciated his hospitality). When will he be ready? Nobody knows, probably not even himself.
Fortunately, that’s not something you really have to know beforehand. Just know that in Jamaica, even if someone has been sitting somewhere for three hours already, this doesn’t necessarily mean he or she is done hanging out and ready (to leave). Consequently, in this moment with Devon, all I needed to do was relax, let things happen, go with the flow and not try to control the situation. Sounds like the most impossible thing for a German, but here in Jamaica you don’t have much of a choice anyways. If you don’t go with the flow and try to control things you will just get frustrated. The best thing you can do is to be open to whatever comes next and to be patient, be spontaneous and be able to do absolutely NOTHING. Trust me it’s worth it. You will experience things you would have never planned, thought of or dreamed of. It took some time for me to understand this and even more time to actually live it. But now as I do, I am having the best time of my life while I sit here in the middle of nowhere talking to Devon about our lives, enjoying the sound of the rain and realising that it really doesn’t take much to enjoy myself.
I know at some point he will ask me, “ready?”, indicating that it’s time to leave. Long ago I have stopped wondering what triggers that sudden urge to leave at that particular point in time. I guess it’s just the (for Europeans) unpredictable, very easy-going Jamaican flow he is naturally going with which tells him to do so?
Would you like to know another reason why it is so important to go with the flow in Jamaica? Well, the Jamaican understanding of time sometimes forces you to go with the flow.
Read more about this in my next blog entry!
Connect with Theres on Insta