Wild Jamaica


Margaritaville Montego.

Somewhere between finding my group and becoming hungover, I tried to avoid the latter by grabbing some food. 12 am became 3 am before I could blink. The complimentary bus back to the resort would be returning for its final pickup at 3:15 am and I wanted to make sure I was on it and had some grub. Once my family and new friends were accounted for, I bee-lined towards the nearest jerk grill. Just as I was starting to chat with the grillmaster I initially spotted, I was intercepted by what I’m starting to gather is an integral part of the Jamaican grey economy: “the scout”. In this case, the scout didn’t cook the jerk but he did work with a particular street cook to net marks like myself. He shook my hand without introducing himself, made eye contact and asked me if I wanted the “true, real Jamaican jerk chicken” and moved to pull me away. I had a moment of confusion and a failing inhibition to prevent me from going with strangers, but the prospect of “true, real Jamaican jerk chicken” sounded better than plain ole “real jerk chicken in Jamaica”.  PotaTOES are sometimes different from poTAtoes–especially if you’ve been drinking. The grillmaster with whom I’d began negotiations didn’t seem pleased about the actions of the scout and after a brief exchange of verbal gibberish that I’m going to translate as “get away, you’re stealing my business”, they got into a brief physical row and without warning settled things just as quickly as they had began.