The worldwide Augustana College experience

Welcome 2013

On New Year’s Eve we visited the local market. The first thing that we did when
we got to the market was to either exchange our American dollars for Jamaican
dollars or go to the ATM to withdrawal money. I went to the ATM and withdrew
Jamaican money. In Jamaica $100 U.S. is about $9000 Jamaican so when I was
typing into the machine how much money I wanted to take out I had to enter the
amount of Jamaican dollars. It was weird putting that many zeros in. Then we
went shopping. We walked past all of the fruit and vegetable stands and got to a
trinket shop where multiple venders were located. Each one of the venders kept
telling me “No charge just for looking” and “You a student I give you a good
price”. All of the stuff from every shop looked exactly the same to me. Outside
there was this adorable little boy running around laughing and playing games with
some of the Augie students. I decided to take a tour of meat market just to see
what it was like. The smell was pretty bad in there. Then we went on a tour and
we got to see a few landmarks and learn about some of the flowers. One of the
flowers was called Touch Me Not. Once you touched it the flower closed.
After the tour around Port Antonio we piled back into the vans and drove to
Frenchman’s Cove. It was a nice beach and the waves were really big, but the
water was too cold for me to get all the way in the water. There was a shallow
clear part where we waded and watched the fish swim around us. Then we had
lunch on the beach. The food was not the best but I was so hungry I did not care
what I was eating. I really like Jamaican food for the most part. I am not crazy
about the jerk, but I love how fresh and natural everything is. I like to look at the
ingredients on the labels and there are not that many listed and I know what the
ones listed are not like in America where there are a ton of ingredients and
preservatives that I cannot even pronounce. After we were done with lunch we
laid out in the sun while these black birds came and picked at the food we had
not eaten. I guess you could say that they are equivalent to America’s seagulls.
We piled in the vans again and headed to the Blue Lagoon. Needless to say the
water was very blue. The class jumped in and swam all the way across the lake to
a tree where they climbed up the tree and jumped off into the water. I did not
feel like getting wet again so I stayed at the dock with Paige, Lea, and Stephanie
and we played a card game. From there we went to dinner at Anna Bananas.
While we were waiting for dinner a small group of us decided to walk around. It
was nice just to walk around and look at everything.Then we went back and ate.
Anna Bananas food was the best food I have had on the trip so far. I had more
chicken but it was really good chicken.
We headed back to the resort finally after a long day and were talking about
whether we thought we were going to be able to stay awake until midnight or
not to bring in the New Years. Lea and I went for a walk with Dr. Egan to a local
beach to see if anything was happening but the beach was dead. The stars were
amazing though and we got to hear Mike sing along with a song that was playing
from a radio sitting in an open window. Then Lea, Dr. Egan, Tyler, and myself went
to the local bar to play dominoes. First Tyler was my partner and then Mike. I
tried to learn as much as I could from Mike and a local that was playing with us.
The local was really good. He would put the card he was going to play upside
down on the table before Mike had even played his card. I had a lot of fun and
they said I was getting better even though half the time I had no idea what I was
After dominoes we went back to the Great Huts and listened to a live band. I
made the mistake of sitting up front and I got sarinated during one of the songs.
When the band was done we all got together in one of the huts and waited until
12. Once 12 hit we cheered and headed off to bed.
The next morning, New Year’s Day, we loaded up the vans and headed towards
the mountains. We have all been dreading the mountains this whole trip. We were
told we would be driving up high and that the roads would be narrow and bumpy.
Once we got in the mountains though I was amazed. The mountains were by far
the highlight of my trip so far. They were so high and lush with green vegetation.
The tops of some of them disappeared into the clouds. I took a lot of pictures
but pictures just do not do the mountains justice. We stopped at the Blue
Mountain Cafe in the mountains and at Strawberry Hill for lunch. From the top of
Strawberry Hill we could see all of Kingston down below. I thought Strawberry
Hill was really cool because that is where Bob Marley went to rest after he got
shot. It was probably 20 degrees cooler in the mountains than it was in Kingston.
We survived the mountains even though Dr. Egan’s van did have a run-in with
another vehicle. Finally we were in Kingston a day away from what we came here
to do, teach at the Alpha Boys school. I was excited to finally start teaching,
nervous that things would not go as well as I had hoped, and exhausted from the
traveling but I was ready to meet my new Jamaican students.

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