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Old 24-05-2010, 13:21   #16
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Originally Posted by amytom View Post
We'll have to disagree on this.

Look at the Kingston FedEx office; armed gaurds and razorwire fences.
I don't like staying the night as the gunfire keeps me awake. That being said, it's been several years since I've spent the night. Look at the statistics though, Kingston is NOT a safe place to be a police officer.

BTW I like the qoute on your tag line.
Ok, we agree to disagree!
The people in Jamaica are victims of their own elected government which is very ineffective. Another example of how a two party system can cripple a government. Add to that the fact that their brightest and smartest citizens are diaspora, for the most part, watching the shenanigans from afar with no plans of returning. These cult heroes like Dudas are everywhere there, in every corner of Jamaica. They fill a gap between rotten government and international aid agencies, unfortunately building their status with the poor people. I will agree with the OP in that I think this could get very ugly indeed.

Jim - Bahala na!
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Old 24-05-2010, 15:00   #17
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I had to think about it, but we’ve been to Jamaica 6 times in the past 10 years. Sometimes it was just for one day on a cruise ship, sometimes for 3 or 4 days. Always we have been in Montego Bay or Ocho Rios. So I don’t pretend to have the same knowledge as people who have actually lived there. But, we have always noted the difference in the persistence of street vendors compared to other Caribbean islands. This I do know something about, because we cruised the eastern Caribbean for 2 years. This difference never scared us off; we kept going back; and I would do so again. But I have never been to Jamaica on a cruising sailboat, and I probably would not do so for an extended period. I should also mention that in our tours of the interior I have seen people living in hovels that look like pictures of Haiti except with foliage. I have also met extremely industrious, friendly, down to earth, funny people, including a husband and wife who worked a combined 5 jobs for over 10 years in order to buy their dream house on the hill overlooking Ocho Rios. Compared to the Leeward/Windward islands, Jamaica is huge, millions of people, and problems/issues that would be incomprehensible in a place like St. Maarten.

I love Ocho Rios - lots to do: Gun Stock Falls, the beach, a unique cloistered mall, chair lift, the Reggae Festival in February (I think). And when one of the first things you see when you get off a cruise ship is a bronze monument to Bob Marley - life size statue of him singing and playing the guitar - well yeah, there are gonna be some ganja guys around. But those guys are never aggressive - just kinda fun to kid around with and very laid back, mon. Ocho Rios is a very small tourist-oriented town. What shocked us in 2008 was walking down the path to the beach and seeing the addition of concertina wire just a few yards from Bob Marley and the Tiki bars. We gave each other "WTF" looks. Partly this was because just a few days before we had been in one of our all time favorite ports, Phillipsburg, St. Maarten - an even smaller town on a much smaller island, but also the major port of entry, accommodating cruise, cargo, and container ships. In Phillipsburg, you do the tourist shops along brick paved Front Street and its alleys, then you go down another alley to the boardwalk and an immaculate beach with crystal clear water which stretches for miles around the port and is open to all. There’s a big difference between Holland and Jamaica but then again, nothing can match Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee.

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Old 24-05-2010, 15:14   #18
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Guess I will have to chime in. Starting in the early seventies I used to visit Jamaica 2-3 times a year. From Atlanta I could fly round trip to MoBay for $129 and had friends that owned a hotel in Ocho Rios where I could stay cheap. I have also sailed there several times including a trip with my wife and 18 month old daughter so think I have a pretty good background to judge.

First, I think everyone has to agree that Jamaica is a more dangerous place now than it was in the 70s and 80s. Even then even the Jamaicans cautioned about getting into the wrong neighborhood (like Trenchtown) in Kingston. Today I think Kingston is about the same but there are a lot more places you need to watch yourself. Even in the tourist areas and even in midday you need to keep your street smarts with you.

Yes there are plenty of safe places but Jamaica can be risky but so can LA or Newark or Atlanta. I do not recommend it for young, single women unless they plan staying a safe area or all-in-one resort. Will agree with previous posts, in general Negril, Ocho Rios, most of MoBay are safe but still be aware. Our last trip my wife and daughter were accosted at Dunn's River Falls on a Sunday afternoon by a large group of very unpleasant men. Fortunately I showed up with the car before we found out how ugly it could have been. I asked friends there and was told that this area was not safe without an escort.

Too bad because 99% of the people are wonderful and it's a beautiful country. I might go back but I would be careful, even in Negril.
The water is always bluer on the other side of the ocean.
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Old 24-05-2010, 16:32   #19
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While I'm not a fan of Kingston I do like Port Antonio and felt fairly safe there.
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Old 24-05-2010, 17:43   #20
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Yes, I've been to Port Antonio - great food, drink, music, and fun, but ....

For some insight into the kind of split personality of Port Antonio, go here:

BoatUS Cruising Logs

Oddly, the best jerked seafood I've ever had was in one of the quirky restaurants on the boardwalk in Phillipsburg, St Maarten, but I'm not a connoisseur.
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Old 25-05-2010, 06:46   #21
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While I believe the bulk of US television is pure garbage, mankind has been finding innovative ways to be horrible to each other for many thousands of years.

Wherever you are in the world, it pays to be attentive to your surroundings, polite to those you meet and prepared to keep yourself and your belongings safe. My career was in law enforcement, and probably the number one rule is to trust your instincts. Instincts is kind of a fuzzy concept, but it's probably related to being alert, observant and not being too proud to remove yourself from a situation. You really do get that feeling on the back of your neck at times, trust it.
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Old 25-05-2010, 11:53   #22
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For the latest, go here:

Dozens killed in Jamaican violence -
"There's nothing . . . absolutely nothing . . . half so much worth doing as simply messing around in boats."

Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows (River Rat to Mole)
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Old 25-05-2010, 12:19   #23
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Drug Lords ? Don't you hommies know the real BIG drug lords are in /or connected to the gov'mnt. the poor folks at the bottom just want a little piece of the action.
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Old 25-05-2010, 20:50   #24
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If you don't go to Kingston, how are you going to visit the Bob Marley museum?
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Old 25-05-2010, 21:16   #25
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I'll Pass

Bermuda is getting bad too.
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Old 27-05-2010, 23:32   #26
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At least 73 killed in Jamaica

BBC News - ‎6 hours ago‎
Jamaican police say at least 73 people have been killed in four days of fighting as police hunt for an alleged drug lord in Kingston.


I hate drugs.
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Old 28-05-2010, 04:39   #27
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No thanks!

I have good friends who visit for vacation every year. They love it...

I hear about drugs on every corner and badgering hawkers. Seriously, I wouldn't go if I had free tickets.

A man who is not afraid of the sea will soon be drowned, he said, for he will be going out on a day he shouldn't. But we do be afraid of the sea, and we only be drowned now and again.

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unrest, Jamaica

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