Jamaica is not one of those widely lusted over travel destinations that are at the top of most people's bucket lists. It's known as being the former murder capital of the world, the place that brews some great rum and the home country of legends Usain Bolt and Bob Marley.
For my mum, visiting Jamaica has always been a life-long dream and to go visit where one of her favourite people in the world (apart from me) was from.
I'm pretty sure my mum was a Rastafarian in her previous life, and as soon as we stepped off of the boat and onto Jamaica it was like mum became the real version of herself. Once stepping foot on Jamaican soils, and soaking up the touristy area that surrounded us, we jumped in a van and were taken on a crazy drive throughout Jamaica to Nine Miles, the small village where the one and only Bob Marley was born and where he was laid to rest. It was super scary in Jamaica, i'm not going to lie. I would have to say it was one of the most poverty stricken places i've ever witnessed. The villages and ghettos that we drove through were almost the definition of third world and when we arrived at the Bob Marley Mausoleum, we were greeted by two security guards who unlocked massive 7 foot, barbed-wire framed gates. We all breathed a sigh of relief when the security guards locked the gates securely behind us.
After we departed the van, this little metre by metre square door opened up in the fence, closely followed by about three Jamaican men who popped their heads through and yelled out something along the lines of "You want to buy some ganja, mun". I'm not taking the piss, I promise. They all hung through the small gap in the fence with spliffs and baggies weighing down their arms. It was honestly one of the most funniest things ever. For one they sounded and looked so Jamaican. Like what you imagine a Jamaican to be, they were exactly that. All barefooted, dreadlocks down to their waists and wearing rasta colours. Secondly, it was crack up cos they were offering weed so openly. And they were bloody big joints. I think mum and dad paid like $5 or something like that for them.
I found a picture on Google which was very accurately captured so you know i'm not exaggerating the story.
They also offered my youngest brother, Zane (11) a hash brownie which he politely declined.
The Bob Marley Mausoleum tour was so incredibly cool and so informative. The whole time the sweet sounds of a reggae band were playing in the background and adding to the once in a lifetime experience.
I'm going to insert a bit about the Bob Marley Mausoleum Tour from Wikipedia below because it explains what I learned so well.
"The Bob Marley Mausoleum is a tourist attraction located in Nine Mile, managed by members of Marley’s family. It has many historical artifacts including guitars, awards and photographs. Nine Mile is where Bob Marley’s musical career began and also influenced many of his songs.
"There is a Rasta-colored ‘rock pillow’ on which Marley laid his head when seeking inspiration. His body lies buried along with his guitar in a 2.5 m-tall oblong marble mausoleum inside a small church of traditional Ethiopian design. There are two mausoleums on the property. The first entered is Mama Marley’s. The second entombs Marley."
We weren't allowed to take photos inside of Mama Marley or Bob's tombs. But boy it was an insane and incredible knowing you were where a worldwide legend lay.
The rasta coloured rock pillow was also a pretty amazing bit of information to learn about. The rock pillow is located outside of Bob Marley's tomb and sits on one of the highest points of Nine Mile. From the rock pillow you can lookout over a great chunk of Jamaica and it was where Bob Marley would often rest against and write songs, smoke a spliff or just lax out on. After the guide lay down to show us how Bob would do, mum was the only one to get down, rest on the rock and see what Bob saw - spliff in hand.
After the tour we jumped back into our van and traveled back to the touristy part of Jamaica. On the way back we stopped and tried some fresh sugarcane. Sugarcane was all over the island.
After chilling on the beach for a bit and meeting up with our other mates who we were on the cruise with (They did the Appletons Rum tour I think) we all jumped back on the boat and before we knew it our day in Jamaica was all over!
And while Jamacia left a pretty amazing impression on me, it seemed I left a pretty good impression on one of the local Jamaican boys. Because when I got back to the boat I saw I had a Facebook message from one of the boys who I was talking to there. Before you ask how he got my Facebook name, blame my mum. She gave him my details.