Home is…

Camelia Way, North view.

I will risk my own personal safety (and that of my guests) by saying that this is where I live.

Camelia Way, South view.

(Caption) Same as above but south.

The House

Jamaica is a very interesting place. Jamaica caters to tourists more than anywhere else I have ever been in the world. This is no more clear than outside the All-Inclusive resorts that line the coast of Negril and Montego Bay where people outside the walls live for under $2 a day, while those inside the walls are charged at least $200 a night (per person, but hey drinks are included right?).

Given how inflated the prices are in tourist areas, there was no way we could afford to spend an entire month in a hotel or in any sort of accommodation marketed to tourists. Instead I elected to stay here (see house above) for the affordable rate of “Double the Jamaican Rate… since you are American”. Nevertheless, the accommodations are inexpensive enough and offer a clean, quiet, and safe place to call home.

In addition to our room, the house has another 4 bedrooms, 2 full bathrooms that are shared, a shared kitchen with full stove and refrigerator, and a shared living room. The yard is neither manicured nor neat and is filled with clotheslines covered in the colorful clothes of my housemates, green mangoes which have fallen off the trees too early, 2 large dogs to provide security (and peace of mind) at night, and a small one room structure where a man lives. I have never met him so more on this at another date.

The Room 1

The Room 2

The room appears to be large and small at the same time. If this were a college dorm room it would be an average single (by Columbia’s standards) or a small double for an unlucky pair of sophomores. However, with just under 50 pounds of possessions, plus a backpack and carry-on bag, there is very little in the room to take up space. The room has a bunk bed, a single twin bed, a closet, a chair, a chest of drawers, a broken television, a fan, and a disconnected air conditioner (A/C cost an extra $1.25/ day so I will put up with the sticky heat and the buzzing of the fan for now). This is where I have spent the majority of my time this week, sleeping, emailing, planning, etc. The closet in the corner is filled with food from MegaMart (one of the largest market in Kingston) where I bought enough goods to last me the month. The door with the metal grate in the background provides some much needed air circulation during the day, but is a dangerous temptress at night. My first night here marked the beginning of my Jamaican Odyssey. I was lulled to sleep by a cool breeze– as comforting and enchanted as a Siren tune. The next morning however, I was awaken by the obnoxious buzz of my blackberry alarm, covered in Mosquito bites, and feeling as disoriented and betrayed as a shipwrecked Greek Sailor. (see Wiki Siren)

More posts to come this weekend. Stay tuned.

Chelsey W. Roebuck

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