Jamaica Advice

Old Mar 12, 05, 4:08 pm
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Jamaica Advice

JAMAICA ADVICE
Hi folks: I'm thinking of a visit to Jamaica, likely over the summer. Any advice on things to do, places to see and to stay, general attitudes to gay tourists? Places in mind are Montego Bay (MBJ), Kingston (KIN), Ocho Rios (OCJ) and Negril. Any advice greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
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Old Mar 12, 05, 4:19 pm
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AVOID Kingston at all costs (if you value your life). Had to go on business .. three hotels (for business and all right next to each other) and 3 blocks to the office. Was told NOT to walk to another hotel after dark and told NOT to walk alone to the office - they would send a car.

NOT a vacation place.

Mobay, Ochi etc are touristy. As far a GLBT friendly .. do not know. Many are couples resorts all inclusive and not available. Summer time will be very hot and NOT a tourist season.

You will also need to be aware of the hurricane season .. and the destuction of last fall.. not everything is rebuilt .. yes the major places are up and running but the smaller places may take longer.

Best option would be to find someone who knows someone .. that can provide you with location by location details. I just wanted to tell you that you aint safe in Kingston!
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Old Mar 12, 05, 9:00 pm
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In Mo Bay the tourists are constantly hassled.
Kingston is just plain dangerous.
The whole island is very non gay friendly.
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Old Mar 12, 05, 10:50 pm
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Although there are many gay jamaicans all over the world and in Jamaica of course, it would be unwise to see Jamiaca as a place to "pick up a local" so to speak. Many Jamaicans are extremely homophobic and you would be much wiser to choose another wonderful caribbean island to enjoy.

I am sure that Jamaica is a beautiful country , but why choose such a homophobic island for a holiday?
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Old Mar 13, 05, 9:21 am
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I once won a contest on a local radio station that sent me on a 5 day trip to Jamaica. There's not a single thing that was positive that I can tell you about my experience.

Choose another location.
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Old Mar 13, 05, 12:22 pm
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Thanks for the info so far, guys.

SFO 1K, buddhaman, dbyyz: do you think you guys could elaborate a bit on your experiences? That would help me to know what the potential problem situations might be and help me decide whether a trip is worth the hassle. Thanks.
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Old Mar 13, 05, 8:51 pm
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Everywhere I went I was hassled - and not for being gay. Just approached for money, by children and adults. My hotel did not have hot water for 3 days and no one said a thing about it, despite many complaints. (It's been too long since I went to be able to tell you the name of the hotel.) I was approached after I deplaned and before I entered the terminal to see if I wanted to buy marijuana. I got sick on the food - and the booze was at least 150 proof; it was like rubbing alcohol. UGH.
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Old Mar 13, 05, 8:57 pm
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As someone who has been to 92 or 93 countries (by Century Club count) there are few places I would not like to return to. Jamaica is one of them. I was there 4 Sundays running as the cruise ship I was the doc on was based there. I could count on being approached by someone wanting to sell me drugs, girls, boys, alcohol etc. Any foreigner is assumed to be extremely wealthy and obviously it is your duty to support whomever comes up to you. It is not a safe country for gay folk either. ( A listen to Beenie Mans lyrics or any of several other musicians will confirm that). That said it is a beautiful country with magnificent scenery. If you go take more care than normal and avoid PDAs.
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Old Mar 15, 05, 6:19 pm
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To give you an idea of the level of homophobia in Jamaica, the UK will accept gay Jamaicans as asylum seekers purely on the basis of their sexuality, due to the well documented harrassment and hate crimes that many gays are subjected to there. Kind of ruins that stereotypical image of Jamaica as a happy go lucky place where people just hang out on the beach getting stoned and listening to Bob Marley!
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Old Mar 15, 05, 9:40 pm
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Actually, Jamaica has the highest murder rate of gays of any island country.
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Old Mar 16, 05, 1:22 am
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I lived and worked in Jamaica for 6 months several years ago, and my job took me all over the island many times. All I can say is that everything posted above conforms to my experiences in those cities.

I referred to Kingston (where I lived) as 'a tropical Camden NJ but with none of the charm' -- it is a dirty, overgrown, overpopulated city with many shanty towns and areas of horrible violence. Really no reason to go there as a tourist. A pity, though, because 'back in the day' when most of the British Caribbean islands were still colonies, Kingston was the largest and most cosmopolitan city, not unlike pre-revolutionary Havana. If you look hard enough, you can see several beautiful British colonial buildings downtown that have sadly fallen into disrepair.

MoBay used to the primary vacation spot but has become a metropolis itself (about 200,000 - 300,000 population) and lost whatever idyllic charm it once had.
And Ocho Rios is fast becoming the same way -- overpopulated and surrounded by dirt poor locals who eke out a living selling souvenirs (most, but not all, is junk) or by panhandling. I constantly was accosted by panhandlers -- they guessed since I was white I must be a tourist. I barked out a few patois words I learned and that stopped them in their tracks.


Having said that, I did find a few pleasant towns: Port Antonio (on the northeastern-most coast) and Port Maria (north coast, about half-way between Ocho and Port Antonio). They are much smaller than the other towns, more laid back, less touristy, and with less hassling (although still a little) by panhandlers.

As far as 'things to do', there is enough to keep you busy if you are so inclined. But Jamaica as a whole is more of a place to hit the beach, work on a tan, and eat some seafood. Some attractions near Port Antonio:
Firefly -- last home of Noel Coward, with a fantastic view of the coast and Caribbean
The home of Ian Fleming -- author and creator of James Bond
Rio Grande River -- white water rafting near Port Antonio
Somerset Falls
Long Bay (on NE coast, there is also a Long Bay in the SW) -- the quintessential Caribbean beach
Blue Lagoon -- another beautiful beach, where the Brooke Shield film of the same name was filmed
Blue Mountains are inland from Port Antonio. I am not sure how easy it is to get there from the north; I only drove their from the south (from Kingston)

So, I guess if you are set on Jamaica, there are less unpleasant places to go (boy, that is a left-handed compliment!).

Regarding the gay thing -- yes, the island is very homophobic and I would be very careful about PDAs, etc. I was there on business, so I generally was not on the look-out, but I heard stories of harassment and worse.

BTW, although Blue Mountain coffee is supposed to be the best coffee in the world (certainly the rarest, as it can only be grown on a few thousand acres in the mtns), don't expect great coffee while you are there. Why ?? -- First, they export most of the Blue Mountain for cash, and second, the places that do serve it boil the he11 out it. Even great coffee beans taste awful when not brewed well.

Hope that helps!
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Old Sep 28, 05, 12:29 pm
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Jamaica Observer: "[REGGAE artiste] Buju Banton charged with assault"

REGGAE artiste Buju Banton was on Wednesday offered bail in the sum of $50,000 after he pleaded not guilty to a charge of assault in the night court section of the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court.

The police alleged that Banton was among a group of men who barged into a house on Carlisle Avenue in Kingston on June 24 last year and beat six men who they accused of being homosexuals.

On Wednesday, the rastafarian entertainer was ordered to report to the Constant Spring Police Station every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, between the hours of 6:00 am and 8:00 pm as a condition of his bail.

The case against Buju Banton will come before the court on September 30.

Buju Banton, whose name is Mark Myrie rose to prominence almost 15 years ago with hardcore dancehall lyrics. One of his early hit singles, Boom Bye Bye, drew great criticism from gay rights groups, which claimed the song incited the murder of gay persons. Buju Banton is one of eight dancehall artistes who have come under pressure from gay rights lobby groups in Europe and the United States for their gay-bashing lyrics. In fact, several of these artistes have had a number of their stage shows cancelled as a result of the pressure...
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/...H_ASSAULT_.asp

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Old Sep 28, 05, 1:00 pm
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That is a sad story about Jamaica. I don't think it is or will be on my list of Caribbean countries to visit. I still prefer Havana,Cuba.
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Old Oct 2, 05, 9:14 pm
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Avoid Jamacia... Period.
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Old Oct 2, 05, 9:33 pm
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I went to MoBay for three nights on the way to St Lucia. Wish I had spent all of the time in St. Lucia instead. My partner and I were constantly bombarded with judgmental stares by the hotel staff. A trip off the resort to a local convenient store resulted in one of the locals asking if we were gay in a bizarre manner. A story from the hotel limo driver confirmed that it was not gay friendly at all. He told us that it was common for locals to throw bottles and rocks at other locals who are suspected to be gay. While we did not stay at Sandle, they do not allow gay couples - very jamaican i guess. With the owner of that resort having a stake in Air Jamaica, that was my last flight on that airline.
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