The Hiace smelled both clean and old, somewhere between the socks section of a Goodwill and fresh pack of copy paper. It still had the original Japanese signage and I still could make it out. “Good”, I thought, “not completely rusty”. During the drive, I distracted myself with the scenery of downtown Montego Bay, quietly reflecting on how crazy the previous 24 hours had been to a soundtrack of 80s soft rock. “Who’s going to hold you close, tonight?” I pantomimed of the Cars’ hit, “Drive”, while the girls behind me sang louder still.
Jamaica is a lush, green place that, if you can, you should walk to view it instead of driving.
Through the looking glass, I found the city vibrant, natural, and elegantly aged like a large Wes Anderson set piece—all of which at 100mph looked kind of like a 3-year-old’s melted crayon drawing. Fixing my eyes on details as they passed, I noticed hundreds of unfinished, generational homes, some of which actually housed families. High above them were the rich whose extravagant, completed homes sat secure in the verdant mountains, beautiful, towering, and obscene. The interstate was something akin to a standard 4-lane boulevard in America. The drivers swerved in and out of the lanes, often without signaling, often while tailgating. This “reckless” style of driving was apparently the safest way to drive in Jamaica according to our driver. I saw multiple advertisements advocating safer driving and even a seemingly current road fatality billboard. Beautiful as Jamaica was, I didn’t want to be apart of that number. I breathed a “holy-shit” and Windex tinged sigh of relief over arriving safely in Jamaica and said a small prayer to leave the same way.