Destination: Jamaica

World Travel Watch: Violence in Jamaica, World Cup Preparations in South Africa and More

Larry Habegger rounds up global travel news

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Seven Breakfasts Every World Traveler Must Eat

Seven Breakfasts Every World Traveler Must Eat iStockPhoto

Petit dejeuner, frühstück, desayuno -- call it what you will. Terry Ward dishes on some of the world's great breakfasts.

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Jamaica to Travelers: Come See Our Jewish History

The country is pushing to get travelers to experience the island beyond its beaches. From the Wall Street Journal:

From the tourism minister on down, Jamaican officialdom has embraced a plan to market the nation’s Jewish history as a way of wooing a new segment of travelers.

Tourism officials admit that Jamaica’s Jewish history has been a “well-kept secret,” but that doesn’t mean it’s not rich. For instance: Jewish pirates!

Jamaica: Playing Chicken with the Jerks

Jamaica: Playing Chicken with the Jerks iStockPhoto

Roger Rapoport loves Jamaica. But driving on the island's roads? Not so much.

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Into Jamaica’s Maroon Country

Into Jamaica’s Maroon Country Photo by rappensuncle via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by rappensuncle via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Matt Carroll recently ditched the resort and went looking for the descendants of the Maroons, the historic communities of escaped slaves that formed in the Jamaican interior and fought a running battle with the British for more than a century. His story is in the Guardian.

Paul Theroux: ‘The Cross-Country Trip is the Supreme Example of the Journey as the Destination’

Yet one of the most intrepid travel writers alive had never driven across the U.S. So when the Smithsonian asked him and five other travel writers to take on their dream assignments, he picked the cross-country trip. He delivered a beautiful story. He writes:

In my life, I had sought out other parts of the world—Patagonia, Assam, the Yangtze; I had not realized that the dramatic desert I had imagined Patagonia to be was visible on my way from Sedona to Santa Fe, that the rolling hills of West Virginia were reminiscent of Assam and that my sight of the Mississippi recalled other great rivers. I’m glad I saw the rest of the world before I drove across America. I have traveled so often in other countries and am so accustomed to other landscapes, I sometimes felt on my trip that I was seeing America, coast to coast, with the eyes of a foreigner, feeling overwhelmed, humbled and grateful.

The other five writers involved are Susan Orlean (Destination: Morocco), Francine Prose (Japan), Geoffrey C. Ward (India), Caroline Alexander (Jamaica) and Frances Mayes (Poland). Here’s Jan Morris’s introduction to the project.

Move Jah Body

Times are tough and hotels are working all the angles to get guests interested these days. The air is thick with “Stimulus Package” deals (at least they don’t also include chocolate-covered strawberries, the previous gold standard in hotel-land add-ons) and other gimmicks reflecting the trends of today. Even so, when this came over the transom, we were both puzzled and intrigued: Jake’s, a great (and inexpensive) property on Treasure Beach on Jamaica’s southern coast, is offering a “reggaelates” program. What, pray tell, is reggaelates? Why, it’s Pilates mixed with reggae music, of course. Think of it as chocolate in your exercise peanut butter. The real pitfall: employing small motor skills in Jamaica isn’t always easy, especially when you’re grooving to those reggae beats. 

Gone Missing: One Jamaican Beach

Finding James Bond in Jamaica

This year marks the centenary of James Bond creator Ian Fleming’s birth. To celebrate, the Telegraph’s Simon Williams headed to Jamaica to spend some time at Goldeneye, the house where 14 Bond novels were written. The resulting essay includes some thought-provoking speculation about how Bond would have coped with modern air travel (particularly “the smoke-detectors in the loos”), and how the island might have inspired 007’s creator. From the story: “Fleming once said, ‘writing makes you more alive to your surroundings.’ Perhaps that’s why three of his books lead 007 to Jamaica. ... Here, anyway, is where all those characters were born.”

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Visiting Bob Marley’s Jamaica and ‘the Government Yard in Trench Town’

Trench Town, the tough Kingston neighborhood made famous in Bob Marley’s No Woman, No Cry, got some love from the New York Times today. Tens of thousands of visitors are expected in the Caribbean during the next two months for the Cricket World Cup, and Marley’s old neighborhood is one place that could see an increase in visitors. “In Trench Town, where street gangs battle over turf and where people live in shacks about the size of the garages at the glorious homes in the hills, expectations for the cricket tournament are high,” the Times reports. “Community leaders will have tour guides at the ready to take visitors around a neighborhood they say has a proud past.”

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In Defense of Caribbean Tourism

Few regions of the world are as dependent on tourism as the Caribbean. “Nonetheless, the literature on Caribbean tourism is surprisingly critical,” writes Orlando Patterson in an interesting opinion column in the New York Times. “Foreign anthropologists complain about the ‘tourist gaze’ and the distortion of local cultures; local chauvinists declaim that ‘tourism is whorism.’” Patterson, a professor of sociology at Harvard, calls these charges “largely puerile.” Tourism, he suggests, “enhances residents’ awareness of indigenous cultures, and it supports large numbers of entertainers.”

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Have Bong, Will Travel

High Times profiles top spots for the perfect “stoner vacation.” Making the list: Ibiza (hosting the first annual World Marijuana FIlm Festival); Negril, Jamaica (“Pot Paradise”); and, naturally, Amsterdam (“Not only is it home to arguably the best marijuana in the world, but it’s also the freest in its attitudes toward smoking pot”).

Carnival Cruise Ship Rescues 28 Cuban Migrants

According to the Houston Chronicle’s Cynthia Leonor Garza, the Cubans—25 men and three women—were found off the coast of Jamaica last Wednesday and brought on board Carnival’s Conquest cruise liner. The migrants, she writes, soon will be taken into custody on a U.S. Coast Guard boat so that immigration officials can interview the migrants and hear asylum claims. It’s the second time in a month that the Conquest has picked up Cuban migrants on the open seas.

Documentary Looks at Jamaica Tourists Don’t See

“Life and Debt,” a new documentary showing in limited theaters, examines the effects of globalization and institutions such as the World Bank on post-independence Jamaica. The film “contrasts the hard lot of Jamaicans with the luxurious tropical fantasy paradise experienced by tourists who arrive in posh Montego Bay and never see the grim shantytown realities of Kingston,” reviewer Kevin Thomas writes in today’s Los Angeles Times.

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