Jamaica has mastered the art of relaxing, and for those open to try it, a more personal and unforgettable travel experience awaits.
Lisa Jondeau smiled as I grumbled about my dinner taking more than one hour to come. We were at PushCart restaurant, a modern version of a classic Jamaican “Jerk Centre” located at the exclusive Rockhouse hotel. With the sounds of the waves crashing against the restaurant´s cliff and the scent of the ocean complementing the appealing aromas coming out of the kitchen, waiting for food wasn´t unpleasant at all. Still, for someone who just landed from fast-paced Berlin, I wasn’t expecting that big change of pace.
After sensing my impatience at the table, Lisa said with a grin on her face a Patwa phrase I heard more than a hundred times during my stay in Jamaica, “no problem, soon come”, meaning, stay calm, it’s going to happen sooner or later.
I met Lisa after my arrival in Jamaica, she was not only the person in charge of showing me Jamaica’s natural beauty but she also taught me how to see a Jamaican way of life.
“Here in Jamaica, slow pace is part of the experience”, she said, just before adding the usual “soon come”. Long waits at the restaurant were not the only sign of how time slows down in this country. For Jamaicans, time itself is big part of the experience and everything will happen when it has to happen.
And while sitting with an ocean view and doing nothing is one of Jamaica’s must do activities, it doesn´t always have to be like that. Jamaica is one of the most vibrant and exciting countries in the world: It´s a combination of exotic flavors and rhythms.
It can be as thrilling or as relaxing as you want, from a quiet sunset on a remote beach to summer cocktails at Rick´s Café, the trendiest hotspot in Negril and famous for its breaktaking views and 12m cliff jump area.
I was on a journey to relearn how to sit back and loosen up. For that reason, my days in the country consisted mostly of exploring Jamaica´s natural getaways and tasting its local cuisine. The beauty of the YS Falls and the scenic views of Cockpit Country in the mountainous heart of Jamaica showed me that the country´s marine beauty is just the tip of the iceberg and there is a whole new world hidden within its inland wilderness.
Furthermore, my nights in Jamaica turned out to be the highlight of my trip. Instead of wild parties and city life, these involved essentially sharing a bottle of local rum with the people around me under a starry sky.
Every night after the lights went off and locals went to sleep, we headed down to the beach and lay on the warm sand while admiring the stars. Little stars appeared as the night went on and this whole experience reminded me how I had been blinded by the city lights. Jamaica let me see the night sky again in its purest form.
There is until now nothing more fascinating than seeing the magnificence of the milky way after spending time in full darkness.
The stars, the sound of waves crawling gently to the shore, the taste of rum while sipping from a glass and sharing laughs, was by far the closest I´ve been to paradise.
Read more: Stargazing in Jamaica
Jamaica’s way of life inspires the ones who need inspiration and serves as a call for those who need to disconnect for a while. It inspired Ian Fleming in creating his famous character James Bond and reminded me how waiting is just part of the journey.
From the wonder of watching a shooting star passing by while listening the sounds of the ocean, to the rich smell and the taste of a fresh lobster in jerk sauce on an isolated beach, Jamaica is an awakening for all the senses.
While waiting at the airport with a glass of Appleton rum in my hand and the last call for the flight to Germany was announced, I could only think for myself, “no problem mon, soon come”. This journey was an intense course on how to relax and I effortlessly passed.