Cliff-jumping in Negril, Western Jamaica, being surreptitiously offered ganja on the ‘hip-strip’ and learning patois……some of us have a hard life here in Mo’ Bay, which seems a long way from the cares of the world right now. Yet, the chill of harsher realities have a habit of making their presence felt. Jamaica has two faces. One, which the tourists see, is colourful, vibrant and over-confident. The other which few tourists get to see, is of a nation lacking in self esteem, young in many aspects of world-scene issues, and daily facing difficult moral choices. A friend had her car stolen by the simple expedient of the thief and accomplice waiting beside her car port and demanding the keys yesterday. The existence of resort hotels which cocoon visitors inside gated, secure environments, buttresses them against the harsher economic realities and consequent civil disobedience in a nation whose primary income is from tourism.
When away, I do like to keep abreast of other issues thus I’m in the middle of reading a history of al-Qaeda, if such exists any more. A friend in Jerusalem found herself uncomfortably close to the recent terror and a child known to her was killed. The authors of mayhem against the West have not gone away, neither are they sleeping. Reading between the lines recently – a subtle pastime when it comes to the McCain/Obama race – American Jewry seems to be getting behind the safer horse. Obama’s sense of what is historically relevant translates into a delusion that radical Islamic terror can be pacified solely with financial and diplomatic pressure. You can’t see the whites of their eyes, much less curtail their activities by ham-fisted ‘westernised’ methods. If he doesn’t understand this then one fears he might have to learn the hard way.
Back to the present. Negril’s cliffs are anything from 35 to 45 ft high, dependent on who one asks. A jump from the highest one is a brief but satisfying adrenalin rush…..When asking ‘ how deep is the water’ the response ‘deep enuff, mon’ is strangely comforting.