I stepped onto a worn dock with crystal blue water flowing beneath. I breathed in the air of the Caribbean Sea and the jungle full of creatures and greenery that awaited. Looking at the clear blue water, I could see colorful fish swarming the bits of food thrown at them, and dolphins far out in the sunset leaping from the water. A feeling of pure joy and peace came over me: I had finally arrived in Jamaica.
I walked down the docks to Montego Bay, with the colors of green, yellow, and black flashing in my face, echoes of “aright” being shouted through the air, and the smiling, glowing faces of Jamaicans greeting me, as I stepped on land. It was the start of a four-day vacation exploring a new place with its many activities.
Our first day in Montego Bay was full of sightseeing – unique buildings, wildlife that roamed the streets, and Jamaican culture. Our tour guide shepherded us safely through the sketchy areas, the high-class areas, and the back roads that are hardly ever seen. My favorite part had to be the actual car ride. Jamaicans drive like race car drivers – untrained ones at that. They are in a hurry to get everywhere, will shoot the gap with just two seconds to spare, and will drift along those long turns for an extra thrill. But in addition to the exciting driving, the culture and outlook on life in Jamaica is beautiful and breathtaking. Jamaicans live such peaceful lives and always believe “that every little thing is gonna be all right.”
Day two in Montego Bay was filled with exploring the sea and its creatures. As we climbed into the pontoon boat and collected our life jackets and snorkeling gear, the beautiful sunrise appeared in front of us. Juno, our captain, greeted us with an “aright” (in Jamaica, this means “good times”) and explained the rules of his boat. He then proceeded to blare Bob Marley music and drive off into the crystal blue water. Soon we were in the Caribbean Sea, with different species of fish and creatures swimming all around us. I dove down and witnessed the beauty of the underwater world and the thrill of finding big seashells in the sand, sights we miss living on the Gulf of Mexico.
Day three in Montego Bay was a flying adventure. In a bus, we drove the trails into Montego Bay’s jungle to the camp where we would go zip-lining. My partner was Jamaican Jerry, the funniest, tallest one of all. Struggling up the tight, winding trails to the first line, nerves and excitement overwhelmed me. As Jerry clicked my harness belt onto the zip line rail, my heart began to drop and my hands began to shake. Jamaican Jerry told me to breathe, forget the worries, and then sang the famous words of Bob Marley, “Don’t worry about a thing, every little thing is gonna be all right.” And off I sailed into the jungle, soaring through the air. It was such a rush to see all the green around me and the many rivers intertwining through the jungle. Zip lining through the jungle allowed me to focus on the beauty we so often miss.
Day four, our final day, was spent at Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville. With a restaurant, club, and water park, this was definitely a place we wouldn’t get bored of. The music was loud, people were dancing on tables to the wobble, adults surrounded the bar, and little kids ran on the docks, eager for their turn down the big yellow slide. Smiles and laughs filled Margaritaville.
After experiencing new things and seeing all these sights, I felt truly blessed to witness this place full of different outlooks on life, culture and people who believe in good times. It’s a vacation I will always cherish, and I hope to return and witness even more of its beauty where everything is always “aright.”
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.