After almost a week in Kingston it was time for me and J to say goodbye (or see you soon as it turned out to be) to the girls in our hostel and hop on a bus to Ocho Rios, also known as Ochi, a smaller city on the north coast of the island. The bus ride in itself was already an experience. There are no timetables or any information about what time the bus will leave, it leaves when it’s full and if you ask about when it leaves the answer is “soon”. But when I say full that is not really the case, it just means that all the seats are taken. Then, along the way, the bus will stop and take more passengers so that in the end also all the extra seats between the actual seats are taken and some people may even be standing. Not the most comfortable way of traveling but the landscapes and views from Kingston, through the Blue Mountains, to Ochi were amazing.
Ochi in itself was not that special, just an ordinary small town by the sea. It did bother us a bit how touristic it was, hotels on the beach and cruise ships stopping by every day. It didn’t really look Jamaican to me (J confirmed this), nor did it look like a paradisiac island by the Caribbean Sea, it could have been a beach resort town anywhere in the world. Still, there was not really much to complain about. The weather was perfect and the beach nice so we decided to concentrate on taking it easy after all the heavy partying and (mostly J’s case) dancing in Kingston. On the bus we were chatting with a local guy, T, who told us about a beach party on the same night. Small town life, we soon noticed that there were not that many options for going out so we decided to join him. Besides, who could resist music, an open barbeque bar or watching the sunset on the beach? Well not us at least. We got company of a lovely Swedish girl from our hostel, C, and spent a great night chilling on the beach, meeting new people and just having fun.
The two following days we tanned on the beach, wandered around the town, found a lovely market, had vegan food and delicious smoothies in small local restaurants, and got to know pretty much everyone in Ochi.
One evening me, J and our new Australian friend, N, decided to go out and ended up just walking back and forth on the main street. We stayed for a while at one bar where we were hosted by identical twin sisters, S and S. S who was more talkative than the other S told us everything about their lives, while saying that actually it was her sister who usually did all the talking and who was the popular one. She also claimed that her sister was the prettier one but to us they were both equally very beautiful and charming and such lovely girls to hang out with. We then moved to another place were we played dominos for a while because apparently that’s what people do here when they go out. At first I didn’t really see the point but when I got the hang of the game (and started winning more often than loosing!) it was fun. Last, after a walk on the beach, we ended up in a bar which turned out to be the place to be that night. It was packed with people and the music was good. Unlike in Kingston, the non-dancing-rules did not apply in Ochi so J finally got the chance to show us her moves with another one of our new acquaintances, dancer boy J.
After the party we stayed for a while on the terrace of one restaurant on our street (because we already knew everyone from there as well), sipping coconut water and talking with people. It was such a fun night; casual going out, enjoying the warm summer breeze, and spontaneously meeting people and making new friends. And the best part: no need to stay up until the morning! I take back everything I’ve ever said about the topic city vs countryside; I think I like small town life. Or well, at least for a while every now and then. Living in Ochi would probably drive me crazy. Like, I have to tell you, there was this man in our hostel who was staying in the room next to ours. Based on his accent I would say that he was Irish or Scottish and maybe something between 40 and 50 years old. He didn’t really talk to anyone even if we tried. But we heard that he has stayed there at the hostel for quite a while already and all we saw him do was either spend time somewhere on the terrace smoking weed, or sitting in his room rolling weed that he would then smoke. I don’t know why on earth he had chosen to stay in a hostel in Ochi, I mean I would get it if he wanted some alone time and stayed somewhere in beautiful nature, in the middle of nowhere. But in Ochi, can’t understand. But he seemed to be enjoying his time, as did we.
I'm Emilia, Finnish-Parisian, a recent Master's graduate. I'm currently traveling around the Caribbean and on a volunteering mission in Colombia. I'm passionate about writing, music and different kinds of sports. I can't wait to discover new places and cultures - and share my adventures with you!