Those who know me know very well that even if I love going out for a drink or two at a nice bar (preferably a rooftop terrace) in nice company, I have no interest in spending my time in nightclubs. I admit that it can be fun when the music is good, when you're surrounded by friends and have had exactly the right amount to drink, but usually it’s just not worth loosing a good night of sleep. Maybe I’m officially too old for it or maybe I just did party enough when I was younger. Anyway, I had been waiting for partying in Kingston with mixed feelings: excitement and horror. Here’s how it’s been going so far. ;)
Once again, it’s such a blessing travelling with J. She knows everything there is to know about parties and going out in Kingston so all I have to do is to follow her and stay awake. We went mostly to dancehall parties because J wanted to see dancers. In reggae places it might be different but based on what I know now there are some basic things you need to be aware of. First of all, everything starts late. And with late I mean that people really don’t go out before 1am the earliest. There are two main parties every night and they are the same every week. So when you learn by heart the weekly schedule it is quite easy to keep track of what is happening and it saves you the trouble of deciding where to go. So the first party starts around 1am. At some point around 3 or 4am it ends, which means that the DJ suddenly stops playing and people start leaving. Then they all move to the second place and the party goes on until 7am or so. The places where we have been have all been outside which is great, especially when the weather is beautiful like it is now (like it always is).
One party, the second one every Thursday, which is called Whappings (I’m not sure if I spelled it right) is a street party. It means that a huge amount of people gathers on a street, on both sides. There’s music and dance and cars pass between people. We went there on New Year’s eve and that was something totally different from what I’ve seen in Europe!
Another interesting thing about the parties is about music and dancing. First of all, the music stops every 10 seconds and the DJ speaks so it’s nearly impossible to dance. Second of all, usually in Kingston parties you’re not even supposed dance but only watch the professional dancers who dance. The dancers, I mean those who really do it for a living (or try their best to do) compete about who gets to be filmed by a video light that circulates among the crowd. I find the first point a little bit weird because I don’t really understand the English they speak here or know about the dance moves they talk about. So, I don’t get the point of stopping the music all the time. What I do is watch people stand still, or ok move to the music but not really dance, and listen to what the DJ says. I can do it for maybe an hour but then I get tired and bored and try to find people to talk to or something more interesting to do. But one thing I like is when the dancers start their show, that is really cool to watch!
Oh and the last thing about partying here. Of course, the dress code. What I like about here is that there really isn't any, except for maybe "less is more". Seriously, like J said, if she wears clothes that she would were when going out in Europe she feels like going to church. And that's true, in my shorts and top I was more covered and conservative than any local girl I saw. Here women can show as much bare skin as they dare (and trust me, they dare) and dress exactly as they want. Some of the creations I saw at parties were quite impressive, I'm still laughing at the memory. But the real good point is that you can dress as you wish, regardless of your body type. You don't have to be slim to wear a tight minidress, and unlike in Europe here women are proud of their curves and this time "the more the better!" I'm sure that they are more self-confident and far less body conscious than in Europe and that is great.
Here comes pictures of some moments that managed to capture.
We usually come home around 6am but once we stayed until almost 7 and the sun was already up when we took a taxi back to the hostel. Then I really felt like a winner. Here's some pics. That night we also went for a walk in Downtown with some people we met while sitting at the pier and waiting for the party to start. It was cool the see Downtown by night, with no people selling stuff it was completely deserted, like a ghost town.
What do we do then when we come home? Sleep until midday and then try to do something useful with the rest of the day. I like to wake up early but I have realized that there is no point in forcing myself to do that here because there’s not much to do during the day. It is better to take a rest and regain some energy for the following night out because Kingston really lives in the night. I like to observe people in our hostel. We have a big garden/terrace/outdoor-bar-area where people chill, listen to music and smoke weed. Yesterday two guys were sleeping on the terrace literally the whole day, I guess they had partied quite many nights in a row. By the way, one other funny thing here is smoking weed (I haven’t tried yet). Everyone smokes but no one smokes cigarettes, only weed. And in parties there are guys who go around selling it. The smell of weed is everywhere and it’s horrible, it makes me feel nauseous and queasy. I’m really not made for living here, haha. Anyway, I’ve survived three nights already, quite an achievement! And I must say that even if I’m tired it has been interesting and mostly a lot of fun. Today we are going to see a dancing contest earlier in the evening so after that no going out but sleeping. Can’t wait.
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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!