My nostalgic recollection of the spliff-tastic two-man 'Beach Party' I shared with Mad Irish Dave has started me thinking back to my (thus far, only) visit to Jamaica. Well, that and the recipe for Jerk Chicken which Yahoo has unaccountably been splashing all over its e-mail for the past month or so (all readers seem to be agreed that it is a very bad Jerk recipe!).
I am in fact laying plans for a reefers'n'reggae party to celebrate Marley's birthday next year - having recently reminded myself of the date from the Internet (during one of my increasingly intermittent periods of access): an ideal way to chase away the chilly mid-winter blues.
I spent barely two weeks in Jamaica, at the end of my undergraduate career; but it was one of the most intense, most vivid, most diverse experiences of my life (the first time I'd ever been in the tropics, in the Third World.... very nearly the first time I'd been anywhere overseas!).
I was immediately impressed very favourably by the attitude of the island when I encountered a large 'welcome' banner draped across the exit lobby of the airport. It did not say - as you would expect in a stiffer, more prosaic, more strait-laced country.... in almost any other country in the world - "Welcome to Kingston, the capital of Jamaica", or "Welcome to the beautiful island", or "Welcome to Norman Manley International Airport".
No - it said, "Welcome to the home of Red Stripe beer!"
I thought to myself: "I am going to like this place!"