Artemis Drifting

Just because she tippietoes, doesn't mean she's a creepin'.

Jamaica: First Impression

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The air is humid here, it sticks to your skin like the quick slap of a moist sheet. But just as soon as the perspiration slicks your skin, the breeze – a constant salty surge – steals it away towards the starving flora. Raphael tells me that it should rain soon. I can see this part of the land needs it. The trees on the many hillsides are a vibrant green, but there is a fragility to their branches – as if they were as hollow as reeds. I wonder if the grass will crackle like fire beneath my feet.

We are further along now, the trees grow higher as they spread up what has now become small mountains. To the left of me I see the ocean. The water breaks in a way I am unfamiliar with. As far as I can see over the ocean, whose colors change in such a way that I think of Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night. Swirls of aqua marine run with the erratic-ness of paint dripping down an uneven surface. The waves come across to me as disorganized. Schizophrenic, they roll in foamy crashes with no allegiance to the greater swells. The beaches of Florida, the waves come in thick lines, timely reshaping the shore. Here they appear as a flipped sky full of scattering doves.

The buildings I see consist of three primary materials. Ruffle chip aluminum siding, pitted concrete and thin lengths of bleached wood. What I would so often as a child procure as a walking staff (magical or useful) prop up shanty’s that I can hardly believe survive the wind.

Now we have traveled many miles away from the airport. I am fascinated by the reeds that stretch no less than twelve feet from the ground and are flagged with delicate blades, like the folds of a silk fan. They remind me of cattails, but with style.

I see billboards now and then along the winding road, primarily directed at tourists. Frozen smiles stretch beneath clear goggles that perch on white foreheads. I know better. For one, goggles set there leave a tacky imprint of inexperience, and I demand to see the lines of pink and peach beneath them. The sun cares not if you furrow your brow, it will burn what it can reach.

There are abandoned structures everywhere in the nests of road side grasses. Gazebos overrun with vines and hollowed concrete homes that seem to be more windows than walls.

We have traveled far away from the conventional tourists hotels and villas now. Yet I still do not feel swallowed by the country side. Every now and then, I see a bus stop bench that would require a walk I would never voluntarily take. Ah, my first goat sighting. They seem more like small gazelles than the ones at home, whose bellies stretch bloated beyond their ribs.

The first flower I see is vermillion red and numerous as leaves on a branch. To survive here you must race quickly and with many reinforcements towards the sun.

Finally, we are far away, nestled between enormous mountains. I see where they have blasted the road through, but the south’s stone is gray as rain clouds. The ones here remind me of chips of bone.

I am exhausted from the weekend and subsequent doctors visit. I fight to keep my eyes open. Not until I am in the private villa will I sleep. This land is comforting to watch fly by. It would only become complicated if you regarded the rapid changes of scenery like nuances to the ‘experience’ and the buildings with academic brown nosing.

Hello Jamaica. I hope we can become close.

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