Ocho Rios is Kinda Sucky

We arrived in Ocho Rios on Monday, March 13. We had driven, mostly without incident, from the Montego Bay airport.

We found out too late that Ocho Rios is a cruise ship port. Every day a new behemoth arrives and disgorges its load of passengers who wander around town buying souvenirs. Consequently, numerous shops and market stalls have sprung up to sell these people crappy junk.

Besides the cruise ships, all-inclusive resorts abound, where sun seekers can pay $350 per day to a hotel corporation to sit on a beach, get fed and entertained by loud DJs who exhort them to get up and drink. The only money that goes to the local economy goes into the pockets of corrupt politicians. Oh, yeah, and minimum wage to the workers.

On our third day, we walked to a restaurant in the “real” part of town that had actual retail shops, where everyone on the street was involved in some mundane everyday activity. We were reminded of Senegal. Everyone speaking the African-sounding Jamaican language. Everything in a general state of disrepair, yet still mostly functional. A transportation center was dispatching overloaded route taxis that looked like newer versions of the sept places.

Still, in the end, we were glad to see Ocho Rios in our rear view mirror.