On Saturday we traveled to Coronation Market in Kingston. We crammed (literally) onto the bus at 7am. It was a normal size bus equipped with air conditioning and music. The radio was tuned to a gospel station and everyone but us few Americans were singing along. I kind of wish I had known the words so I could have sang along too!
Immediately upon arriving in Kingston we were hassled by street vendors. The vendors that try extra hard to get you to pay attention to them are illegal vendors and try and make as many sales as they can before the police come through and kick them out. If you are every having a bad day and want to feel a little better about yourself you should go to the market because every vendor, legal or not, will tell you how beautiful you are just to make a sale. If you don’t make a purchase, however, you instantly become the world’s ugliest person.
We were supposed to be taught how to barter, but I quickly learned that the way think of bartering is not the normal strategy. Miss Bailey threw me under the bus and made me as how much things were and make purchases for her (she was shopping for the whole family and I didn’t really need anything). The trick was to ask in Patwa. As soon as I asked in Standard English the price doubled. After the first 10 stands or so Miss Bailey took over. She was on a mission. She would ask “How much fi dis?” and if it was too much she would make a hissing sound (which all Jamaicans do if they don’t like something) and keep walking.
There are two parts to the food market, both equally hot. Marie pointed out that they conveniently have men walking around selling water and towels. One is completely covered in tarps with a dirt floor making shopping the day after rain even more adventurous. The other is a standard steel building with a concrete floor.
The bus ride back to Portmore was a lot different. It was a mini bus (more like a van than a short bus) and you had to “small yourself” so everyone could fit. We got off in Portmore Center so we could go to Mega Mart. Imagine if Wal-Mart and Costco had a baby, that would be Mega Mart. Everything you could possibly imagine.
Fun Fact for the day: Jamaica was the first island in the Caribbean to produce rum on a commercial basis.