So, I go to this restaurant called Norma’s at the Port Antonio Marina at least once a week. It is my pick-me-up spot. It is a pleasant spot in Port Antonio that is quiet and calm. You can get good food at Norma’s, though a little on the expensive side, and you can get a glass of wine and feel like everything is fine with the world. That is unless there is a cruise ship there. Port Antonio is not really considered a bustling tourist spot, which I love. It is a haven for the backpacker, but you will very rarely see the normal “tourist” (i.e., middle-aged white people) wondering around the town. Today, I got into town and notice that there are way too many white people, and I knew automatically, there was a cruise ship. I met up with a friend in town and asked if he wanted to go to the marina to eat at Norma’s, because it would be a nice, relaxed lunch. We go and I see the booths with Jamaican paraphernalia set up next to the marina and the people waiting around to try to hustle the dumbasses coming off the ship. We walk into the marina…everything is fine. We walk past the gift shop, past the pool…no problem. We get to the gate that eventually leads to Normas, as well as to the ginormous cruise ship that has made port there, and a guy asks for our passes. I looked at him like he had lost his goddamn mind. The conversation went something like the following:
Me: “Excuse me?”
Security Guard 1: “Are you on a yacht or a cruise ship? If you are from a yacht or the cruise ship, you can’t come in. ”
My Friend: ” Well…we are…” (thinking that if we just say yes, they may let us in, which really might have been true)
Me: “Hell no, I am not lying. We aren’t on either. And, what is the issue? I don’t understand. I am just trying to go to Norma’s. which I go to almost every other day (a little exaggerated, but I do go at least once a week).”
Security Guard 1: “Yes, but it is different when a cruise ship is here.”
Me: “What the fuck (yes…this is where I begin to curse). That is fucking ridiculous. Are you joking me? This is a public area. Norma’s is a fucking restaurant, and I have never heard anyone say that you can’t go to it if there is a cruise ship.”
Security Guard 1: “Well..I…(this is where it is obvious that he is a little freaked out and knows that he is trying to reason with a crazy woman)..I am just following policy.”
Me: “Well, tell me who the fuck made this policy. I know what this fucking policy is about. Keep the locals out when the rich, white people are here (mind you, my friend is as white as snow, but it isn’t the same…he is in the same position I am, not being allowed into Norma’s because he isn’t on the ship or owns a damn yacht, in other words, someone with money). This is fucking ridiculous (I couldn’t stress the ridiculous part enough, obviously).”
At this point, the security guard is trying to say something, but I’m going on such a tirade, I couldn’t tell you what the hell he said to me and my friend literally had pull my arm to let me know that the security guard was letting us in. At this point, I’m being pulled into the marina, cursing at the fact that that even happened, when another security guard approaches us. This is how this conversation went:
Security Guard 2: “Do you have your passes?”
Me: “No, because why would I need one?”
Security Guard 2: “If you are not on a yacht or the cruise ship, you cannot come in.”
Me: “If it is about security for the ship, I get it, but you can fucking put security right in front of the ship. You are keeping all locals out of the marina because you don’t want them to be here. This is a shame. I want to talk to the person who is in charge.”
Security Guard 2 then calls over security guard 3…and I know the same conversation is going to happen, which it did, so I will refrain from writing the same shit again.
Finally, after much cursing and declarations of the ridiculousness of this “policy” (can I see this shit in writing? Policy my ass), my friend pulls me away. We both can see that this will get nowhere, especially with this crazy American screaming profanities at people, but that wasn’t stopping me. I wanted to curse loudly and let all the protected cruise ship riders know how messed up it was that THEY got to walk around on PUBLIC JAMAICAN land, but the local JAMAICAN people could not.
I will not lie. I am angry because I was rejected from a free, public place because I am not rich and I am not a tourist on a . I am taking it personally, hell yeah. But the brunt of my anger comes from the fact that I know why this bullshit policy was put into place. Have a nice spot in Port Antonio, let the tourists from cruise ships come onto it, but no one else because they don’t want to let the locals on it. This is the first time I have seen the tourism industry at work here in Portland, and it is a fucked up system. Jamaica is beautiful, I get it…but it fucking belongs to Jamaicans. It doesn’t fucking belong to random ass tourists on a self-contained boat that want to get off for a fucking day to experience “the natives.” The MARINA IS A PUBLIC ACCESS AREA…anyone who so pleases should be allowed to go onto this area. However, in Jamaica, if you are not rich, white, and/or on a cruise ship, sorry, your assed out.
OK, I’m going to publish this right now, because I am so pissed and I want other people to read about this, and then I will come back later and make edits.