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  • Jamaica ranked among best destinations by TripAdvisor

    Jamaica is celebrating its number 12 ranking on the TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards’ “World’s Best Destinations” list.

    The Awards rank Jamaica among destinations such as Bali, London, Paris and Rome.

    Award winners were determined using an algorithm that took into account the quantity and quality of reviews and ratings for hotels, restaurants and attractions in destinations worldwide, gathered over a 12-month period, as well as traveler booking interest on TripAdvisor.

    “Jamaica is honored to have been recognized as one of the top destinations in the world by the TripAdvisor community, not to mention the number one in the Caribbean,” said Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett. “Our hospitality offerings and especially our warm-hearted people, make each vacation unforgettable. We want to thank all of our visitors for choosing Jamaica and we are ready to welcome them back again and again.”

    Jamaica has a large variety of accommodations for travelers looking for a memorable trip, including boutique hotels, all-inclusive resorts and expansive villas. Some of Jamaica’s top accommodation offerings on TripAdvisor include Geejam, Hermosa Cove, The SPA Retreat Boutique Hotel, and Jamaica Inn. The island has the most attractions of any other English-speaking Caribbean country including natural wonders such as Dunn’s River Falls and Seven Mile Beach, to thrill-worthy adventures like Mystic Mountain’s bobsledding and zip lining experiences.

    "We're excited to reveal our community's favorite travel destinations for 2017 and recognize these iconic places with Travelers' Choice awards," said Barbara Messing, chief marketing officer for TripAdvisor. "Travelers wanting to explore these fabulous destinations can shop for amazing attractions and tours on TripAdvisor and compare hotel prices that are up to 24% less when booking off-peak."

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  • Meet the Gully Queens, the Transgender Women Defying Jamaica’s Culture of Homophobia

    The up-and-coming British R&B singer RAY BLK’s new single, “Chill Out,” is a sexy, mellow exhortation to an overzealous suitor to slow his roll. But the accompanying music video, premiering today on, begins in a manner that’s anything but chill. Director Philippa Price spliced together a 20-second montage of Jamaican news clips, a whirlwind of footage depicting braggadocious men, some menacingly wielding baseball bats, spewing hate and fear at homosexuals. “We don’t want no one, none of them in this town here,” one man rants. “This is our town.”

    Cut to the hem of a gauzy white frock rustling in the breeze. A beat kicks in. Pan out to the woman wearing the dress: Tall, muscular, blonde, and sultry, she stands in a grassy yard, cigarette dangling from her lips, silently hanging laundry on a clothesline.

    The video doesn’t tell you her name, Shadiamond, or her age, only 21, though she seems older. If you look closely, you’ll see a slash of scar tissue across her left cheek, an artifact from an encounter with a knife-brandishing hooligan. But you can’t tell that she’s been shot eight times, nor can you discern that the dreamy, sun-dappled scene she’s acting out for the camera is just the sort of domestic simple pleasure she’s been denied in real life.

    Shadiamond is one of four transgender women—Mindy, Beyonka, and Sasha are the others—who appear in the “Chill Out” video. They were chosen by a Jamaican producer to travel from the gritty capital city of Kingston, where they live, to the northeastern coastal parish of Portland for the two-day shoot. All four women are part of a population known in Jamaica as the Gully Queens, a small band of trans and gay young people who live embattled lives at the outermost margins of a country that Time magazine once called “the most homophobic place on earth.” They are visibly, openly living the truth of their gender and sexual identity in a nation where many choose to stay closeted, and they pay for it with complete alienation and constant abuse.

    That Time quote dates back to 2006, and though strides have been made in the past decade to advance LGBTQ rights (here’s a recent Slate piece chronicling progress), Jamaica remains a place with a strong undercurrent of bigotry: a devoutly Christian nation with sodomy laws still on the books, where influential dancehall stars peddle antigay sentiment, major newspaper cartoonists mock homosexuals, and the national refrain of “One Love” blithely ignores those whose identity exists outside of the heteronormative/cisgender framework. As a 2014 Human Rights Watch report asserted, “Physical and sexual violence, including severe beatings and even murder, are part of the lived reality of many LGBT people in Jamaica. The level of brutality leads many to fear what could happen if their sexual orientation or gender identity is disclosed.”

    In the U.S., the LGBTQ community represents the population most likely to experience hate crimes, but it’s specifically transgender women of color who endure the highest rates of violence, suicide, and poverty. In Jamaica, trans people, particularly those of low socioeconomic status, also count as the most vulnerable of the vulnerable. The Gully Queens—named for the sewers where they find shelter and refuge from police harassment and marauding thugs alike—are unwilling or unable to live in the closet. Both Mindy and Shadiamond, the two women with whom I spoke by phone, were outed against their will as teenagers. They separately told very similar stories of attending a party in drag, and then later discovering that they’d been photographed and those pictures had been disseminated within their communities. “I want to be comfortable and not hide in my life story, but be the person that I am,” Mindy, who is 24 and has been on the streets since she was in her late teens, told me. “I think I have the right to lead a life that I love.”

    Doing so costs them dearly: They live in exile from their families and communities, unable to find work or landlords willing to rent them apartments. It’s likely that some make money through prostitution (HIV infection rates, I’m told, are high); others steal or beg. Homeless, isolated, and faced with the constant threat of violence, they are without recourse to better their circumstances. When I spoke to Mindy, she said of life in the gully: “It’s like being in hell.”



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  • How to Speak Jamaican

    1. how to speak jamaicanWhat is the Jamaican Language? The Language of Jamaica is called “Patois.” It is officially english, with spanish, African, and french influences. We call it “Jamaican Patois.”
    2. How To speak Jamaican Language – It is very easy to speak Jamaican Patois. Below I have listed a few simple rules to help learn to speak Jamaican.

     Rules for speaking Jamaican.

    • jamaican womenJamaicans do not pronounce their “H.s”
    • Jamaicans do not pronounce “th” sounds
    • Jamaicans drop the “s” if it is followed by a “t”
    • Jamaicans do not pronounce “ss” the way the west does, they often pronounce it as “ash” or “osh”

    Examples of Jamaican Patois Sounds

    • English Word, “Work”- Becomes “Werk” in Jamaican Patois
    • English Word “House” – Becomes “Ouse” in jamaican Patois
    • English Word “Thing” – Becomes “Ting” in Jamaican Patois
    • English Word “Strong” – Becomes “Trong” in Jamaican Patois
    • English Word “String”- Becomes “Tring” in Jamaican Patois
    • English Word “Mattress” – Becomes “Matrash” in Jamaican Patois
    • English Word “Moss” – Becomes “Mosh” in Jamaican Patois

    Not all Jamaicans speak Jamaican Slang/Jamaican Patois

    These examples are not applicable to every Jamaican person. So, they are not absolute every time. When you meet a Jamaican, don’t assume that they will pronounce their words in this way. Some, do and some do not.

    Jamaican Translations of typical Statements in Jamaica

    • You are Fat! – You are Sexy
    • Nice Girl – Sexy girl I would like to speak with you
    • Fat Bumper – Nice bottom (a*s)
    • How you so sweet? – You are very attractive!
    • Fi Real? – really

    Jamaican Rastafari Translations

    • Zion – Heaven
    • Irie _ Feeling Good
    • Rastafari – bless, Well being, God in all things
    • Blessed Love – Love and Blessings
    • Everything is Everything – Everything is alright (because Jah is in Control)

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    1. Show Respect to for his Mother – In JAmaican Culture respect for the mans mother is so important. Never be disrespectful, always say “hi,” when you enter her home and make sure to say “bye” when you are leaving. Be sure to buy her a card for her birthday and Mothers day, otherwise you will be considered “rude” and “disrespectful.” Just so you know. If you do these things, you will be praised, and ask about.
    2. Don’t share too much personal information right away– Somejamaican man white womanJamaican men have Negative motives for why they may want your personal information. Just take your time with your stats. If I were you I would just lie to him for the first 3 months, and see where the relationship is going first. I am talking about your real last name, date of birth, and your address. Just take your time. If you were meant to be together you will be together 6 months from now.
    3. Make sure he is sincere – A Jamaican man may take an interest in your for any number of reasons. Only time will tell if he is really interested in your or something you can provide for him. Just keep it in the back of your mind that he may not be sincere, and remember that some Jamaican men love like children…in the moment, loving who ever is around. Just so you know. Read how to become a rasta
    4. Give him his space! – This is very important in Jamaican Culture. If you do not give a Jamaican man his space, he can become irritable. You may find him swearing at you and not showing you love, pulling away rather than closer. He just needs his own space and time alone. Many Jamaican women are like this too. Its nothing personal.
    5. Always keep your body fresh & clean! – Wash your a*s please! Jamaican men do not tolerate “dirtyness.”I know certain cultures don’t take it so serious, but to a Jamaican man, cleanliness is well, as they say, “next to Godliness.” Make sure you shower everyday and wash those creases! Yes I said it…creases!
    6. Don’t take his sh*t! – Don’t take crap from him. In fact if your Jamaican man starts dishing out trash talk early, or physical abuse, leave him..! It’s a downward spiral from there…trust me!
    7. Don’t be baby mama #4 – Many women fall so head over heals in love with their Jamaican guy that they think they are somehow different from baby Mama number 3,2, and 1. They think they can change him…they think, I am better than they were…stop kidding your self. Take some time, if he is really meant to be your man, he will be there with our without you becoming baby mama Number 4.
    8. Don’t assume you are “special…” – Just because he has sex with you, introduces you to his Mom, and tells you how much he wants to be with you, don’t assume you are special. A lot of women who are unfamiliar with Jamaican Culture assume that these things mean you are special. A Jamaican man knows what to say to women, They are blessed in this sense. Take time, test him, know for sure you are special on his list, by how he treats you, is he patient with you? Will he do anything you ask of him? Test him to know!


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  • Learn some Patois mon

    You cannot come to the island of Jamaica, without noticing the people do speak differently. Actually, it is forbidden in many Jamaican homes to speak, "patois." Growing up I could only speak it at school with my schoolmates. 

    The debate going on in Jamaica for many years has been the whether or not Patois is a language or just a slang for Jamaica.
    The technical definition of the term Creole means-, a language which comes into being through contact between two or more languages. The most important part about this definition is that a new language comes about which was not there before, yet it has some characteristics of the original language(s) and also has some characteristics of its own. The Creole of Jamaica and the Caribbean is referred to as an 'English-lexicon' and this language came about when African slaves were forced into a situation where English, or at least a very reduced form of English, was the only common means of communication.

    The slave traders and owners spoke English while the slaves spoke a variety of African languages and the slaves had to assimilate by learning English which explains why much of the vocabulary is English in origin. Although there is much English vocabulary, many words were also adopted from African languages when no equivalent English word could be found such as, words for people, things, plants, animals, activities, and especially religious words (Sebba 1, 1996, 50-1.) The name Jamaica itself was derived from the Arawak word Xaymaca meaning "Island of springs," but no other known trace(s) of the Arawak, the indigenous inhabitants of Jamaica, exist today.

    The debate surrounding the use of Patois as opposed to Standard English includes a number of issues and dates back to the times of slavery when Jamaicans had Standard English presented as a superior language and the indigenous language was denigrated to an inferior status. Today, more than 90% of the 2.5 million people in Jamaica are descendants of slaves brought from western Africa by the British. English is the official language but, Patois is the local language and still holds its' Africa.

    Below is an example of Jamaican Patois.

    USA: It's been a long time since I have seen you, girl.
    JA: Gal yuh noh dead yet?

    USA: Lord, we have lost electricity again!
    JA: Lawd Gad, current lack aff again!
    USA: Where did you buy that awful bracelet, Cindy?
    JA: A weh yuh buy dat deh big ole ugly bangle deh, missus?
    USA: Hors d'oeuvres.
    JA: Ah wah dis likkle sinting yuh a gi me?
    USA: I think something is wrong with Susan, she might have the flu.
    JA: Lawd Gad, breeze tek up Suzie!
    USA: Girl, those shoes are the bomb.
    JA: Gyal, yuh roach killa dem a seh one out deh.
    USA: Oh my gosh, I just broke Mom's expensive plate.
    JA: Lawd mi Gad, mi bruk up Mama stoosh crackry.
    USA: Aren't those pants a bit short?
    JA: Yuh did a expect flood ar yuh tek yuh measurement inna wata?
    USA: Why are you squeezing the mangoes like that?
    JA: Lissen mi nuh, mi a beg yuh stap fingle-fingle up di mango dem.
    USA: Sir, please don't throw my luggage like that.
    JA: Aye buff teet bwoy, tap fling up-fling up mi bag dem suh man.
    USA: I wish you would quit lying.
    JA: Tap di blinkin lyin, yuh ole liyad.
    USA: Lift the hood off the car for me, John.
    JA: Hey my yute, fly di bonnet!
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