Archive for the ‘Jamaican food’ Tag

Hot Japanese Mom & The Ribbon Girl   1 comment

A Daquiri, I say, Is a sweet drink. It usually has strawberries in it, or some kind of fruit. You blend it with vodka, ice and a little sugar. In front of me, nodding and somewhat understanding, is a bartender at Planet Café. I’ve been trying to explain for roughly twelve minutes what a Daquiri is.

I’m here on a Sunday, and I feel bored, even though my day has consisted of watching Terminator: Salvation at noon, passing through a barbeque with some friends and hitting up a video arcade. My city restlessness has a new face.
At the bar are a few people from the reggae parties I’ve seen around. A DJ from the T.P sound system crew, his girl and Gully. I order a gin and tonic after giving up on my Daquiri. As the bartender made my drink, he laughed and asked me to write down the ingredients for the Daquiri. I’m waiting on Ribbon girl, the one I met at the party last night. We chatted on the phone briefly after I went to my Barbeque. When I spoke to her, a twinge of excitement had trickled through me when her number popped up on my phone. At the time I was sitting on the sidewalk, chatting to a friend about nothing in particular.

 
I took a sip of my drink, when a flurry of activity beside me grabbed my attention. Two gorgeous girls with slim bodies and long brown hair came to the bar coasting on a sea of giggles. I thought one of them was a girl I met the night before, at the reggae party.

“Hug.” I said.

Nani?” (what?)she replied.

I said it again, more Japanesey. “HUG-OO.” I said. She hugged me, and then I realized I’d never met her. I also realized in the same thought she was very drunk. Japanese girls never hug guys they don’t know. Unless of course, you are famous.
“Hi.” She said exasperatedly.
“Hey.” I replied.
She was pretty, with movie actress looks and flawless skin. She wore a stylish outfit that screamed high fashion. Her friend smiled as I talked to her, but chatted to one of the bartenders and left us alone.
“Where you from?” she said.
“Jamaica.” I replied.
“Really?” she said.
She said this with absolute surprise, in the way a child who swore he failed a test  realizes he actually received an A. I told her I was a designer. Incidentally, I was wearing one of my own shirts.
“I want to buy one.” She said, rubbing my chest. “I am a mother!” she exclaimed triumphantly.
“Very cool.” I said. “One child?”
“Yes, I have one. But I am twenty-one!”
She said this with a bright expression. I held her hand and without getting up, beckoned her to twirl. “Very nice.” I said.
She was. If she hadn’t told me she had a kid, it would be impossible to tell.
“You think I am nice?” she asked. Her eyes were filled with desire.
“Yes, you are.” I replied.
A part of me wanted to exploit this situation, but as a rule, I never like drunk women. The only way it works is if I’m equally drunk when I meet them, but at present I was stone cold sober. Having a sexy mother of one on my speed dial would be cool, but alas, Ribbon girl would arrive any minute.
I was right. In the periphery of my vision, I glimpsed her. She was looking very cute, with huge designer glasses. She wore a black and white dress over a pair of tight jeans. I could see the taper of her body through the layers. She had lip gloss on and a purse that resembled a ribbon. The theme continued.
I saw her pause as she said hello to some of the people from last night. Her eyes were on me, but I didn’t move. I’m not the type to play too many headgames, I was just observing.
The hot mom disappeared with a guy onto the the dance floor, and I turned to Ribbon girl. “Hey! You been here long?” I said. She walked over. She gave me a weak hug and stood by the bar. Close up, I could see the glow of the bar lights on her lips. She put her bag down. She seemed a little nervous. I chatted to her about my day and ask her some questions about herself.
“I don’t do much.” She replied. ” I just like to dance.”
Ah, I said in my mind. She’s a party girl.
I’ve messed with party girls before. One word always comes to mind when I think of a party girl.

 
Dangerous.

 
Party girls always seem to have nothing to do, are often sexy and probably slept with a few guys you’ve met before if you go out a lot. This generally means it’s a bad idea to think you’re special if she likes you. Sometimes this can change after a few sexual encounters, but not always.
She reached into her bag and pulled out a small camera. The LCD flashed brightly as it came on. With her glasses and jeans, she looked like a shadow of herself the night before.  The image of her leaping on me, her face pressing against my neck and the smell of her shampoo flooded my senses quickly. It faded quickly, like a puff of cigarette smoke.
She showed me pictures of her in Jamaica. “Maji de??”(Really?) I said. Then I remembered somewhere between tequila shot eight or nine she had mentioned living in Jamaica for a month. Through her pictures I was catapulted back home. I saw the bright glowing faces of people with dark skin and short curly hair. She showed me the hot spots; Stone Love’s headquarters for Weddy Wednesdays, Lime Quay beach for Sunday afternoon, Devon house for tasty ice cream, and more. There were pictures with famous Jamaicans, and a few of her Japanese friends going wild at big parties, like Passa Passa.
I playfully joked with her, but she was shy, different. She ordered Chozou, a popular drink (sake mixed with water). I didn’t know why she was nervous. After she put the camera back into her bag, her entire focused drifted to the UNO game the people beside us were playing. I hinted a few times at going to dance, but she kept saying she was watching the game.
That’s an incredibly fascinating game of UNO, I thought to myself. Then I remembered. She was a party girl. I’m new to the scene. Disappearing with her on the dance floor might put her on the bad news bus. While we were looking at the pictures, she mentioned some party on Friday she was going to. She watched the UNO game, and I sat, bored on the stool. I got up and left.
As I exited the bar, before the door close I heard my name. In a movie-scene way, the door slammed in front of her as I glimpsed her looking at me.
“I see you Friday night?” she said.
“Yes.” I replied.
She went inside. I laughed a little, because she had practically chased me out of the bar. Party girls are different, I thought. I left the underground passage leading out of Planet and heading outside, back into the nighttime and towards the bowels of the city.

/* Blog reposted from my other site www.jamaicaninjapan.com */

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R.I.P UNCLE B   4 comments

 gold-cloud1

Some people say that psychic connections between people are the stuff of foolish talk; some kind of ethereal sensibility tossed down through the ages from folklore and near-death experiences that became the stuff of legend.

For me, its pretty real.

I talk to my parents pretty often, but when I’m busy and time lags, there are the occasional spans of weeks that may pass without a real conversation. Two days ago, I felt a pressing need to speak to my father. I felt that something was wrong, and that I needed to chat with him. Something was tickling my subconscious, even though I don’t necessarily sit and giggle on the phone with my father for any length of time.

Tonight, after coming home from a long day, I noticed a funky smell wafting through the air. An annoying rodent apparently, had met its demise in my roommate’s room. I spoke to her about the logistics of removing the rodent (she was in the bathroom preparing to head out) and then my phone buzzed. It was home calling.

I flipped open the phone and said hello, immediately forgetting the smelly situation. It was my mother, and her voice sounded calmer, and little more subdued than normal. I usually receive a chirpy, “Hey Marcus, how are yah!” in a tone of voice that could fit any female motivational speaker.

I flopped on the bed in my room and we spoke about the simple things, the day and so forth. She told me that she received my message (I had left a message on the phone saying I wanted to talk to my father). Then, she said.

“Did I tell you that uncle B had gone into the hospital recently?’ she asked

“Hospital?” No, I replied.

“Well, he went into the hospital last week… and he didn’t make it.” She said.

“Wow.” I replied. “Wow.”

Whenever I think of my Uncle B, affectionately called “Uncle Boysie”, my first memory of him is being described as a world traveler. As a child I gleefully touched the large scars on his arms, each one marking a different vaccination from a different part of the world. “Do you know who Atlas is?” Was one of the first questions he asked me. “Atlas, “ he said, “Is the man who holds the world on his shoulders.” He had said with a laugh.

He had a short stature, but a strong resounding voice, the kind with an English inflection from thirty-odd years of living in England, which still had the gentlest touch of his original Jamaican accent. Like my Grandfather, who passed away a few years ago, he is one of the few people I have never seen angry, never seen curse. There was always a smile on his face, and candies in his suitcase for myself and my sisters when he would arrive from England.

In my last conversation with him, he congratulated me on graduating from University, and wished me all the best in my future endeavours in life.

When my mother said the words, “he didn’t make it”, I didn’t feel a crunching sadness envelope me. Like my Grandfather, he was a man that had lived. I have endless memories of his laughter, traveling to the country with him as he told stories from his youth and watching his eyes gleam with pride as he saw how well his family was doing.

As 2008 turned into 2009, I felt as if I wouldn’t have the need to write much anymore. I had unofficially retired this blog. There are many things deep inside me that I have struggled with to overcome. Some I can control, and some I cannot. But I have an intimate relationship with death, and I appreciate what it means. When people around you die, you learn to treasure the moments you had. You treasure the laughs, the smiles and their idosycrasies. You learn to treasure something about yourself as well.

You treasure the things and people you’ve lost, and you try to regret less and do more. Today, I’m feeling that way again.

As he grew older, my Uncle B traveled less because of illness. But whenever he was healthy enough, he would come straight to Jamaica, and spend a few days at my house before departing to the country, where my Aunt built a house in the area she grew up.

I feel it for my father, because he was one of his closest and most beloved friends. January seems to ring with a particular tone of death for him, as his parents and now uncle, have all died in the month of January.

Whatever echo from the cosmos sent a signal to me while I was going about my day in Washington DC, reminds me of that deep intrinsic connection we share. I felt as if my father needed something, some words, a touch, a conversation. At the time, I didn’t know why, but when my mother told me the news, I understood it. My inkling of a feeling, the sense that my father might not be completely happy, had weight attached to it. Many times these things might happen to us and we ignore them as coincidences or trite circumstances. We feel that our lives are completely governed by the steps we take, that we are completely individual.

But are we?

I will always remember your laughs Uncle B, and the time you grabbed a machete and chased a large rat out of the guestroom. I will savor the memory of the taste of those English candies, and I will make sure to kiss your picture the next time I’m in Jamaica. I know you lived a full and prosperous life, with your family and friends always behind you. I hope that I too, can live a life like that. With more to love than to regret, with more to look forward to than to fear.

Safe travels Uncle B, wherever you are.

 

 

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