"You can have lots of fun in Kingston!" Stated the Immigration Officer.
"Very happy to have you all coming to write about our Capital, as many people on the outside do not realise they can have as much fun in Kingston as in any other part of Jamaica, but most visitors go to places like Ochi (Ocho Rios) and Montego Bay."
"Welcome to Jamaica! Enjoy your stay with us!"
Those were the words spoken by the Jamaican Immigration Officer at the Norman Manley International Airport, as he checked my documents and inquired as to the nature of my visit to Jamaica.
As I explained I was here representing Marketing, News & Information Media (MNI Media); here to explore and write about Kingston, compliments of the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB); his demeanour lit up, and the words as above are what he proceeded to share as his next comments.
On the approach to land in Jamaica, as the aircraft burst through the cloud ceiling, providing views of the land below; as I stared out the window looking down on Jamaica, I thought this is the Caribbean island that globally has captured the imagination and the love of millions of persons.
Persons the world over desire to ‘Come to Jamaica’. What is it about this Caribbean island that permeates into the heartbeats of fun lovers, chill seekers, and also thrill seekers? One can only come here personally to experience it for yourself, and share the stories with family, friends, and also to those who did not ask, but you may feel emboldened to share with nonetheless! It’s the excitement of Jamaica!
I must tell you, that the excitement of Jamaica is real! Yes it is!
It is not limited to that buzz you receive from a Bob Marley anthem, or from seeing Usain Bolt break records and capture hearts; or from dancing in a frenzy to the latest dancehall craze that emanates from this island. They say Jamaica is nice, and the Jamaica Tourist Board themselves have gone through a recent massive rebranding exercise dubbing Jamaica as the "home of all right!
Jamaica’s buzz transcends those emotions as previously mentioned, as the idea and the experience of Jamaica engages all of your senses without any pre-amble of caution. The views of majesty that feed the island’s natural environs are so powerfully engaging that even the island's famous Blue & John Crow Mountain Range are now declared UNESCO World Heritage sites.
On the drive from the airport into Kingston, the JTB guide indicated very playfully; "You have not tasted real jerk until you have tasted the authentic jerk from Jamaica; cooked the way it was originally intended to be prepared."
We know Jamaica is famous for two things; reggae and jerk! So a sampling of the authentic jerk in a must do on the cards for any visitor!
But being in Jamaica is more than jerk. It is for sure more than reggae. It is to partake in the pleasures of a part of the island that ultimately many persons outside of the island may have developed a false impression of; and that is Kingston – the Capital of this beautiful island. We are here to Discover Kingston and showcase her unique charm to the world.
The Kingston experience will include the National Awards Ceremony at Kings House. Also a visit to the location that was destroyed by an earthquake in 1692; Port Royal, along with a tour of Fort Charles. The Bob Marley Museum that stands in homage to the reggae legend will also be paid a visit. So too will Devon House, the Trench Town Culture Yard and the Jamaica Music Museum.
As I write, I looked through the window to view Kingston. Whilst it looks fairly quiet; the excitement of Jamaica we know awaits underneath to unearth and share.