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leaving in 3 days and almost afraid! need support

a m
ohio
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leaving in 3 days and almost afraid! need support

Well our family of 4 including 16 year old daughter and 18 year old son are off to Mo Bay in 3 days. I have been lurking in this forum and reading EVERY post for months and months. I have read several that actually make me SCARED to go! Will we be safe from peddlers/hustlers? Do we always need to be together? Will my 18 year old be able to walk around the hip strip by himself if he so chooses? I have went from envisioning paradise to the feeling of walking into a hostile and scary environment. I guess I need some words of encouragement! I realize that my vacation time with my kids is growing to a close so I want this to truly be a memorable one! I would appreciate any advice to make our trip the best it can be. Do I have a reason to be nervous? I know I shouldn't let a few angry souls effect me so but.......

CAN
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1. Re: leaving in 3 days and almost afraid! need support

allayne....OMG relax girl....I've been going to JA for many years now...a single white female...and have never felt comprimised. Yes I'm sure your 18 year old man can walk the hip strip no worries.

As the case anywhere....don't flash cash, don't wear 'bling', don't go alone at night and ENJOY!

Honest JA can heal your soul.....as many times as possible engage in conversations with the jamaicans.....they can teach us so much about what's important in life.

Personally I think it would be a disservice to your kids to NOT expose them to how other people actually live. It could be life changing.

Please remember these good hard working people make $50 usd per week. Think about that! And watch them work in the heat! Wow.

Please take in what you can....lovely lush island of wonderful people. Enjoy!

England
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2. Re: leaving in 3 days and almost afraid! need support

I second everything withrespect said, we came back from mobay 2 weeks ago and it was great!!!!!

never felt scared not even once and we did go on the hipstrip and went to pier one etc had a great time, relax your gonna be fine

Have a great holiday and i hope Jamaica effects you the way it has us, its an amazing experience that we will be repeating and repeating and repeating lol

Take care

Jennie

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Birmingham/uk
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3. Re: leaving in 3 days and almost afraid! need support

Hi allayne99,

It looks like you've been reading a lot of negative things, please take note of the advice given in the posts above and have a read of the following thread if you haven't already:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g147312-i110-k2953…

Kingston, Jamaica
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4. Re: leaving in 3 days and almost afraid! need support

allayne - You mention the hip strip - that is where there will be plenty of people looking out for visitors such as you. Go into town - you will get far less hassle and you will be exposed to the true Jamaica. My main concern in Mo' Bay is the traffic and high walkways - just walk with care.

Not often mentioned, don't take new clothes on holiday - it makes you stand out. Right now it is warm in the UK and I'm wearing clothes that I will take to JA next year. I want them to fade and wear in a bit. Another tip - not everyone's opinion I know - Don't get your hair braided with beads. You may as well wear a Tee shirt emblazoned "TOURIST- HASSLE ME".

Jamaica is not paradise, and it is not hostile. Much of the time you may stick together, but there is no reason why you should not split into pairs at times. On your first visit to Jamaica, it may be better (but not essential) to avoid going solo. Use your instincts and common sense, as you would in any unfamiliar town. In Mo'Bay, avoid Flankers and Norwood districts (nothing to interest you there anyway). As you have been doing your research, you should be aware of many of the problems or irritations - how to avoid them or deal with them.

Go and have a great time.

Best wishes, JaS

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a m
ohio
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5. Re: leaving in 3 days and almost afraid! need support

JA,

You mention go into "town", is this walking distance from El Greco? hhhmmm I thought the hip strip WAS "town"! Shows how little I know! Geesh I haven't been paying close enough attention to the geography as I should have. We are 4 very blonde, blue eyed, appalachian country folk, but we will try our best to blend!! Thanks for everyone's input.

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El Greco Resort
El Greco Resort
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Kingston, Jamaica
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6. Re: leaving in 3 days and almost afraid! need support

The Hip Strip (Gloucester Avenue) is kind of on the edge of town. Mo' Bay is not very big (probably only the 6th largest town in JA now) and most of town can be walked, particularly if you eat out while exploring. Sam Sharpe Square is probably the most interesting bit of Mo' Bay.

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Hip Strip
Hip Strip
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Los Angeles...
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7. Re: leaving in 3 days and almost afraid! need support

Please don't let the fear of others affect your vacation!

The people in Jamaica are some of the nicest, genuinely real people you will meet!

As you would anywhere, use your common sense when traveling.

beyond that, you have absolutely no reason to worry!

I am also a single female traveller and I have NEVER felt afraid, compromised, worried or any other negative vibe in Jamaica.

I have walked the beach and the boulevard, alone, at all hours without problems. Mind you, I don't venture to secluded places alone and I use common sense, as anyone should.

In fact, I prefer to travel there alone; I never end up alone, as either I meet other vacationers or locals or staff who are genuinely interested in contributing to my wonderful vacation.

I cannot wait to return on the 26th of this month, and I was just there for New Year's Eve.

Life is for the living! You and your kids will cherish this trip for years to come!

One love!

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washington
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8. Re: leaving in 3 days and almost afraid! need support

I must agree with all of u .. withrespect u are funny but right as can be...LOL

Denver, Colorado
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9. Re: leaving in 3 days and almost afraid! need support

I'm going to chime in with all the great posts above and say that you should not feel scared to go!

I think a lot of what you and your family experience will depend on your outlook and attitude. On our first trip to Montego Bay I admit we were a bit annoyed at the frequency with which we were asked to buy drugs, take a taxi, etc. But last year, our second trip, I looked at the people as folks just trying to survive, and it really made a difference. We bantered with some, and my friend did get her hair braided and had a wonderful conversation with the braider and learned a lot about Jamaican culture. I didn't notice us getting hassled more after she got her hair braided, but I can see where that might happen.

What changed my perspective on being asked constantly if we wanted a taxi was returning to Denver after our first trip and realizing how wonderful the Montego Bay taxi situation is. In Denver you can rarely hail a cab - you have to call and often there is a long wait. There are certain areas (like a club that has most of the reggae shows) where they won't come. So after that first trip, as we waited for taxis back home, we fondly reminisced about the glut of taxis in Montego Bay.

If you do find yourself getting tired of the hustle on the Hip Strip, an escape might be in order. I recommend Luminous Lagoon, Black River/Pelican Bar, Nine Mile (if any of you are Bob Marley fans), and Cranbrook Flower Forest (imagine a hike through a rain forest with hardly anyone there - VERY non-touristy). Any of those places will take you out of the hustle and bustle. A trip to Negril is also nice, but there is some hustle there also - I still think your kids would love it.

Have a wonderful trip!

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10. Re: leaving in 3 days and almost afraid! need support

I almost forgot to mention another thing that changed my perspective from the first trip to the second - when we returned to Denver we realized that we were being relentlessly panhandled as usual on the pedestrian mall downtown, and nobody was offering any goods or services - they were just asking for money. Until a recent ban on sitting panhandlers, one would frequently encounter teenage panhandlers just sitting on the pavement asking for money.

In Jamaica (10 trips in all, including 2 to Montego Bay) we have never had anyone just ask us for money without offering something in return. Sure, some of these "services" are dubious, such as unsolicted guide services and advice, but at least there is some creativity there. Many of the panhandlers in Denver just shout "change" at you and rattle their cups as you pass by. Some are hostile if you say "sorry, no" or pass by without saying anything. (Of course, this shouldn't disuade you from visiting Denver someday :)

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