When I approached Sir William Grant Park in downtown Kingston, I noticed all kinds of activities, people walking, buses and taxis, people with pushcarts trying to sell their wares. When I turned west from the square, I walked straight into the main market of Kingston, Jubilee Market. This is a vast area of streets, with hundreds of stalls offering anything from exotic fruits to rat-traps, CDs with Jamaican reggae to freshly caught fish and the inevitable ganja, or marihuana. The market was named Jubilee Market in honour of the jubilee of Queen Victoria.
Large part of the market consists of stalls selling vegetables and fruits, meat and fish, and this is a good introduction of the food you can try in Jamaica. The more interesting parts of the market, however, are those where all kinds of other articles are sold. Stalls where you can buy CDs with Jamaican reggae, with enormous loudspeakers from which tunes of the Caribbean music entertain passers-by and compete with music coming from other stalls. Others where you can buy sweets - but when you approach them, the vendor secretly lifts the cloth on his stall, revealing ganja, which, in fact, he is smoking himself. The market is energetic and vibrant, colourful and, at times, smelly. In some areas spacious, in others, you have to squeeze yourself through the crowd.
People are yelling to get the attention of potential customers, and in one case I watched a fierce word fight between two women, a vendor and her customer. It seemed very aggressive to me, and very bad language was being used to insult the other as much as possible. Strangely enough, people around it seemed to enjoy the fight, and one woman actually ran away in a fit of laughter, repeating the worst used words to all people who were too far to understand what was being said. I soon realized I was the only foreigner around, and I got mixed reactions. In some cases, pretty aggressive ones from Jamaicans who seemed to have a problem with my camera, but in others, very positive ones - people voluntarily posing for a picture, interested in a chat. In general, I liked the atmosphere and did not think it was as bad as is sometimes stated. It certainly made for a very interesting couple of hours.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Kingston Market (Jamaica). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Kingston Market. Read more about this site.