For someone with autism, I believe I cope with change and the unknown pretty darn well, but the first few days pushed me to my limit.
Day Damn One.
First the flight. We had a short stop in Brussels, which happened to coincide with the Brussels bombing, which meant everything was crowded, and there were tv crews and heavily armed guards everywhere, which put me very on edge. We knew about this stop over, however, we – and it seemed most of the other passengers – didn’t realise that there was another in Santo Domingo in the Dominican republic. One man found this idea so terrible that he proceeded to yell at the top of his voice, exactly what he thought about Dominican people, none of it pleasant. (He was quickly detained as soon as we reached Jamaica)
Secondly, I like children. I can usually block out crying and such, very unlike Jake. However, being sat in the seat in front of a a screeching – not crying, screeching – three year old for ten hours is enough to drain the life out of anyone. Overall it was not a pleasant flight, no matter how often the little women in the mini screen in front of me told to have one. (I did manage to finally watch Finding Dory though.)
Once finally in Jamaica, extremely hot and very frazzled, having been on the go for just under 24 hours, we arrived at our hotel – El Greco. Upon arrival at the front desk, the receptionist said that booking.com had failed to verify my card, so they had cancled our room and sold it to someone else and had nothing left for us.
(Booking.com had E-mailed us of this “unfortunate circumstance” but that email has been sent at 1pm that afternoon, and we were already 6 hours or so into the flight… how helpful.)
I will not lie, at this point I burst into tears. Stressed beyond my limit, no where to go, and no clue what to do. Surprisingly, my complete lapse in self control helped, as the manager took pity on us and upgraded us to a big room for the duration of our stay. Finally, around 1am, we were allowed into our room; where, more out of relief than anything, I burst into tears again and threw myself on the bed, with all the flare and fashion of a Disney princess.
Our first day in Jamaica, naive and idiotic as we were, we decided to go into the main town. Real Jamaica, no tourists, except us. As soon as we walked out, we were spotted, prepped and taken for a ride.
Happily walking along, seeing the sights, not a care in the world, and suddenly we realised we were being followed, probably by more people than we knew. One man came up to us, very friendly and said “Hello, how was breakfast? I’m the chef at El Greco.” We replied politley, like a stereotypical English person would do and tried to move on, but he was persistent and followed us. Past the first colonial house and into the church, then by some trick of fate, we were following him.
We moved further and further from the main square, to the sea front, school, and the seven national hero’s (soon to be nine, Bob Marley and Usain Bolt are not on it yet) and attempted to get us down these very sketchy looking back allies. We point-blank refused and headed back to the main square as quick as we could. He didn’t seem very happy about this, nor did his mate waiting at the other end.
We headed to the museum to get away, but he blocked our way and demanded money for the ‘tour’. Exhausted and lost we gave him some then rushed inside. Actually, the museum was very good, despite the teenager following us around to give us another ‘unofficial tour’ and wanting money too.
Being followed, harressed and charged extra was something we learnt the hard way, and got used to while in Jamaica. People selling weed, selling fruit, to do our hair, weed, in the supermarket, some art, weed, taxis, cocaine, give us tours, weed and a few prostitutes. In the end I tensed up everytime someone came near us, which is not really how you want to spend your holiday.
We spent the next three days in Montego Bay in the tourist area, by the pool and in the beach. Still nowhere was safe from the constant barrage of people – one old lady even got Jake to spend £8 on a keyring without realising. It was exhausting and nerve-wracking. Far too much information and things going on and in your face all at once. I wouldn’t go back to Montego Bay. Found out later on, that even Jamaicans don’t go to down town Montego Bay, so we had no hope.
I did enjoy the trampoline floating in the middle if the sea though.