April 7, 2010 – Negril Craft Market

Negril Craft Market

Negril Craft Market, Jamaica

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Aaaaaaaand we’re back. Sucks, right? For me, definitely. Sigh. I had a great trip though, it’s always nice to get away. And man, I got away, let me tell you. Key West, Fort Lauderdale, and two different spots around Negril, Jamaica. I learned, among other things, that if some dude comes up to you on the beach and tells you he’s a farmer, he’s not just making small talk about his vocation.

Since I just got back late last night, I obviously haven’t had a chance to go through all my pictures yet. (I got about 16 gigs worth to trudge through!) So, I just grabbed one that looked good enough to use for today’s post, just because it wouldn’t be right to come home from Jamaica and not use a Jamaican picture, right? So, here you go.

This was taken at the Negril Craft Market, which is a place where all the taxis dump tourists so they can “interact with” the locals. It’s a bunch of charmingly dilapidated shacks, each containing the same dubious merchandise as the next, where Jamaican natives take serious advantage of the fact that Americans have no clue how to barter. If you’re looking for a cheaply-made t-shirt, an “original painting”, or a “unique” wood carving, and you’ve got a pile of US dollars burning a hole in your pocket, this is the place for you. While we were there, most of the shops were closed (we asked why, and the answer we kept getting was “uhh, because it’s Monday?”, in the same tone that you would get if you asked why most of the mall was closed on christmas here in the states), but there were still plenty of them open for us to see the basic selection of trinkets available and have a perfectly mediocre time. But there were a few bright spots. For one, we did eventually leave the craft market (although our cab fare mysteriously jumped from 10 bucks to 35 because we asked to stop at the atm on the way home). And also, at the end of one of the rows was a nice little entrance to the famous Negril beach. (Albeit a section that had enough garbage to rival the best efforts of apathy and neglect that you’ll find anywhere.) As you can tell, the beach is absolutely gorgeous, even the parts where nobody cares enough to keep it nice.

Anyway, I’m sure you’ll be seeing plenty of pics from the area over the next several months, so get comfortable!

Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 lens w/circular polarizer. 1/160s, f/7.1, ISO 100. Focal length, 20mm.

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  1. avatar
    Will April 7, 2010

    welcome back. hope you enjoyed the agriculture.

  2. avatar
    Donald Norris April 8, 2010

    I love the colors! Nice find!

  3. avatar
    Mike April 19, 2010

    LOVE IT. love the blue, man so nice. i need to start rocking my SLR more :)

    Great shot dave, cant wait for more

  4. avatar
    Arnold April 20, 2010

    You have great pictures.

    But you post about Negril Craft Market, was kind of sad. Your on a beautiful beach and all you can do is complain about the people and the market etc.

    You have all these great posts, then the tone of this one is rather negative. Put yourselves in their shoes. Imagine if you had to suport and feed your family. And someone looks down on you because you sell “crappy merchandise”.

    All of us were just enjoying your website and were kind of abruptly suprised at the tone of this entry when we got to it. “All of us” as in friends and co-workers.

    We know you have a right to your opinion, but sometimes opinions should be replaced with thoughtful and neutral observations.

    For the record some of us have been to Jamaica and some of us are from Jamaica. It’s a beautiful country with beautiful people.
    By the way, I bet your home is a beautiful country with beautiful people…and even your home town has some undesireable areas as well.

    Please be aware of what you post on your blog.

    “All of Us”

  5. avatar
    Arnold April 20, 2010

    “All of us” as in…we just randomly choose to check out your website. We don’t know you, just your work.

  6. avatar
    Dave April 20, 2010

    Hi Arnold! I’m glad you enjoyed (most of) the site! I re-read what I had originally posted, and you’re right, it did have a pretty negative overtone. I’ve gone back and tweaked it in spots to help clarify that it was the craft market itself (and the attitude of the merchants there) that I found very distasteful, not Jamaica itself or the population at large.

    You’re right, Jamaica is a beautiful place, and most of the people, as is the case with most people everywhere, were perfectly beautiful.

    However, that doesn’t change the fact that, at least in that one particular part of Jamaica, I had a fairly negative experience. I’ve been to a lot of places, but not many where it was so immediately clear that the folks I was interacting with had no other interest than extracting as many dollars out of my pocket as they could. Sure, these people are trying to put food on the table just like the rest of us. But I didn’t sense much pride in what they were doing, and it was certainly clear that whether or not I personally enjoyed the experience wasn’t a priority. Sure, call it negativity. Alternatively, it could be called “Travel Advice”. As in, don’t go to Negril Beach if you want the cab drivers and merchants to be friendly instead of extortive. Based on my experience, that’s just the way they roll down there. We knew that was the reputation before we went, and we hoped it would be different for us. But, sadly, sometimes reputations are based in reality.

    Anyway, as I said before, I’m glad you enjoyed the rest of my blog, and I hope my brief spout of negativity doesn’t prevent you from visiting again! I promise my next post about Jamaica will provide me with a chance to celebrate some of the better parts of my recent trip, outside of those few hours on Monday afternoon. ­čśë

  7. avatar
    Marie June 6, 2010

    i love the beach, i love the sand, i love the skies

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