Reggae Marathon and Jamaican Culture
This weekend I was part of the team that put on the Regga Marathon, and I can safely say that this is one of the most unique marathons in the world.
There are many things that make it special, but rather that run through the highlights myself, I can point to the Reggae Marathon website: www.reggaemarathon.com
My own experience was a vivid reminder that Jamaican culture has so very much to offer the average visitor that is unique, different and remarkable. We have a lot to offer a typical north American or European visitor who is used to the sanitized lifestyle that they live at home.
Not only do we have a lot to offer, but as an aggressive/assertive people, our culture does not present itself to tourists in a subtle way. Instead, it comes at them like a truck barrelling down on them on a highway that is impossible to avoid.
At the moment, for example, I am still in Negril, staying at Coco Palm Hotel, and across the way a roadside soundsystem is blasting out some old school dancehall from the 1980's and 1990's. We are all sharing it -- trying to turn it off would be a fruitless exercise.
Tourists who are able to accept whatever life throws at them love Jamaica. Those that don't, would get upset at the music, call the management, phone the police or even worse, charge across the street and demand that the sound system owners "show some decency" by turning the music off. This brand of tourist doesn't enjoy Jamaica very much, and probably leaves with a story about "the horrible time they had with those people."
What they don't realize is that the "in your face-ness" of Jamaican culture is... well, ... an integral part of Jamaican culture.
And, it helpts to make the Reggae Marathon a truly unique experience.