What makes Jamaica so very beautiful, and so unique is the fact that is has not undergone the "plastification" that abounds in the US, and other developed countries.
Over the holidays, I had the chance to visit Reach Falls. It was beautiful, with blue and green pools of water, caves behind falls, natural rock bridges... just amazing to see. It was the first time I was visiting it in many years, as it recently opened after being damaged in one hurricane after another. The attraction now has its own homepage: http://reachfalls.com/
What is remarkable is that there were only 2 signs pointing the way to this beauty spot, and both were small and easy to miss. They were truly understated, and did not do justice to the place.
Yet, this was a damn good thing.
My mind travelled back to a variety of over-hyped US attractions I have had the misfortune of visiting with high expectations.
South of the Border: this tourist trap on the border of North and South Carolina was one I visited as a teen. The numerous billboards that we saw describing the place en route only served to heighten the disgust we felt at this t-shirt haven, supposedl a "Mexican" themed "park" plumb in the middle of the Carolinas.
Ron Jon's Surf Shop: the highway from Jacksonville to Cocoa Beach is relentlessly flagged by billboards letting driver s know how far they are from this surf shop that no real surfer would be caught dead in (so they tell me.)
The Road to Hana: the Road to Hana is hyped as a one-of-a-kind, but to anyone from Jamaica it looks like nothing more than a regular piece of unremarkable road. It was so disappointing our party drove right through it, and beyond, without realizing that it as all over.
In Jamaica, we are lucky.
We are not only blessed with an abundance of natural beauty of all kinds, but we also benefit from a general lack of "development" which include the "plasitification" that I witnessed in the USA.
1) investing huge sums of money to make the place presentable and available (i.e. santized and neutered)
2) using in-your-face advertising and hype to drive traffic to the site
3) increasing prices to keep profit margins up
The result of all this is that a Reach Falls would look like any other falls in Jamaica, in the same way that all theme parks, attractions, movie theaters and parks look so much the same in the US (with few exceptions.)
Plastification renders everything it touches into a numbing similarity. Reach Falls would be selling the same McDonalds hamburgers as the ones sold in New York, and this would somehow be seen as a "good thing."
If there is any strange benefit to be derived from scaring away investors from our country's crime, then this would be it. Doing so protects us, and our people, from the plastification that comes from over-investment.
It is STILL more than possible to discover all the wonderful places that exist in our country, and to feel a sense of surprise that such beauty seems to pass by unrecorded.