True Stories: Ripped off in Montego Bay (Part One)

in #truestories6 months ago

If you want to learn about True Stories, it’s tag and what it represents, then please see my previous post.


What you are about to read is a True Story, and everything has been kept intact with what my memory holds.


July 1998

Life was good and I was working a contract for Airtours, the tour company who subsequently became MyTravel, and then were eaten by Thomas Cook in 2007. We all know what happened to that company recently.

They needed to add some modems to a couple of airports for remote access purposes, one in Bridgetown, Barbados and another in Montego Bay, Jamaica.


I was unlucky enough to have been selected for the trip and sulkily agreed to 3 days in each resort with paid accommodation and food at the local Hilton hotels.

I insisted on 3 full days at each location for contingency purposes, and the company stupidly agreed.

Installing a modem was extremely complicated after all taking around 30 minutes to perform, end to end.

…'I pushed them for first-class travel; they were not too happy at the cost, yet I managed to get a 1st class trip between the islands. The shit that contractors could pull prior to Y2K seems ridiculous now’…

Things started badly with the administration clowns organising my trip sending me to Kingston by mistake; I arrived during early evening.


The town I saw was a scary place of ruins, run-down shanty houses and what looked like gangs of thugs. I tried to keep a low profile huddled in the back of a taxi while being escorted to the Kingston Hilton for the night.

Is the place really that bad or did the driver take me through a particularly bad area?

The next morning after a short airplane journey north and over some mountains to Montego Bay, things went more smoothly, and I was soon in a hotel that was not a ‘Hilton' but somewhere east of the main town with a McDonalds in walking distance.

…' McDonald's left the island of Jamaica in 2004. You won’t find a Big Mac or Large Fries there now’…

A Jamaican porter took my luggage in the lobby and while walking the stairs to my room tried to sell me some ‘ganja'. I figured this to be normal behaviour as the island does have a reputation but politely declined.

The same day I contacted the airport, jumped in a taxi and installed the modem. After contacting Airtours in the UK to make sure it communicated, all was good and well.

As I had estimated, it was 30 minutes' work and I was done with what I had come to do.

So there I was with 2.5 days left to kill. It was mid-summer, fantastic weather and the 1998 World Cup was culminating to its climax.


Brazil was to play France and I would be watching it sipping Pina Colada, and slung in a hammock while being paid!

There something quite unique about the sea in Jamaica; it’s a true green colour and I have never seen anything like it elsewhere in the world.

That afternoon I decided to take a walk through Montego Bay. I needed little money and so took just 20 US Dollars with me.


Currently, 1 USD is worth 234 Jamaican dollars but if I remember correctly USD is accepted pretty much everywhere. I had decided not to convert my USD to the local currency.

…’Hindsight tells me that I should feel very fortunate to have only taken ONLY 20 USD with me on that day’…

I was on business and though the business was finished and completed, what happened next could have turned out very differently had I chosen to go ahead with what I initially signed up for.

The image is still clear in my head. I was walking down a bustling street with a combination of tourists and locals when I was hailed by a young local dude.

…’Hey mon, how are you’…

He had an enormous smile, impossibly white teeth that were enhanced by the colour of his very dark skin and was well dressed.


The stranger almost ran over to me and held out his hand. Taken aback, I involuntary took the hand and shook it.

He hailed me into a nearby bar and I found myself buying drinks for both myself and this charismatic chattering being.

…'It was as though a spell had been cast on me. I can't explain why I did these things to this day'…

What we talked about I can barely remember, just that I could not keep myself from talking back, interacting and worst of all spending my US Dollars on beer that I didn't want to drink for both of us.

Things moved quickly and next minute, he was inviting me to visit his Ganja farm which was somewhere inland and away from the bustle of tourism.

There’s other tourists there’, he was saying. ‘Just not the masses you get in Montego Bay’. He managed to spin a tale on me that sounded great.


Jamaica was the home of Ganja, mix in a little reggae and relax, so why not?

…’I didn’t even like drugs that involved smoking. They all made me cough, splutter and usually gave me a pounding headache. This dude was good, real good’…

We finished the drinks and he ushered me out of the bar straight into a car. Mobile phones were used in 1998 but were not mainstream, there had been no calls on his part so what fuck was happening?

I mean it was literally one foot out of the bar, next foot into the backseat of this car. Mr. White Smiling Teeth did not get in with me but closed the door firmly behind and the driver took off.

To be continued...

All images are cited and are free to use, or in the public domain.



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The shit that contractors could pull prior to Y2K seems ridiculous now’…

Died laughing at that.

That afternoon I decided to take a walk through Montego Bay.

Wrong move bro, unlike Negril or Ocho-Rios; MoBay and Kingston are not the type of places you want to go walking through, like New York City or Mexico for example; there are just some places you should stay in the tourist areas. In MoBay stay near the 'hip-strip' and in Kingston, anywhere outside of downtown is pretty safe. Shit, anywhere outside of downtown Kingston and in-town Montego Bay is safe in Jamaica provided it's not a dark lonely lane at night.

Currently, 1 USD is worth 234 Jamaican dollars

lol it's ~$134 bro, the highest it's ever been. Fairly stable recently too

He had an enormous smile, impossibly white teeth that were enhanced by the colour of his very dark skin and was well dressed..... The stranger almost ran over to me and held out his hand. Taken aback, I involuntary took the hand and shook it.

Red flags, red flags everywhere bro... con artists dress (unusually) well and try that handshake inception globally :)

I mean it was literally one foot out of the bar, next foot into the backseat of this car. Mr. White Smiling Teeth did not get in with me but closed the door firmly behind and the driver took off.

OMG. Sooo sorry!!!! Can't believe that happened, but you are here blogging with us now so I'm hoping this ends with a positive twist in the follow-up. In 1998 chances are they would have to hide Ganja tours but still that must of been scary AF.

Cheers bro, can't wait to hear the conclusion


Posted via ReggaeSteem | Reggae Culture Rewarded

Thanks for the big reply. I was hoping someone would give me some answers, though most of the questions posed are in part 2.

MoBay I guess then was a tourist attraction but these days Negril is what I see in the glossy catalogues. Is it no longer a place to go?

I was young then and stupid. It wouldn't happen today even with the best of spells woven on to me.

The suspense shall now kill me. Thanks.

Ah.. apologies, the whole draft was over 2000 words. A little long for one post methinks. It is all ready.., the second part being longer than this.

Long form content is the wave of the future! I enjoy it.

I only have so many of these up my sleeve. Most of my life has been eternally boring, but I'll see what other snippets I can pull out of my head.

Some of my best stories from long ago just make look like a thug. I usually pick my more embarrassing moments to write about.

Thug stories sounds awseome, you can always twist them to so you don't look like the bad bad guy.

Jamaica can be a nice mix of aggressiveness and chill vibes. Staying tuned....

Would love to go back, only to see that sea again, it was lovely.

@slobberchops, Somethings happens in life which don't have any definition with it but it just happens. Stay blessed.

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I remember it well, some things don't leave my head very easily!

I remember it
Well, some things don't leave me head
Very easily!

                 - slobberchops

I'm a bot. I detect haiku.

Good to know that. Have a great time ahead. 🙂

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Oh, to be continued, you bad bastard!!!

Ah yes.. apologies, but it was far too long for a single post. The good lady wont read it until I post part 2. She wont watch series either due to non-conclusive ends!

Hehe, I actually do like a good cliffhanger just totally wasn't expecting one!

I seem to do a lot of these lately, the thing is.. you start typing and before you know it there's 1000 words.., it's too long.. what do they say.. TL;DR.

Oh, I know that feeling!!!

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A. Got really high and missed your flight home
B. Got robbed and had to convince some driver to take you back to your hotel
C. You lost your 'viriginity'
D. All of the above

Posted via ReggaeSteem | Reggae Culture Rewarded

Your partially on the right track, but I wont tell... yet!

Can't wait for the next chapter.... :)

Yes, there's a little more to come. No spoilers... ;)

I do know for sure you survived ;)

You can’t leave me hanging man, I want to know how badly this ends!
(jammy bastard blagging that sweet holiday time tho 👌🏻)

The nineties, a time to really take the piss. I got some more trips out of them besides this one. Not as much drama in the others though.

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Yup you gotta be tough with the hustlers in any location. Hollywood got the slickest I have seen. But hey at least the experience is making a good story series. Very cool read man, you got us looking forward to part 2.

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Hope it makes good reading. I don't pretend to be a writer.., this ain't my day job!

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Wow, that is pretty scary. I am guessing that the recent post by @gooddream probably brought some of this back in to the forefront for you huh? I kind of wish I was a little older so I could have been involved in the earlier days of tech when everything was new and no one had a clue. You could pretty much get away with anything I feel.

Wow, that is pretty scary. I am guessing that the recent post by @gooddream probably brought some of this back in to the forefront for you huh?

You might think so but it was earmarked to be written. We each only have so many dramatic stories, and live to tell the tale.

I guess you were around in the nineties and in tech?

I was in the US during part of it but hated the work culture. That's another story though. My opinion my not prove so popular with Americans.

I graduated high school in the mid nineties and pursued some other areas of study early in my college career so it wasn't until the late 90's and early 2000's that I really got back into computers.

That's a cliffhanger and a half! He must have had bewitching teeth or something.

I was charmed, he was hiding a wand behind his back.

Great story telling and now I am intrigued and waiting for part two and where the car took you

Part Two is already posted!

Thanks for letting me know I went and checked it out :)

When I read you declined the ganja I was like "maaaan who declines weed in Jamaica"? I mean if you're there might as well know what all the hype is about... But now that the story is driving a car to a ganja farm I'm super intrigued, so going for part 2 :D

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I'm not really into the smokey stuff, give me chemicals any day.. or should I say.. years ago. I'm too old for this shit now.