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Travel

Jamaica: Land of Mosquitoes, Machetes and MSG, Part 2

OK. So I’m working backwards here, but who cares?

I knew about violence in Jamaica, but was unprepared for the number of machetes that are in this country! EVERYBODY AND THEIR MOTHER (literally) has a machete! And they use them often. There are practical uses such as slaughtering an animal or chopping coconuts open, but unfortunately, they are also used in acts of violence.

For the most part in my family, people were using their machetes for cracking open coconuts. As I mention in another post, Jamaicans hardly ever use coconuts anymore. This, thanks to a pesticide spraying program that killed off the majority of the coconut trees. But also because Jamaicans like other people in the 3rd world, are ashamed of their heritage and instead of eating coconut oil and drinking coconut water, they use processed vegetable oils and drink some crap called bag juice— just what it sounds like, juice (or rather drink) in a bag.

My daughter, left, teaching her cousin the joys of fresh coconut water

My daughter, left, teaching her cousin the joys of fresh coconut water

My daughter loves coconut water and it was interesting to see her, the American kid introduce all of her cousins to this delicious drink. Even now, many of these kids (I am told) are asking their parents for coconut water whenever they see coconuts nearby. So much healthier and cheaper when they can get them in their own backyard!

My cousin had been complaining to me that she was having some knee pain. In fact, her brother suffers from the same problem. He uses bee stings for temporary relief.

After talking to me, she decided to start using her own coconut oil that she makes. Ever since, she has been raving about how none of the pain has ever returned. But darned if she can her brother to at least try it! Now she cooks everything in coconut oil instead of vegetable oil. She saves money and is pain free!

Cuz getting bee sting relief

Cuz getting bee sting relief

The other place we saw the machete used was in the slaughter of a goat. In honor of our arrival and the gift we had given to my younger cousin, they slaughtered one of their many goats which provided many, many meals going forward. It is not easy to watch an animal get slaughtered, but it is a very sobering experience. I think that if more people in our society saw this process, they would be far less wasteful of food and meat in general.

I cannot tell you how many times I have seen a person throw out meat because they are a vegetarian or would rather eat dessert. It is a disrespect that I cannot understand. Even the Dalai Lama eats meat out of respect for the animal as well as his hosts. Who among us thinks of themselves as better than the Dalai Lama?

The saddest machete story came from a friend of an Aunt who lives in Portland — the northeastern part of the country. We were walking in his neighborhood where he was thinking of doing some rafting trips for tourists. He saw a friend walking from the cemetery and told us that he had just lost his son in a bank robbery. The man’s son worked as a security guard in the bank and was “chopped up” as we were told by guys with machetes wanting to rob the bank.

Talk to Jamaicans and they will tell you that this type of violence only happens between gangs and that everyone else, especially tourists, is left alone. Not so, one week after returning to the U.S., we were told of a tourist who was murdered (not sure if it was machete or gun) in the resort where he was staying.

So if you go to Jamaica, you have to look out for more than the MSG, but the violence there is still very real!


About Adrienne Hew

Adrienne-Hew_BlackWhite.jpg

Adrienne Hew is a Certified Nutritionist and the Nutrition Heretic Podcast Host, but is best known online as an author of the Amazon Top 100 Bestseller 50 Ways to Eat Cock: Healthy Chicken Recipes with Balls! Receiving a certificate in Chinese dietetics in 2002 and her degree as a Certified Nutritionist in 2004, she has helped many clients and workshop attendees to decode their own health dilemmas by understanding the inconsistencies in conventional nutritional dogma. She currently resides in Hawaii with her husband and two children.

My $2000 GPS: Why You Need Travel Insurance

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Last year my family decided to go to Spain to visit a friend I hadn’t seen for nearly 20 years. Amazingly we found a flight, not only direct from NYC to Malaga — a relatively obscure destination for most Americans, but we found those tickets for only $550 each! This was over $400 off of the normal price for tickets to Spain.

The one glitch? The website I bought the tickets through didn’t offer any kind of insurance at checkout.

Interestingly enough, I had recently been investing in the additional $20 or whatever price it is on every trip I had bought online over the past few years.

Even though it wasn’t offered, I kept saying to myself that I’d purchase the insurance before the trip. Unfortunately, a string of bad events kept me from making that purchase.

First, I got MSG poisoning on my trip to Jamaica 6 weeks earlier… and it lasted for 6 weeks. In fact I was only better at the beginning of the week that I was leaving for Spain.

Then my daughter got sick from swimming in a friend’s pool (they didn’t tell us that their kid had a virus!). So I spent the entire week before the trip, not only packing, but trying to nurse my child back to health.

Finally came the day of the trip. We planned 5 hours to get to the airport because driving into New York on a Friday afternoon in summer is sketchy. Even so, we had done the trip before and it only took 2 hours max.

We loaded into the car and got on the road. So exhausted from the week and lack of sleep the night before. I closed my eyes as my husband drove. As we got a few miles away from New York — TRAFFIC! Everything came to an almost complete stand still. I couldn’t believe it!

Instead of checking the directions the GPS was giving us and comparing it to the directions from the parking garage, we blindly followed the GPS directions which brought us right through New York City! Usually we go around through Staten Island, but by the time we had recognized the error — there was no turning back. There was no way to get off!

Finally, we arrived to the airport… ten minutes AFTER they closed the check-in counter! Needless to say, we were horrified.

So then, we spent the next THREE hours on a line for people who missed their flight — that didn’t even look that long when we got on it. When we got to the front of the line. The dude at the counter barely spoke English and his boss (an old black guy named Ivan) refused to sell us tickets for the following day’s flight for less than $3000 each — yes, that’s three THOUSAND! He gave us no compassion for having gotten stuck in 5 hours of traffic and could care less that he had us waiting on the line for 3 hours with a 5 year old. It was not 11pm and we didn’t even have a place to sleep that night!

I was so proud of my husband. He immediately called Delta’s customer service and explained the case to the agent and was able to procure 3 tickets for the next evenings flight for only $2000! I know this seems like a lot, but since we had gotten the first tickets so cheaply, this was a blessing because it still brought our tickets to a price similar to what most of the other people on the flight were probably paying.

So here are the lessons we learned from this experience:

1. ALWAYS get some kind of travel insurance that covers things like missed flights, lost baggage and health (especially if you’re doing any kind of adventure travel or are elderly). For a nominal fee, it can save you a lot of headaches.

2. NEVER trust your GPS! These can be handy devices (in fact, ours has European maps installed and helped us find the tiny street we were staying on in Granada), but often will not give you the best directions. Get MapQuest directions to compare or download directions from the destination you are going to (such as the airport).

3. If you miss your flight, get on the line designated for people who are stranded, but start calling customer service for your airline IMMEDIATELY. Try to do anything possible to avoid standing on line for three hours.

4. DON’T TAKE NO FOR AN ANSWER! You can always get a better deal if you have to deal with a belligerent  customer service agent.


About Adrienne Hew

Adrienne-Hew_BlackWhite.jpg

Adrienne Hew is a Certified Nutritionist and the Nutrition Heretic Podcast Host, but is best known online as an author of the Amazon Top 100 Bestseller 50 Ways to Eat Cock: Healthy Chicken Recipes with Balls! Receiving a certificate in Chinese dietetics in 2002 and her degree as a Certified Nutritionist in 2004, she has helped many clients and workshop attendees to decode their own health dilemmas by understanding the inconsistencies in conventional nutritional dogma. She currently resides in Hawaii with her husband and two children.