For this week's Travel Tuesday we will visit Jamaica. When people want to travel some place exotic yet still stay close to home, Jamaica is one of the favorite destinations. Jamaica's official language is English, even though the local patwa has an island twist, and it is conveniently located in the Carribean with ports for many cruise lines.

There are many things travelers and curious folk can learn about Jamaica by reading through the country profile in Global Road Warrior. Listed below are 5 more quick facts to get you started.

  • Holidays and Festivals: Independence Day: "The country became independent after more than 300 years as a British colony. In 1961, the people finally voted for sovereignty from the British Federation in a Referendum. As a result, a conference was held in London whereby the British ceded Jamaica. On August 6, 1962, Jamaica officially became an independent nation."
  • Climate: "Jamaica is one of the largest islands in the Caribbean Sea, and it experiences a tropical maritime climate. The climate is influenced by northeast trade winds, which can bring rain at any time, but do so far more commonly in the wet season in the second half of the year. The island also lies in the path of hurricanes that are formed in the Atlantic and generally track westward across the region. Jamaica is regularly hit by these storms, resulting in significant structural damage. Even when storms pass to the north or south of the island, increased rainfall can cause localized flooding."
  • Stereotypes: Rastafarians Rule: "There are only about 700,000 Rastafarians in the whole world and less than 10 percent of Jamaica‚Äôs 2,758,000 people are Rastafarians. In fact, Rastafarian groups claim that the Jamaican government exploits their image for tourism but systematically prevents them from getting government jobs. The fame of Bob Marley and the popularity of reggae music have gone a long way to promote this unfair image of indolence in a nation struggling to make economic ends meet."
  • Transportation: Bus: "Private buses and minibuses handle most urban transport. Do not expect straightforward scheduling practices or punctuality. Fares for tourists are higher than for locals, and there is little hope in arguing the point with the driver. Buses often operate full to overflowing. Still, it is a cheap way to travel and a wonderful way to get to know a few people. Buses are, however, rarely used for regular business travel at the management level. Managers and executives use hired cars or taxis."
  • Culture & Society: Time Orientation: "Jamaicans walk through their days easily balancing conflicting attitudes toward time. In many aspects of life, the relaxed attitude toward punctuality sometimes called "Jamaica Time" holds sway. In other areas, the more exacting view of time and punctuality associated with the Western world exerts its influence. In reality, Jamaica embraces both viewpoints by having a healthy respect for punctuality while retaining the belief that being somewhat later than the scheduled time is perfectly acceptable and understandable.
    Part of this latter attitude comes from an acceptance that public transportation rarely meets stated timetables. Even if a person strives to be punctual, a tardy bus can delay his or her arrival for an event. In addition, Jamaicans tend to be polychronic, putting people and relationships above the tyranny of the clock."

    Music Lovers: Visit our Freegal music service to explore more music options from Jamaican music artists.

    Recipe Corner: For an example Jamaican recipe, try banana fritters. Fried, battered bananas are a popular tropical snack.

    Recipe Serving: Serves 8

    Ingredients:

    6 very ripe bananas
    1/2 tsp (2 ml) ground nutmeg
    Flour
    2 eggs, beaten
    Sunflower oil
    Sugar to taste

    Instructions:

  • Peel the bananas and mash to a smooth paste.
  • Add the beaten eggs, nutmeg, and enough flour to make a thick batter.
  • Heat the oil over moderate heat and drop spoonfuls of the mixture into the hot oil.
  • When fritters are brown on one side, turn them over.
  • Drain, arrange on a large plate, and sprinkle with sugar.