Spud finds the Jamaican locals don't seem to mind weeds!Touring Jamaica

While flying to the island, the tater had read that Jamaica was home to some of the largest sugar canefields in the world. He also noted that some of the best coffee was also grown here in the hills of the Blue Mountains. Intrigued to see some of these valuable exports in their natural environment, Spud asked his driver to take him to a plantation.

Hey mon, roll me a great big spliff!A short drive later the tuber found himself in the hills just east of Negril. Salomon stopped the car and talked to a local Rastafarian whom he told of his interest to see Jamaica's prize crop. The dreadlock-laden local smiled widely and led the tuber down a brush covered trail to a large field of cannabis plants. The man spoke proudly of the abundant weeds that had sprouted amidst the sugar cane. Always willing to help, Spud pulled out an electric WEED EATER and offered to take care of the man's weed problem. The fellow's bloodshot eyes bulged with fear at the thought of Spud 'cultivating' his crop and he whisked the trimmer out of the tater's hands. "Na Mon! 'is nodda ready!" the Rasta bellowed.

As with most good tours, Spud's plantation visit ended in a colourful ramshackle building where free 'samples' were offered. The smoke engulfed the tiny room and although Spud graciously refused sampling, he breathed in enough to believe he was Julie Andrews frolicking in the hills of Austria.

The next stop on Spud's Jamaican tour was the town of Negril's famous lighthouse. This 30 metre (100 foot) concrete structure was first built in 1895 to guide ships safely around Jamaica's dangerous western edge.

The light that was used for many years was operated by an acetylene gas lamp. It's reddish glow was a true symbol of Jamaica as, from afar, the lighthouse resembled a great big 'spliff'. In an effort to downplay the stereotype, the Jamaican government converted the power source to solar energy and the colour of the light was changed to white.

The next stop on the itinerary was Rick's Cafe. Rick's is considered an institution in Jamaica and is reknowned for its spectacular sunsets and testosterone-filled locals that plunge from it's cliffside perch into the crystalline waters some 12 meters (35 feet) below.

Where are the Wailers?The thought of seeing hordes of men in thongs and speedos didn't appeal to Spud, but the music certainly did. Spud couldn't experience Jamaica without listening to some live reggae and learning through music about the legacy of the icon Bob Marley. It was so refreshing to come to a land that hasn't heard of the Backstreet Boys or Britney Spears.

Spud sizes up the quality of Marco Polo's jewelryAs Spud's trip was beginning to wind down, he decided to visit some of the local vendors and wood carvers to see if he could pick up a souvenir. Fortunately for Spud, Jamaica has no shortage of talented artisans.

Spud stopped at the table of one fellow who went by the name of Marco Polo. Since he was somewhat suspect of his alias, the tater carefully inspected the quality of his wares.

After an hour of meticulous inspection, Spud finally decided on a lovely shell necklace which, after some aggressive haggling, he purchased at a very reasonable price. It was only after he got back to the hotel that he remembered he didn't have a neck...

The tuber headed back to Rick's Cafe to drown his sorrows in a drink or two of fine Jamaican rum and enjoy one last golden sunset before returning to the Great White North.

The sun sets on Spud's Jamaican excursion



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