Killamanjaro 3 a.m. in the country

8/13/00: About 9 p.m. someone says there’s a bredrin at the gate for me, I go out to see who it is. “It is you Iya check for”, it was Angie Angel’s boyfriend, when I asked where we were going he said “In country, not far still”. In Jamaica when someone says “country” it can mean anywhere from MoBay to Spanish town, Ochi or Negril, no one is ever very specific. Always up for an adventure I thought for a minute and said “OK let me get dressed, soon come”.

Getting no sign of where we were going but it looked as if we were going to round-up people. This would turn out to be a big ordeal. We were driving all around town through some dark and questionable areas, we picked Ninja Ford, Don Deago, Terry Ganzie and a few others and then ended up hanging out at Cassava Piece for a bit waiting, as one often does in Jamaica. Our convoy was now 3 cars and we all met up at one last place to make sure we had everyone. It was now about 12:30 and we are finally on our way. I am hearing talk that we will get to where ever it is we are going around 2:30 a.m., all I hear is “Not far still ….. soon come ….. still country”.

The ride is painfully slow at times and yet too fast other times for the dark winding country roads. About 2:30 we finally got there, where “there” is I still don’t know (and don’t know to this day). The final road is one of those half lane, bumpy, dark desolate roads through a banana grove, one of those roads that you are not sure you should be on or never want to break down on. The place itself was a concrete block structure, 4 walls, no roof, just lots of razor wire and a huge iron gate, from the inside it looked like a prison yard. Inside there is about 50 people listening to Killamanjaro sound system who was kicking out some wicked tunes, everyone on was patiently waiting for the artist to perform.

It was a good 30 minutes before any artist came on. They each did about 2-3 tunes (Terry Ganzie never made it) the crowd was pretty into it and the show went on till about 4 a.m. Jaro had broken down all their equipment and was about 6 people still hanging out. We were waiting for someone to come collect all the drink bottles and take them back to some place so we could the deposit money back, this was about 5 a.m. Patrick asked me if I wanted some food or drinks, “No thanks” I said, thinking how much time would that take? Patrick says, “Brian he a true soldier, hang on till the end still not tired, and im still sharp too!” I guess he was surprised I was still functioning after all night partying. I crawled in the car and took a nap till about 6 when we watched the sun rise. I figured soon we would be on our way back to Kingston, but I was so wrong. We were on our way with 2 bredrin in the car and I figured we going home only to find out we were dropping them someplace then going back to where the party was, this was 6:30. We got back and they were still waiting for someone to pick up the bottles, we waited till 9:30 a.m.

We ended up packing up all the bottles ourselves and took about a half hour, ahhh drinking Stones Ginger Wine at 10 in the morning, was not bad actually. Finally on the road but now we had to stop at another dance, this one at the Rio Sombre river, was a real cool spot 2 big pools for swimming and a rock bridge to get to the other side where people were picnicking. Turns out we are not stopping here, but coming back later, well at least I do know what we will be doing later. We drive about 5mph since the roads are soo bad, stopping along the way to talk to various people on the road. We eventually arrive at Angie Angels grandmothers house, she is 93, we hung out with her most of the afternoon. To make this long story shorter, we had another dance to go to in Oracabessa for Angie’s birthday that night, we didn’t get back to Kingston for another 2 days.

Driving back we were outside Caymanis on the boulevard going about 60 when the rear tire starts to thump and the tread comes off! Now we are spinning and going backwards down the wrong way of the tree-lined boulevard into oncoming traffic”. I hear a few “Selasie I’s” and we end up stopping backwards about 2 feet from this huge tree. People run over from the bus stop to see if we are OK, and we are. A woman came over and shook my hand and thanked God for us being alright, I thanked her back. There was a gas station across the street so we were able to get our shredded tire replaced and be on our way.  Now we still had to stop by the mineral springs (which were close by) to clean up. On our way now and another tire is leaking, “now what” I am thinking to myself, I told them there is a tire place right by my place and they can get it fixed there. I got home about 6 a.m. and 3 days later but had a great time where ever we were.


2 comments on “Killamanjaro 3 a.m. in the country”

  1. Man! Thanks so much for sharing these anecdotes… a real pleasure reading them. I’ve only ever spent 3 weeks in Jamaica, in Rollington Town Kingston…. never had the connections to link up with sounds etc (staying with my wife’s family) but these kind of stories bring back memories still… I can picture the waiting, anticipating and excitement so clearly. Fair play to you for sticking it out through that whole weekend!

    Thanks also for the pictures of course. Nice one Brian.

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