Jamaican Dollar (JMD) 115.61 = 80p
So it was almost two weeks since Hurricane Sandy hit the island of Jamaica (yes, mainstream media would have made you believe it only hit New York). Before the devastation on the shores of New Jersey, Hurricane Sandy pounded Haiti, Cuba and Jamaica, leaving massive destruction in its wake.
Whilst the whole of the island was without power for 24 hours, the storm mainly hit Kingston, where 1,000 people sought refuge and at the time of writing this, are still severely struggling to recover from the effects of the devastating tropical storm.
Montego Bay, where we were heading, is roughly 80 miles from Kingston.
The blasé attitude of hotel staff, "we're fine here, life goes on" were somewhat surprising. Admittedly, if you hadn't caught any news from the past week, you really would not have noticed any difference at all, apart from a lack (ruin) of my fave tropical island fruits... Which incidentally, I love for breakfast!
In fact, the hotel Guest Liaison Officer was in an obviously generous mood. Two nights into our four nights stay, we were offered $150 to change rooms to accommodate another guest. No hesitation from me.... Within an hour I'd ordered room service dinner, booked a spa treatment and had a $15 cocktail! Disclaimer, I had no idea the cocktail would be so expensive, but was amazed how when I thought I was getting it for free, I turned into this over indulgent lady of leisure and didn't even look at the menu's price list.
Well my lady of leisure alter ego was very quickly quashed with $25 (£15.77) breakfast, $15 (£9.46) glass of wine and $45 (£38.38) evening meals! My $150 credit very quickly descended to zero!
Forced to wear my 'Around the World on 80p' hat once more, I headed off to the only place I could realistically complete my mission - the local supermarket, to do my credit crunching abroad.
For 80p (JMD115 and under) I could have bought:
Cow, pig or goat bones
....purchased some but retched at others!
Much more appealing to my taste buds and within budget:
Tin of Ackee
A box of Cornmeal porridge mix
Hard doe bread
Small bun (don't forget the cheese)
A small bottle of Wray & Nephew rum
And a small bottle of Stones alcoholic Ginger Beer, etc
Whilst I didn't purchase it all... I'm looking forward to my Mom's big cooking fest upon my return to drier, yet much colder climates.
That said, I sincerely hope none of my items purchased will land me a starring role in the TV programme 'UK Border Control'!
Article by Dawne B / 16th November 2012
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