Patois, aka Jamaican Creole, is what most Jamaicans prefer to speak and if you know a little, it goes a long way. That’s why I tried to learn as much as I could on my trip a few weeks ago.
And I was lucky to have my own private lesson…on a porch…taught by two vendors, husband and wife. It was kind of random, which I like.
So how’d it happen? And why was it so much fun?
Read on to find out.
Where? My Porch in Billy’s Bay
I’d been renting a lovely apartment up on a hill in Billy’s Bay, Treasure Beach. I was chilling out with the owner enjoying the morning on the porch. (Or was it a veranda? Hmmm. I sometimes confuse the two).
I spotted two people making their way up the final part of the driveway, carrying bags and suitcases. They’d left their car just past the gate.
Who? A Vendor and Her Husband
I’d met the woman (I think her name was Sofia) in the photo a few days before the photo was taken. She was making jewelry down the street from where I was staying and we’d spoken briefly about her arts and crafts.
What? Vending Arts/Crafts
Evidently, Sofia remembered me from our previous chat and saw a potential sale. She recalled that I said I was staying nearby and found me. She brought her husband and their goods–jewelry, clothes and hand-painted wooden crocodiles.
They were super friendly and I enjoyed chatting with them. I got a good vibe from them.
How’d the Lesson Begin?
I love to chat with strangers and I love to learn new languages and dialects. These particular people spoke Patois very clearly and I loved the way it sounded.
I told them I was trying to learn and they smiled, happy to hear it. I ran a few phrases past them–to see if I was pronouncing them correctly–and they assisted. They also taught me some new ones. I grabbed my notebook, of course, and wrote those down.
We practiced together for a while–everyday phrases and a few bad words–and many laughs were shared. This made me happy and I could see they enjoyed themselves, too.
I bought a crocodile and a bracelet; the prices seemed fair enough and the items were pretty. After our chat, they gave me and my backpack a lift to the hotel down the street where I needed to take care of something.
Have you had fun/enjoyable encounters with vendors that turned into real conversations–or maybe even a language lesson? If so, where and how did it come about?
Have you been to Jamaica and while there, did you learn any Patois? If so, what did you think of it? I thought it was fun and entertaining at times–especially seeing the reactions of the locals when I used common phrases.
Hungry for More?
If you enjoy reading about random encounters with the locals, then check out my book, ‘Magic Carpet Seduction.’ There are many stories about going off the beaten path, being in the moment and going with the flow—and the cool stuff that happens along the way.
Meanwhile, feel free to sign up for my newsletter (click here) to be kept up-to-date re: future books and to learn, in advance, about upcoming discounts on my book.
And, if you’d like, check out some more ‘random travel moments‘ from ChickyBus.