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Negril Jamaica, an Experience of a Lifetime
The Vibes Are Right
Imagine a perfect white sand beach, with the caribbean sea calmly beating at the shore behind you. Conch shells line the welcoming path, and a brilliantly orange sunset casts a picturesque glow against the coconut trees in front. A small makeshift hut made of bamboo and flimsy thatching is in the middle, inside of which, is all the Red Stripe you can drink. This, is Irie Vibez.
Along the seven mile stretch of perfect sandy beach in Negril is where you can find it. An unknown place to most tourists, perhaps appearing abandoned to some, it has become a haven for locals to gather and enjoy an ice cold drink after a scorching hot day.
"Wut a Goan?!" shouts Flash, a regular to the bar who has lived in Jamaica all his life. "Me alright, tanks," I say while sitting on a piece of wood stretched across two cinder blocks. Flash, (who also introduces himself as "Mr. Lover" to female tourists arriving on the island) is one of countless locals who frequent this location.
I watch as he orders a beer and goes to mingle with the rest of the crowd, all of whom can be seen in the same spot, at the same time, any night of the week. I look around, and realize this place is one of a kind. A sparkling and unique gem amongst a sea of flawed pearls. These creaky seats, this makeshift roof, the usual kind faces, the place known as Irie Vibez has become a second home for some. And not a soul who attends would change a single aspect of the place.
The vibes are right.
In the front of the bar in bold lettering it reads, "Open 24/7", amazingly most of the time by the same bartender. All of the traditional Jamaican drinks are sold here, and for some of the best prices in Negril. It can only be found by those who search, or those who know the area well. Though it is located obviously upon the shore of a popular beach, it remains a well kept secret.
As I am about to invite a friend to play a very competitive game of Ping-Pong in the sand behind the bar, I hear a man called "Nutsy" making his way down the beach, "Cigarettes!" he yells.
Nutsy has been around for as long as i can remember. He makes a living selling cigarettes individually or by the pack, raw peanuts in handful-sized amounts, and DoubleMint gum, all of which are tied one-by-one inside small sandwich bags and attached to a clothes hanger wire. As always, he stops by for a quick drink and to catch up on the latest gossip before he continues on his way down the beach. "Everyting Irie," he says with a smile as he brushes by my side.
Irie, as the Jamaican language of Patois goes, means good, plenty, and happiness. This single word portrays a great deal about how the place is operated, the atmosphere it generates, and the type of friendly people you can find. It's no wonder the place has been named "Irie Vibez".
© 2014 Kelsey Boydston