We attend our first party on Wednesday night: the Red Stripe Crates session at Fantasy Beach in Priory. It's a party where people come out early and it normally ends at 2pm. The venue is a spot right on the beach with a circular bar at its center, surrounded by walls of speakers. We enjoy a great musical selection, starting with reggae and ending in dancehall with the the customary 'non-reggae' segment (basically anything: from hiphop to Michael Jackson to Beyonce) in between. We here at Reggaetourist might be obsessively focussed on reggae, but in Jamaica any good song is rated no matter which genre. Quite a few tourists have found their way to the beach, and we're told that the Crates session is serious competition for the long standing Wednesday parties at Margaritaville in Ochie. We have a great time and immediately feel at ease here. We go out looking for a taxi just before the party ends. There's only one that offers to take us to Ochie but he's clearly overcharging. We hang around for a while and a next one shows up that takes us to Ochi for a decent 'night fare' and in record time.
We take it easy on Thursday morning and go out for our ital breakfast at Calabash restaurant. Today is the first day since we arrived the sun is really out, so we're going to the river. The White River, in fact, where they used to keep the 'White river Reggae Bash'. On our arriving in Ochie a couple of days ago we spotted a friend on the streets we met 4 years ago. He's a captain of one of the rafts so we meet him at midday at the market in Ochie. We walk for about 20 minutes to the river base where the rafts are, passing Irie FM radio station and the infamous Shades nightclub. The captain takes us for a short ride upstream to a 'party spot' where we can spend the day swimming, eating and drinking. The place is indeed beautiful and there's a bunch of locals having fun while engaging in all kinds of contests. The manager has a link with the cruise ships who drop off their guests regularly. Not today though, we're the only tourists here, but we do get the tourist treatment at first. Having ascertained that we know the ropes, and having saved the party with my well charged phone and a Jugglers mixtape (thanks shotta paul and meska!), we're all good and blend in.
When we're ready we go back with the raft and I have fish and bammy in a little shack by the river. We spend the rest of the evening here, it's lovely on the river bank.