The mountains of Jamaica rise up out of the turquoise-blue Caribbean. From those jaggy peaks, rolling hills — covered in lush green rainforests — taper down to soft-sand beaches along the coast.
It makes perfect sense that the first Jamaican inhabitants — the Taíno from South America — gave the island a name that means ‘Land of Wood and Water.’ It’s all as if paradise is beckoning you to come, sit, relax.
Music floats on the air in both the rhythmic lilt of reggae music and Jamaican patois, a creole language that combines elements of English, Spanish, and African languages.
Yes, there are pirates in Jamaica’s past, along with Spanish conquistadors, British interlopers, and a history of slavery. But Jamaica is now a cultural superpower, sharing its feel-good music (with a message), colorful cuisine, star athletes, and multicultural gifts with the world.
In this episode, we explore the so-literal-they’re-poetic names of some Jamaican towns, sing along to our favorite Bob Marley tunes, dig into the history of jerk chicken, and spy on Ian Fleming’s Jamaican estate. Then we recommend five great books that to us to Jamaica on the page, including two delicious cookbooks, a YA adventure with a side of social justice, a sweet family saga, a short story collection that will punch you in the feelings, and a painfully beautiful story about an (extra)ordinary Jamaican woman named Amamine. (show notes / transcript)
Top image courtesy of Lyncoln Miller/Shutterstock.
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