Recently, a friend came to visit us from Paris and we were determined to show him a good time. I planned an action packed itinerary of Jamaican culture, beaches and as much rum and jerk as this Frenchman could handle. After getting back from one sun-filled day at San-San on the other side of the island, our friend, who is charged with an insane amount of energy suddenly makes an announcement. Donc, so tonight we party non? But it’s 10pm and I’ve just made a cup of tea, I say. But I want to sample the famous Kingston nightlife, he says.
Nobody wants to be one of those hosts that tell their excited friend, who has travelled thousands of miles, that it’s lights out at 10pm. Well I don’t actually mind being that sort of host but my husband minds terribly, and so begrudgingly I hit the first club just before 11pm.
Unfortunately for us, this club looks its been booked out for a teenagers birthday party. A bunch of gangly youths sit awkwardly in a corner with eyes glued to their smartphones. We exit and hit Regency – a popular club on the Kingston nightlife scene, but on this particular Monday it’s the most unpopular club in Kingston. A waitress is wiping the bar and doesn’t even look up when we walk in. Bit quiet in here, I say. We’re closing now, she sighs and returns to her cleaning. Where else can we try? I plead. She suggests the casino next door.
Hanging out in a casino wasn’t what any of us had in mind, but we give it a go. However the sight of lonely middle aged men sat at gambling machines is just too depressing, so we perform an about turn and head back to the car. Our French friend shrugs, I was looking for somewhere with people and some dancing, he says. We nod.
We hit the road to Bar 100, another Kingston stalwart but find no DJ and a bunch of women sat around eating chips. In fact the whole club smells like chips. We’re just about to give up when a hostess approaches and offers to escort us to the casino. More men sat at machines, and not a tuxedo in sight. The hostess ups her offer and walks us to the VIP lounge area. I smile at my friend – it helps to know people, I say winking. The vip lounge though effectively looks like someone’s living room with several TVs showing football and a man snoring in an armchair.
We pile back into the car and resume our fruitless mission, cruising round like a bunch of sex pests looking for a victim. Eventually I doze off, when I wake up, my face is stuck to the leather seat and I might have been snoring. I’m told they’ve tried a further four places. All were closed. By 1pm we abandon going out, so much for the famous Kingston nightlife. I hit the hay and leave both the chaps to it, reminiscing out on the terrace with a bottle of rum.