All are welcome in Dublin Castle
Bump! Clank! Sprig! The smoking truck laboured up the mountain road. It was carrying sand and seemed unlikely to make it all the way. I stood as far away from it as I could, though there isn't much room on that Dublin Castle road in St Andrew.
Honk! The driver stuck his head out the window and waved to me and a hat-wearing woman standing nearby. He seemed unperturbed by the entire affair, even as I started whispering urgent prayers for a very literal deliverance.
The woman waved back but then had to use both her hands to cover her nose. The thick, black smoke covered everything around us and I wondered if I would be able to see the truck if it started rolling back. Those were an intense few seconds.
Thankfully, the truck made it around a bend and when the last of the smoke disappeared, I walked over to the woman.
"Mi see one time like yuh start get nervous! Heh hey!" she laughed.
Trucks pass every day
I waved her concern away casually, suggesting that I knew all along that nothing bad was going to happen.
"Yes, man, yuh safe. Dem know what dem doing. Every day truck pass right here. Mind sharp one more soon pass too," she said.
I introduced myself to her and she told me that people call her Miss D. Her blue hat matched her long blue skirt. She had very bright, pretty eyes and a well-pronounced chin.
We were outside a shop with pink walls and a white roof. The words 'Daniel's Shop' were painted above the door.
"Yuh have to get adjust to di truck dem, for every day dem pass right here. All weekend day too," Miss D said.
I asked her where they were headed. "Is a whole heap of place'develing up, yuh know," she said. "Everybody moving to Dublin Castle now. Everywhere yuh look yuh see new place building."
Miss D told me that people were moving to Dublin Castle because of how nice it is up there.
"It quiet and cool up here, so di word start to spread, yuh understand me, Floyd?" she said. I looked behind me, but we were still alone. I reminded her that my name is actually Robert.
"Yes, so when people hear how up here don't have any crime and dem tings, people want to live up here. Dem tired of di crime and frustration in Kingston," she said.
"Mi will leave all mi rake and broom outside and nobody don't molest it. People park dem car and nothing don't happen. Is only honest people around here."
I asked Miss D if long-time residents weren't bothered by the invasion.
"No yuh know, Floyd," she said. "I don't hear anybody crying over it. Dem more happy because dem seh it will help di place get more develing up."
I asked her who Floyd was, but she ignored the question. "Come sit down and rest yuh foot," she said, pointing to a stool near the door. I took her up on her offer and enjoyed a deep breath of that fresh mountain air.
"Look at di rake outside. Is long time now mi lean it up right there and all now it still there same way," Miss D said, pointing to the red and black rake near the window of the shop.
"Yuh see what mi saying, Floyd? I never born and grow here. I move here a few years now so mi know yuh can't do dem tings everywhere," she said.
I agreed and joked that I might just have to move to Dublin Castle myself.
"Well, we glad to have yuh, Floyd," she said. "We welcome all, because the place is here for everyone. As long as who come behave well, Dublin Castle people welcome one and all."
Follow Robert Lalah on Twitter at @robertlalah and get live tweets as he roves across Jamaica.
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