Posts tagged ‘tourist’

March 14, 2011

Life and Debt

by sadafsalehi

The documentary on Life and Debt really portrays the views of what we see through a tourist vision and the people living in the country. It is portraying the standard lives of individual Jamaicans whose existence is determined by the U.S and other foreign economics. This well organized documentary opens and leads the viewers to the contrasting vision of tourists of Jamaica, Jamaican business owners, and the labourers. Stephanie Black endures her audience to see beyond the perimeter of the tourists’ areas, and to actually look behind the scenes of a place that seems so amazingly beautiful and relaxing; a place where tourist will be spending their stay at and the approaching entertainments. This document touches on how Jamaica is being pushed around by the US and other countries to meet their standards in order for them to make a living. The dark side of Jamaica really starts to shine once we take a deep look at the distressed financial system of Jamaica and how the Jamaican people are affected by it.

Stephanie Black’s purpose of this documentary is to set a vision on the situations that a “tourist” would normally miss when in a rural nation like Jamaica. The quote, “You’d be surprised to find out that every bite of food you eat comes off a plane from Miami”, which was also in the non-fiction book “A Small Place” – Jamaica Kincaid, really puts an effect on its viewers, and presumably leans toward the factor of Jamaicans labourers who are affected the most due to the standards of other nations. It is very heartbreaking when your own nation does not have the capability to sell products at a lower cost, but instead having to buy imports at a cheaper price due to Jamaican money being so devalued.

To many people this is not their first time watching a documentary, but what’s so different about Blacks documentary is how she compares and contrasts both views of Jamaica, the view of a tourist and the view of the working class. This profound technique really catches the audience’s attention and, in many ways, sends out a massage that we should always look beyond the image that is set and staged for us to see. Although the documentary is only based on a portion of Jamaica, an emotional person would find it very difficult to watch the entire documentary. In many of the scenes I personally found it difficult to view life in their perspective, especially when grown up in an industrial location. It was difficult comparing their lifestyle to mine, but defiantly changed my perspective of living standards. Overall I was amused by all the information that was given and found the documentary very interesting, but personally since I do not travel very often I would rather focus on other documentary’s which could be useful to me in the future. This is a perfect documentary to watch if you are interested to know more about the economical aspect of an area that you would desire to visit before becoming that ‘tourist’.


March 8, 2011

A Big Bite for a Small Place

by chrislansigan

           Jamaica Kincaid, the author of “A Small Place”, knows how to really express her ideology down into a short novel. Her main point that she tends to draw out numerous times is that her beautiful home country of Antigua was simply ruined by foreign colonizers, whether it had to do with construction or living space or slavery. Opening up the book, Kincaid goes straight to the fact of how tourists act in Antigua, and are seen as the ‘unwanted’ people by the locals, and as she depicts at the end of the first section. “An ugly thing, that is what you are when you become a tourist, an ugly, empty thing, a stupid thing, a piece of rubbish pausing here and there to gaze at this and that, and it will never occur to you that the people who inhabit the place in which you have just paused cannot stand you…” (pg. 17). This is essential, because it states how the narrator is going to communicate to the reader throughout the entire novel by repetitively being so negative towards the intended audience, which are clearly all the non-third world inhabitants of the world.

          Kincaid stresses on the fact that her country is powerless when it came to political issues, mostly because of the influence and corruption within the government. She is constantly attacking foreign influence throughout her piece, which can become somewhat bitter after a certain amount of her excessive thoughts cover page to page. I think that it is exceptional that she expresses her true feelings of what happened to her country in the past, but the constant biting at the tourists for just being a normal visitor is completely unnecessary and irrelevant. Summing up the three main figures that affected Antigua the most, Kincaid shoves in our faces that all that the people there were properly educated in were “how to imprison and murder each other, how to govern badly, and how to take [my country’s] wealth…in Swiss bank accounts” (Pg. 34). She takes delight in reminding us how we used them to our own advantage, which works in her favour when proving her points.  

              Kincaid does not choose to write delicately; rather, she writes with explicit emotions and an obvious resentment and anger, not caring what her audience presumes when they read her book. This is admirable, but at the same time can brew much disagreement, because this trait divides her readers who take the time to sit down and open the novel, into the ones with respect for her truthfulness, and the ones that simply shake their heads at what they are looking at. Besides the invigorating assaults on the conscience mind, this book is worth picking up and reading through in one go, for you can learn a lot from this book about small beautiful places, and what really goes on behind the shiny, bare-laid beaches and hotels with the locals. But, if you enjoy the life of tourism, prepare for a frontline ambush and man the trenches, for you will need the firepower to keep a hold of this novel while reading it in a good mood.

April 1, 2009

Information for tourists!

by justineb89

Jamaica Kincaid, a native Antiguan, acts as a reader’s tour guide through the picturesque sights and fascinating history of A Small Place, Antigua.  Kincaid is a very passionate tour guide, who is an enormous wealth of information on Antiguan past, both as a colony of the British Empire and after its independence as a post-colonial state struggling to find stability. She demonstrates no inhabitations and is quite brutally honest, almost to the point of offence, regarding the treatment of Antigua, and Antiguans by the British colonists.

However then goes on to explain the backwardness of Antigua seen presently, Kincaid does this most effectively through the description of the library. As the library was built during colonial times and up kept nicely until and earthquake in 1974 caused great damage to the structure, which has never been repaired. Kincaid uses this example to illustrate the “corruption, of things gone bad” (42).

Furthermore, an author can easily take every time Kincaid says “Antigua” or “Antiguan” and place any other British or European colony in its place. As Kincaid’s take on colonialism is similar to the stories of many other post-colonial society’s struggling with poverty and government corruption.

Moreover I do not suggest readers to take this book, on vacation if they plan on staying in all-inclusive resort in Mexico, Cuba or the Caribbean, as it may ruin your trip. As within the first pages she describes a “North American (or worse) European” tourist as “ an ugly human being”, this is not a description I would want to give myself if I were sipping Mai Tai’s at the Sandals resort in Jamaica. It is, however a book, I would definitely suggest reading before making arrangements for an upcoming vacation, as it will give information about Antigua or any other post-colonial state, that no travel agency will dare tell their clients.

April 1, 2009

Echoing the Big Issues of a Small Place

by Aurelea

By Hannali Popoca

In the opening of A Small Place, Jamaica Kincaid tells how you can turn into an “ugly human being”: you just have to become a tourist. She argues that from that moment you stop being a “whole person” and are reduced to an empty, unproductive, and disliked “stupid thing”. The angry tone of the narrative found mostly at the beginning of the book stresses Kincaid’s resentment towards the English and their empire. However, moving forward in the text, the reader will learn the reasons the author resorts to such strong language and narrative tone.

Kincaid shows the ugliness of tourism to present the bad deeds committed by European colonizers in her homeland, Antigua. Through her narrative, she takes the readers as tourists to this island and questions all the hypothetical moves they might do. This is to criticize how tourists, especially those from North America and Europe, use indigent people’s land and resources for their pleasure without considering the poor conditions which characterize the place. Tourists are seduced by the beauty of a place where impoverishment is part of the attractive scenery they have come to watch. They fail to understand that their source of joy is their hosts’ plight. Therefore the presence of tourists in the island emphasizes the subordinated role that Antiguans have been playing since colonization.

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