February 14 - On Shades and Grenades

Friday night we went with our friend Marvin to a bar called Weekends. Although we were pretty tired so didn't socialize all that much, the experience itself left me with two impressions, both with the potential to offend: 1) At the club it seemed that half of the people there were white, from all over. Most of the other people there were light-skinned. I got the sense that we were seeing a sort of pigmentocracy in effect. Wayne wasn't particularly surprised by it, but I was. I don't know what the cause. It seemed that it could be similar to my life at home, in that I spend most of my time with people from Harvard: highly educated, usually well-off. Here that group still seems to be largely made of the white and light-skinned population, though very definitely not entirely. I can't find any logical other reason for it. Of course, other even less charitable explanations are possible. All of that said, there were interesting people there, as everywhere that we've been. 2) Wayne commented to me that there seemed to be a gay scene at the bar, something that is very unusual in Jamaica, which is generally not very tolerant of open homosexuality. In particular, there were a lot of muscular men wearing tight black T-shirts, standing close together. After asking Marvin about it and finding that it wasn't a gay scene we realized what was actually happening: they were U.S. marines.