Why I Am Never Going to Canada Again.
T he title of this article is actually misleading — and I blatantly admit it up front to you…
…so why did I use it?
In that article, Steven cites the following reasons: “High murder rate, tourist traps, everyone with their hand out – reasons why we will never return there. So many other beautiful places in the world to visit.”
I have never been to Jamaica; but I do hope to visit one day. With an area of 4,240 square miles, the Caribbean island nation might be small compared to Canada, where the total area is approximately 6.2 million square miles…
…but an absolute conclusion pertaining to an entire country should not rest on one visit to Montego Bay, in my opinion.
Does Jamaica have a high murder rate? According to this “listicle” posted at The Huffington Post, Jamaica ranks as the sixth most dangerous country in the world in terms of its murder rate of 39.3 per 100,000 people in 2012…
…which means that your chances of getting murdered in Jamaica are .000393 per person. Is that really a reason not to visit a country?
Colombia, South Africa, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Swaziland, Guatemala, El Salvador, Belize and Venezuela round out the top ten countries with the highest murder rates — with Honduras having the highest murder rate in the world at 90.4 per 100,000 people. Should I not visit those countries either?
I was born and raised in New York — Brooklyn, to be specific. In 1991, there were 2,245 murders reported in New York. Last year, there were 334 homicides reported — a record low — but the murder rate is expected to increase this year, according to an article written in January earlier this year by Ryan Sit and Tina Moore of the New York Daily News. Should I not return to New York in 2014 because I might have a greater chance of being murdered this year than in 2013?
By the way, I am scheduled to be in New York this autumn. There goes that theory.
I suppose there are no murders in major cities in Canada such as Toronto, Montréal and Vancouver. If there are, should I not return to Canada?
Did you read about what happened on a Greyhound bus in Manitoba in 2008, Steven? I will never forget about that awful and gruesome story.
By your own admission, Steven, you have “travelled to over four continents and thirteen countries” with your nine-month-old daughter — and I am certain you have traveled to more places than that in your lifetime. Tourist traps abound. I cannot stand them either. I detest crowds. I dislike cheap junk as souvenirs. Overpriced food does not interest me in the least…
…so do your best to avoid those tourist traps — like I do. Every country to which I have been has them — including Canada. Not that I necessarily consider Capilano Suspension Bridge Park in North Vancouver a “tourist trap”, but I do offer Lynn Canyon Park and Suspension Bridge — only a few kilometers east — as a free alternative.
As for “everyone with their hand out” — well, I remember when I traveled to Côte d’Ivoire, little children would literally run up to me with their hands out while asking “cadeau?” with eager anticipation. Depending on the circumstances, I gave each of them a franc. Is that a reason not to return?
I have had people come up to me seeking a handout in countries such as Thailand, Mexico, Senegal and the Bahamas. Heck — I have had people approach me in New York asking me for money: spilling something on my windshield and offering to clean it for money; running up behind me and asking for some money for a future meal…
…and I will never forget the time I was a passenger on the L train in Brooklyn when a “blind” man had a cup out while asking for donations from fellow passengers. Unlike others who have not feared to tread before him, he actually stayed in that car for several stops as he slowly worked his way from one end of the car to the other; and the car was not crowded with people. When the train reached Myrtle Avenue, a “colleague” of his ran into the subway car and alerted him to come with him — I was not sure of the reason — and the “blind” guy suddenly darted out of that subway car faster than a runner in a marathon.
This guy was truly convincing to the point where I actually wondered if he was authentic — something I virtually never do — but you should have seen the looks on the faces of all of the people who donated money to him after he bolted out of the subway car. There is nothing like the sinking feeling of just having been — er…shall we say…“taken for a ride.”
Should I not return to Brooklyn because of that incident?
I certainly have nothing against you, Steven — and I do hope to meet you someday…
…but I guess what I am trying to say is that it is not fair to cast a negative pall on an entire country based on one visit to what seemed to have been to one area. Every place has its good and bad areas; and places can be vastly different within the same country. Halifax is quite different from Vancouver, which is again quite different from Montréal in Canada. I remember how much I could not stand much of the island of Oahu in Hawaii; but I thoroughly enjoyed Kauai. You can even simply go across town in many places and have a completely different experience.
Now, if you decided that as a result of having visited Jamaica that you have now already been there once and have no desire to return, Steven, that is your preference and opinion to which you are absolutely entitled…
…but the reasons you cited as to why you were not returning to Jamaica are just not compelling enough to warrant an article, in my opinion. I would have preferred that you gave a trip report on your experiences from which you let the reader decide as to whether or not to visit Jamaica — or at least live the experience vicariously through you.
So other than what was included in the article, what did you do in Jamaica, Steven? What did you eat? Where did you stay? What areas did you visit? How long was your stay? What was the cost of goods and services there? Was there anything about your trip to Jamaica which you actually enjoyed? If so, what? Why did you decide to visit Jamaica in the first place — even though its reputation for a high murder rate was already known? Did you have any adventures while you were there?
As someone who has never been to Jamaica, these are only some of the questions I had after reading your article. I still would like to know, if you are willing to write another article about your visit to Jamaica in greater detail.
As for the souvenirs part, I intend to address that more in general in a future article here at The Gate…
…but in the meantime, let me state for the record that I indeed intend on visiting Canada again. In fact — after having been to all 50 states in the United States — I hope to one day have been to all ten provinces and three territories in Canada.
I have one minor question, though: could someone please explain to me why Newfoundland and Labrador were not separated into two provinces?
Photograph ©2013 by Brian Cohen.