Jamaica is beautiful. Relaxed, no pollution… things aren’t *always* as clean as I’d like, and service is iffy, but what surprised me is that the people look noticably clean. Lots of youth in crisp uniforms. Religion is quite obviously an important part of the culture over there. Prices are about the same as america, which is disconcerting because it feels like china somehow. Old buildings, perhaps, and the street vendors in the city, and people on the road always trying to sell something. There’s a strange mix in the city… I saw some stone walls that reminded me of ireland. lots of little remnants of britain there, too. They drive on the left. The driving reminds me of china, though. ;) I overheard something about a bus carrying 400 people, and another bus that hit a pedestrian and people got upset and shot the driver.
oookay then. moving on.
I found Jamaican accents really really hard to understand. Sometimes it’s hard to believe they’re speaking english. The cars talk with their horns, too… daskreech can tell you about that. :)
as for the conference… I can’t remember if I blogged about the talks, but other people have said enough there. no need to repeat it. unfortunately I missed most of till’s talks, trying to get homework done. In retrospect, maybe i should have skipped the homework.
I did get some hacking done, though… there was that post I made about the victory calendar, and I worked on keyboard shortcuts for a while. I really should have written something down sooner, because I can’t remember much about that now. just that I wish I’d started on it sooner, because it was so easy… oh, yes: keyboard shortcuts have changed in 4.3 – I think I’ll wait for the 4.2 celebrations before blogging about that :) I considered backporting, but decided that if I end up needing to change them again it’s best not to break everyone’s memory twice. by the time 4.3 is released they should be configurable, too, so it won’t be such a big deal.
there is one downside to this, though: 4.2 has no keyboard shortcut for “add widgets”. ctrl-a was causing conflicts too much, it seems, and nobody thought up an alternative when they removed it. finding unused keyboard shortcuts is hard, even more so when you don’t know what you’re sharing them with… this will be solved properly in 4.3.
something I don’t recall anyone else blogging about is our karaoke attempts in the evening… there was a karaoke place nearby, but their machine was broken that week. then daskreech got his hands on some home karaoke dvds, but couldn’t find a working mic. the next night we tried again, with some online flash karaoke thing. the karaoke played just fine… but the mic did not. sound from the mic went into the computer and never came out. nobody had one of those old crappy sound cards that echoes the mic (making skype unusable). :( nobody even had an option for that on their sound card. I tried arecord | aplay but there was far too much static. so, no karaoke :( we tried our best, though.
next akademy, there will be karaoke. somehow. it will happen. :)
there was also the rum tour on thursday… I’m sure other people have blogged about that in more detail – most of what I remember is drinks, sugar, more sugar, and more drinks ;) it was funny when they got me and ade to be the “ass” and crush sugar cane. mmm, sugar. the cane itself didn’t taste so great after it was crushed – not sure why the real donkey was so happy to eat it. :)
and the beach… the beach was unforgettable. :) I now understand why people go to such places for their vacations. fine sand, mild water, the relaxing atmosphere…
well, the water wasn’t always so calm ;) one night mid-week it rained, and the water changed… the rest of the week there was seaweed being washed up on beach, the water looked grey and choppy, and the waves were a fair bit bigger. daskreech persuaded me to go into the water anyways, and I’m glad I did. :) those big waves are fun! if you jump at just the right moment, the wave catches you, and for a moment it’s like you’re suspended in midair. :) or you can dive under the wave, which ade seemed to prefer.
not everything in jamaica was so wonderful, though. there was one thing that kinda soured it for me…
it took me a while to clue in. I’m pretty oblivious to social things – computers make far more sense to me. so I was at the airport, checking my bag, and the guy who took it wrote his email address and phone # on a luggage tag and stuck it in my passport. when I reached the front of the boarding line he was there again, and I can’t remember what he said, but I got a weird feeling… and about a minute later my brain finally started putting two and two together.
I realised that many of the guys in jamaica had been acting… not quite right. They look at women a different way. :/ If I’d realised it earlier I probably wouldn’t have been hanging out in just a bathing suit. even in such hot weather.
I remembered another odd thing… on the way back from the rum tour we stopped for coconuts. they chop the top off a coconut, you drink the juice, and when you’re done they chop it in half and give you a wedge of coconut shell to scrape out the jelly with. well, when I was done mine, our bus driver took it and had it cut up and scraped out the jelly for me. everyone else got to figure it out on their own. I was annoyed but didn’t make a fuss… I actually thought he was going to eat it himself or something, and was glad to get it back at least. but later that evening he wanted my phone #.
also, when we were on the bus, him and dmitri were surprised to hear that I don’t listen to R&B. I didn’t mention it then, but the reason for that is most of what I have heard of it is violent and/or sexist. or it just makes no sense.
it’s hard to describe how I felt, sitting on the plane, as I realised that at least some of these guys saw me not as a person, but merely a woman. I’ve never felt such an.. uncomfortable, sickening feeling. it really shook me up. :(
it also bugs me that when people act that way, I don’t react. even though I didn’t see the meaning behind the coconut incident until the next day, I didn’t like it at the time… but somehow I didn’t react. perhaps my english/canadian upbringing has trained me to be nice and not make a scene. :P
I’m glad I live in vancouver. I’m glad nearly all the people I know, my friends in RL and the KDE community, are respectful and treat me like a person, seeing my code before my breasts. I’m glad I have guys who love me for my mind and want to talk to me as much as, ah, other things. :) I’m glad there’s a beach in vancouver where everyone is naked and it’s just no big deal.
I now understand, at least a bit, just how horrible it was for women before feminism became strong enough to change our culture… funny how strongly religious places tend to have such unhealthy cultures. Jesus tried to teach tolerance, forgiveness and understanding, and what did people turn it into? homophobia, sexism and oppression. :(
It’s probably a good thing I didn’t figure this out until I was leaving- it’d be awful to still be there and be aware of it. I feel pretty uncomfortable as it is, even now. I’m really glad the kde community is so mature (it is, right? I find a corner of my mind doubting all my impressions of people now), and that I have friends I’m comfortable with. I just want to be myself and relax, and I can’t relax if I’m worried about what people think of me, or if I’m wearing too much clothing in warm weather (my skin’s kinda weird, so sometimes too much clothing is really *really* uncomfortable).
sorry this blog post isn’t as happy as most of my posts, but… I had to write about this. for my own peace of mind if nothing else.