I should probably start off explaining that somewhere in a different lifetime, far far away in another galaxy where we are all trees growing upside down with our roots in the air, I lived a full fruitful and happy life in Guyana. My memories are filled with times spent with guyanese women and my heart, in parts, still belongs to them.
We arrived in Rock View, near Annai, by public bus and settled into the hotel which is basically a few buildings in the heat of the savanna. It's very welcoming and after a quick nap and a wash I ended up playing cards with a girl called Jo, who taught me a game called money. She won. Poor me. Rock View Lodge is owned and run by a gentleman called Colin. It took me an entire day to work out who he reminded me of, and its not the greatest likeness to call someone; He was Dr Hannibal Lecter. Not in the sense that he murdered and ate people, but that very well mannered way, polite to the point that it became sinister. I doubt there was a cannibalistic side hiding in his thick frame, liver with peanut butter and tall glass of lime juice just doesn't have the same ring to it.
In the morning we were supposed to go on a little trek but it was rainning so hard that we just stayed in our room, alternating between reading novels in the hammock and sleeping, all the time being slowly nibbled by mosquitos. By the evening we were so adaquatly relaxed and rested that after dinner we gentle fell asleep. A days rest well earned. The following morning we made our way along the trail up the through some more jungle to see the fabled view from the rock across the savanna, pursued the whole way by a very timid but intrigued dog. That afternoon we caught the glowing interaserve bus again to the Canopy walkway. I spent the journey entertaining and trying to get a photo of a bright eyed little boy who kept peeking his head up between the seats. I failed. And I still bitterly regret not trying harder to get that shot.
The Canopy Walkway at Iwokrama is pretty self explanatory, its a netted walkway 100 feet in the air so you can walk around the canopy to spot wildlife. One of the big draws to Guyana is the opportunity to see a wide variety of wildlife, including jaguars, a dozen rare bird species, scarlet macaws, giant river tortoises, lizards, the list goes on.
The canopy walkway was supposed to be a chance to get some wildlife photos, but all in all we saw some green parrots, heard a few howler monkeys in the distance and got bitten by more mosquitos. I even woke at five in the morning, to get the light to get some awesome shots and nothing. Zilitch. Bugger all. I climbed an hour through the jungle to hypo up a tree at 6 in the morning. Not impressed with my diabetic control.
The plan for the afternoon was to catch the bus to Georgetown, but we got radio communication that the bus was cancelled. In true Kerouac spirit we decided to go down to the dirt road, the only road that runs up Guyana to Georgetown and try to hitch a ride. We sat in the orange dirt, throwing rocks at signs, piling pebbles into potholes, talking of our plans to see the guts of the country the only way you can, by thumb. Giant bees the size of golfballs took an interest in our backpacks which we had to scare away at a distance with bits of bushes, only to sit back in the dirt to hear that familiar buzzing again, jumping to attention and grabbing our weapons ready play their never ending game. I lay by the side of the road reading 'Big Sur' hoping to rouse the spirit of old jack to get us a ride. We wasted close to five hours on the road, and one car, one bastardly motor, one Toyota came bumbling along. One ride which was already filled with people who peered back at us with a smug content as they past by and off into the distance disappearing into the swirling dust. The road closed at 4.30pm so we made our way back up to the jungle lodge with our tail between our legs, dreading the early morning start to catch a ride at five in the morning, in the dark, on a road known to frequent jaguars. I spent the evening catching up with friends through skype and a large satellite, fearful that in the morning I may be breakfast for a predator. To make situations worse, a bushmaster snake was spotted on the road leading from the Lodge to the road, so now we not only had to be keeping a sharp tired eye out for large deadly cats, but also large deadly snakes.
Some journeys are truly latin american.
We reached Georgetown alive and sweaty and tired and throughly vibrated by the trench of a road and a bitch of a ride. We were a day late and as such I didn't get to take any photos of Georgetown, because of the torrential rainfall that blanketed the city whist we were there. But from what I saw of it, Georgetown was amazing. All the houses were wooden villas raised up on supports, some rotting into themselves, collapsing into the lille trench moats around them, others pristine like American summer houses on the shores of Cape Cod. Georgetown is what I think New Orleans would have been like in it heyday, but replace the jazz with a reggae Caribbean spirit, add more rum and you're almost there. Everything we ate was fried. Fried chicken, fried rice, Chow Mien. The beer was cheap and there were beggars everywhere. I always think its unfair to judge a city when you've only been there twenty four hours, but my judgement of Georgetown is split. Its a love and hate type of thing. Like so many things are.
We vacated Georgetown this morning very early to come to Paramaribo in Suriname. The journey here was scary. The bus driver drove at close to 90 miles an hour all the way, even through built up areas, was chatting away to the passenger whist on a phone and there were no seat belts. I kept having visions of my death in a horrific head on collision with a dump truck. Thankfully we arrived in once piece and I write this from an awesome little creole motel in town run by a french family chatting to a German psychiatric nurse. I may rewrite this because I write whilst defiantly...definitely, intoxicated. Ahh well.