| From the capital, I now seek
11. Well, that was the plan, but the problems with organising a car might give me an additional day in Georgetown. I might get the car, if my international driving license is sufficient. Else, I have to wait until tomorrow, and get the local permit when the office opens. Not much to do, but wait at the hotel, to see if my car turns out. The internet is down, and I go through the first diaries from this expedition.
Just before nine, the rain kick-in again, and the temperature never exceeds 25C. It is a waste of a day I don't have. The Kenneth calls, I can use my international driving license, and he will bring my Nissan Juke within one hour. I get the almost new car, and extend the rent with a day. Then he tell me; I can't drive to Annai in this car, as it will be wrecked. I had set three days of for this tour, and expected a lot!
I have made several reservations at this hotel, and now, I start all over again. I pay for an extra night, just to compensate the poor woman for her problems with me.
Well, I just have to get the best out of what I can see. I head straight towards Corriverton and Moleson Creek at the Suriname border, way out east. It is the fifth time I drive this road, but now, I can stop and explore when I want to. Not that I really want, as is pours down most of the time. And the light is dimmed. Plan "P" or something is to go all the way, sleep and explore on the way home.
I pass through Rose Hall, which had a really big and
interesting market - almost all over town last I passed. Now, only the empty
stalls are left, and no reason to get wet.
I sit and wait for a dry period, and while I do, several flocks of pelicans passes right at the surf. Small groups of plovers sit at the sand or fly bye too. Some people are actually swimming here, while others half-hearted play cricket. The rain pick-up again, and I head on.
I get to a farmed area. Numerous caterpillar harvesters and rusty tractors are aligning the road, and a few times, I see the prefect green fields behind the houses. I reach Corriverton around three, and start looking for a hotel. The one I had last, was not that good for the price, and I check the one I found from home. Nice, but five times what I pay in Georgetown. I seek a bit more, and see a sign, promising hot showers and internet (among the usual), somewhere in the back of town.
It is a great new place in an else rather run down area, and I get a huge room for 8.000. Her are even free sandwiches and tea (along with microwave oven, iron-board frits and quite some furniture). I start working a bit, while I sip tea, before I intended to drive to Moleson Creek and the border. Just as I'm about to leave, the rain really pick-up, and I rather see that from my room than the car.
After a short break, I give it a go - mainly because I'm so restless. Here are some nice nature in-between the settlements, but everything is so wet - except me, and I like to keep it that way. I end up at the ferry, and the side-road I had intended, is so muddy and slimy, I doubt it will be worth it.
in Corriverton, I find a halal restaurant, serving a single course of
vegetarian. It is some quite spicy fried rice. Then I head home, as there is
nothing else to do, due to the rain. I check the forecast, and now, it look
like rain for at least two more days. I might end up in swimming pans and
bloody legs, if this keep on! At least, the host get the internet working,
and I get assured; I have missed absolutely nothing in the rest of the world
- except snow and hurricane in Denmark, and I can live with that!
12. The day start with rain, and I sleep a bit longer than usual. The blue tanagers try eagerly to get my attention, but I know them. The it lightens, and I'm ready to explore the eastern Guyana. I had out towards Moleson Creek, and today, I get some botanizing done. Here are so many interesting plants. I guess the most interesting is the Water Mimosa; Neptunia oleracea. It form 2-3 centimetre thick, white rhizomes, and is only based in the surface of the water.
While I study this strange plant, I notes a few Common squirrel monkey; Saimiri sciureus in the bushes next to the canal. I start walking along the road, to my pleasure and not as least; the mosquitoes. I see a lot of butterflies, among them the truly amassing the Green-banded Urania; Urania leilus. A few armoured millipedes are still active after the rain.
Most of the area is swamp, but the canals have been able to provide land for small farms along the road. Here are a few cows and donkeys, but it is not a rich area in any way - unless thick, sticky mud counts! And swallows; the singe line between the lamp-poles are pearlstrings of these nimble little birds. I reach the ferry, and return to Corriverton.
I am in luck, as this is their weekly Corriverton markets day. Not only the big hall, but the area in front of it is filled with stalls. I start walking around, and make some carefully photos. Then it turns out the women in the stalls are so eager to talk. I have a hard time understanding them, but that does not stop them. An older woman reveals for me: Most are unmarried, as here are so many more women than men. I keep taking photos, bur now I am really careful!
end of town, I re-find the little harbour. It is now low tide, and
the clay s filled with Fiddler Crabs and the low water with Four Eyes. I do
a few stops, but the road is almost completely lined with houses.
group of Indian people are gathered, and some of the women approaches me,
and besides from a lot other information, they tell me, they do some form
religious ceremony. And then the rain starts, and I get to drive on.
I look at my GPS map, and here are only two roads, heading inland, it seems. The first is 300 metres ahead, and I take that as a sign. It zigzags with the large canals through farmland. It is mainly rice that are farmed here, bit the narrow stretch between the road and canal, on both sides, are small fields. Here are so many different crops like chilli, pumpkins, beans, eggplants and some I only seen in markets and once in my food: Never again!
In some of the low bushes on the other side of the canal, a huge flock of white herons are gathered. I see no nests though. Around 25 kilometres inland, it is still canals and farmland, but the road turns west. It seems like it head out to the coastal road again, and that is fine by me.
I pass a huge rice-factory, but beside from that, most homes are humble and only a few larger farms are found here. In a rather wild part of the road, I spot a small Black Caiman; Melanosuchus niger. Then there are more rice, and finally, I make it to the big road again.
I follow it for some time, then the other interior road starts. It lead through mainly cane plantations, then it turn wild, but remain sealed. It follow the huge river, and the forest is dense on both sides. I hear some macaws, and stop. It is a whole group of Blue-and-Yellow Macaw; Ara ararauna. I count eight, but they are scatted over an area, and here could easily be more. They are in pairs, and real curious, but not enough to come real close.
I end up at the pump-station, taking care of the area. The guys are relaxing under a roof, and want to chat. They are having their brake, controlled by the tide. I walk back to the river, where a few boats passes by. I hear macaws, but it take me some time to locate them. Here are a few new plants, but the entire scenery is the main attraction. I stop at a group of Greater Ani; Crotophaga major, who ignores me. It is an other story with the large Varanus; they disappears before I get a photo.
The road end at the fence at the pump-station, and I head back to the main road. A but further on, the main-road turns off towards Georgetown, but I continue to New Amsterdam. On the way, I pass the huge sugar factory. The harvested are is transported on barges to the factory on the many canals.
New Amsterdam is big, and a strange mix of new and old. Fancy buildings and horse wagons. The remains of wooden huts and a bright white mosque. Fancy cars and beggars. I had considered to walk a bit around, but after driving the main-streets and considered the time, I head on.
reach my Georgetown base just at dusk, and head out to get something to eat.
I was aiming for some sandwich or pizza, but end up with the salad bar
downstairs, after having done quite some aimless walking around. Then it is
time for the usual work. Whiles the mosquito having a party, a small mouse
pops bye: I'm not alone here!
13. I start the day with finding some cash. On the way, I stop at my tea-cafe, and get one-to-go. It seems like only one ATM understand my new Visa card. On the way back, I get caught 50 metres from my cafe, by a short but intense shower.
Then I head out to the airport, paying my flight to Kaieteur National Park. On the way, I pass the dam, protecting the city from the sea. Here is a bit of a beach, but the most impressing is the wall, which heads straight out to the sea. I walk halfway, but have to zoom to get an idea of; the city is in there.
Next is the Georgetown Botanical Garden. It is huge: 1500 times 500 metres, but only a small part is maintained, and I would not call it a botanical garden. However the rest is fantastic nature with a few foreign trees in. I see some floating plants I haven't seen before, but the canals make it hard to explore.
It seems like there is one small trail in the first part, and a sealed road right through. People are actually driving deep into the garden, and parking with the engine on, to maintain air-con. What they do in their cars, I can't tell. I enjoy the many epiphytes; cacti, orchids and mostly bromeliads.
Here are a lot of birds, some Varanus, many
lizards and some illusive frogs. I follow the sealed road, and make loops
wherever I can cross he canals. But most of the entire area is swamp, and I
have to be careful.
I find an opening to the old wall, half a meter from the racer-wire fenced new wall. It is a bit tricky to walk on, but it is only for 500 metre. When I finally reach the end, I find my self out of the garden. I head a bit back, and fight my way into the garden through the entangled vegetation and swampy ground. I end up being kind of lost. Here are real interesting, and I doubt anyone have been here since the English: Here are no trash at all! But I have to balance the wall all the way back.
Next to the botanical park is the Guyana ZOO, and despite I know I probably will regret it, I head in. The first part is with some birds: Some different Macaws, Amazon parrots, herons and a huge eagle. Despite it is in a cage, it look great, and I spend some time, watching it eat. Next is some Tapirs, Red Rumped Agutis, big cats, several groups of monkeys and some pigs. It is one of the ZOOs I actually want to return to - in the middle of the night, with a bolt-cutter.
Despite it is only three, I have had sun enough for one day, and return home to work. At supper time, I hunt around most of the centre of the city, trying to find something else to eat. Either the restaurants are closed, or they have no vegetarian at all. I get desperate enough to try Burgerking, and they actually have a Vegetarian Burger.
Back home to work again, and after two hours of writing, the computer crashes. No backup, no savings underway, as it haven't happened before. That is why the diary of the day is this short! I simply don't have the energy to do it twice.
Under the hotel is a restaurant and a bus company. They pack rough looking mini-busses with hundreds of litter gasoline and cubic metres of luggage on the roof. I imagined they would head deep into the interior, but now I see the sign: Lethem. It is where I planned to go tomorrow. When I tell my hostess, I will be away for a day or two, and tell her; I'm going to Lethem, she loo scared. It probably will be an interesting tour! I actually might settle for Linden Day 7: The Botanical Garden and the ZOO
14. Once again, I get an early start on the day. There are hardly any traffic in the centre of town, but the road leading in from the south is busy. It is three lanes, one in the other side of the boulevard. The road follow the big river, but that does not mean it is easy access. It is either private lots or swamp.
I manages to find a path a few times, but here are not really that much interesting after all. It is a wide river, and the sides is mangrove in many places. I pass the road to Linden for this time, heading for the airport. Here are some meadows I would have loved to explore, but they belong to the airport, and they don't share!
Back on track, the houses that allied the road so far, disappears. Now, it is only sand pits and a few sawmills. The ground is made up by white sand, and it only support low vegetation here. I do several walks, but fail to find anything new.
The sun appears shortly from time to time, while the rain are more consistent. The road crosses rivers many times, and every time, someone have a "resort". Only some palm shades and a kiosk, but no access, and it spoils my nature motives.
The sand savannah changes into low forest, and again, I optimistically try to find something interesting. I find some narrow trails, leading out to remote huts. Here are surprisingly few animals, but on the other hand; here are no water either. The sand sucks it up as fast as it falls.
I finally make it to Linden, which is located on both sides of the huge river. I start on the nearest part, and recon; it is the minor part of town. Over the toll bridge, from which I see a real big bulkier ship. No idea to what it is loading? Then it turns out I was wrong: The first part WAS the major!
I find the old but real maintained market, but most shops are closed. Apparently, it is some sort of holyday, although the kids are at school, and the bank open? Lots of small ferries are crossing the river - when they are full enough. That mean people are sitting in each their, waiting for an hour or more! At least, they can talk with the ones in the ferry next to them.
I use the bridge, and start looking for a hotel. I find the market on this side first, and give I a go. It is significantly more interimistic and badly maintained than the other. On the other hand, all the shops are open. I do most of it, and end up with a nice cup of tea - after ping-phoning through seven potential places. I talk with quite some people (my moustache being the ice-breaker), and one young man point me to a hotel; Jacs.
I would never had guessed it was a hotel. It is a restaurant and bakery, and apparently, they have room upstairs. A bit steep, considering there is no internet and hot water, but if it is the only hotel around... The room is not ready yet, but I can come back later. Great, that give me time to explore the Latham road. It is well over 450 kilometres to Letham, but only the first five is sealed. Or use to be. Now, it is huge pot-holes, filled with red water. Actually, some stretches have more holes than asphalt. And the holes are deep!
Then it turns into a red clay/sand road with numerous lakes in. Considering I was told NOT to drive here, I do drive carefully. Some real high timber trucks tip-toe bye, and the sides and the road it self is filled with destroyed truck tires.
I do many walks in the area, but here is not really anything interesting. It s pretty much the same as before Linden. I had made enquiries, and apparently, the vegetation does not really change all the way to Letham. And I take their words. When it start to rain, I turn around towards Linden.
My room is ready, and it is quite fine. I wash my hands, and the water is hot! Then I head out into the town, and see the river, market, general streets and a pizza with a Wi-Fi sign. That call for pizza tonight. Of cause, their internet have not worked for years, and the pizza is heavily overprized. I comforts myself with a great cup of tea on the way home, and start the usual work - except uploading.
are a few Hindi temples, a mosque and numerous churches. Each one have their
branch: Ethiopian, Baptist, Adventist and so on. I have never thought there
were so many religions... When I walk home at seven, in pitch dark, the town
is even more active.
It is now time to shift to Diary 3