Our little marina is
almost ready. Time for a winter break: to Guyana. Not sailing but by car,
with Winnie (JW’s niece) and Peter.
“What?!” our Suri friends responded aghast. “Guyana is full of robbers!”
But Surinamese are masters in stretching things or perhaps they are
jealous? As nature in Guyana is much more varied than in Suriname. A
good reason to check for ourselves what may be true of those negative
So we traded floating fishing nets for cows, donkeys and goats walking
about freely. Traffic in Guyana is erratic and on the “highway” - shared
with horse and donkey carts and stray cattle
accidents may happen anytime. The Guyanese style of driving: tailgating
and overtaking in bends or just drifting about dead-slow. And should a
cow decide to cross the road at the same time… Plus litter everywhere,
in contrast to tidy Suriname. We noticed it immediately upon entering Guyana, and even more with a
feeling of relief upon our return into Suriname.
We crossed the
Corantyne in Nickerie by ferry. Endless waiting and red tape, but we
have become used to that.
By the end of the day we arrived in Georgetown at our rented home. A
perfect spot and the hosts (the whole family was mobilized)
extraordinary helpful and hospitable.
Going into Georgetown's city centre we took a taxi. Sensible, as traffic
in the capital is even more bustling than in the outskirts. Even in town
horses and cows walk freely about, never minding traffic lights.
Guyanese drivers communicate by hooting the horn, causing terrible
Highlights were Stabroek market
and the Zoo and we didn't meet any other tourists. But in fact
Georgetown was disappointing in comparison to Paramaribo’s historical
inner city (UNESCO world heritage) and her lively waterfront. It misses
flair. The historical wooden buildings are run down
and we saw many beggars.
The ambience in Guyana is comparible to the Caribbean islands; Suriname
is totally different. As a result of the varied mix of more ethnical groups?
Guyana is mainly
populated by East Indians and creoles, and gold mining added some Brazilians.
But although in Suriname the quiet Javanese never step in the foreground, we
missed them in Guyana - which underlines the importance of their
contribution to the Surinamese society. The same applies to the Chinese, who
in Su professionally reign the supermarkets while
Guyana (still) revolves around corner stores where goods and seller sit
behind barred windows. Food is mostly sold in the streets: Georgetown is a
chain of markets, hustle & bustle and the locals are friendly and helpful. Criminality? We
haven't seen it. Yet the papers are crammed with articles on murder and
manslaughter, mainly gang related and the media just love to expose the most
gruesome details. For instance, we read a two page story about the “crankshaft murder”,
committed 21 years ago.
Of course we drove into the interior as well. We visited Pandama Retreat, a basic
camp slash winery between Georgetown and Linden, to explore for our intended roadtrip in
August into the deep interior of Guyana. We enjoyed a leasurely swim in the
and lazed and slept in our hammocks.
Continued on the next page