Got up nice and early after a surprising restful sleep and headed to the border. I was first to be stamped through and I headed to the nearest bank to get some Brazilian Reals. Only the bank doesn’t take foreign cards, so now I’m in the back of a shared taxi on the two-hour journey to Boa Vista on a wing and a prayer and a promise that I’ll pay the taxi driver after we find a bank that will take my cards.
Luckily enough for me, I’m sitting next to a particularly yummy mummy from Brazil who keeps breast feeding her six month old baby Jojo. Not the most unpleasant seatmate of the Odyssey I have to say. Oh, she’s doing it again – don’t look, don’t look, don’t… oh, bugger it, this is GREAT! Welcome to Brazil!
It’s almost enough to make me forget about the fact I’m about to enter Guyana, a country endearingly called ‘Conradian’ in it’s own tourist material. As in Joseph Conrad. As in Hearts of Darkness.
Well, at least they speak English. Top Hats at dawn old chap?
Wish me well x
Heading north out of Brazil, I was more concerned with the fact that I couldn’t get on the bloody Internet in Boa Vista, to be too concerned about the road ahead. I got to the border – a brand spanking new bridge connecting South America to Guyana was having its finishing touches added, the guy taking me across the river in a little motor boat told me that it opens next month.
But there is something to be said for taking the boat – it’s a magical moment when you step onto the far bank – you suddenly find yourself in the Caribbean. Goodbye Spanish, driving on the right, the ubiquitous ham and cheese sandwiches – hello spicy food, reggae beats and lashings of good old fashioned cricket.
Although part of the South American mainland, Guyana very much identifies itself with its northern, more islandy neighbours – it’s part of the Caribbean Community and it doesn’t have much to do with its continental acquaintances down south. This might change when the road to Georgetown is sealed, but until then it’s a bumpy, rickety wet and wild ride up through the jungle from Brazil.
I stumbled into the first place I could find – a café-bar called T&M. Coaxed in by a large lady sitting behind a desk, she changed my money, got my passport stamped, arranged my minibus to Georgetown, fed me dinner and passed me an ice-cold beer.
Hooray for Guyana!
Hopped on the minibus at about 6.00pm. Bumped up and down for a couple of hours before we all got off the bus, hired a hammock and were told to go to sleep in a wooden gazebo in the middle of malaria central. Express service is not something Guyana is used to…