Georgetown - Fried Chicken and Cesspools
Trip Start Aug 09, 2009
108Trip End Oct 23, 2009
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So Georgetown it is for a few nights. How can I describe it...OK, I know...How about you take Key West, make it big, make it poor and voila...Georgetown. It really is like some equatorial rain forest version of Key West gone bad
For reasons only known to them, Suriname next door requires a visa of us Americans so I walked 20 minutes to their embassy to apply for one. I can't say it was uphill and barefoot the whole way but that tropical sun sure did make it seem like a trek. The Suriname flag was waving (barely) and the guard lady let me in and pointed to the booth where I could apply. She told me I would have it back in a matter of hours once I turned in everything.
I wedged myself into this tiny wooden shed attached to the building and seriously it was just wide enough for the metal chair inside there. I maneuvered all six feet of me and sat down. Just as I was making myself comfortable, a woman behind the glass pointed to a sign on the door and I could only roll my eyes. She told me that everyone knows visas are issued on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays only, no exceptions, no favors, no waivers
Next stop was a mile walk back through sizzling and baking Georgetown to get some pages added to my passport at the US embassy. I have already had pages added once and was already out of room for future travels. Surely the US would be more organized, right? I was told by one guard pages weren't possible, Another told me I could get some. A third told me maybe. I asked one of them to check and sure enough if I returned in two hours some could be had.
For two hours I killed time walking around the town that by this time had taken on a pungent air in the midday heat. It is like a combo of curry, fried chicken and sewage. Open sewers festering with black crapwater run along the main roads just between the sidewalk and the buildings
I returned to the US Embassy at 12:30 as instructed and about the only thing I didn't get was a rectal exam as I tried to gain entry. I was worried for a second though because the guard lady did put on a glove after I came through the metal detector. I am sure a cavity search is coming one day though. The gum and coins in my pocket were immediately labeled as suspect and I had to hand them over for closer scrutiny. Those contrband items along with my backpack were throughly searched once more and then stored in a locker.
A passport and wallet are all that won't blow the joint up I guess because those are the only two precious items I could enter with. I mean come on now...gum??!! What am I going to do? Chew up a piece and stick it under the counter? Scandalous, huh? Than again one day I am sure we will be reading the paper to learn details about the latest gum bomber
So yeah...first full day in Guyana and it was just walking around and embassy visits. Tomorrow we will really get out and take in the local flavor. By the way the local flavor has totally turned my preconceptions of this nation upside down. The population of 770,000 is just under half Indian and about a third more are black. Who would have thought that a slice of South American rain forest is English speaking, full of Indians desended from indentured workers, and with driving on the wrong side of the road?