Thursday, December 02, 2021

A Comfy Bed and a Caiman's Head

It was time for Dillon to drive me back to the capital. We picked up his wife Stephanie and dog Shakira first to bring them with. Dillon had a tourism presentation to give in town so the timing worked out for everyone.

At check out while I was waiting for my ride I chatted a bit (or tried to through her serious creole thing going on) with the hotel cleaning lady and she said that she was able to get a covid vaccine, which was great. Unfortunately the one she was able to find was the Russian Sputnik kind, which apparently is not recognized by... maybe the Guyanese government or the airlines or something... long story short she isn't able to leave the country with the vaccine she received. When I told my guide this later on he said he was in the same boat.

We got to see a guy out manually chopping sugar cane. I have a real machete now so I could have helped him but... I did not pack my tortuous manual labor shoes. Shame. We talked about how this is the only country that still harvests cane in this backbreaking manner, and that the government is doing it this way on purpose as a jobs program. If the machines did all of the work they would presumably lose a lot of votes from angry unemployed people.

We talked to a guy who was net fishing on the side of the road. Dillon talked a bit about how white people/tourists were so rare in this country that the locals were open and happy to interact with us, and not too annoyed by our presence.

I've been meeting a lot of nightmare inducing fish on this trip. I think maybe I'll stay on land for a while after this.

I got some new vocab words during our conversation with this friendly fishing gentleman. "Buddy" actually means brother, and "dada buddy" the eldest brother. Later on he told me "coolie bai" means Indian guy which is kind of derogatory, but "bai" by itself means boy. I'm taking plenty of notes for the test later.

We passed some pretty fantastic town names on the drive back.

We spotted a Tapir, which was a car manufactured in Guyana that I think they stopped making in like the 1980s.

Dillon was into them. In another motorcraft related incident, he said that in rural Guyana people will dry their rice out on the open road. I guess they then just hope no one drives by? This seems like a pretty bad system. Anyway Dillon said he crashed his motorcycle after hitting some rice in the road.

I told Dillon about my goal to visit every country, and he was kind enough to drive me to the border with Suriname. I didn't take the ferry across the river but... I'm gonna count it. 

We attempted to visit a sugar production place but security wasn't having it.

We took a quick photo opp on what seemed to me to be an abandoned little train for transporting sugar but security had a stick up their butt about that as well so we left.

I didn't really need wooden kitchen implements but the lady selling them was so nice that I came up with a fake reason to buy some. The thing on the right you sit on and then use the metal part to scrape/shred coconut, and the thing on the left is called a dhal gutney and is used in Indian cooking to make dhal, or a lentil stew.

More strange and amazing animals were in attendance. These markets are full of like Mos Eisley Cantina levels of crazy creatures.

Some fish serial killer type person seemed to be selling fish's egg sacs separately. I licked a few of them when no one was looking.

Apples don’t grow here so it’s a Christmas treat to get one. Dillon mentioned a dude that hangs out at this market. Dirty “dutty” Red Likes to steal fruit and is a junky. Had had some of his fingers chopped off for stealing.

We bought some spicy mango slices.

I got to try a new fruit from the market which is really what life is all about. I hope I never run out of weird fruits to try. Padu fruit, or "white tea" was definitely amusing but I don't think I need seconds.

One of their bills has the national bird, the canje pheasant that we've seen so much of in the bush.

We had a really random weird stop at a guy's house. The man is disabled so Dillon helps him from time to time. Fine. One of the things Dillon helps him with is he brings the guy his old used motor oil. The guy, Lakraj, pours the oil in the grass around his house to keep the snakes away. I feel like this was one of those situations where you know that asking questions won't get you anywhere, so I just went with the environmental disaster flow.

We stopped at a roadside place for some grub. Guyana seems to have classic Caribbean type food as well as some Indian food. Well this place had both, so I ordered some roti and a saucy chicken thing that looked good. Well the cook looked at me like I'd just kicked his dog. I had to say my order more than once to confirm. I guess while both types of food are available, it's uncommon to mix the two at the same time. Well I guess I'm just a culinary trendsetter ahead of his time now put the damn bread in the bag.

We stopped by Dillon's house to pick up his wife Stephanie and some of her jewelry supplies. I guess she sells jewelry made out of local products from her company called The Crafty Berbicians. Berbice is the name of this part of Guyana.

A very sexy town name.

Followed by a Sesame Street type town name.

This trip felt different than others. There was a lot of time to reflect. Any time we were cruising on the the river the motor was too loud to hear each other and we were going so fast that I was afraid to have my phone in my hand lest it get flipped out of my hands into the black waters of the river. So I just sat with my thoughts and watched the scenery whip by. Other times we had hikes or long rides in the car and it was just me and Dillon chatting. He knows a lot about the country and its inhabitants so there was always a lot to talk about. I was excited about my new job at Microsoft but I think also had some imposter syndrome as well so we chatted about that a bit. I ended up thinking of him as a friend by the end of it all. 

He also collects squished pennies which I thought was fun, and we share a disinterest in buying a house.

He was barefoot a lot. It didn't seem to matter if we were at a gas station, on the boat, or hiking in the jungle, he was not generally interested in footwear. He had a definite Huckleberry Finn type vibe going on. He talked a bit about his life in Idaho. I guess the house where he grew up had a wood burning stove and there was just alway potatoes baking on it throughout the day and you could just grab one when you were hungry. He suggested that I visit Idaho's hot springs which is definitely now on my list.

Back in Georgetown after dropping off his wife and dog at a hotel we headed to the Babe Cave, which was a fun little shop that had different peoples' stuff for sale in it... kind of like a consignment sort of deal maybe? I grabbed a couple of Stephanie's creations for Lydia.

There were some native handicrafts. 

Right before dropping me off at the Guyana Marriott Hotel Georgetown Dillon presented me with a caiman's skull that he acquired after harvesting a 5 foot male spectacled caiman. I thought that was a super cool present! 

After the fun but strenuous times I had out in the wilderness I was looking forward to my trip retirement. 

Air conditioning and looking out the window sounded like not that bad of a way to finish out the trip.

Getting my treasures home suddenly became a thing on my mind. It turns out machetes are rather long tools.

I needed to act fast and get a covid test so that I could return to the United States. That is probably the most stressful part of traveling nowadays. I need to procure this test in an unfamiliar healthcare system, and then pray that it comes back negative so that I can go home, but also avoid whatever horrible quarantine procedures this country may have in store for sickos. I've been in contact with more fish than people on this trip so I figured I was a pretty low risk.

This ridiculous hotel phone fee made this even more unpleasant. I think I tried a couple of times to call places but then gave up and made it the hotel front desk's problem. They were very kind and helped me deal with everything. There was a clinic who sent two employees right to the hotel room, did the test, and emailed me the result. It was awesome.

I rewarded myself with some chicken satay and peanut sauce at the hotel restaurant for being such a very healthy boy.

You call that a knife? This is a knife.

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