Wednesday, December 01, 2021

Turning the Tables on Piranhas

This morning I woke up and my arms were sore from all of the wave impacts on the way home, and I had a little limp from getting my knee slammed when we almost tipped over. My ghetto sunblock from who knows where washed off with the lightest river spray and so I had a bit of sunburn as well. Guyana was whipping my butt.

The 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 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. He told me about some of his dreams for his business, and was hoping to hire some people to help him do tours. He's a unique dude so I wonder how well he will do finding employees that can live up to his standards.

We saw some more monkeys hopping around.

Dillon somehow seems to be friends with just about everyone in the whole country. We met Sylvanus Gittens and his wife at their house on the riverbank. Sylvanus had quite the life story. He said he has 11 daughters with 7 women, 3 with his current lady. In Guyana you call your wife a mistress apparently? I don't know it was kind of hard to understand him at times.

More important than having children: I got my cutlass! Dillon told him we were in the market for a worn sword, and at first he said no, maybe not believing we wanted some half used up old tool. Then when he seemed interested it was amusing negotiations time. He didn't want to frame it as an exchange, he wanted to "gift" me the machete and then I would "gift" him some money. I think we settled on $10 but I gave him a crispy $20. It was worth it to hear him rave about how great Christmas was going to be.

I think maybe Sylvanus is in some Christian religion... we offered him a cold beer from our cooler and he accepted it but pounded it quickly and got rid of the bottle. Dillon thought it was because he didn't want any boats passing by seeing him drinking, which his religion forbade. I also joked about eating an alligator that was bothering him, and he acted like that was absolutely taboo. Interesting.

Up the river we hit so much floating grass that passage was impossible.

Our boat's wake was the best way to see how black the water is in the Canje crick. It was like boating in Coca-Cola.

Guyana is another Caribbean former British nation with a lot of Indian influence in its food. This I think was a samosa.

We had been going up the river to find a particular fishing spot, but it turned out there were fish in other places as well. We grabbed a few piranhas, which in the local slang they call pirannis.

Since the river grass screwed us we were back at Sylvanus' house much sooner than anticipated. We also gave him some of the gas that we didn't end up burning. We helped him fix his rainwater collection system before leaving. I'm essentially the river Mother Teresa.

We stopped at this churchy community center looking place to cook our pirannis.

A couple of gentleman were just leaving as we were coming and we had a very entertaining chat with them. One guy was carrying some fun stuff. The first I think was a root for a cassava plant? I think he was planning on planting it at home.

Dillon said that villages will have one spot in the whole town where they get phone reception and it will be like two nails in a tree where you set your phone. I'm not sure how long I could make it out here.

The other I believe he called black seed or something along those lines, but it was food for his fighting bird. Through his cool accent I thought he was calling it a bastard bird but there is a bird called a bustard so maybe that's what he was talking about.

Dillon lit a fire and cleaned our catch to prepare it for grilling.

The ants seemed to be happy with their share.

Piranha doesn't taste that much different than other white fish honestly. It was pretty good.

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