23.12.2007 - 02.01.2008 21 °C
Happy New year everyone. We landed in Brazil yesterday after spending a wonderful 10 days in Guyana. Guyana marked the half way point in our travels, and also acted as abit of a breather from the travelling. We stayed at Aruna & Sato´s place. Aruna is a college friend, and her brother, Praveen who I also studied with and their parents (Uncle Erol and Auntie Shanti) had also come down from london - so effectively we were gate crashing on their family christmas party... made all the more special as it also was Sachin´s (Aruna & Sato´s gorgeous son) first christmas. Guyana is also the only country in our travels that I had visited before (But it was Aarti´s first time) I had gone there to attend Aruna & Sato´s wedding 6 years previously.
We landed on Sunday morning and were picked up by Sato & Praveen - for the first time in 4 months, we saw people we knew before our travels... a great feeling. We didn´t do much during the day apart from driving round Georgetown which took all of 15 minutes and having a couple of beers at Archies - my favourite Rum Shop. Archies was also my first rum shop when I was in guyana previously. In the evening Aruna´s family was invited to a friend´s place for dinner (which was to be the first of many) and we tagged along. It was great to be finally eating some home cooked indian food. Ofcourse, this being Guyana everywhere you go there will be plenty of alcohol.
Christmas eve was spent sorting out some of the tours we would be going on during the week and our flights to Brazil. In the evening there was another invitation to someone´s place. And more food and rum!!! Christmas day was a traditional christmas affair with gifts being exchanged in the morning and Sato´s family joining us for Christmas lunch. And more rum!! There was a party to go to in the evening but everyone was too shattered to move after all the food and drinks. On Boxing day, Uncle Erol made a lovely duck curry for lunch and after we went out to one of the water parks they have in Guyana for a few hours and pretty much chilled out. It was quite nice not doing anything apart from chilling, drinking and eating - not having to think about where to go for the next meal, not having to move every few days and speaking in English.
We had booked a trip to go and see Kaiteur falls for the 27th. These are a spectacular single drop falls (the highest single drop falls in the world) and are 5 times higher than the Niagara falls. We were supposed to fly out to see the falls, and then have luch at a nearby resort and fly back. But firstly, the plane (a 12 seater) scheduled to fly us arrived back late at the airport due to bad weather conditions. SO the plane which was supposed to take off at 10.30, only took off at 12.00. Then instead of flying straight to Kaiteur, it stopped off at the resort we were supposed to have lunch to pick up a few passengers. And since it was drizzling, they all tried to get in at once (the entrance was at the rear) and the plane toppled back and ended up resting on the tail. The pilot had not told the passengers to go in slowly to prevent this from happenening, and they also have a tail rest so incase the plane topples back, the tail does not get damaged!! He did not put the rest on!!! So we ended up having lunch at the resort, and by the time engineers came to the resort to fix the tail, it was too late to fly to Kaiteur!! When we got back to Georgetown, we had no luck with booking another trip as most were fully booked. And we were booked onto another tour the next day so we would have to try with with other agencies - but it wasn´t looking too hopeful. And Kaiteur is really the highlight of Guyana.
We did a day trip up the essquibo river the next day which was an ok trip. We ended up back at the same resort we were the previous day for lunch. However, we also managed to sort out a Kaiteur falls trip for the 2nd of January with another agency with help from our tour guide that day.
The next couple of days were spent chilling out, going out at night, and eating lots and lots of food. On New Year´s Eve, we went to a formal party at Georgetown Club - this was an old colonial hangout for the British back in the day - now a social club. I also finally ate Labba in the evening before this party (at Archies ofcourse) For some reason, I didn´t get a chance to try out this Guyanese delicacy at my first visit, but did try it out this time and it was delicious. (Labba is a small rodent only found in Guyana) The party was great, and we got home after 5 in the morning. New years day was spent recovering mainly and we went to a dinner in the evening where they had vegetarian food only. Aarti loved it.
We did manage to get to Kaiteur falls on the 2nd and it was definitely worth it. I had already seen it at my previous visit but it was Aarti´s first time. The falls are so named, as an Indian chief called Kai canoed over the falls to his death as a sacrifice to the gods to end the fighting between rival tribes. The plane did a couple of circles round the falls to get a look at them from air, and then landed for a close up look. Its a beautiful sight and great to be up close to the falls to feel their power. We also went to another falls - Orunduik falls as part of the day tour. These are much smaller falls on the border on Brazil & Guyana and its possible to swim here. We got a great back massage sitting underneath the falls. We got back to Georgetown, there was another dinner (vegetarian dinner again) and that was the end of our trip as we were to fly out the next morning.
Guyana was probably what we needed after 3 and a half months of travelling. We got spoilt by Aruna and her family, ate, drank and chilled out lots, met lots of wonderful people. Guyana is a pretty unique country - its bigger that England but only has a population of 750,000 people. The capital has about 350,000 people and everyone seems to know each other. We saw the President in his car the first day, saw a Minister of Local Government dancing away with a few girls in a club ( I found out in the next day´s papers that he had had a run in with his girlfriends cousin in a rum shop and had fired shots at him and knocked with the butt of his gun but the president and his party ignored the incident) met a presidential hopeful and had my picture taken with the Stanford 20-20 cup the Guyana had won the previous year (an official was casually transporting it to Barbados). It was really hard to say bye to Guyana and we loved every minute of it!!