Places, People, and Things We Saw in Guyana

Alter_at_StGeorges.JPG (237801 bytes)

This is the alter at St. George's Cathedral in Georgetown.  The cathedral is almost, but not quite, the largest wooden structure in the world.

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The burnt-out house above belonged to Jackie London, aka "Blacky."  Blacky was a Guyana Defense Force (GDF) officer gone bad.  He became known as a gangster.  He met a violent death when the police attemped to "smoke him out" of the fortress like house above.

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Traveling by water is common business in Guyana.  Above, a small speed boat ferries us to a visit to Khemraj's ranch.  On the right, a colorful boat docks at the ferry port.

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Guyana is in the tropics, and most of the coast land is low.  Tropical rains frequently flood the streets.  People often joke that a boat is better than a taxi!  On the right, Tassa Drummers announce a wedding, in the rain.

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The Corentyne River defines the boarder between Guyana and neighboring Surinam.  On the top left is the old custom's house where goods traveling between countries were checked.  The old customs dock was recently replaced with fancy new ferry port shown on the right.  The boarder with Surinam is contested, so we were shooed away when guards saw our video camera.  Little did they know that we had a smaller digital camera.  The guards were pre-occupied loading a personal truck, so we slid away easily.

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On the left above, people are celebrating Emancipation Day at "63 Beach."  Years ago, plots of land and cities were numbered.  Many of the plots were subsequently named, but "63" held, especially at the beach.  It's one of the few somewhat sandy beaches because it isn't close to any particular river.  On the right, some young black men are celebrating Emancipation Day at a broken down house in New Amsterdam.  Their music was loud and the smell of ganja filled the air.

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On the left is the kissing bridge at the Botanical Gardens in Georgetown.  It's a picturesque place where wedding couples are frequently photographed.  Speaking of weddings, on the right, are Victoria and Brandon eating at a traditional Hindu wedding.  Victoria is following custom by eating with her hands from a lotus leaf.

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Above left is the hospital in New Amsterdam.  Vijay spent a short stint in this hospital when she broke her arm as a child.  It seemed clean an organized, but air conditioning was not offered.  On the right is the Insane Asylum.  Vijay didn't spend anytime in the Asylum.  It didn't look like a place where anyone would want to spend time!

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One of Vijay's relatives runs a pharmacy.  Above is a sign that's required by law!

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On the left is the Post Office and Police station in Bartica, a city inland along the Essequibo River.  Note the size of the mailbox...different than what you'd expect in the USA.  On the right is a prison on an island along the Essequibo.  Although it's not easily visible, the church at the prison was recently burnt to the ground.  Story goes that a prize fight was showing on a television and a guard turned off the TV.  Prisoners rioted and burnt down the church.  

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Above is a scene at a relative's ranch in the savannah near Abary Creek.  The old farm house in the background next to the tractor.  Everything was brought into the ranch by boat.  On the right is a bush plane.  We rode in the plane to a wedding in Essequibo.  The plane can double as a cargo craft.  When carrying passengers, folding seats are simply installed and bolted to the floor.  The pilot was clearly very skilled; he "seat of the pants" navigated us to a small air strip in a rice field and landed the plane perfectly in a rain storm.  We were impressed!

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The picture on the left shows the tidal flats in the Caribbean Sea along the coast.  Note the person wading.  When the tide is out, the flats are exposed for miles.  On the right, we're waiting-out a cloud burst of afternoon rain at a shop in Rosignol.  Rosignol is Granda Buddy's home town.