Welcome To Guyana & A Wet Wet Christmas In The Caribbean
Guyana the last link in a circum-Caribbean semi-circle of British intrigue that starts in Jamaica and the Cayman islands… largest of the lot… probably the poorest also… perfect picture of a colonial capital going down on itself… anything but Jonestown: thirty years ago some nine hundred US citizens committed mass suicide in Guyana under the influence of a bad Elvis impersonator.
Imagine a bus terminal and a market sharing the same space, accompanied by the sounds of barkers barking and horns honking… accents pretty thick here too. You could almost imagine you’re speaking Creole. You almost are.
I check out the zoo by accident, but the market’s the real zoo. I walk long distances as is my habit, making notes of cultural anomalies. ATM’s are all the rage, lines stretching around corners… various types of food, similar to Trinidad’s, but coffee’s non-existent.
Two days of that and I push on, straight across the new Berbice River Bridge at New Amsterdam on its first day open for business… big news, the ribbon-cutting and all… expect some concrete engineering marvel along the wild northern coast of South America, BUT: damn thing’s made of aluminum, bolted together like a child’s erector set, probably bought from US army surplus, riding about five feet above the water’s surface. I hope it’s low tide. It took ‘em two years to complete; the US Army could’ve assembled it and been killing people on the other side in less than two months, if not two weeks. They seem proud of it, so I suppress all laughter and sarcastic comments. I wonder if it’ll hold until my return…
…stuck at the border with Suriname—Corriverton, Guyana—on Christmas Eve… place is hopping… don’t decorate silly trees here; they party… little carnival midway set up on the main drag through town, disco speakers stacked all up and down the sidewalk blasting away at ear-splitting decibel levels… liquor or beer— choose your weapon.
Borders are the weirdest places in the world; just look at TJ… run right through a lonely place in your mind. All the world’s fumbling schemers are here, the Indians the Chinese the Muslims and me. I guess I’m home for Christmas. I don’t mind the rain.