After a busy day of preparation in Boa Vista, we finished our last night in Brazil with some red wine and pizza, with a couchsurfer host, Andre. Andre was a university lecturer at the Boa Vista Federal University, teaching a subject I study History. He was a really nice guy, very welcoming and knowledgeable about the area. We sat around in his back yard, accompanied by his girlfriend and another couchsurfer, Miguel, from France. That day, we had got our US dollars after a few times of trying to get money out, and finding a nearby exchange place. We planned our route vaguely, agreeing to wake up at around 8.
I was awake at 6:47, shortly drifting back into a sleep before waking up again, seeing Nina had gotten up. Jo soon after. We packed the remainder of our things and got a taxi to the Rodvaria Bus Stop. Our bus to Bonfim, which is the Brazilian border, was 18 Reis, and took about 2 hours on a long stretch of a road.
Approached Bonfim, we got our exit stamps from Brazil and had a quick discussion with the operator who was talking about how he wanted to go to Vancouver. We then met a guy called Wwaki, who gave us info on tours and hotels, the general spiel you get when you arrive off a coach into a new destination. He originally tried to charge us 60 reis for 3 of us to Lethem, into Guyana, but due to our research we knew it was 20 Real for the car. It was 2.5km, around 5-10 minutes to get there. We went into a health check room, and had to provide our Yellow Fever certificates to the local Guyanese officer, shortly heading into the official immigration office. It consisted of three Guyanese guards, dressed smartly and despite their glum faces, were okay and helpful to speak to. We filled out our entry forms, got our official Guyana stamps and off we went, with Wwaki, waiting for us through the entrance. The immigration office is a small office and no-one else was there. We were taken to the official ‘bus stop’, as we decided to take the gruelling 1 day drive to Georgetown, Guyana’s, capital. I’m writing this now from this bus stop, which is literally a two storey house, next to a cafe and bar, all outside, some tables and chairs, amongst some in development houses and flats.
Wwaki asked if we wanted to get some beer, and he’d have one with us, so I went with him, BACK to Brazil, over the border, into Bonfim. At first, I was a bit unsure, thinking there may be complications going back to Brazil. However, no-one blinked to an eye as we went back over to Bonfim, to pick up some cheaper beer from a store. On the way back, no-one blinked an eye lid. Two countries twice in the space of 30 minutes. I never thought I would do that. It sounds alot, but it’s just literally crossing borders. The only surprise was that there was no checks for me.
Got back to the cafe and ordered some fried steak, rice, salad, spaghetti and beans. Quite a combo, but one of the dishes they had available. The other was fried chicken. We had some Itaipava beers, whilst we arranged our transport to Georgetown. They would be picking us up by 6pm, taking us 3-4 hours to the ferry crossing. We would then sleep on hammocks or the floor until 4am, and go via the ferry boarding which didn’t open until 6am, to 6pm. Our due arrival IS( I say is because its 4:57pm and we are waiting still). Apparently we arrive at 2-3pm.
In the meantime I wondered around some border shops full of DFO styled clothes and found some much needed cargo pants I’ve wanted. Cheap and nasty, but they’ll do.
That’s pretty much a detailed version, but we are in Guyana, me Nina and Jo, and we are headed for Georgetown. Let’s see how this journey goes. The weather is warm with a nice breeze, and the Guyanese are really nice so far, speaking English which is a delight!
33 hours door to door, we arrive in Georgetown! The bus journey was an eventful one. First, we set off late, as expected. Secondly the bus broke down within 30 minutes of us travelling. 11 of us seated in a small minibus, crammed, hot and at frightening speeds. The roads are bumpy and sandy. It’s mainly straight, apart from crossing a couple of very questionable wooden bridges. Guyana is mostly forest. You sometimes look out the window and you see a branch sticking out coming closer, the amount of times I flinched and moved my head in anticipation was countless. We arrived at a checkpoint after 4 hours of driving and slept for 5 hours. Reason being was we had to wait for the ferry crossing to open. That was late as the ferry apparently broke down. The ferry itself, you cannot believe. Its a motor with a wooden and hollow concrete surrounding. How it holds trucks and buses is beyond me. Apart from a few police checks for passports, a few food stops(which I managed to mangle down some wild cow, pepper pot, the journey itself was just hot and gruelling. Less eventful than I thought. We were shattered by the time we reached Georgetown. Door to Door, 33 hours. We checked in at Jerries or Tropicano Hotel and showered. Never been so happy for a cold shower!! Watch this space for more Guyana tales over the next weeks.