The Guyanese Lifestyle
After that 33 hour journey which I produced alot of sweat, lack of sleep and a consistent amount of bumps and jumps whilst sat in my seat, Georgetown has taken to me and currently I’m quite settled to where we are.
I’ve been staying at Jerries place, a well known Hostel and Restaurant on Waterloo Road. It’s quite centre in Georgetown and a really good location. It’s helped me able to sit back and enjoy what there is here. It’s allowed me to make new friends as its a popular destination for sports watching and casual drinking.
The Guyanese have a real Caribbean way of living. It’s very Caribbean here. Even though it is located geographically in the North East of South America, there is not much Latin about this place. The ethnicities are mainly of African descent, with India and Armenian also an influence throughout. They are very relaxed but also very helpful. Every citizen I’ve met in the street or at a location has been very helpful, talkative and interested in my presence.
Being a white northern English guy, my appearance and accent will be possibly quite startling to them. Despite my northern accent which I can adapt to a more universal one if needed, they seem to understand my Smoggie voice. Speaking of accents, their traditional tone is what we would compare with a stereotypical Jamaican accent. The words and phrases are difficult to understand with the spin they put on each letter. I guess a good description would be the famous ‘ Beer Can / Bacon vibe. If you say ‘Beer Can’ it would be close to what some Caribbean cultures would say when mentioning the word ‘Bacon’. However, its an English speaking country which is a delight and big help. One lady in particular, upon my visit to the National Guyana Museum, prompted to chat with me. After discovering my love for history, she personally walked me to the Walter Roth Museum, as she believed I would be interested in that more so. That’s an example of how helpful the Guyanese are.
From my experiences so far, non are really pushy nor persistent. If someone calls you for a taxi or to buy some sweets, you said no thanks politely and they move on. It makes a definite change in comparison to the shores of Brazil or SE Asia. I mean, walking through the markets, down the street, people may drive by or stare at you, because I or we are the very few who are here. This country promotes eco tourism, so anything else that would expect to be marketed isn’t. Things such as the Jonestown Massacre and the El Dorado myth are just not really existent. These were arks in history that have interested people, but as of right now, nothing like that has been created to teach us incoming foreigners.
The food is delicious as you can imagine. It has Caribbean vibe and spices all around. My favourite is tasty chicken with coco rice and salad with a dab of pepper sauce. This only costs 3 sterling pounds, is very tasty and a healthy meal. I’ve also tried Wild Cow and Deer curry, both delicious and of a similar price. Fish and Chips is huge over here, a traditional meal for us Brits but also adored over here too. It would be around 1,100 Guyanese Dollars. This equates to 5.5 US or Aus Dollars, which is around 3 pounds again. And you get a good amount. Service is generally quick at local places; the more westernised places can take a while.
El Dorado Rum from 5 – 12 – 15 years, the price varies. The 12 years you can drink neat, its that smooth and less sharp, giving it a drink to happily sip without your face screwing up as if some lime has been squired in your eye. Banks beer is a light drink which equates to around 1.70 sterling.
Even right now, its winter in Guyana, but its so hot and humid, even for the locals. Its 29-31 degrees this week, with the sun still being intense at around 3pm. Flip flops and shorts to a reasonable length are needed.
Being in places like this, more often than not, it’s what life there is around you, how things are done and how things look are what the more interesting factors. The way buildings are still old fashioned like the 50’s, with colourful designs and wooden frames for the windows. How the market stalls are small and hatched, with little avenues hidden to a deeper local market world you would just never of imagined. Fresh fruit, vegetables and coconut drinks are provided and haggled for, like good old market days.
Street lights are not as frequent, so the nights can get dark.
Life is relaxed here despite its huge British influence. There is local music from car stereos, dancing and clubbing available in certain spots, and almost an atmosphere of ‘we mean no harm’. People here just want to get on with their lives as it looks like, no real desire to need for more tourists or to go into political battle with anyone. By from what I read on the news, the economy has just had a huge rise due to the vast amounts of Gold here. I think I’ll end today by going for some local food and a cold one. I guess that sums up the life of Guyana around the most populated place, here in Georgetown. Life isn’t meant to be taken that seriously. And these guys know how to perfect that. Go Guyana.