Georgetown – Sneak Peek

On landing at the Cheddi Jagan International airport in Guyana, the Calypso playing on the speakers sets the expectations right. Georgetown may be part of South America but make no mistake – you’re in the Caribbean!!

First Glance

Georgetown stands a good chance of being the world’s laziest city (if it can be called a city). With a population of 200,000 the roads are relatively empty and traffic rules non-existent. 200 years of colonial mud-slinging between the British, French, Portuguese and Dutch has given Georgetown a more than colorful history. The eclectic mix of churches and buildings dotting the town bear witness to that. Like most of the buildings around, my guest house is built completely from wood. Living on the 2nd floor of a rickety wooded building rocks. Literally. Somewhere in the house a door slams shut and the entire building seems to shake on its foundation (if any).

The Best Part

The 45km drive from the airport to Georgetown offers an intoxicating scent of both rum and beer distilleries which are part of Guyana’s largest industry (sugarcane – rum…same thing). Guyana’s rum – El Dorado has brought home numerous awards for one of the world’s best rums. Even more reason to not complain about rum being cheaper than Coke in these parts. Did you know that Guinness brews its beer in Georgetown?? A tour of the rum distillery is battling the Kaieteur falls (world’s largest single drop waterfall) for top spot on my tourist agenda.

Lifestyle

Music’s in the air at all points in time right from the street CD vendors to food stalls to passing vehicles. People even seem to sing as they speak. Seems fitting for the Caribbean. This musical passion is possibly overshadowed by only one other countrywide obsession – cricket. With the world cup going on, the only thing playing on all televisions is repeats of older cricket matches. Even though the West Indies were knocked out in the quarterfinals, people still seem interested. Random people were hugging each other at a local food court when India won the World Cup. Didn’t seem to make any sense. I think I’m going to like it here.

Cost of Living

a) Beer – USD 1.5 at posh places and USD 1 at local bars
b) Call a cab – USD 1.5 from anywhere to anywhere
c) Cab off the street – USD 2 from anywhere to anywhere (don’t ask why)
d) Rum – USD 4-5 per bottle
e) Big night out – USD 15 (including dinner)
f) Big Mac – dream on

The Downside

Hot water showers are a rather elusive commodity here and can only be found at the swankiest hotel in town. Regular mortals and underpaid volunteers have to suck it up and jump into moss ridden cold showers. Wireless internet made it’s way to Georgetown just fine, but somehow washing machines didn’t.

Right now – belly full behind drunk*. Time for some shut eye.

*Local proverb: eat + drink = laziness

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