THE MADNESS OF GEORGETOWN


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South America » Guyana » Georgetown
August 13th 2009
Published: August 20th 2009EDIT THIS ENTRY

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City Hall
Woke up at 3:45am to get ready for the long border crossing into Guyana. Wen to shower and around 4am I heard a knocking on the oor, the shuttle van is here said the reception dude, I panicked and rushed putting all my stuff in the backpack, I was told pick up time is at 4:30am, half hour early, unusual for South America, anyway made them wait for 5 minutes and when I got to the van 2 girls were already there, but for the next hour and a half we will be going around town picking up passengers, mostly Guyanese people going home, one odd guy obviously high on drugs and smoking inside the van, got told off, a bunch of loud unattractive and argumentative Brazilian girls and a freakin Chinese girl who we have to wait a good 15 minutes to wake up, we beeped the horn, called the phone etc. and when she got up took her time to get her stuff in their supermarket, prompting one girl in the van, hey China girl get your ass in here now! She hurried sheepishly. And so it goes, round and round Parbo then finally we thought we are off we stopped again where the drivers, they go in convoys, could get breakfast, left us in the van not even asking if we want to join, took their bloody time too. We stopped twice for gas at one point I was asked to pay my fare already for gas money, 85 SRD(about $30).

About 3 hours of travelling to this town where we pick up the ferry called Nieuw Nickerie, we waited for awhile just outside the port then we got told to get our stuff and head for the gate, as I have no ferry ticket I have to queue up, what annoys me is nobody tells me what is going on I have to ask my fellow passengers, the driver no use, i wont recommend them, Rohit the guy who runs it is so disorganized. Anyway at the ticket queue, took forever I was behind maybe 12 people but took a good hour and a half to get my ticket, I saw people with an average 3 to 6 passports in their hands, buying tickets for other people, quite annoying while I wait in line in the heat! So much red tape, to make matters worse there
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Promenade garden
is only one dude selling the tickets and people he knows gives him bunch of passports to process the tickets under the table, so he is writing tickets for the ones queuing up and the ones he got handed in at the same time,my blood is boiling by now, i just had it but the Indian dude in front of me indicated this is how it is here nothing you can do. When it was my turn he did not take my passport right away, he wass till doing other passport piled up to his side, he made me wait for 5 minutes, so ready to go postal on him, but held my temper. got the ticket then had to queue up to another line to recalim my passport and ticket.

from there got pointed to immigration and customs, one look at me the dude stamp me out quickly and not even check my pack. We waited at the lounge for 30 minutes then the boat started loading cars and passengers, It seems to me the van that brought us there is not going to the other side, some companies did but not mine! So i asked Roxanne, a guyanese woman in my van what is going on, she said to me just follow her, there is a guy meeting us up on the other side she was told. We got into chatting, really attractive chick but married to a guy from Curacao, she went to Suriname to get her Dutch permanent resident visa. The ferry took about 20 minutes and we have to fill up the forms in the ferry, once we reached shore, hordes of people ran to the front of the boat and running towards customs. Me and Roxanne walked fast too but when we got to the line again same thing as before, one person queues up for 10!!! And as usual immigration officer takes in passports from people he knows, you stand in front of him and wait while he process passports handed in to him by friends. I have to write down the length of stay in Guyana, I said 3 weeks and that is exactly what he wrote down on the entry stamp.

On the other side drivers who are all connected to Rohit approached us and we got into this van, i dont know how it works, they know each
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Promenade garden
other but did not realized i have to pay about $12 again! My advice to people is double check with the guys you book with in Parbo if it is a package deal that was my mistake i assume the price(85SRD) i got quoted in Parbo was for the full trip, again never use Rohit and his company, try the LP recommended one, i never thought I would say that. we are now in Moleson creek just crossed the Corantijn River to get here. funny about this town they have this vehicle that look like a box compact jeepney like what we have in the Philippines for public transport, Roxanne said this is only found here in this area but i forgot to take fotos, We dont see them in Georgetown apparently. We got pulled over by atraffic cop claiming we were doing 70kph. The driver balked and protested and in all honesty we were much slower than that because of the road being busy, the ladies in the van told me the cop is only after bribe, and then started relating to me the corruption that is rampant in this country, so corrupt they claim they dont know now
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Promenade garden
who to trust. Sad to hear that coming from the locals. As we drive along I noticed the nice old wooden houses on stilts, now they build houses made from cement, more practical than wood.

Arriving in Georgetown I cant remember the Hotel I wanted to go but remembered the address, we stopped at a place called Jerries, i said that's not it but fit the description, I decided to check my computer where I saved it in my notepad, New Tropicana Hotel found it, it was actually Jerries. I got dropped off and asked if they have rooms, full! Kind of relieved , this place does not look appealing, far away from the website fotos, the restaurant/bar on the 1st floor looks dirty and dodgy, the building itself doesnt look nice and is in the busy area. They recommended me Water Chris a block away, looks ok but the prices are terrible $34 for a fan room, I asked to have a look first, my god a ramshackle place the room is net to the road and hot and looks like the whole bldg is about to fall apart. i told them I will look somewhere, the nice
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Promenade garden
guy who showed me the room gave me directions to Sleepin GH, my 1st choice actually but thought $35 a night is expensive. Walked 7 blocks in the heat and touts yelling at me, taxis, vendors, beggars, kept walking, i have a bad impression of the city, smelly and unattractive compared to Parbo.
Diana the very helpful receptionist at Sleepin GH told me only one room available and its the $60 apartmnt! She tried to find a suitable place she called Zoom Inn and their rooms are $60 a/c, fan rooms all filled. I decided to splurge,I was sweating profusely and needed to chill plus am so hungry so i took the $60 room for the nite and booked the $40 a/c room for the next 2 days.

Called Rainforest tours and walked to their office, they now moved and is located near a Digicel bldg. found it with ease and Frank Singh explained to me in detail about the 5 day Kaiteur trip i just booked, $839 with credit card, super expensive but this is the only excursion I am doing in Guyana. Felicity one of the people who work there told me the Canopy walk in Iwokrama
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Promenade garden
is shut, they are fixing or renovating it and the ranger station is so expensive to stay in, the book said you can sleep in hammocks for cheap but I was told they phased that out and making both places a luxury getaway, an upgrade that is bad for backpackers cause its horrendously pricey. I think its a step back in their tourism industry, to begin with it is expensive to stay here in this country, now they made the tours more expensive. Disappointed, I decided to head straight to Lethem once done with the trek and head to Venezuela ASAP.

Walked back to the hotel and noticed the fruit stalls next to a smelly creek on Church St where I live, I saw lots of fruits that I only saw when I was growing up in the Philippines, I got excited and bought a local peach(mabolo in the Philippines). I did not like it after awhile, It smelled up the whole room! I was warned by Frank Singh, the reception desk at the hotel and even the vendors to be careful at night and dont go too far away from the hotel, oh boy does not sound good,
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Promenade garden
in all honesty walking during the day i noticed lot of poverty, homeless people walking around. So I stayed in the hotel and have a simple meal and went to bed. next morning after a measly free breakfast in the hotel I walked to the Scotia bank to use the ATM it now takes foreign cards. Promenade garden was next to it so had a look, lots of exotic plants. Then to the Cathedral and back to the hotel. Moved rooms and went for a walk, dropped by the fruit stalls again to buy an exotic fruit we call guyabano in the Philippines, the old Indian woman vendor was very friendly and when I asked her how to get to the Stabroek Market, she got alarmed, go with a guide she said , no i can take care of myself I said to her, be careful not safe inside and keep your camera away, take a cab she meant well but I did not listen, i walked around and found Regent St. the main road and found some old wooden buildings, most interesting is the City Hall, lots of vendors selling trinkets on the sidewalk.

Found Stabroek market took a quick photo with care trying not to create attention to myself then proceeded to KFC for lucnh, crap food! the chicken tastes like fish and service bad, this is next to the market. From there I went back to the hotel, there is nothing really interesting to do here in this boring city, I will save the rest for tomorrow so I have something to do. Bought a torch at a store, generators running , no power and as you walk the main road, every shop has their own generators going, maybe power shortage is common here, if I stayed in a crappy place I would have baked myself, in this heat with no a/c I'll suffocate, Id rather spend a bit more, and Sleepin GH is safe and comfortable.




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do not go to this dump!
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St.George's Cathedral


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