Sep 052012

After juggling around the trip a bit, and deciding to fly the next leg to Suriname instead of take a share taxi, I was left with a full day to wander around Georgetown. I’d been told by several people there wasn’t a ton to see, and after just getting four hours sleep the prior night I decided to sleep in a bit.

Got down to the hotel breakfast (literally right down a staircase from my room – a 15 second walk) just as it was supposedly closing, only to find absolutely nobody around. There was bread and coffee sitting out from toast, and that was more than enough for me. Around 10 or 11, I finally made it out to start my very hot and humid stroll of the city. Even though it was hot and humid out, I wanted to walk around and see as much of the city as I could before the heat got to me.

Headed out of my hotel, the Herdmanston Lodge, through the nice courtyard:

I walked about 20-30 minutes through the city side streets of Georgetown:

Finally, I came upon the first sight, St. George’s Cathedral.  This building is said to be one of the largest wooden structures in the world.  Once again, when I came upon a major church, there was a funeral in progress.  This was the third time this year this has happened to me….having never happened in all my travels before.  Either lots more people are dying in 2012, or I just happen to be visiting countries with bigger/different funeral traditions.

One shot of the interior of the Cathedral.  Had to be careful to be considerate and not take shots of the mourners:

Next stop was maybe another 10 minutes walk, and I stopped by the City Mall on Regent Street to get a bite to eat…and hopefully cool down a slight bit in the air conditioning.  While it was slightly cooler inside, it was still quite warm, and after a brief stop for a Diet Coke I continued my walk, going about another 10 minutes to the old wooden City Hall:

Next stop was the courthouse:

Continued my walk another couple blocks, and came to the Stabroek Market.  Built way back in 1881, this old iron building is pretty typical of a market in a developing country.  I asked a couple times to take pictures of vendor stalls, but was (rather rudely) told no each time.  So, just one shot of the outside:

Continued my stroll up the street, and stopped by the National Library:

Next up, was a stop by the National Bank of Guyana.  Wasn’t sure if I should take a picture since there were machine gun-toting guards out front, but figured why not.  They seemed like they could care less.

One last site I wanted to see, and on the way wandering there, I came upon an interesting place.  Since it was the middle of the Olympics at this point, was interesting I happened to wander by the HQ of the Guyana Olympics Association!

Last stop was the Umana Yama – an Amerindian Cultural Site.  According to Wikipedia,  it is a “conical palm thatched hut (benab) erected for the Non-Aligned Foreign Ministers Conference in Georgetown, Guyana in August 1972 as a V.I.P. Lounge and recreation centre…The structure is 55 feet (16.78 meters) high and is made from thatched allibanna and manicole palm leaves, and wallaba posts lashed together with mukru, turu and nibbi vines. No nails were used. It was erected by a team of about sixty Wai-Wai Amerindians, one of the nine indigenous tribes of Guyana. Fashioned like the Wai-Wai benabs or shelters which are found deep in Guyana’s interior, it occupies an area of 460 square metres, making it the largest structure of its kind in Guyana…’Umana Yana’ is a Wai-Wai word meaning ‘Meeting place of the people’.”

There was a rather bored-looking guard at the gate, who just shrugged when I asked if I could go inside.  Um, ok.  Quick wander of around five minutes, and I was ready to move back to the hotel.  I was exhausted from hours of walking in the heat, but still managed to walk back to the hotel.  I was tempted to take a minibus taxi the mile or so just for the experience, but decided I’d rather walk.  Got back, crashed for a bit and napped, and decided to head out to the New Thriving Chinese Restaurant for a dinner.  It was a bit odd having Chinese in Guyana, but given the sizable Chinese population, it wasn’t too strange.  Plus, TripAdvisor called it one of the better places in town, and since I had no desire for stomach bugs this early in the trip, decided to give it a a go.

At least it was a pleasant evening outside, and there was rum punch!

Plus, there was fun entertainment on the patio, and yes they not only played Bob Marley on the steel drums but Madonna.  Terrifying!

After a tasty dinner, it was back to the hotel and time to crash.  I had a flight to Suriname early in the morning!


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