Up at 4am and on the minibus to Suriname. Thankfully paved roads all the way, and even a nice new shiny bridge over the river meant that we got there in double quick time. The guy driving, Champ, was such a top bloke – he seemed to know absolutely everyone in the country and had smiles and waves for everyone.
We arrived at Molston Creek around 9am and Champ had to lend me the money to get the speedboat across the river – I had underestimated the cost somewhat! But I made it over, was swarmed by taxi drivers on the other side – trying to explain to them that I was just stepping foot in Suriname and that I intended to go back straight away was a bit lost on them.
But there you go – every nation in South America in just under two weeks! Woo! Now I wonder if Africa will take much longer…
On the way back to the hotel I was in a deep panic. I had no way of getting to my next country – Trinidad. There was no ferry. I didn’t want to go back down that damn road to Boa Vista and then all the way up through Venezuela again – and even if I did, the ferry only went once a week.
How the hell was I going to do this?
I got back to my hotel room at 3pm. I got a weak slow wireless connection and after putting up with Internet Explorer cannot display blah blah blah for ages, I managed to get onto my email. There was a message for me from Lorna Brookes who is beavering away back home making phone calls and sending emails trying to get me around the Caribbean. It said that my boat was leaving in 2 hours.
I couldn’t believe it.
I raced downstairs and rang the contact – an agent for Gulf Shipping called Bevaun – in double fast time. He was fortunately just around the corner from my guesthouse. He was there in two minutes. He took me to the docks, and there she was – the container ship MV Miriam, registered in Antigua, crewed by Filipinos and on its way to Trinidad today. I couldn’t believe my luck.
Thank you Lorna, you are an utter LEGEND!!
I was handed over to Bevaun’s colleague, Cedric, who sorted out my exit stamp, let me pick up my bags from the guesthouse and took me for some good old-fashioned Guyanan scran – Pepperpot, Cajun Beef and Jerk Chicken. Oh yeah, I is in the Caribbean now.
Guyana is lovely. A really wonderful place full of noise and smells and friendly friendly people and great big wooden buildings. Well off the tourist track, it’s a shame that not more people get to experience the charm of this isolated little chunk of South America, but with the new bridge (and soon, road) from Brazil and its membership of Caricom (it hosted the Cricket World Cup semi-final in 2007) that may soon change.
So… on the boat and off we jolly well popped.
I had a brilliant night. The crew plied me with enough alcohol to sink a whale, the cook rustled up a HUGE hog roast with some kick-ass hot soy sauce (his own concoction) and we watched some really crap DVDs in the mess.
I fell into bed at god-knows-what-o’-clock and was asleep before my head touched the pillow.
South America: DONE.