Guyana collage

 

Guyana (Guiana) Tour

 

Guyana Cultural Tour: Supernaam, Suddie, Queenstown, Anna Regina, Charity

Bikes and bikers board a speedboat

Essequibo river speedboatSupenaam, on west bank of the Essequibo River, is another place the requires a boat trip for access.  The "buses" of the Essequibo are long, deep-V hulled, speedboats.  Between Supernaam and Charity is 65 km of paved road paralleling the coast, but that pretty much sums up the asphalt in the region.

 Supenaam, Guyana To fit more compactly in the boat the packs and pedals need to come off the bicycle, and sometimes it is advantageous to remove the front wheel.  All of this requires a bit of reassembly before we can get underway again.

The view from the road is collage of rice fields, houses on stilts, canals, churches, temples, business and Guyana's beautiful variety of people.  The whole package would keep it interesting for at least a dozen more trips.

Good Hope Nursery School, Guyana Fear Not, GuyanaOne of the joys of this section of road is the names of the communities; Good Hope, Fear Not, Better Hope, Better Success, Reliance, The Jib, Anna Regina, Golden Fleece, Spring Garden and Charity, to name a few.  Reflecting history some seem to have a Dutch pedigree (Onderneeming) and other solid British roots (Dartmouth, Danielstown, Hampton Court, Taymouth Manor, Henrietta and Queenstown).  Many only occupy a couple hundred meters of roadside, but almost all have a sign.
Suddie Post Office, Guyana Chinese restaurant, Suddie, GuyanaBeing a little bigger, Suddie has a post office (left) and a Chinese restaurant.  Including Supernaam and Charity, there are probably four post office in the corridor and twice as many Chinese restaurant.  Between the post office and the Chinese restaurant is an almost invisible Creole restaurant.  It is worth search out if you are in the area.
Canal and koker (or sluice gate), Guyana sea wall, GuyanaCanal and koker (or sluice gate) are a regular feature along the coast.  A koker is the gate at the end of the canal.  Much of coastal Guyana is below sea level and protected by dikes and seawalls.  At low tide the koker can be opened and water will drain through the dike and into the sea.  The koker needs to be closed at high tide or the land will be flooded with sea water.
boat building, Guyana boat building, Guyanaboat building, GuyanaI never noticed as much boat building in this section as I did on the trip that a classic wooden boat builder was a member of the team.  It is amazing how the eye sees differently some time.  I assume the boat builders have always been there but I never focused on them.  On this trip I picked out at least a half dozen along the road.  At the workshop we stopped at the were four boats under construction.  Most of the other boat yards also had multiple boats in the works.  I seems like a thriving business.
Monument on Slavery, Supernaam, Guyana Queenstown is another one of the larger communities.  It first historic significance is as the site of landing of first slaves in Guyana in 1630.  It also seems to have some kind of connection with Queens, New York, or at least they sponsored the road sign for the town.  It is a far bet that there are more Guyanese in Queens than in Queenstown.
Better Hope Nursery School, Guyana Better Hope Nursery School, Guyana Better Hope Nursery School, Guyana Better Hope Nursery School, Guyana

"Carpools" after my own heart.  As I passed the Better Hope Nursery School, more kids were being picked up by bicycle than by motor vehicle.  Thumbs up for a health lifestyle.

Hindu temple, Guyana Christian chruch, GuyanaThe population of the Essequibo coast is split -- not evenly -- between people of Asian descent and people of African descent. This leave a vestige of religious buildings  that is mostly a mixture of Hindu Temples and Christian Churches, with a few Mosques added in.

One of the cross benefits of going bicycle speed and the ethnic diversity is the sound track for the ride.  The music wafting from the house could alternate between Regea, Hindu music, the driving drum and dance music of Ballywood (www.bollywoodmusic.com), soca, calypso and some indigenous Guyanese genre.

smoke stack of a past sugar cane boiling house rice fields, GuyanaThis smoke stack was likely part of the boiling house of a sugar cane operation.  There is no longer much sugar production in this area.

The broad agricultural land in this district are now primarily used for rice cultivation.

Rice mill, Guyana Rice mill, GuyanaCombines for harvesting rice, GuyanaThe are a number of rice mills along the road.  Rice production in this area is large scale and capital intensive.  Where is many relatively low wage economy, agriculture still employees human labor as much a machinery, conditions in Guyana seem to have made the decision makers choose machinery over people.
A vendor sells his snacks by bicycle, Guyana vegetable at the road side, for purchase by passers-by, GuyanaExamples of the other economy include a vendor selling snacks along the by bicycle and a few vegetable display on a simple table at the road edge, for purchase by passers-by.
father's day On one occasion I was in the area on Father's Day.  For Father's Day, at least one of the traditions is to get together with other fathers and drink.  As a dad myself, I was invited to join them.
Charity on the banks of the Pomeroon River, Guyana

Charity on the banks of the Pomeroon River, GuyanaIf you follow the road to its other terminus you will have reached Charity on the banks of the Pomeroon River. A quick look at the map confirms that theremap of roadless region west of Charity, Guyana aren't any roads in a vast area west of Charity (red circle) but there are a number of rivers.  It also indicates that a lot of the coastal area is marshy.

Charity has a busy stalling (dock) where boats bring in people and produce from the farms up and down the river network, and return people and market goods in the other direction.

Charity, Guyana Charity market, GuyanaThe markets in Charity seem healthy.  High rise building and fast food chicken restaurants have come to town. At least one of the building has two levels of retail shops and markets itself as a "mall." 

To help local producers get a fairer price, a chalk board in the produce market shows the average wholesale prices at the major Georgetown markets for a list of local commodities (i.e. apple banana, cayenne banana, sweet-fig banana, sour-fig banana, plantain, cassava, eddo, sweet potato, pumpkin, squash, tomato, hot pepper, cucumber, cabbage, bora, wiri-wiri and a variety of citrus and tropical fruits.)

 

Side trip to
Shell Beach (Turtle Nesting)

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