Some time has passed since my last significant blog, so I will try to regurgitate my last few weeks to whoever reads this. During our first PC reunion (also known as PDM, I’m still not sure what it stands for) since training, which has been two months, I had a small epiphany, that is, the place I feel most comfortable now is Bartica. I know where to eat, where to drink, and who has what. Being in Georgetown, the capital, was stressful, not only because our hotel was on the outskirts of town (thank you PC), but also because everything was foreign. I ended up spending lots of money because of the simple fact that I didn’t know where the deals were. One funny episode was when I excited a bunch of poor volunteers with a beer promotion, I was told that one could obtain five ice cold Banks Premiums (a nice hoppyish lager) for $1000 ($5US), but soon found out that it was considerably more. I don’t know who was more upset, probably me, but regardless I received a decent amount of insults and various other things people do to make another person feel bad. In Bartica, I know exactly where this wonderful promotion is (thank you Banks DIH), and I know that it runs every day, not just every Friday. Such is life.
As far as life here in Bartica, things are happening and other things are not. Without divulging too much information (I’m still curious as to what exactly I can write) I am in the housing market. I had a very nice apartment set up, PC approved it, and then the door was shut. So I am still looking, however, real estate in Bartica is not easy because of the influx of Brazilians (although I don’t mind them for other reasons) both price and availability are a problem.
I am also in the process of trying to figure out what exactly I’m supposed to be doing here. Besides the organization (suffice to say I’m the only employee) that I work for, I have been exploring working with the Agricultural Department here in Region Seven. They are trying to start a fish farming (can’t seem to escape them) program at the farming station here in Bartica. So, seeing that this is a skill that I actually have I am trying to figure out what kind of relationship and how much I can get involved. I’ve probably divulged too much already. But life has been chaotic between my housing situation, my job situation and just living in a new town. I enjoy my down time.
Even though Bartica is now my home, I am getting that itch once again known as wanderlust. I took a mini vacation yesterday in my hammock smoking a Cuban (thank you Cuban Doctors), and listening to salsa with my shirt off. I imagined myself in Havana on a hot summer afternoon (the heat didn’t take much imagination) waiting until the sun went down and the night started. Unfortunately, my night never did start because there seem to be a lack of Salsa clubs here in Bartica. Although, going to Georgetown was a nice break, it was far too stressful for what I would consider a vacation. Most of the time was spent listening to people speak about stuff, and getting up every now and then to say something of my own. Nevertheless, I should be heading out to the Essequibo Coast (where I spent two months training) at some point next month, for how long and for what I am not sure. Details are dangerous. It should be fun though.
I do have to mention a couple happenings from Town. The first I have to be discreet, so I will leave you with I was a bit lucky this past week, and was able to indulge a little more than usual (all in pre-flop on an 8, 9 off suit may not sound smart, but it worked out to my favor, he was on tilt). With my second story I can entertain you with a few more details. While having a few beers with some of my Guy 21 (my batch of green volunteers) cohorts, I was suddenly scooped up by some of the Guy 19ers who have been here for two years. Like the States, Guyana is mourning the death of the pop icon Michael Jackson. It has actually been quite hard to go a day without hearing something of his. All the same, it was Michael Jackson night and I wanted to dance. Unbeknownst to me, was that in Town dance clubs have dress codes and my cut off jean shorts were not cutting it (I have never encountered this problem in Bartica). The other guy with me, who happens to be my roommate and of a bit skinnier frame, switched his shorts with one of the girls that we were with. However, I being of a bit larger frame, was not so lucky, yet the bouncer felt sorry for me. He must of known that I would eventually take over the dance floor and show the Guyanese that I, like Michael Jackson, am American and that this special bond counts for something. Nevertheless, the bouncer was kind enough to loan a pair of his own pants. Being a bouncer this man was also of a larger frame, he was actually a large middle aged black man who from the looks of things had had his fair share of beer. To my surprise when he came back, I was not only unable to button his pants, I could not even zipper them up all the way. After a few inquiries about whether these pants were actually his, and his reassurance that they were, I collected what was left of my ego and headed up to the club. I think it only took about ten minutes of dancing to reassure myself of how great I truly am.
As every human being should, I like celebrations, and fortunately for me there are a few scheduled in the next couple of weeks. Not this weekend but the next, is the summer Regatta, a smaller version on the one during Easter, but a Regatta nonetheless. So I am sure that I will be joining the revelry including musical acts, boat racing, and as much beer as my PC stipend will buy (mother rest assured that that is nothing much). Soon after that, I believe the next weekend actually, is the birthday of the male half of the VSO couple here. The plan is to rent a beautiful (and it truly is by any standards) old slave house, complete with in ground pool, lovely wooden decks and plenty of place to sleep. Knowing him, and the various friends that we have it should be a lovely weekend. I think it’s his sixtieth, but I’m not entirely sure, he’s in England right now. It’s always nice to have a schedule and things to look forward to, I can’t really be spontaneous as I would like (thank you PC), so it is nice knowing that fun will be had for the next few weeks.
And as always, I can not refrain from talking about food. Amongst my many regrets, one stands out, namely, I did not get my chow fun and dumpling fix while I was in Town. Besides this though, I have been eating quite well. The past few weekends have usually included nice Sunday lunches, of which I have been a part of preparing. The first, I stuck to my repertoire and made a nice tomato sauce and spaghetti, and although I felt confident pleasing the Western tongues I was not sure how the Guyanese would react. They liked it, gave me compliments and I was asked to cook for the next lunch. This was a bit more of a challenge because these Guyanese I was cooking for this time were more Guyanese. So I prepared one of their own dishes, chicken curry, of which I have only watched being cooked, and never had cooked myself. It was well received and it made me feel good, my only regret was not having enough curry powder. Regardless, other dishes that I have been experimenting with have been Boulanger Choka, a sort of mashed up cooked eggplant with tomatoes, onions and peppers usually eaten with roti, which I also experimented with. The next lunch planned is a roast duck, another dish I have no experience with, although I think I have an idea of how to do it.
Until next time. I am still alive.