Belated Q and A and Stuff
It's good to be back from wherever it is that I went, even though it was also good to be gone. I'll talk about that in a bit.
For the moment though, this update is going to be a Q and A session as promised. I'll sprinkle questions such as 'where have I been' and 'why is cheese tasty' randomly throughout to keep things unorganized and hard to follow. Enjoy.
Q: Wes, aside from using a mosquito net and simply being rediculously manly, what are you doing to avoid malaria and stuff?
A: I was a bit misleading in my post where I talked about my mosquito net and how it was going to keep me from catching malaria, because I made it sound like that was my only line of defense. Actually the Peace Corps has been doing quite a bit to keep us safe. Since a week after coming to Guyana, I've been taking a drug called Larium, which is supposed to be very effective at preventing the disease from being established. That's kind of a story in itself because the drug is supposed to have the side effect of causing funky dreams and can supposedly be psychotically destabilizing but so far I've had no trouble ha ha. DIE!!DIE!!! Sorry about that. Anyhow some of the other volunteers have felt sufficiently weird to change to another drug. Since I always feel weird though, I'm not sure I'd know the difference.
Regardless, malaria is supposed to be almost non-existent on the coast of Guyana and is only a big risk in the interior. I don't want to spoil anything but I will say that I my permanent assignment is on the coast down here so you guys should be able to come see me without fear.
Q: Wes, are all the streets in Guyana paved?
A: Ah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Not exactly. The state of most of the roads down here is not as bad as you might think though. In the post where I'll be at for the next two years for example there's basically one paved road that just runs along the coast, and most everything from there is dirt road sprawl. That one paved road is in pretty good shape though so getting around isn't huge trouble. Nevermind the fact that you have to take a boat to get to this road.
Q: Wes, my life has no meaning without reading your blog. Why has it been so long since your last update?
A: Well, I said last week that we were finding out what our sites were last week, but what I didn't know was that we were being whisked away to visit our sites that Friday. So I didn't really get a chance to tell you guys where I was going until I got back a week later, and then the internet was down for 3 days because of blackouts and stuff. That and I don't really like you guys.
Q: Wes, what is the food in Guyana like?
A: I think this question alone will be a good topic for a few updates, but I suppose I can give a brief overview of Guyanese food from my experience. Guyanese food is comprised of 4 basic constituents:
4. Stuff fried in oil
Is your mouth watering yet? Mine is. Honestly though I pretty much had to use category #2 to make this answer manageable because there's lots of food down here. There's lots of Indian food, so there's no trouble finding roti, curry, dahl, or any of that swell stuff. Lots of fried food. Lots of tropical friuts and vegetables. Not a lot of restaurants. I really was surprised to find out that Guyana isn't really a restaurant culture, so Guyanese food is really what you end up cooking for yourself, and I'll get to this in the future. Overall though, I've had a good time with Guyanese food so far.
Q: Wes, what's the countryside like over there? How 'bout that vegetation and jazz?
A: I've spent all my time on the coast of Guyana so far, where it's pretty flat. I understand that the country gets pretty hilly in the interior though. The coast has lots of palm trees, lots of green stuff, and lots of rivers, but I don't think you can call the coastal area a rainforest. The actual rainforest starts a few miles inland, and I'm still waiting to explore it a bit.
I really want to emphasize how many rivers are in this country and how totally flippin' humongous they are. To get to my site, I have to cross one river that's so big across that it takes about 30 minutes by speedboat. Yeah.
I'll get to this more in the future, but for now, the countryside is pretty nice looking and that's all you need to know until I post pictures and you see whether or not I'm a big fat liar.
Q: Do most places have power?
A: Actually yeah. A few volunteers are being sent to places deep in the interior where they have to make do with a kerosene lamp at night, but most of the major populated areas have at least semi-constant power. My site only had two blackouts during the last week when I visited. Snazzy.
Q: Wes, what is the favored mode of transport in Guyana
A: There's a ton of minibusses on the road that move around at about 4 thousand miles an hour and play reggae music on loadspeakers. There's a few taxis and every once in a while you'll see a non-taxi car that could easily become a taxi if you stick out your hand. Honestly though minibusses are everywhere. It's pretty much the mode of public transportation, even though they're completely privatized
Q: Wes, why are your responses getting progressively less funny?
A: I'm getting tired of working on this post, which is going on too long anyways. I'll save the questions I didn't get to for later and just say where in Guyana I've been assigned for the next two years.
I've been assigned to work at the Johanna Cecilia Secondary School on the Essequibo coast. The place is going to be really cool. I spent all last week there at a place called Golden Fleece, which is near the lovely towns of Zorg and Abram Zuil for those of you looking this up on your maps. (Ha ha) Yes I'm going to live near a town named Zorg. Yes I'm serious.
More next week. Thanks for reading.