Georgetown, Guyana – September 8, 2012
Up today at 05:00 to make it to a 06:00 walk!! Today was the Caribbean Wellness Walk in Georgetown. The Guyana Ministry of Health was the sponsor of the walk. The theme this year was “Love That Body.” They came up with that before they saw me show up this morning!
The groups of people walking, including a contingent from the U. S. Embassy, gathered in front of the Caricom Secretariat building. Caricom is short for the Caribbean Community. It is an organization sort of like the European Union, except there is not a single currency. The walk was along a three-mile route. The Caricom Secretariat building on Railway Embankment Road was the starting point. The course was scheduled to go west on Railway Embankment Road to David Street, then to Vlissingen Road, on to Thomas Road and conclude at the National Park Tarmac.
The walk did not begin walking until closer to 06:30. All of the groups were lined up in rows of three with the first three people carrying the banner for that particular group. As we began walking, there were still westbound vehicles passing by us in the right lane as well as eastbound traffic using that same lane. Now and then it got a little tight.
The U. S. Embassy group was about the fifth group in the line. After we had walked about 200 or 300 yards, the music truck caught up to us and passed us. It was a flatbed truck with a huge speaker stack on the back, pointed toward the walkers. The top of the speaker stack was about 15 feet above the ground. They were huge speakers. As the truck passed us, I found myself very glad that ours was not the first group. It would have been deafening! Even as far back as we were, the music was very plainly audible. There was no sleeping in for those that lived within several blocks of the walk route.
In earlier entries, I have made mention of the buses in Georgetown. During the walk, I was able to capture two buses. One can see each minibus has a number painted on the front and rear, number 40 in the accompanying photos, to identify which route they serve. Some of the buses are quite colorful, even bordering on garish. Each one included in these photos can seat 15 people — no thanks!
Encountering a route 40 minibus while walking through a Georgetown neighborhood.
Many people watched, greeted us, and waved as we made our way along the route. It was almost like a parade, with spectators lining the porches and fences of their homes. All the dogs in the neighboring area were barking. It was quite noisy.
The volunteers handed out something on paper (I did not see what it was) to the pedestrians we passed. Even though it was very early, the mood was very festive.
Many of the canals we passed had lilies covering the water. The flowers are striking. I have seen people in the channels harvesting the lily pads. My work colleagues told me it is the Hindus that do this. They use them as plates at their elaborate weddings. I think it would be interesting to see such a ceremony.
The walkers stretch on and on…
As we turned into the National Park, each group was stopped for a moment so the judges could examine the banner of the group. There were prizes available in several categories. After passing the judges, we lined up by each group in front of the stage. Once all of the groups were there, an aerobics leader came on stage and led the entire group in about 20-minutes of aerobics. Thankfully I had my camera, so I took photos while the others exercised. I figured my three-mile walk was good for something!
After the aerobics finished, there were speeches by several dignitaries, including the Minister of Health. By roughly 08:00, the presentations were over, and I found my ride back to the vehicle we had left at the Caricom Secretariat building parking lot. I did enjoy the walk.
The United States Embassy contingent at the final destination, the arena at the National Park.
I digress now to September 5. On that day, I was riding with some of my maintenance crew after visiting a work site. Our conversation turned to coconut water. Before I knew it, we had stopped at the Bourda Market. The driver jumped out and shortly came back to the vehicle with a coconut and a straw in hand. I did not see it happen; however, the vendor that sold it had quickly and precisely lopped off the top two or three inches of the coconut. That left a hole about the size of a nickel. Into that hole, one inserts the straw. I drank the water through the straw. It was fresh and slightly sweet.
The exterior of the coconut was green, not the color we are accustomed to seeing in the U. S. supermarkets.
The guys gave me instructions to widen the hole when I got home so that I could scrape out and eat the coconut. That proved significantly easier said than done. The light brown rim around the hole in the coconut is as hard as a rock. It took me quite some time to saw through that portion even though the distance was only about a quarter of an inch. I did get the hole widened enough to allow me to use a spoon to scrape out the inside. I was not able to get much out. What I did get out did not have any taste to it. I imagine I did something wrong. One of these days, I am sure my crew will help me out.