Since travel costs can be very expensive in Guyana, I was sticking close to places I wanted to visit that were close to the main highway. I could take public transportation to these places or at least try to hitch.Richard found someone with a motorbike to take me to Wowetta, for a small fee of course. It was only 13km away but with all my gear I didn’t feel like hiking it or trying to hitch. Wowetta is a small yet widespread village along the main road just before the forest begins uninterrupted all the way to Georgetown. I am in the Rupununi, an area that covers 20% of Guyana, grasslands dotted with pristine forested mountains. I asked around in the village and was directed to a woman named Priscilla’s house. It was a half an hour walk. Once there she welcomed me. I was their first visitor this year! The village’s 2 room guesthouse was occupied but Priscilla’s brother, Bertie, said I could stay in a spare room at his house, right next door. The room was a just bare concrete except for a dresser. I set up my thermarest and mosquito net. Though it was the dry season and not raining much in Lethem, the further north I went, the more it was raining. It was not supposed to be raining at all at this time of year. When I asked locals what they thought about this, they shrugged it off casually and said ‘Climate change.’
I came to Wowetta to hike their nature trail that led to a cock of the rock nesting site. The cock of the rock is a rare orange bird. I was more interested in getting into the forest and sleeping overnight than I was to see the bird. My guidebook said there was a benab ( a wooden structure to hang hammocks in ) in the forest near the nesting site. Priscilla told me that the benab hasn’t been used in 7 years! It’s thatch roof rotted away and it hasn’t been fixed. Most visitors just go out for the day and come back to the village. I told them I would really like to sleep out in the forest and that I had a tent. They said they would set it up for me for tomorrow.
After lunch it rained for a while. After it stopped Priscilla’s kids and the neighbours kids took me on a short nature trail. We walked the main road for a while before returning at dusk. There were quite a few plants blooming along the road. The most spectacular for me was a purple passion flower. It was Priscilla’s birthday and there was a large gathering of family and friends for dinner. We drank local Guyanese wine and I must say it went down easy. I actually got pretty drunk and turned down any more drinks before I got way too drunk. It was a fun night. I had nights in Brazil like this with locals but here it was different. Everyone spoke english and I could talk with everyone. Guyana is an old British colony and the only english speaking country in South America.