We get up early (7), since we don't know what time bus leaves for border town, BonFin! The front desk says maybe lvg at 8, we ask if we can return for brkfst - no problem! Head across with our bags and buy next bus tickets to border, 10 am, YES! Storing our bags we are in bus station for the duration of a rain downpour, and head back across to a breakfast of 6 diff kinds of fruit, bread, chez, meat, hot milk (no tea)...we load up!
Beyond Boa Vista countryside changes from Amazonian-cleared jungle to Kansas/Nebraska-like with grassland, cornfields, and cattle plus small lakes and rolling plains! Still very hot and humid. Since the bus from B.V. left a bit late and stopped to let off passengers along the way (some seemingly in the middle of nowhere again...really strange), we didn't get to the border until after noon. The police station where we have to get ckd out of Brazil is closed until 2, so we sit and wait...when finally they take our passports it takes no more than a few minutes and we are on our way again. Taxi to Guyana border is short ride but 10r. ($6 US) where immigration takes only a few minutes and then a colectivo taxi (shared ride-4 passengers) ride a bit longer (just $5 US,ha!) than previous to Lethem and Shirley's Shop (in LP). What a great welcome from Shirley herself! They speak English here...what a treat! For next 3 hours she devoted her time to helping us get bus tickets onward to Geotown, get inexpensive room in Takutu Hotel (dbl, shower/bath, & fan - $17.50 US)...has a large 'common' room with big TV and internet... also changing our $$ to Guyana dollars, then to restaurant where owner, Bernadine, 'Bernie', makes good food for less $$, ha! When at the bus station (just across road from Shirley's...this town is smaaall, kind of like villages in W. Africa), we debated a stopover in Annai, an LP recom. spot about 2 hours from here. Bus tickets are $50 ea. for 14 +hr. ride, definitely one of the most expensive bus rides yet, plus the stop would be for 2 days (next bus not 'til Tue.), and cost of guide and park entry...well, it all added up to too much $$ and days. We've got to
make tracks to get to Acunsion, Paraguay by Oct. 19 when we meet Mari and Jake.
We met Hanth, Shirley's Dutch partner, who is with govt research project to determine impacts of 'civilization' (my word) on the native/indigenous peoples/villages in this area. See if they maintain ecological beliefs or move more toward consumptive/exploitative behaviors. He's been here 3 yrs. and they have established contacts, etc. in over 50 small communities. Should be very interesting, since this area/country is just beginning to open up/develop an 'eco-tourist' infrastructure. Hanth and Shirley have just returned from a 5 day journey thru Venezuela (filled diesel tank for $8)Brazil and hike to top of Mount RoraimaVisit Roraima
Had an absolutely great time...birds, incredible plants, and beautiful jungle/mountain!
Since we have been traveling via boat/bus we are not getting very good sleep, so a sleepin was very welcome, ha! Breakfast at Bernie's at 10 am then back to our room and fan to read. By about 1 it began a downpour which lasted almost 2 hours...cooled things a bit but does give us pause since it is the rainy weather which causes bus to have problems on trip to Geotown. We find out that the $50 US ticket was just recently 'only' $45 US but they jacked the price to cover increased expenses due to road problems! In fact, the road to Geotown had been closed for awhile until just a few weeks ago...here's hoping we are able to avoid any major stopovers, ha!