Steve's Adventures in South America
I bought a one-way ticket to Venezuela and I'm not coming back until my tube of toothpaste runs out...

A Beer in Brazil

River Crossing on a Floating Pontoon

The coach journey is interrupted by a river crossing on a floating pontoon and a brekkie stop in Rock View Lodge (yep, it's a 12 hour coach ride vs 1½ hours in an airplane!) Oh, and we had to stop and chainsaw up a couple of trees that had fallen across our way! A chainsaw seems to be standard vehicle kit over here!

The Brazilian Border

They call Lethem a border town - I've seen bigger villages! It's an interesting place with no character or tarmac roads. But it has a bank where I can cash some travellers cheques. Phew! (Only open 8am to 1pm) and I check into Takatu Hotel for the night ($3,500 GYD pn). It also transpires that the hand written "3 wks" on my Guyanese Visa Passport Stamp runs out a few days earlier than my cowboy trip ends, so can immigration at the local Police station extend it? Can they buggery. Instead I have to nip over the border to Bonfim in Brazil and get re-stamped on Guyana re-entry! Shesh! So I walk to the river (the border) change some local groats into Brazilian ones, get a boy to water taxi me across to the other side, wait for a taxi to take me to the Brazilian immigration and then into Bonfim where I grab a beer or 2. Then it's the same in reverse! Hassle. The Brazilian border police shout at me - I don't understand, I don't speak Spanish, they don't speak English. I figure it's not important as they let me through anyway.

In Lethem Town centre (1 bar, 1 restaurant, 3 general shops, a cyber cafe and an airstrip) I briefly meet Pauly. An aging larger than life ex(ish) drug runner who always has a six shooter at his side and talks as if he's the Godfather (which in this part of the country, he probably is). He was talking to Ian about having to maybe exchange bullets with another drug gang under the pretence of Cattle Rustling. You get the feeling it's no joke. Whereas Georgetown felt like the Wild west, this place is just wild. Be it West or not. The Police are all in pocket, there is no law.

Posted by Steve Eynon