The morning was spent asking around the 3 Lethem shops for a phone card in an attempt to cancel my lost bank card. Ian & Sarah made last minute preparations for our journey. We pop into a house in Lethem to pick up Charlo and Collette, the owners of the Happy Days Ranch we're about to stay at. Come midday we're ready to embark on our 4 hour 4x4 ride. En route Charlo points out some of the more common smuggler tracks to Brazil. Most of our route is chosen to coincide with some natural shallow river crossings. We stop for lunch at an idyllic stream setting where Charlo says he was born and we have us a little swim.
We cross a river, sorry, drive through a river, and discover a puncture on climbing out on the other side. No big deal, we have 2 spare wheels! Only a pin snaps in the jack, jamming it open, leaving the 4x4 stranded in the air. I suggest we could reverse the 4x4 or knock the jack out with a hammer but there could be safety issues involved. Ian retorts, "Fuck safety, this is Guyana!", reverses the 4x4, releases the jack and we're on our way!
The ranch is amazing - only one walled building (with 2 rooms, a bed room and a kitchen) a couple of visitor huts, a working well and a real corral complete with cows! It has no generator and no electricity - only a bottle gas stove brings the ranch into the 20th Century.
It transpires that Charlo is an leatherman expert. He hand makes all the Bushmasters machete sheaves, saddles, raw hide lassos and bull whips and has a back log of orders from Cowboys all across the Rupununi. He owns all he land as far as the eye can see in all directions. There is also gold in them there mountains and the evening is spent pouring over tales of gold panning and gold lumps so big you need a hacksaw to break it up and drag it home!
I'm looking forward to spending a few days out of my boots because for the past week I've not had any feeling in the ends of my big toes!
Posted by Steve Eynon