So @melrosereports put the bug in my ear a few months ago about Guyana Carnival. With zero resistance I hopped on the bandwagon and made arrangements to be present for this inaugural event; not to be confused with Mashramani. I’ve left you a nice lil video recap of our adventures right above. However, if you’re looking for more details on my Guyana trip you can find them below.
Guyana’s International Airport was smaller than expected, and getting through customs was a breeze. Once outside, we were harassed by numerous taxi drivers who were very serious about their hustle. We secured a ride with a reliable looking airport driver for $5,000 GT. WTH! We were certain that he was robbing us for what we thought would be a short trip to the hotel. However, after being in the taxi for an hour and ten minutes with a driver who educated us on our surroundings, we were then certain that our $23US dollars did not do this ride justice LOL.
We stayed at SleepIn (yes spelled just so) Hotel and Casino on Church Street in Georgetown, Guyana. The location was perfect and close to local restaurants, the route for the road and the fetes. The hotel was a work in progress with renovations still taking place but it didn’t interfere with our trip. Breakfast was included in our stay; while it wasn’t always ready on time, we did get our belly full of good Guyana eats. It was your typical Caribbean-like hospitality… friendly workers, inconsistent linens and Island People (IP) timed service. I’d definitely go back though!
This pool party was a nice way to start the action. Although it was supposed to be a fete, it had more of a lime feel. It took a while for the crowd to engage fully, but there were a number of people (self included) who were having a time all by themselves. The off-and-on rain didn’t help the situation either, so there were a few moments where many folks ran for cover. The DJ sets were very impressive and kept me in great spirits. Speaking of spirits, I don’t usually purchase liquor at fetes, but since the conversion rate in Guyana is so ridiculous I figured why not grab a Pina Colada or two LOL.
All I have to say is that Guyana showed up and showed out for Machel and Bunji. The stadium was jam packed when we arrived, but we pressed our way to the front of the stage shortly after Bunji and Faye Ann hit the stage. The performances from Machel and Bunji were really good; but, I was highly disappointed that the gentlemen did not perform together. Like WTH…de unity done or wha?
After strutting 30 minutes in the wrong direction we finally linked up with the band in the late afternoon just as they were leaving the lunch spot. The trucks were pumpin’ and everyone was thoroughly enjoying the vibes. Civilians were everywhere and there were barely any costumes in sight. I looked up at the truck one time and realized that one of the band members was motioning for us to get inside. I declined at first…but once things picked up we hopped inside the ropes anyway. It was bess!
Unfortunately, the bed held me hostage carnival morning. My only regret for that day was not heading out on the road earlier; since we weren’t playing mas we were in no rush rush to meet up with the band. Had we arrived earlier we could have caught the costumes in action, taken more daylight pics and avoided the massive crowd. Once we got our fill of the road we left the trucks behind and headed back to the hotel. We opted not to attend Soca Rave that night because one massive concert-style fete was more than enough for us.
GT Carnival was the perfect weekend getaway and I am super proud of them for pulling off their inaugural year so well. From a stormers perspective it was wonderful, although I’m sure those who played mas probably felt differently.
If you’re considering going to Guyana, or any other country that is new to hosting carnivals, please do me a favor and go with an open mind… and PLEASE, take a break from feting to tour the country and witness its unique beauty.
Sha Sha Out… Well done Guyana!