Haloween in Guyana

Haloween isn’t something that’s celebrated massively here in Guyana, although there was an ‘All Black’ event on Saturday night and a few children dressed up tonight. Being in an hotel I guess we are missing whatever is going on out there. There is more evidence on ‘Dancing with the Stars’ that it’s Haloween, than there is in the wider community.

Today was a busy one. Marcelle, the journalist who wrote the Starborke News article, came to collect us this morning and took us to meet Rupert at the Guyana Information Agency (GIA). He weaved a very special brand of magic and I ended up doing a TV news interview. I don’t know if it was used tonight because I didn’t see the news at 6 p.m.

After we left, with radio interviews set up for tomorrow and Wednesday, we went to join Marcelle at the Starbroke office, a more formal affair, where I met the editor Cheryl Springer who welcomed us and discussed the follow up article to the main one published on the 22nd.
Marcelle also introduced me to Denis, a veteran reporter, who is happy to accompany me to Austins, the main bookstore in Georgetown.

I am totally bowled over by the hospitality of everyone I’ve met so far. I look forward to the interview tomorrow and to meeting more people.

Posted in Guyana 2011 | Leave a comment

Lazy day, hectic night

It was worth just chilling yesteray, as we needed our energy for the night. We only left the hotel to go across the road to the spa. As they only had a massage machine (and not a real masseur) I headed straight back to the hotel, but my friend stayed to have a manicure and pedicure, which, while surprisingly cheap compared to Barbados prices, was, in her opinion, all it was worth. After last night’s meal fiasco we are learning to adjust our expectation of service.

The meal fiasco in question was a chicken chow mein I ordered at Buddys on Sherrif St. Both my eating companions also had chow meins, prawn and beef. Their’s were fine, lovely in fact, but mine was just a tangle of noodles and four slabs of roast chicken with orange skin plonked on the top of the noodles with a sprinkling of raw shredded cabbage. I can hardly think of a time I’d experienced a more unappetising looking meal in a restaurant. If it was unapetising to look at it was worse to taste. The chicken was like old flakey cardboard, and the noodles tasted like they’d been tossed in slightly rancid soy sauce.

My friends were generous enough to there meal with me as I found mine totally inedible. Probably only the second time in my life that I’ve ever left a meal untouched. The first was in a Greek restaurant in Kefalonia in 2007, and there the proprietor refused to take my money. Not so here, when the waitress finally came to clear the plates (not ever once coming to ask if the meal was OK) I told her of my dissatisfaction with it. We couldn’t believe it when she asked if I would like a bag to take it home in.

We were thinking of staying to go to the nightclub but decided against it after that experience. Instead we went to the Transport Social Club which played lots of old time music and where men asked women to dance, and waltz them across the floor.

The night had begun with with a walk to the sea wall, then along it, and then to Buddys. About six miles in all. It took us past the wide square, with the Pegasus on one side, and the American Embassy on the other. Down the grove with the mature trees ringed at their base with white paint, looking like overweight school girls in white socks. The heat of the day had subsided, the air was cool, inviting, and filled with the aroma of spinning candy floss as we headed to the wall. There I understood the engineering feat that allows Georgetown to be inhabited.

We had initially been heading for an ‘All Black’ Haloween event in that area , but the walk and the sea air had so opened our appetites, that we had to find a place to eat. The walk from our intended destination to Buddy’s further sharpened our appetites, which is why I felt the disappointment of the meal so acutely. Where the walk built the appetite, the dancing used up the meal pretty quickly. We relied for energy on rum and coke. It was cheaper to buy a bottle for the table, much like I’d buy a bottle of wine on a night out, instead of glasses.

It was a fabulous night, dispite the electricity going down twice during turrential rain. The music was spot on, the guys could dance and the women were friendly. We left at four o’clock when it became obvious the electricy was not going to come back on. But it was probably time.

Posted in Guyana 2011 | Leave a comment

In Guyana

As the plane flew over Guyana I really got a chance to appreciate the splendor of the rain forests and the vast expanse of land that is this country. It was a muggy day as we disembarked, and rain began to drizzle as the taxi sped and crawled intermittently into Georgetown. There’s always something inherently tantlising about discovering something and somewhere for the first time.

The mix of housing along the route, the haphazard way they seem to have sprung up around each other, the new and shiny, co-existing next to wooden and rusting corrugated structures; some looking like their occupants have long deserted them. Past the splendid banks and other finance buildings, the distillery, the Demerara River on the left tracking our every move. Past the many school signs, sponsored by Moneygram (get them early?). Being schooled by the taxi driver in the precautions necessary not to be ripped off, the steps we needed to take to stay safe, as Guyanese are not honest, will not miss a trick to take advantage of strangers. Finally arriving at the Sleepinn with aprehension mounting, only to find it was the wrong one.

The very considerate driver took us the two miles or so to the next one, where I was unable to find my purse. The purse I knew I had in the taxi only a few minutes previously. After several fruitless searches of my bag, and the taxi, I came to the conclusion that I must have somehow left it at the first hotel. A call from the receptionist quickly confirmed this, so back to the hotel to pick it up. All the time I was thinking that there was a lesson I needed to learn from this.

When we got to the hotel the receptionist pointed to a gentleman sitting on one of the chairs opposite the counter, and said he’d seen it on the chair where I’d left it, and handed it in. They encouraged me to check that all its contents were there. They were. Then I got the message. I had begun the trip full of aprehension and mistrust, here was an opportunity to see things differently, to recognise that Guyana is not full of thieves and charlatans and people just waiting to do you over. There are probably more people like this man here, but no one is writing about them or encouraging you to see the good in the nation. So, my attitude changed. I gave him a hearty handshake and five US dollars and gave two dollars to the receptionists amidst much gushings of gratitude. A small price for the misery and inconvenience a lost purse would have caused.

I finally managed to get in touch with my friend who brought me a copy of the Starbroek News with my article in, showed us around Starbroek Market, and gave us a guided tour of the area while helping us to find somewhere to eat. This was followed by a tour of the Allbouystown area, ending the evening in a lovely bar. We talked about so much, including my interview at Mix 96 fm yesterday, which was a great success.

Posted in Guyana 2011 | Leave a comment

Mix 96 fm meeting

When I went to the lovely studios of Mix 96 fm yesterday it was to discuss an interview to promote Dare to Love. I was bowled over by the warm welcome I got from an amazing crew, Russell, Annie, Sheldon and Omar. As A Course in Miracles practitioner, I’m always conscious that any interaction can be used to spead love, and help to bring peace to the world. Despite this, I was still amazed by the conversations I had with Sheldon and with Russell. ‘The Secret’ practioners are everywhere, it’s good to connect, to share, to support.

Omar suggested promoting the book in Trinidad, as they have a thriving arts culture. As I have no contacts there, he’s going to share some of his with me when I go back for the interview tomorrow. I’ll be on the Stokely Murray show at 5 p.m. Thursday, 27th. Looking forward to it.

I got a great email from Marcelle, the reporter on the Starbroek News in Guyana, offering to do a follow-up piece when I get there. She also offered to organise a tour of major places for us.

The only fly in a very sweet ointment of a day was the operator at my bank who froze internet banking because I could not answer the exact date I opened my account. I realised, even as I was doing it, how pointless it was telling her how screwed I was by that. My wonderful husband has been a knight in shining armour.

Posted in Barbados 2011, Guyana 2011 | Leave a comment

Lazy Saturday afternoon

It was worth having an early night and having a clear head for Tai Chi this morning. My Arrival into Bridgetown at 6.30 a.m., in the bright sunlight, twinkling on the crystal clear blue sea, made me realise again why I want to move back to the Caribbean (or at least spend a lot more time here). The Master’s assistant took the class and made the moves wave hands like clouds and twist horse easy to understand. I left feeling like I could practice on my own and get it right.
I was so energised I went to Oistins fish market, bought Marlin, and made a fish au gratin, which was apprecitated by my friends. All that walking and cooking wore me out – spent the afternoon on the beach, just watching the world go by, and taking in the amazing sunset.
First time I’ve been out of the country for my son’s birthday. Felt strange. Miss him.
Posted in Barbados 2011 | Leave a comment

First acceptance

One bookshop (Days in Bridgetown) has definitely taken my book, and another (Pages) is considering it. I should be celebrating, and had planned to do so at Oistins tonight, but sadly I’m too exhausted. Stayed in and finished A Dog Called Demolition. Possibly the side-splitting last few chapters that wore me out. Still, an early night will put me in a better frame of mind and body for Tai Chi tomorrow morning – 6 a.m. start. Just before going to bed Ichecked the publishe’r website. First two books sold on line. YEY! I’ll celebrate tomorrow.
Posted in Barbados 2011 | Leave a comment

A chill day

A much more relaxed day, even though I was on Miami beach at 5 a.m. (A mistake – thought it was 6 a.m.) I was amazed by how many people was there at that time, way before the sun came up. By eight o’clock I’d done two hours workout, showered, dressed and was ready to eat breakfast.
Confirmed my flight to the Montserrat festival, 8-15 November. My eyes watered at the price as I gave my credit card details. I googled me and found quite a few references to my appearance at the festival, made me smile.
Sat on the beach and laughed out loud at Robert Rankin’s Dog Called Demolition as I watched the sun set. One day I’ll be able to write like that. Also practiced with the video camera. Tried to upload my efforts but apparently the files are too big. Will do better next time. Maybe a picture will suffice.
Tomorrow I’m going to talk to bookshops about taking my book.
Posted in Barbados 2011 | Leave a comment


Hard to believe I’ve only been here here two days. I feel really pleased with what I’ve acheived in that time. I completed the Starbroek News extensive list of questions, sent them a couple of photos and asked if they can hold the article till I’m there. Mainly because I haven’t sorted out local outlets for the book in Guyana. That’s been my biggest challenge since I got here. Getting the book into shops requires telephone and physical legwork. And the cut the shops take is phenomenal, 75% in the worst case so far. But what to do – book need exposure – that shop will certainly be a loss leader, but I’m prepared to go with it becuase they are quite a big chain here.
And I have to do it all again in Guyana. That’s a job for tomorrow.

Today I confirmed my radio interviews, Monday on Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) and Tuesday on Mix 96. Gives me enough time to physically get the books into the shops.

Tried to book my flight to Montserrat and had to sit down when I heard the price. Almost as much as the flight from Manchester to here. But it has to be done, so I’ll get on and do it tomorrow.

Had lots more planned but today the jet lag hit. By 2 p.m. I had to head for a sleep, think I need at least another 10 hours to get back to high functioning.

Posted in Barbados 2011 | Leave a comment

The first leg of the journey

Arrived in Barbados after an enjoyable but slightly naughty flight. Sometimes I just let the child in me go wild. I pray always that God will make me a better person. Customs took a long time because, having declared that I had books as samples, and for possible sale, I was hit with a heavy duty. I could have lied (as in, simply not declared the books) but I’m trying to do business honestly. Everyone keeps telling me that you can’t succeed in business if you’re honest.

Barbados always feel like coming home. 30 degrees, and I got a text from home that the central heating isn’t working. How soon it feels like a million miles away.

I received a set of questions from the Starbroek News today for the article they’re going to run on Dare to Love. They’re making me think, especially questions like ‘how much of your personal circumstances are in the book?’ Hmmmm.

Posted in Barbados 2011 | Leave a comment