My trip to Guyana has created quite a local stir. The local community is quite interested in the views of a non native to some remote areas.
I want to state that I love the people of Guyana. They are a great group of people who have the misfortune of being governed by incompetents.
Nothing, I can ever write can make one fully grasp the reality of Guyana. No amount of discussion or reading can prepare you for the challenges.
I am notorious for packing lightly. In Guyana one really can not do this, especially when traveling with natives. In my case I started off with a small duffel bag that can carry my 20 lbs of gear. My girlfriend sent me back for a larger suitcase. I did realize neighbors would ask us to carry items to families. Some of the items were odd.However, I will be better prepared for future trips.
1) Have a few good hats available. My odd tropical wt NY Fedora proved not only practical but very popular. A good hat must be collapsible, let air out, keep sun off the skin and dry quickly. My girlfriend's brother ditched his baseball cap quickly after I left.
2) Most homes have DVD players, but the DVD's are dreadful. Bring that copy of Ben Hur, The Godfather or quality Disney offerings for children. Leave it there as families watch the same things multiple times.
3) Triple the amount of toiletries and medical kits.
a) Gillette Odor Shield body wash and deodorant works very well in Guyana.
b) Nutrogena Sunscreen 100 SPF was very effective. Oddly, even dark skinned Guyanese who have been in NYC will use it.
c) A few bars of oatmeal soap or body wash for every fourth shower works well. Leave the excess with your hosts and explain it is medicine for rashes. In my case I have delicate skin so the build up of continued perspiration for days would create skin problems quickly.
f) A small first aid kit
g) Hand cranked radio and flashlight.
h) Gold Bond anti itch powder was helpful.
i) Insecticide I did reach for the wrong can and tried to kill a huge spider with air freshener. The locals are still laughing at that one.
j) Bug repellent
4) Buy all new socks and have extra packages especially if one is staying with Hindus. Socks get wet quickly and need to be changed. I have no problem going barefoot at home or in the garden like the locals.
5) Shoes must be able to deal with mud. Unfortunately as my feet require Rockports I can not wear work boots without creating foot pain. A lightweight goretex boot would be a boon and valuable.
6)Cosmetics are great gifts and are light to pack.
7) Bring paperback books. I gave away a few books to people who asked.
8) Keep your dollars. The currency changers will find you, trust me on this one. Most Guyanese can find one in seconds. The currency traders will gladly take tens.
9) Lock your luggage.
10) Bring your own music unless you like local Guyana fare. I should have brought some Surf Rock and some classic rock.
11) If possible let a local drive. Watch the scenery and not how the locals drive unless you enjoy thrill rides. My driver was excellent and I had no qualms.