This past weekend was a three-day weekend in honor of Eid on Sunday. In Guyana, any Christian, Muslim or Hindu holiday gets the whole country off of work and school. It was a pretty fun weekend:
Friday three of us were feeling under the weather, so we just took it easy and watched a movie after dinner. While my roommates are trying to get me to watch (and like) Lord of the Rings, it is just not happening. I kept finding myself looking at the TV as the movie played, but my brain just doesn’t pay attention to it; I’m wired for chick flicks and I can’t help it. At one point I was staring at the screen, but started singing out loud because I forgot I was supposed to be watching a movie. Anyway, it wasn’t an exciting night for me. (Xavs people: I was singing “How Do I Know?” and in my head I think I was at Japp’s again).
Saturday was awesome. Each Saturday we meet a group of 10-15 boys from the orphanage at a pool a few blocks away from our house. We swim for an hour with them–usually its lots of fun and they do really cute things (handstands, races, try to wash off my freckles, etc.) AND being in a body of water is so much more refreshing than I have ever given it credit. The water isn’t cool by any means, but its wet and feels amazing. Its quickly becoming the best part of the week.
After swimming we ventured out on the town. On the edge of the city (15-ish minute walk from our house) are the Botanical Gardens and the Guyana Zoo. The Botanical Gardens were beautiful: essentially just a big park where people were laying on blankets, listening to music, eating under trees. The trees and greenery were extremely green and pretty jungle-y. The Zoo is connected to the Gardens but costs $200 ($1US) to get in, and quite a different experience than a zoo at home. Instead of extreme “habitats” for the animals and exhibits to attract the crowds, each animal (tons of colorful birds, a stork, a jaguar, leopard, some monkeys, a few pigs) is in its own cage lining the central gravel sidewalk. The cage sizes vary, but none were bigger than 10×10 feet. Pretty different than in America, and a few of the cages were pretty pathetic looking; I’m pretty sure the monkeys with opposable thumbs could bend the metal and get out if they wanted to. It was a fun way to spend the day, though, and we felt good about exploring the city a little more intensely than our usual walks to the market or around our neighborhood.
Sunday it rained like crazy! For three whole hours its rained hard with periods of extreme downpours. It was insane, every time I thought it was over it would start to pour even harder. When it first started, the four of us stood in front of the front door with it open in awe of the rain and in love with the cool breeze it was bringing. At first it seemed pathetic, but we’re recognizing the simple and free pleasures when we can find them. After the rain, it stayed cloudy and cool (okay, not “cool” cool, but like 80 degrees) for a while before it all ended and it was insanely humid again. But the few hours of minimal sweat were nice! We ended the day at GuyExpo, which was kind of like a state fair. Since it was a holiday weekend it was crazy packed and really, really loud (music is always so loud here, its crazy).
Monday began with a debacle with our “pet” mouse. Long story short: we found it, caught it under a box, were going to kill it but couldn’t manage the ethical backlash of that, then were going to let it free, tried to make it move inside the box which it didn’t, we assumed it wasn’t in the box, then picked up the box and sure enough it was in there and ran away before we could catch it. It was as ridiculous as it sounds: lots of squealing from us over a tiny, tiny mouse, and this lasted for the better part of an hour. And still that mouse is in our house somewhere.
Later we went with a friend and his cousin to “the creek”. We’ve heard a little about this creek thing from others and figured we should take advantage of the offer to be adventurous. After a 40-minute drive squished between/on Monica and Matt in a tiny car, we arrived. “The creek” is hard to explain–I saw a river-ish body of water up against a swamp with hundreds of palm trees and lush, rainforest-ness. The water is black (eek) and everyone just gets in right off the highway–there were more than 100 people swimming. I was terrified to get in because I’m not good with water that I can’t see the bottom of, but was convinced when I realized the water was COLD. Like, actually cold. So I got in and for the first time in 6 weeks wasn’t sweating, about to sweat, or covered in sweat. It was pretty scary though; not too long ago I said I wouldn’t be getting in any body of water in Guyana–but there I was. The parking lot of the creek was full of cars blasting music (honestly, turn it a little bit down people) and everyone just hanging out. Beyond all of the cars and music was the actual rainforest: all you could see were trees and green until the horizon ended. It was pretty cool.
The 40-minute ride home was another squeezed one. We were listening to some CD with recent tunes on it and one mix with probably 50 songs from the last year or two. I sat on top of Monica and Jess as the whole car sang these songs that I had not too long ago sung with my friends from home and at college. Lots of memories came flooding back to me, but I was really loving the current memory-in-the-making.
Okay, so now we’re done with the weekend and at Tuesday morning. Over the weekend I had gotten in touch with the woman who operates the pool we swim at on Saturdays, and she was willing to let me swim weekday mornings. Sweet. So this morning I woke up at 5:30 and walked the quiet, dawn-ish walk to the pool and got to swim for an hour totally by myself. It was the first time I’ve swam (swum?) outdoors at 6 a.m. in five years and I absolutely did not swim as much as I used to at that hour, but it still is the best way to start my day. I’m super grateful for a pool nearby and the opportunity to use it (for free!). And also that I was able to fit into my Speedo.