August 2002 - big trip - diary - guyana - august 2002


Fishing, unsuccessfully as usual

Into Brazil...

...and a quick processing

Sunday 25 - Tuesday 27 August

Desperate to escape Santa Elena, we drove the short distance to the border hoping to get across despite it being Sunday. There was a guy to do the immigration but nobody to sort out the car papers. We've been in Venezuela for well over our 3 months limit and the official was shaking his head and telling us it was 'a big problem'. He must have not really cared for he suddenly whacked a big exit stamp in our passports and that was it. We drove back a bit to camp by a lake for our last night in Venezuela.

The next morning we got the carnet stamped out, nobody noticing that it had gone out of date, and entered Brazil, successfully using the carnet again! After a fairly quick and easy entry we took the potholed road towards Manaus, passing sparsely populated hilly jungle before reaching the hot flat plains of Boa Vista. After a search around we found the only bank that allows Visa withdrawals followed by an excellent and cheap lunch. After being stuck in Santa Elena with no internet for two weeks we needed to catch up with emails. The only place we found was a bookshop with two computers and very friendly doris staff. As it wasn't exactly a banging night on Mondays we drove the 150kms or so off in the dark for the Guyana border, spotlights blazing as the headlights had flickered into darkness a couple of weeks ago.

Big distances...

...long roads

Embarrassing sing along at the Guyana border

Camping under the border post roof

Pulling up at the border post, we were welcomed by the police chief who invited us in to use the showers then gave T some beer while we listened to him playing his guitar and singing in English, French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese a mix of Brazilian favourites, Elvis and the Beatles. He insisted that we sing too which turned out to be very embarrassing depite the audience of only two other policemen! After an excellent soup we went to sleep ready for an early start the following day.

Bedford trucks loading up

Lethem ferry

Guyana immigration

We had our passports stamped out of Brazil after only being in the country for one day. We 'forgot' to return to the nearby town to do the customs exit for the landy thinking that it would save time when we re-enter Brazil. We passed some big lorries which had arrived and were transferring their load to some ex British army Bedford 4x4 trucks on the Guyanese side and soon arrived at the ferry. We crossed the river beside the foundations of a half built bridge and drove into Guyana. There was a guy who sprayed our tyres with some pesticide and no other indication of any border controls whatsoever. We entered Lethem to fill up with diesel and headed north east on the smoothish dirt road towards Georgetown, some 500kms away.

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