September 2002 - big trip - diary - guyana - september 2002


Arriving at Omai yard

Allicock starts work

Timing belt off

Thursday 29 August - Tuesday 3 September

While B got roasted in the jungle heat with the landy, lorries hacking past shaking the road and throwing up huge dust clouds, T squeezed into the back of the Toyota for the 120kms trip to Georgetown on smooth tarmac. The first few rolling hills started to give us problems as the clutch couldn't cope with the weight in the back. Jerry got under the car and did some kind of magic mechanics to jam the clutch hard on so we could continue with grating clutchless gearchanges. At the capital everything was unloaded and T went with Jerry to get some pushrods and a timing belt. The parts are readily available here but very expensive and including the taxi back to the landy, the $200 just taken from the bank had run out.

The taxi driver drove out of Georgetown with T in the front, Jerry, his wife and her friend in the back for the ride. He was mad - overtaking when there wasn't any space, cars coming, cows and kids in the road, slamming on the brakes to avoid smacking into the back of trucks - then , out in the open countryside, driving at a mere 130kmh and taking it steady. As we passed Linden and went onto the graded road a we entered a huge lightening storm, the flashes all around us, each one accompanied by a burst of static through the taxi cb radio, visibility was about 3 metres as we trundled along, the road like a river. We reached the landy after 50kms but it was too dark and wet to start work so we arranged with Jerry to come back and help us once his clutch was fixed.

Various trucks stopped in the evening to ask us if we were ok and in the morning B got a lift on one going towards Linden to try and borrow a torque wrench from the Omai gold mine workshops 50kms away. Meanwhile a Bedford truck came by and offered to tow the landy to Linden. While being towed B returned in an Omai pick up which then took us to the workshops where they offered to help us fix the damage.

Bent valves...

...cracked hot spots...

...and very bent pushrods

We set to work with Oswald Allicock, or Allicock as everyone calls him, and Paper Bag (don't ask) helping us while mad Shallow set about looking after our stomachs and rambling on about the presidents daughter and various strange number combinations which he seemed to find amusing.

The pushrods were well bent so we put a new set of eight in, replaced the timing belt according to the workshop manual and set about doing the valve timing. When turning over the crank with a big spanner on the flywheel the valves were touching the pistons. We gave up for the day and went out for a chinese, the lads paying for us as we had no Guyanese money. Allicock put us up in his house with his missus and two kids which was wicked.

B got the early morning bus into Georgetown to try and get some money and more parts while T and Allicock took everything apart and whipped off the head to see how many valves were bent only to discover the new pushrods bent too! When B phoned to see what was needed he got the bad news, a full set of valves, eight more pushrods and a new set of hot spots as the old ones were cracked. Even worse was his inability to get hold of any cash from the bank machines. Luckily the bus driver asked around some friends and managed to get a cheque for $350 (which just covered the cost of the parts) from the guy who sold him his bus. These Guyanese are amazingly hospitable, we were very fortunate.

Nuff refreshment for Eagle and Paper Bag

Nuff hoes

Nuff Urban Warriahz

Nuff Shallow madness

Nuff pistons

Nuff nitro

As it was Saturday night our hosts insisted we went out to the local disco, Trent Bridge. We were the only white boys there and got some funny looks and a few shouts of 'hows it going, whitey' but it was a bit of a laugh with Eagle, Paper Bag and Allicock. There were huge banks of giant speakers pumping out 'nuff hip hop' and the dancing style involved the girls on all fours gyrating their arses against their mans crotch. Unfortunately none of them seemed keen to do it with us, well, none of the slim ones anyway!

Sunday we dragged ourselves back to work but had problems resetting the timing and bent a couple more pushrods before realising that one of the dots wasn't where we thought it was. Monday we both returned to Georgetown to get more money, some brake pads and the replacement half shaft (so it took us until Tuesday morning to get the landy back on the road. See here for the full story and more pics). Arriving just about alive in Georgetown in a minibus driven at lunatic speeds through the roadside villages, weaving around cows, women and children and other cars, we visited the immigration office to see what to do about our lack of entry stamps. Pushing to the front of the enormous queues, us two whiteys got to see the boss man due to our name dropping, thanks to a prior visit to the British consul. We eventually got a piece of paper with the classic Guyanese line of 'to whom it may concern' written at the top, which stated that we 'claimed' to have entered Guyana via Lethem and that we are basically wicked travellers...or words to that effect!

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