Sunday, April 08, 2007

WORLD CUP DIARY: Leaving Guyana

Even as I sit down to write this post, the television is on (on mute) and they are showing Saif Ali Khan and Kim Sharma singing a song that has subtitles going "Your love has been harassing me so much lately..."

Dunno what movie it is from, but it's just an additional pointer to exactly how Indianised Guyana is. Every evening - including right now - the poolside of the Buddy's International Hotel where we are staying has a Telugu gentleman singing Kishore Kumar songs. His name is Prasad, and he usually has Shalini with him singing the duets. It's terrible, but I admit I rather enjoyed last evening's session.

As the television subtitles have moved to "He's not in love who is crazy from craziness...", I put in the last few notes about my stay in Guyana, which gets over after tonight as we leave for Barbados, which is supposed to be the most beautiful of the Caribbean islands.

First, a note on the sub-par IQ levels of the people in Guyana...

Now a lot of people in Jamaica were a bit crazy, and as a colleague observed, all of them have a bug (poka/kira) inserted into their brans when they are born, and when these bugs act up...

Guyanese people aren't particularly crazy, though there is a hint of lunacy every once in a way. But the people here are by and large rather slow...

For example, a conversation I had with a waitress (really sweet and courteous otherwise) went:

Me: Could you get me a whisky and a packet of Benson & Hedges cigarettes? I'll order the food in a bit.

Waitress: Okay (dashing off).

Me: Whoa! I need to tell you what whisky to get.

Waitress: Yes sir.

Me: Get me a Long John, will you? Double (meaning 'large').

Waitress: Okay.

[After a 10-minute gap...]

Waitress: I'll get you the ashtray in five minutes.

Me: Okay. But where's the whisky?

Waitress: I'll get it, sir.

Me: And the cigarettes?

Waitress: You wanted cigarettes?

Me: That's what you wanted to bring the ashtray for, no?

Waitress: Oh yes. I'll just be back.

[After exactly five minutes...]

Waitress: Here's your ashtray, sir.

Me: And what about the cigarettes?

Waitress: You wanted cigarettes?

Me: Yes. Could you please get me a packet of Benson & Hedges? Please. And thanks for the ashtray.

[Waitress nods and vanishes for the next 15 minutes, after which I go inside and enquire after her. She is chatting with a couple of other girls]

Me: Hi. You didn't get my cigarettes.

Waitress: You wanted cigarettes, sir?

Me: Will you just tell me where the cigarette counter is and I'll manage.

Waitress: That way (pointing at the counter).

Me: And I wanted a double Long John. Are you getting that?

Waitress: Yeah, in a minute.

[She comes back after about 10 minutes with a plate of fish fingers]...

This goes on for a long, long time, at the end of which I go back to my room and order Room Service.

Now, please don't take this as a one-off incident that I am hyping up. Similar experiences have been a dime-a-dozen here in Guyana. Unbelievably, not one transaction I have been part of (except at the bank and the police station) have been straightforward and simple. And the difference in accent has nothing to do with this. Truth be told though, the people in Guyana are much, much sweeter than the average person even in Jamaica. And the people in Jamaica are fantastic as well. So you can imagine. That is definitely the upside of spending time here...

Conclusion: The mix of races that the Guyanese people have been subject to down the years has seriously compromised their brains. It happens - I've heard - when people marry within their families and have children. Might be an anthropological connection somewhere.

Stopping by at Bourda
The match between Bangladesh and South Africa (what a match it was!) started at around 9.30am. Around the same time the New Zealand team was practicing at the Bourda Oval. I wanted to go to the Bourda anyway, so took the chance.

And it certainly was worth it...what a beautiful ground it is; constructed entirely out of wood, the Bourda Oval really is what cricket in the West Indies was supposed to be. A huge and well-stocked bar stands beyond the cover (or square-leg/mid-wicket) boundary. Members still fill up the bar even if there is no cricket. The rest of the ground is a one-storey wooden structure that calls out to you and invites you to sit back and enjoy an imaginary cricket match.

When we checked for his opinion, Stephen Fleming was fluffy but probably correct when he said that he is a modern cricketer who wants modern facilities where he plays and the Bourda is incapable of handling all the rain that has been happening in Guyana lately. He also said that as a cricketer at the 2007 World Cup, he would rather play at modern and technologically-equipped stadia than at the Bourda.

Probably fair. But as a stupid cricket fan, I would prefer watching cricket at the Bourda.

That's it then, folks. Me off to Barbados now. More posts from there.