If there is a patch of paradise in Guyana it is Lake Capoey!
Really! Never heard of this lake before?
Well, don’t panic. Neither did I until some years ago. And that was only until a Good friend of mine and his family moved from Wakapoa Creek to Capoey Lake.
It was only then that Capoey came into my destination radar screen, and am I so thrilled it did!
So what is this slice of heaven all about?
Well, I shall answer that question a bit later, but let’s backup a bit.
I spoke to my friend a while back and told him I’m planning a trip to his place. We make arrangements and set a date.
On the morning of the trip, I got up about 4 a.m. and did the usual routine: shower, shave, breakfast…
I Flagged down a car from Berbice and headed for Georgetown.
I paid the $200 car fare to Palmyra (just pass Nineteen Road a bit) and then took another car to Georgetown paying the $1700 (Guyana Currency of course).
From Georgetown I then took a Mini Bus to Parika.
At Parika I had a bite of Chinese Fry Rice and washed it down with a bottle of local Banks beer at one of the many Chinese Restaurants in the area.
'Belly full', I headed for the Parika Stelling where I took a speedboat for the frenetic ride across the Mighty Essequibo River to Supenaam.
Now this speedboat ride is not for the faint of heart. I’ve seen folks shake, tremble, halla for their mamma, and swear profusely just trying to get down the steep stairs from the wharf to the speedboat.
If you’re overweight, then it becomes a bit of a challenge (bit is an underestimation of course) to climb down the steep steps.
Someone has to hold your hands and you’ll have to muster up all of your balance to make it safely into the boat.
If the water is choppy, then that boat is not going to lie still out of courtesy. Heck, the boat doesn’t know what that is.
Instinctively it will rock and shift and threaten to pull away from the steps. If it rains, then that is another petrifying scenario.
Incidentally it was raining a bit when I boarded, and I had to muster all of my courage and balance to …well, let’s say to keep my male ego and pride intact.
If those plus size ladies can make it safely in, I reasoned, then it behooves me to do likewise.
For a guy in reasonable shape to slip, would have been laughable, not to mention fodder for the local newspaper.
Ok, I’m kinda getting off on a tangent a bit!
So, with all of us safely aboard, life jacket strapped on securely and a large tarpaulin to cover ourselves from the water sprays, the pilot revved the engines and we’re off.
The ride to Supenaam was bumpy, as the water was exceedingly choppy.
At times the boat would be hoisted clear out of the water and then slam hard on the surface. If one is not careful, one can end up with a bruised back.
The wind was also gusting at a fast clip, so I had to hold on to my cap.
Now the scenery along the ride banks was truly spectacular. Birds whistling, parakeets flying from one tree to the next, crows soaring overhead...
Ah! A foretaste of paradise ahead!
On reaching Supenaam everybody and his grandmother wants to carry my bag out of the boat.
First the guy who fetches the bag wants to be paid, then the other four guys who touched the bag want to be paid (cause they assisted, so they reasoned), then...
There is the mob scene as drivers tried to grab an arm, a leg, a shoulder, a body part …to shovel you into their vehicle.
I devise a simple but effective strategy to deal with this expected mob riot.
If I’m in the mood to carry my bag(s), I will.
Sometimes I just want someone to get a ‘small change’ by allowing him/her to carry my bag (it adds a bit of flair to my trip).
But that’s an option I reserve for my own pleasure!
Only the person who I allow to carry my bag gets tipped.
The others …Sorry pal!
To deal with the drivers, I would just take my bag and go sit or stand in a corner and take out my cellphone and pretend to call and talk to someone.
I’ll be on the phone until everyone and his aunty calms down.
Meanwhile I’m discretely looking to see what shape their vehicles are in, and also listing to their prices, (some would try to lower their fare to get the business).
Economics 101: The law of Supply and Demand (funny how I can remember this law after so many years leaving school).
I’m in demand here, so I call the shots. I decide who I’m going with.
So, having selected my car, it was destination Capoey.
Just at around the villages of Affiance and Taymouth Manor, the driver made an exit from the main public road.
It was like going to the ‘Backdam’ if you’re living in the Corentyne area.
Along this ‘backdam’ route were stretches of rice lands.
It’s a typical backdam scenery with cows grazing, birds flying about, and folks fishing along the trenches.
A bunch of kids were even throwing (shying) sticks to snag a mango or two over the other side of the trench …a scene reminiscent of my younger, mischievous, and stealing days.
About three or so miles into this route, the driver stopped, I got out of the car, and...
My JAW dropped to the floor.
Before me lies one of the most stunning and spectacular scenery I’d ever seen.
This was the Lake Capoey I’ve heard so much about.
Truly mesmerizing and bewitching!
Entrancing vistas and melodious birds abound …the sights and harmonies of Lake Capoey’s symphony.
For a moment I was lost in paradise!
I boarded the small speedboat my friend had arranged for me at the ‘lake top’ and began the twenty minutes or so enchanting ride along the lake, all the while gazing spellbound at its romantic settings.
Having reached my destination, it began to drizzle a bit.
What a delight to see the little ripples on the lake caused by the rain drops.
I was then introduced to the Toshao.
Toshao is the official title for the leader of an Amerindian community.
He is usually elected by the people to represent them in their community affairs.
It’s not a paid government position per se, but they usually get a small contribution from the community itself.
So we shook hands and I introduced myself.
The Toshao was expecting me as my friend had already made arrangements for my stay in the community and was granted permission for the visit.
With the formalities over, I was then ushered into paradise and basked the rest of the day in relative serenity surrounded by...
Various species of butterflies flutter from one petal to another seemingly floating with the gentle lakeside breeze.
In the stillness of the day, one hears only the melodies of various species of birds as they call out to each other in this peaceful and tranquil setting …tucked away far from the agitation and clamor of city life.
The mere mention of city life was kinda grating and jarring to the nerves.
Aarrgh! Who needs that!
The night comes along and ushers in its own personality.
This is the time for the night denizens to emerge and play their own symphony.
Candle flies and stars both flashing and twinkling under the bright moonlight. The heavens seem so much closer to the touch.
Sleep was both memorable and unforgettable!
Arriving at Lake Capoey Village. I'm in black exiting the boat. Written on the boat are the words: "In God We Trust But Others Must Pay"
Lake Capoey Village provides a brief disconnect from the rest of the unperturbed and peaceful Lake-side living.
This patch of paradise is interrupted by the quiet invasion of technology.
One could not help but notice the modern lines of communication prominent on the village.
It’s a minor intrusion that seems to infiltrate even the most idyllic corner of heaven.
It is the Paris or London or New York City of Lake Capoey.
It pulsates with activities and the younger generation – Young married lovers affectionately holding hands and beating a clear path in the darkness of the night to the glitz and glamor of nightlife.
Lake Capoey is not a tourist attraction so it may not feature on your list of top destinations.
But this patch of tropical paradise provides a sort of hypnotic attraction that somehow lures you into, and embraces you in its fold.
If you’re fortunate to take a trip there, I would promise you that it would be an unforgettable experience.
Now you know!