Sunday, July 31, 2011

No Surprises about the Plane crash at Timehi

Macabre observations about the expected reactions at Timehri during and after the first major crash at Timehri.
You have to laugh or you would be crying and wondering why you are still here!

Who and why are the clowns applauding when the 'plane touches down.. and at 1.45am shouldn't they be doing better things like waking up? I can just imagine their horror when the 'plane continued to hit the fence-- by the way-- it must have broken the speed towards the Ravine-- hope they reinforce its replacement. Sounds like a lot of people hit their heads on the seat in front--would the Crash position have reduced those injuries? An international rescue worker who worked in a Police Force recently blew my fanciful thoughts away that that position was some scientifically researched position to reduce impact injuries with the pragmatic reason of ease of identifying the victims by their dental remains!

So after the screaming subsided, the immediate thought was to vacate the 'plane before it blew up, no 19th century noble Titanic notions of women and children first - personal account from a traumatised Geeta Ramsingh back after 35yrs, reported that when she clambered onto the wing in the rain and dark, some strong man climb on she and jumped off pun she!
Then when those hapless folk found themselves on the ground-- I noted no praises for the CA staff like in the plane that landed on the Hudson (subsequent report that the stewardesses were the first off the plane doesn't surprise me in the least!) --the taxi-drivers were demanding their Timehri-GT fare for taking them back to the airport!!  No 9-11 volunteers risking their lives to help the victims-- more-than-likely squatters running to loot the suitcases. Welcome to Guyana - ya dey pun ya own.
As the passengers said - the authorities seemed ill-prepared for to handle disasters of that nature-- and only the other day I remember reading that they did a mock accident, complete with fake medical injuries.
Patricia Pile was reported as saying 'All systems fail here. Is like they do not even know how to handle the situation'.
Yup-- that about sums up how the country is being run-- with the odd 'brainwave' coming from the foreigners with money for hare-brained projects!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Book of Negroes by Laurence Hill

After clicking about several times on Amazon I finally figured out that in word-conscious USA the book was published as Someone Knows My Name!
I usually have a problem with men writing from a woman's perspective but I have to say Laurence Hill did a fine job - the character was very believable and it was a good way to illustrate the tragedy of Slavery from one person's perspective. I found the book very informative and I think the author did a good job in Parts 3 + 4 in showing how the people of African descent were used as pawns between the Colonialists in the US and Canada, and the British- hence the title of the Book- where those helping were recorded to escape further enslavement by the colonists who were driving out the British who renegated on their promises to the Slaves over and over!
I thought the description of the Middle passage quite good and liked that the author managed to show a variety of people of varying consciences involved in the different aspects of the Trade and gave voice to the commonly-held justification that the Whites were 'saving' the Africans from themselves!
Good and informative book.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Coral Reefs dying in Jamaica!

Knees still recovering from Roraima Trip, decided to give the crawl up Dunns River Falls a miss. Debated about the Dolphin Cove but thought it sounded a bit contrived and 'touristy', so was heading for Sun-Splash but apparently everyone went to get tickets while we were down at the Mona Campus, sneaking off to the Bob Marley Museum and Devon House, instead of the BHS two-hour church service. So walked down the beach from the Grande Resort in Ocho Rios to book for a dive.
A group of Americans from the Embassy there pulled in - they all seemed to be expert divers complete with their own equipment. I asked about the dive from one who said the shipwreck reef that they went to was all covered with brown algae. Maureen at the Dive Office looked alarmed as I started to look doubtful about going-- she assured me I was going to a different location. I hadn't been diving in ages and Gandhi who took me out ran through the basics started to look dubious, as I kept getting water up my nose during the mask-clearing as was breathing too timidly.
So he figured out I was now a novice and just took me to the reef out of the Bay-- merely 25-35ft. I was truly shocked as indeed it was a sad sight-- I have fond memories of spectacular views of reefs in the Caribbean populated with masses of huge colourful fish.
Granted that this Bay had an oil tanker parked in the wharf and a huge Carnival Cruise Liner in for a day and as someone said it really wasn't the best place for swimming let alone diving; I was really shocked at the appearance of the Reef-- covered in a horrid brown algae and apart from the odd spotted eel, tiddly fish no bigger than my palm, the odd fish with a flute-like mouth the most interesting fish was the odd Lion Fish

who were apparently released by accident from an Aquarium in the US and swam down to decimate the local baby fishes. However the National Geographic site said that they are moving to warm waters from their Asia-Pacific locations - smiles- nothing like blaming the Americans for the woes of the world!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

New Use for Ziploc Bags!

So, while exchanging camping stories in a tent on the top of Roraima, trying to keep warm - Mich told me about about her camping trip with nine guys. It was late at night and they were all strung up in hammocks, apparently there was a rogue Jaguar on the prowl and the guy next to her had to have a wee. So he turned to the/on his side, wee-ed in a Ziploc Bag, sealed it and dropped it on the ground. She then commented that women don't have it THAT easy.
Waking up freezing, in spite of several bulky layers, at 2 am, the first thought is to have a wee! The second thought is the pain to go into the bushes and get your socks wet on the soggy ground--- soo--- I decided to try the Ziploc idea. The tents had a covering flap outside the zippered part to get into the tent and I was able to conduct my little experiment, which I'm happy to report was successful! Who woulda thought?? Thanks Anand for recommending carrying Ziploc bags and Hand Sanitiser!
Apparently it must be a camping trick because the next morning, noticed another so-used Ziploc bag outside one of the Venezuelan's tent!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Porous Borders

On a recent trip to Venezuela overland, got a bit alarmed that the Brazil-Venezuela border was so easy to cross. Those two countries have an arrangement that their Nationals can pass freely with an ID card. Because of the volume of people, most are usually waved through if they 'look' local enough. Because of the ridiculously low cost of petrol there are long queues of Brazilian drivers, driving Old american cars with larger-than-normal gas tanks to fill up:- that's roughly 20 litres of Gasoline for 1.50 bolivares which is about US20 cents!

So through Mich's gregarious' nature we met a family from Boa Vista going to St Elena to 'shop'. We piled into a couple of taxis with them and were waved through the Border- on both sides!! Tired and hot, our main goal was to jump into a shower- unfortunately the Hotel we were to stay at was closed so the thought of getting our Passports stamped was the furtherest thing from our minds- the thought that the Druggies must find it easy briefly crossed my mind. Too bad we didn't actually see this sign until we made our return back through the Border:-
So we went about our business and hopped onto a bus going to a near-by State overnight. Apparently there were seven check-points but I only surfaced for one when the Spanish guy we were travelling with told the Military people we were in a Group so they didn't bother to check the passports we were waving at them as his was in order.
When we got to our destination we were met by a Guide who took us to check in for an internal flight when it was discovered by the 'new' person checking us through that we did not possess an entry Stamp! Ohh- and they seemed so laid-back about the whole thing?! So the Guide tried to reason wid de man but he reported us anyway-- apparently Chavez found corruption so rife that he instituted several layers of bureaucracy so that it would be impossible to bribe six or seven different sets of people -- at this point the Guide started to look worried-- we were blissfully innocent of the distinct possibility of being hauled off to jail for 15days then deported.  Luckily in Venezuela as in Guyana the Guide 'knew' the person we were reported to and 'reasoned' with him!
So now our sorry asses had to make it back to the Border past the seven checkpoints in the full Knowledge that we were travelling like 'True' Guyanese - illegally. God watches over stupid people and we made it back-- I was just thinking how easily cocaine and other illegal stuff can do the same journey and at least the Guyana border people were more alert, having been stopped going-- Mich reckoned I was being hustled!
So we hopped into a taxi rather late-ish but when we got to the Brazil-Guyana border the Brazilians had hauled some sort of Chain-linked fence across the road and no-one was there. The Federals had however posted a watchman to guard their building who indicated a gap that we could squeeze through-- so we ended up crossing an international Border again illegally! There was a taxi parked on the Guyana side but with no-one in it.  The Guyana Immigration building was in darkness and we had to beg the guard at the Telecoms building to use her 'phone but unfortunately we couldn't get a signal for Georgetown so we sent a 'boy' to call a Taxi-- in the meantime-- the other Taxi parked by the Border emerged-- with the true smugglers!!-- they woulda driven pass but it was my matti and so they stopped to say that their car was full-- which indeed it was- also I had the two other guys to take along also.
Lethem was in Blackout when we got in as they had run out of Fuel-stups-maybe I should bring some back from Venezuela!