Total Pageviews

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Mykel's Caribbean Blog Chapter FOUR: BINGO!

by Mykel Board
October 11, 2013

[Recap: From the start, it didn't look good for this trip. Everything went right... a bad sign. Nothing portends disaster more than everything going right.

Easy subletter in New York, smooth flight to Miami, promises of “meet you at the airport/seaport” for the whole trip. $10 a night accommodations in Guyana, the rest free.

Uh oh! Too good. The better the news, the bigger the fall later. And things get worse. (Better) The plan is to stay at the Hollywood (FLA not LA) home of my long-term friend and sometimes partner in crime, Sharon I. With a couple small exceptions. The Miami trip went so smoothly you could cry.

Then on to Trinidad where my friends picked me up at the airport, took me around drinkin'.Then I moved to the South of the country, some fun adventures, a Goddess... er... Empress of a girl. Back to the airport and the flight to Guyana.

One thing after another... clicking into place. It's sort of like a Bingo game in reverse. Only when you do NOT get the blocks in a row can you call BINGO. If things come together in a row, one after the other, vertically, horizontally, diagonally, that's normal. That's losing. When things DON'T click... when they don't work out. That's BINGO.

I leave for Guyana tomorrow. My facebook friends from KEEP YOUR DAY JOB! will meet me at the airport. From there, we go to Kareem's place (not his real name, but I've changed it for legal reasons... you'll see why later.) This is the only time I'll be paying for a place to sleep this trip. 15 days for $150US. Not bad. I'll have my own room and cool company.

The plane leaves on time. Customs to leave Trinidad is a breeze. We take off and land at the small airport in Georgetown. I'm one of the first to get off the plane, but I'm having a bit of difficulty organizing my few bags. A few people pass me as I make my way to the immigration line. There are three lines: GUYANESE CITIZENS, CARIBBEAN NATIONALS, OTHER VISITORS. I get on the line for OTHER VISITORS... BINGO!]

The airport in Georgetown is small. The hundred plus of us from the plane are the only ones there. As I prefer to sit in the back of the plane, I'm at the end of the line at immigration. Actually there are three lines. One for Guyanese citizens. One for Caribbean nationals. One for everyone else. There is one agent for each line. The everyone else one curls around, back through the gate from the plane.

Outside is hotter than it was in Trinidad. The immigration office is not much more than a large wooden hut. No AC. The other two lines move quickly, but our line creeps along at a slug's pace. Soon the other windows are empty.

One of two guards in the center walks to our line. He puts his arm across it about three people behind me.

You people,” he says, “please move to the other windows. They are free now.”

The people behind me move to form two new faster moving lines.
Those of us in the first third, have to stay put. Time passes. At least half an hour

Again the other lines clear out. There are only a few people ahead of me now... less than half a dozen. Only a few people are left in the airport at all. Our line still doesn't move.

The woman ahead of me bolts, runs to a longer, but more quick-paced line. Now there's only two people ahead of me... they're together... a father and daughter. They go to the passport window together. They don't speak English. The immigration officer obvious doesn't speak Spanish. It takes at least a quarter hour for them to realize they can't communicate.

After that quarter hour, the immigration agent gets up, leaves the booth... speaks to another immigration officer. They call over the boss. There's a meeting.

Nobody speaks Spanish. I'd volunteer, but it's already late, I'm tired, and people are waiting for me. It's been an hour. I can't get involved in diplomatic matters at this time of night.

I move to the only line NOT involved in the Spanish matter. Of course, as soon as I move, the problem is cleared, and the woman who was BEHIND me, steps to the window. I'm still waiting.

Somehow, I manage to get out of there. I'm in the airport lobby where a few people wait.

Taxi? Taxi?” they shout at me. “You need Taxi? Where you going? You speak English?”

I'm looking for the punk rockers. I hope they didn't give up and go home... but they're certainly not here. I leave the airport terminal, wondering if I should take a taxi somewhere. Where? Then it hits me. I have NO MONEY. Nothing is open and I don't have a cent of Guyanese currency. The technical name for my position is SCREWED!

Are you Mykel Board,”comes a voice from the side. I recognize GAVIN and RYAN, from KEEP YOUR DAY JOB.. the only punkrock band in Guyana. SAVED!

Keep Your Day Job!

From the airport to the bar. (Where have I done THAT before?) First stop... ROCK'N'ROLL Karaoke. I'm getting a feeling for the way people look... a mix similar to the Trinis. Indian or Negro-looking. A few people are mixed... usually making an extremely attractive combination.

At the bar, I do not want to sing Hotel California, but I watch my new friends sing Should I Come or Should I Go and a bunch of metal songs I don't know.

This guy with a big smile comes up to me. Skinny, mid-20s, less of an accent than most.

You're Mykel,” he says.

Out of habit, I give him the once-over, checking for weapons. Nothing obvious.

Yep,” I say, “that's me.”

I'm Kareem,” he says, giving me a big hug. Suddenly he's off. Doing a Karaoke duet with some attractive girl wearing blue harem pants with white stars on them. I've never heard the song before, but Kareem looks practiced.

He starts his part looking deep into the girl's eyes. Before the second verse, his hand is around her back. By the second chorus, his knee is wedged between her legs and she's bent backwards over his outstretched arm. They do not kiss.

Then we cross the street to another bar where we meet even more people.

Lets get some more beer,” says Kareem. “We can stick in our mouths and suck on it, like a big one.”

Gavin goes to buy beer for everyone. I'm feeling guilty-- not buying anything, but the reality is... I HAVE NO (Guyanese) MONEY! Zero. By the time I got through immigration, all the banks... including the mini-money changing booth at the airport... were closed. What could I do?

We start with the local favorite BANKS BEER. Yep, that's me with my first. It's tempting to make a joke about JEWS LOVE BANKS, but I have more taste than that... so does the beer. Not bad at all, a bit light, but at supercold temperatures, it's perfect for the heat.

Do you hash, Mykel?” asks a guy with a Mowhawk, sitting at our table.
I don't really take drugs,” I tell him. “I gave them up after college.”

That's not it,” says Kareem. “It's that their cock-sucking substitute: jogging. They jog and they drink. Then jog some more.”

It's then that I notice that Kareem makes a penis reference at least once in every spoken paragraph.

Oh yeah,” I say, “I saw some of the hashers in Mongolia. I think they used the same name: Hashing. The group was run by an Indian, I think. I like the idea... except for the running part.”

The beer flows. It's like Trinidad. It's been a long day, but the beer keeps flowing. I keep drinking.

Lets buy some rum and go to my place,” says Kareem. “We can beat our dicks on the balcony there.”

I'm beginning to like this guy. He's generous, funny, a character. EVERYBODY knows him. You'll hear more about that later.

I forget the name of the guy who's driving us around, I'll call him Caleb. He was the one who drove the car to pick me up at the airport. He's tall, thin, and right now he's pissing on the street with his cellphone in one hand and Kareem's favorite organ in the other. (His own organ, not Kareem's.)

Someone has brought a rum bottle to Caleb's car, and before the trek to Kareem's place, we share the bottle and wash it down with some Coca-cola.

Kareem lives in the far south part of town. He's got the top floor over a restaurant. There's a little space in the middle of the floor with three bedrooms off to the side. Kareem lives in one and rents out the other two. One of his tenants is a white guy-- late twenties.

Kareem introduces me. “And this dickhead is Amos,” he says.

Amos shakes my hand, smiles, and returns to the computer set up on a tiny desk in the apartment common space. I set my bags down in that space. We walk through a door onto an outside porch. There's a cool breeze that stirs relief from the heat, and brings the mosquitoes.

Soon other people come... including a few girls. (One of the big differences between Guyana and Trinidad (and the African countries I've visited) is that, here, girls go out on their own... or with a group. They don't need a BOYFRIEND to chaperone. They're just one of the gang.)
One of the girls here is Addevi (I don't know where these names come from... maybe India.) At first she seems like an ordinary girl, not someone you'd... but wait. After a little bit of talking, a lot of laughing, a completely free attitude, she turns sexier than an xvideos ad. Wow! She is the coolest new person of the night!

Can I try on your hat?” she asks me.

Sure,” I tell her, putting it on her head, imagining it's the only thing she's wearing.

Kareem comes over and interrupts the fantasy. He points to stain on her shirt.

See that?” he asks, “I did that.” He makes a masturbatory gesture. “SPLURGE!”

By now I'm as drunk as my first night in Trinidad. I'm sitting on the edge of the balcony... a few inches from a 20 foot drop. The conversation, as in Trinidad, is hard for me to follow. But here it's NOT because of the accent. It's because of the topic.

The Zeo Rangers had is all over the Turbos,” says Caleb. “There's no comparison.”

You're so wrong,” says Gavin. “Turbos were the shit. Even the Aliens were better than the Zeo.”

How could you say that?” asks Kareem. “Are you thinking with your dick?”

Usually, it's pretty hard to shut me up, but a conversation about THE MIGHTY MORPHING POWER RANGERS will do it.

Around 5AM it''s time for bed. Kareem takes me to his room. There is a single bed in the room. On the floor is a scary looking hypodermic needle, a small cooking pot and a bunch of empty gelatin capsules.
An ancient air conditioner blows in luke-cold air.

Sorry, Mykel,” says Kareem, “I thought you knew we'd have to share the room. Still, it's only ten dollars a night. Right?”

Umm,” I stutter, pointing to the single narrow bed in the room, “That's a mighty small bed there. I don't know you that well.”

Kareem laughs.

That's my bed,” he says. Then he points to the floor next to the hypodermic. “That's your bed.”

[You can read previous travel blog entries below.
You can subscribe to this blog by clicking the RSS link at the bottom.
You might also want to check the blog of Mykel's columns here.

WARNING: The column blog is not PG. It might make you mad, or disgusted. The thin-skinned, politically correct, and easily sickened should probably stay away. You have been warned.]

No comments: