Life at the Lodge: 14) Successors

With Mount Roraima and Venezuela behind me, the aching legs, sunburnt skin, and tortured feet a painful reminder of the worthwhile ordeal, I returned to Guyana to write my final chapter at the Lodge.

From the northern Brazilian city of Boa Vista, I once again made my way to the Guyanese border, finishing a wonderful book on Krakatoa as we rumbled along in the early morning sunshine. A Chilean couple had also taken the coach and we shared a taxi to pass through immigration and then head into Lethem.

It was the final day of a music festival that was being held at Manari Ranch, and as nice as it may have been to attend, I had a lift to catch, back into the savannah.

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Life at the Lodge: 13) Intruder

A welcome change to the schedule has seen us going on a lot more early-morning river trips. I much prefer the river to the savannah, it is just an all-round more gentle and calming experience, and unsurprisingly, there is far more wildlife to spot.

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Life at the Lodge: 11) Politics

Nestled in between our Kitchen Reports, I found half a dozen PPP membership forms which are awaiting completion. It seems Manny is on a recruitment drive at the Lodge, and though he is an enthusiastic supporter – “this is my party, the best party” – I am not entirely sure he knows what it all means.

The language of the PPP is incredibly dated and reads like something straight out of the USSR. A 2016 Group Membership booklet I found at the Lodge a few months back talks about the need for “comrade solidarity” and the defeat of the “three evils of capitalism, imperialism, and individualism”.

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Life at the Lodge: 10) Time

Owing to some ill-health for both of our guests, all activities were cancelled giving some of the staff a more laid-back working day. But with an enthusiasm they later came to regret, our two resident voluntourists (Steve and Farinoz) headed up to our outstation, Makeidon, with Manny to help on the project to build a new coral.

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Life at the Lodge: 6) Summit

The weather is noticeably different here now. It can change in a matter of minutes, with the wind picking up, the sky clouding over suddenly, and the heavens opening in a 10-minute torrential downpour that sends everyone running for cover. The temperature is also a lot cooler, and more than once I have found myself having to sleep under a sheet.

Despite these downpours, the river continues to sink lower and Manny is now advising that we should transfer guests by vehicle rather than by boat. Even that will bring its problems, however. The trails and “roads” are rapidly becoming overgrown by vegetation as the wilderness seeks to reclaim its land.

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