Greetings from Kamarang, a community of 350 people, mostly aboriginal, set up explicitly to service the mining industry. The only contact with the outside world is via satellite phone (yes, I called my mother yesterday), so I am storing these blog posts on my phone/pda and will upload when we return to “civilization” on Friday.
To get here, we took a speedboat from Bartica to an airstrip further down the Essequibo, then flew in two 8-seater airplanes, for about an hour, toward the southwest and the Venezuelan border.
This town is essentially an airstrip, which functions as its main street, with a police station, school, hospital, general store, two guest houses and a series of bars and houses lined up along the airstrip.
We are close to the middle of nowhere. From here, one can see Mt Roraima less than a hundred miles away. The Roraima region is among the rawest, untamed jungle in the world. Its geography dates back to the origins of the world and its flora are pehistoric. The place is so untamed that Arthur Conan Doyle was inspired by the plateau to write The Lost World.
There is raw physical beauty here, enhanced by its remoteness. The general store sees visitors speaking English, French, Portuguese and Spanish, as the mining rush sees all sorts of characters sift into the region.
There was a moment of Zen as a few of us slipped away to swim in the river. There we were, soaking in an Amazon tributary in the outskirts of the rainforest as a jungle storm rolled upon us. Later, safe in our hovel, lightning and thunder bore down upon us, and the weird and wonderful sounds of the forest berated us from all directions. This aint Kansas anymore.
The funny thing is that on the flight here, I would glance occasionally to the rear of the plane where a Black dude in a red baseball cap would wave at me. At one point, he commented how much he hates flying.
What’s so funny about that? Well, it turns out that no such person was on the flight. Either I was hallucinating or saw a ghost.
Tomorrow morning I will speak to the local high school about basic biology and sex education. Wish me luck!