Most guidebooks tell you not to go to Stabroek. Not just the market, but the entire area of Georgetown, Guyana. City tours will drive you past the market, but they tell you to not get out and keep your hands in the car. Stabroek market is indeed chaotic. Tends of thousands are streaming in and out of the market and wandering the surrounding streets at any given time, preventing most traffic from inching forward, giving it the feel of a festival.
Demerara. That word alone is infectious. It’s derived from the Arawak language, meaning “river of the letter wood.” It sounds exotic. It is exotic. Demerara is a place, among other things related to that place. It’s a region of Guyana founded by the Dutch. There’s a river, also called Demerara. There are fields of sugarcane lined with canals where herons and egrets wade. The air is sweet smelling. It smells of forests. And the Caribbean, which is not far away.
Wildlife, I sometimes find, comes in spurts. You can spend hours holding your binoculars and not seeing a single sparrow, then your thoughts wander or you scratch your head and suddenly one animal after another begins to appear. This was the case on the Burro Burro River, a couple of kilometers from Surama Ecolodge, on the edge of the Rupununi Savannah and bordering the Iwokrama Rainforest, where I was staying.
One of the most beautiful aspects about living in New York is that before leaving on a trip to a foreign country, no matter how remote or exotic, I can find the food of that place being prepared in much the same way as I would find it in that country. Before heading to Trinidad and Guyana and having minimal knowledge of the food from either of those countries, I did a google search for Trinidadian or Guyanese Roti shops. Surprisingly, a half dozen popped up within a few miles of my apartment in Brooklyn. Ali’s T&T was the closest, and from what I could tell, one of the most recommended. Roti is a rather strange concept to many when thinking of the food of a Caribbean Island or South American country.