Friday, 2 October 2009

If you fart in your house, you have to fan it…

… or your neighbour will smell it, and the whole of Guyana will hear about it.
This really is a small country.

Guyana covers an area about the same area as the UK, but most of that is uninhabited jungle. The total population is only three quarters of a million, about the same as Leeds. In practice, this seems to mean that the famous ‘six degrees of separation’ theory here could probably be slimmed down to one degree of separation. Maybe two. Everybody knows everybody.
As a white person living in a small town in a fairly rural region, where tourists are more or less unheard of, you stand out. People notice you, and remember where they saw you and what you were doing at the time. Half the people I meet, even in other towns, knows where I live and have seen me on my balcony changing a tyre, or doing shopping in the market. The teller in the bank recognised me and remembered my full name when he saw me a week later in a bar. The other half of the people I meet just seem to know half the people I know, or are related to one of my neighbours, or live next door to one of my friends.

In the space of a few hours at the heritage month event in Orealla, 8 hours travel from my house, I happened to talk to people who by chance turned out to be: the brother of a colleague; the boyfriend of a VSO volunteer in Georgetown; and a producer who had interviewed a friend about her work on a number of occasions for national television.

So I really have to be careful what I am seen doing. And avoid farting in public.

Or at least make sure to fan it…

The photo below is irrelevant to the rest of the post, but I walk past this gate nearly every day and it always makes me giggle.

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