|Previously called Longchamps by the French and Stabrock by the Dutch, till the British finally changed its name after colonisation in 1812. The town gets a bit of a roasting in the Lonely Planet...Guyana in general (and Georgetown in particular) is notorious for street crime and physical violence, electrcity black outs are common...avoid walking anywhere at night, be alert even in daytime. Never enter the Tiger Bay area, avoid here, there and everywhere and even try to arrive at the airport during daylight hours!!! So we were ready for some interesting times, but things seem to have improved and on the whole we were met with much curiosity and welcomed, not least by a homeless lady who got the extremely excessive remains of one of our meals - there are so many desperate people here (unemployment is at around 40% and no social security) it would be criminal to let food be wasted. What is disturbing is how in Central America we used to save the leftovers for the animals and now its for the people. One man we saw was eating food off the pavement which had presumably been left out for stray animals, another was drinking water from a puddle.
Georgetown is littered with old wooden colonial buildings, including the City Hall, High Court and St Georges Cathedral - reputed to be the tallest wooden structure in the world.
There are not many sights, so we are inevitably drawn to the zoo and botanical gardens. The lattter has canals which are home to caimans and the cute, but shy manatees - again it is a shame we cannot put videos on this website as the photos just look like grey lumps in the water! The zoo is OK...just for most of the animals, but the lion was housed in such a small cage that I was serioulsy tempted to see if I could let him out. The monkeys had already escaped their confines and were sitting on the roof - a regular occurence by all accounts! One of our favourites were the Harpy eagles. These are amongst the strongest and largest birds of prey, standing at over 3 feet high, weighing around 16 pounds and with a wingspan of 6-7 feet....imagine that on your birdtable - you would have to leave out more than a sprinkling of Trill!
We consult the glossy tourist brochure to see where the night life is and we are reliably informed that we need to head out to Sheriff Street...Scary Street might have been more appropriate - the bars and resturants along this "tourist strip" are all boarded up with mesh and signs denying access to prostitutes...nice!!