Alone Like a Rolling Stone

Cayenne the capital a little different

Morbid decay is what characterizes the streets of Cayenne. On one side of the street, a hip Inn café; on the other, a crumbling facade, collapsed balconies, and a mass of garbage. A hotel with a century-old wooden veranda surrounded by numerous Chinese shopping stores. Next to it is a large park with an avenue of palm trees. On the park benches lie those who are the losers of society, those who have no roof over their heads at night and instead seek a quiet spot on the beach. Cayenne does not give the impression, and certainly does not have the flair, of a capital city. Nevertheless, the city is interesting, because on the one hand, the decay has been unstoppable for years, and on the other hand, numerous restaurants conjure up an ambience in which you feel comfortable as a guest.

Downtown Cayenne

Besides beautifully renovated townhouses, the ruins are omnipresent. We stroll through the city center and finally stop at a bar near the beach. Across the street, boules is being played in the city park. The game with the three balls, one of which must be brought as close as possible to the small ball, is the national sport in France and here in French Guiana, of course. It is usually played in two teams. The rules are actually quite simple, but not always easy to understand for the non-expert. The most interesting thing for me was to pick up the balls at the end of a round by putting magnets on a string to save bending over. During such a game there is a lot of talk and discussion and the lanes fill up little by little. The day draws to a close and the water in the bay of Cayenne has receded far. 

The water is gone

The tidal range here is enormous and there is a safe fairway only within the buoyage in the river course. We have rented a room in an aparthotel in the middle of the center. For dinner we choose a small street restaurant that offers Guyanese cuisine. Looking at the menu, I feel a bit queasy. Besides armadillos, iguanas and other animals are offered, which we have never seen before. I decide on a kind of wild boar, Gaby takes the fish. Both are very tasty and satisfied we look for our accommodation. The next day is a holiday and the French do not work. All museums and stores are closed. The only thing that is open are the numerous Chinese stores. We go to Kourou, there we want to look at the spaceport of the Europeans, but unfortunately as already mentioned, everything is closed today. For this we find the fish market, which is very interesting. 

Waiting for lunch

Vulture-like birds, with a wingspan of over two meters sit in the trees waiting for the fish scraps. Kourou is a city without a real city center, therefore less interesting. There are two jetties in the Kourou River, one used by fishermen and the other by a private marina. Nevertheless, both jetties are also occupied by cruising sailors, but it might be difficult to get a place, otherwise you can anchor in the river.

Kourou River

We are on our way back to St. Laurent du Maroni. 250 kilometers through the rainforest. Forest without end, interrupted by two villages. Numerous corrugated iron huts lie along the roadside. And in general, corrugated iron seems to be the building material of first choice. Not only the roofs are equipped with corrugated iron, also for facades or fences one uses the sheet metal. Furthermore, we notice the numerous burned-out car wrecks at the roadside. Every five kilometers one sees such a wreck. It gets even more interesting in the national park, where a car wash is offered in the middle of it. Of course with oil separator and everything. It's a joke, of course, Greta and Luise would have their real fun with it. Nevertheless, one is impressed by the eternal, never-ending green. Mostly impenetrable, one comes every now and then to a place that has been cleared. A gate into the darkness. Pitch black, you dive into the jungle. A miracle that something still grows here at all. I have always assumed that plants need light, but that seems to apply only conditionally. 

Rain shower

Above all, they need water, and there is plenty of it here. Again and again, heavy precipitation pelts down, making the already thick air even damper. By the way, such a rain shower does not bring cooling, which is why the air conditioners run day and night here. Lucky is the person who has one. Otherwise, the only thing that helps is to get used to it. That's not necessarily easy, especially since there are always some repairs to be done, which can lead to real sweating. We make the best of it and are glad to have made the trip to Cayenne. Let's see what we will do next week. You can read about it as usual on our homepage Until then, as always, fair winds and keep stiff upper lip.