I really should've planned it better...
Cayenne Travel Blog› entry 24 of 123 › view all entries
I had a 10am morning flight to get from Belem to Cayenne in French Guyana. It all sounded simple enough, except for the fact that I didn't really get my times right...oh dear. I had planned to leave the hostel at about 8am, thinking I would get the bus and get the airport for about 8.30. Breakfast was late, and I got chatting to an American lady at breakfast who could talk (and i mean talk), so before I knew it, it was gone 8.30. The guy at the hostel said the bus would take 30 minutes. I got on and didn't think too much of it until we started to weave through the streets - the airport in Belem is only 8km outside the city, so you wouldn't think it would take that long?? Think again with Brazilian urban buses - they attempt to cover every single street in the city in one journey. It got to about 9.15 am and I was panacking...this was an inernational flight remember and I should have been there at about 8.30 at the very latest. I asked the bus driver how much longer to the airport and he said another 15 minutes (which would've meant the journey was at least an hour!!), so I decided to leg it off and get a taxi. Even with the taxi, due to traffic and an accident, it was another 15 mins to get the airport and I was absolutely bricking it when I got there, thinking I was certain to have missed check-in. I was right, the desk for Air Caraibes was closed and the woman said I couldn't check in - bugger. I didn't want to stay another day in belem, so I pleaded (mainly with sign language due to my lack of portguese to cover such situations) and eventually she agreed to talk to her boss - he could see I was desperate and they opened the desk and let me check-in - phew!!
I also had a comedy at immigration - another delay as it was pretty busy and they had decided in their infinite wisdom to pluck some random woman (who seemed to be a cleaner or something) to process people through immigration - she couldn't even use the computer and I had to try and help her put the right information in!! It took about 10 minutes and many failed attempts before it finally accepted me as not being an illegal alien. It was already after 10am, but luckily the immigration fiasco meant other people on my flight were delayed, so the plane didn't leave on time. When I finally sat down in the seat of the plane, I just sat there and thought 'never again' - next time I am giving myself 3 hours at the airport!!!
I arrived in Cayenne, French Guyana, at about midday. It's a bizarre place as it's actually part of France not a separate country as such), so its part of the EU and they have the Euro....this is going to be expensive I thought!! I had arranged some contacts through couchsurfing and Elisa, even though she couldn't host me, agreed to pick me up from the airport, which was cool. French Guyana is expensive and there aren't hostels or even much public transport, so it can be a tricky place to get round. So any help I could get was mucc appreciated!!
Elisa drove me to her house for some lunch - she shares a lovely little place right on the beach in Remire (basically a town joined onto the capital city, Cayenne) - although it started raining, so there wasn't much we could do for a while. Later on, we went into the city for a coffee at Cafe Palmistes and then decided we would try and see some turtles on the beach at Remire - it's turtle egg laying season between April and July, and apparently they come everywhere along the coast. We went after dusk hoping to see a giant (they are about 2 metres long the adults) but could only see a couple of babies which had just hatched - amazing all the same though, as they struggle down the beach to get to the sea. Hopefully I'll see some more along the coast of FG.
Elisa took me over to the place where I was couchsurfing, also in Remire. so I met damien, my host, who's a cool guy and was realy welcoming. He cooked me a pasta dinner, which went down a treat. His other housemates Anne-Claire and Marie arrived later and we sat around chatting for the evening with a beer or two - fantastic. I was trying out my French to help with their broken English, all rather hilarious when things get lost in translation!!
Time to try and get my visa for Suriname tomorrow!