Over the November 10-14, 2017 period, four Canadian based media travel agent representatives conducted a Fly Jamaica sponsored FAM Tour of Guyana and its tourism oriented attractions. The Canadian group was comprised of Guyanese-Canadian Tourism Council Members, Chairman Syed Rayman and Media Relations Director Tony McWatt, Toronto based Travel Agent Sherry Hack-Gill and Vancouver based Food Columnist Nathan Fong. The following is a Daily Diary highlights account of the Group’s activities during their four day Guyana visit.
Day 1: Friday, November 30
Tony and Syed arrived at Toronto International Airport at approximately 6:00 am to check in for the Fly Jamaica flight, which was scheduled to leave at 9. Hopes of an upgrade to Business Class were dashed by the flight’s completely full status. The check in procedures were however, pleasantly punctuated by interactions with Ryan Rahaman, the son of Tony’s Guyana based cousin Carolyn and nephew to Syed, through marriage, who as a race car driver was also traveling back to Guyana on the same flight to participate in the Annual International Motor Racing Meeting. The 2017 version of which was being held at Timehri on Sunday November 19.
After an uneventful flight, the Group arrived safely in Guyana, collected their bags, proceeded through Customs and Immigration without undue hassles and were met upon emergence from the Arrivals Terminal by a name sign bearing Guyana Tourism Authority Driver, Corwin Ward. An exciting night drive from Timehri to the Georgetown Marriott culminated in the Group’s safe arrival at the luxurious hotel.
There they were met by the GTA’s Representatives Michelle Sewnazie and Syed Ibrahim who gave them an official welcome, complete with item filled bags and a detailed briefing on the hectic itinerary that had been planned for them in the days to follow. A flawless coconut water check in for the three Marriott based Group members, Sherry, Syed and Tony was prefaced by Nathan’s reluctant departure to the Princess Casino Hotel, where he’d been scheduled to stay.
Not surprisingly barely had Tony entered his room that he was disturbed by a distress phone call from the GTA’s Annarie Seecharan. She had called to report Nathan Fong’s expressed dissatisfaction with his Princess Ramada accommodations and his request to be relocated to the Marriott.
Day 2: Saturday November 15
Having enjoyed the Marriott’s sumptuous buffet breakfast, which to Tony’s delight surprisingly included curry chicken and roti, the Marriott based trio were soon boarding the Norman Sookhoo driven GTA provided transport van for the trip to Ogle airport for their scheduled flight to Kaieteur Falls. Already present in the van was a most sullen Nathan Fong, complaining bitterly about the countless perceived inadequacies of his Ramada Princess accommodations and again insisting that he be relocated to the Marriott. This despite Tony having patiently explained that the rooms had been assigned based on the provisions that had been received by the participating sponsor hotels, the Princess Casino Ramada and the Marriott.
The brief drive to Ogle was followed by their boarding of the Air Services Limited twin-engine aircraft that would take them to Kaieteur. The ensuing flight which lasted approximately ninety minutes was enjoyable in its proffered aerial views of the Georgetown city landscape, the coastlines of the Demerara and Essequibo Rivers, the latter mighty waterway dotted by some of its reported 365 islands and finally the mighty Kaieteur itself. To the Group’s disappointment other than her announced safety measures the pilot never said an actual word during the flight and noticeably failed to point out any of the landmarks that were visible.
Kaieteur itself was a wonderful experience and the hours spent simply enjoying its awesome splendor were truly memorable. The Amerindian guided trek to and from the falls was also both interesting and enjoyable. All of the group’s members were duly impressed by their young guide’s demonstrated knowledge of the surrounding flora and fauna. During the trek back from the falls to the Kaieteur National Park Lodge there were off track sightings of a few of Guyana’s famous orange plumed Cock-of-the-Rock birds.
An uneventful flight back to Ogle was followed by pick up at the airport and transportation back to the Marriott, during which Tony was informed by the GTA hosts, via telephone, that arrangements had been made for Nathan to be transferred to the Marriott as per his incessant requests, later that evening.
Syed and Tony spent the rest of the evening dining at the New Thriving Restaurant in the company of one of the former’s longstanding Guyana based friends, while Sherry was also out and about with her relatives.