This article was first published on the 31st of October, 2015 by Patrick Carpen.Last updated: December 31, 2019 at 10:30 am
Author’s note: If you would like to visit any of the locations mentioned in this article, please contact Mr. Colin Edwards via his website: www.rockviewlodge.com
In October of 2015, I made a trip to a village in the North Rupununi Savannahs of Guyana. The village is called “Aranaputa Valley” but I think most people don’t distinguish between the village of Annai and the village of Aranaputa Valley. Either they don’t know the difference, or they conveniently choose to merge the two in their everyday speaking.
Anyways, the villages of Aranaputa Valley and Annai are relatively close by, separated by just a few miles.
The Management of Takutu Hotel, where I was stationed at the time also owned a gas station located in Aranaputa Valley. One of the owners, Mr. Ivan Johnson Jr., had advised me that I would be welcome to spend a few days at the gas station in Aranaputa Valley since they have vacant rooms, kitchen, and other conveniences. Also, a few staff would be there to assist in making me comfortable. I wanted to go. My feet were itching to travel. But to be honest I was torn between traveling to Manaus and traveling to Araputa Valley.
My suitcase was all packed but my dilemma kept my mind in a tumult. I paced back and forth several times with my suitcase in my hands, not knowing whether it would be a wise idea to spend money going to Araputa Valley.
But what the hell? Traveling is always worth it! Or so I was told. I’ve heard it often repeated that the more you travel, the more you learn. And the more you travel, the more you gain, in one way or another. In a nutshell, most intelligent people agree that you always gain from traveling, or at least, most of the time.
On top of that, I had always thought of visiting the North Rupununi, to see, as they say “what there was to see”.
I summoned the courage once again and picked up my suitcase and walked toward to gate; but as I got halfway to the gate, I stopped and turned back. “No,” I thought to myself. “What are you doing? Manaus is a better trip! You stand to gain a lot more by going there!” I was starting to get angry at myself for my indecisiveness when a voice seeped up from the recesses of my mind said to me “Go to Annai!”
I grabbed my suitcase once again and headed out the gate. I collected the digital camera I had arranged to borrow from Marissa and headed straight to the bus station.
The waiting time was less than an hour and in that time, I sat down, had a beer and listened to the men there engage in some rather frivolous and stupid chatter.
At around 6:30 pm all suitcases were packed and the bus started to move. We finally hit the trail connecting Georgetown to Lethem. The bus picked up speed and the driver maneuvered with amazing dexterity. Nevertheless, I prayed for God’s protection most of the way. I had heard rumors that this trail was dangerous and that there were quite a few accidents. But what the hell? I thought. This driver plies this trail at least once every week and others travel it every day.
But my fears were soon distracted when the driver turned up the music. This guy must have graduated from high school around the same time as I did. I gathered this from the “old school” eighties and nineties music that started playing. I loved this music by such classic singers as Celine Dion, Bryan Adams and Michael Bolton. And I figured that most of my generation would like it too. There was one song “come sail into my arms, the harbor of my heart” whose singer I did not know, but it was a lovely song, like all the other classic oldies.
In about three hours, the bus stopped at the Takutu Gas Station in Aranaputa Valley and I disembarked. But during the trip I made an interesting friend. She was a young lady who worked at a fitness store in Lethem, and lived in Bonfim, Brazil. The conversation that ensued between the two of us proved fruitful in terms of a business venture I had started. I always get excited about mixing traveling with business. And I’m always happy when my travels open up doors to blooming business opportunities. During my stay in Aranaputa Valley, I also sealed some business deals with some of the shops there for my distribution company. Here’s a traveler, who is also a businessman, writer and so many other things!
I was greeted by my friend Pompey and his wife, Denise at the Takutu Gas Station in Araputa. They gave me the usual warm welcome. We chatted, watched television and Denise prepared dinner for the three of us.
After that, I took a shower and went to sleep. The next morning I phoned Brian. Brian is a good friend of mine whom I had met at the Takutu Hotel in Lethem. He had always extended a hand out to me if I ever thought of visiting Annai or Araputa Village. When I called him on the phone, he informed me that he was on his way over to the Takutu Gas Station. He arrived a few minutes after and after the usual compliments, I boarded the motorcycle and sped off with him to his house about 5 kilometers away.
But we stopped first at the famous Rock View Lodge in Araputu Valley, which is a beautiful tourist destination filled with wonders of Amerindian heritage and an atmosphere of relaxation. This lodge is located just a few meters away from the Annai Air Strip. As we pulled up, a plane had just landed and some passengers disembarked.
In the picture above is Mr Collins: the owner of the Rock View Lodge. He said, “You should ask permission before taking pictures.” I said “my apologies sir.” Then he smiled and shook my hand.
I met the owner of the lodge, Mr. Collin Edwards and he gave me a brochure with details of the Rock View Lodge. You can learn more about the rock view lodge by visiting this website:
After admiring the view and taking some more pictures of the Rock View Lodge, I again boarded the motorcycle with Bryan and we drove straight to his home. And what a warm, welcoming family with beautiful smiles! We had a few beers, watched a movie and then had lunch. Brian’s beautiful sister, Keisha then approached me and asked if I would like to go see how cassava bread is made. I eagerly accepted the invitation. I must admit that sitting at the back of the motorcycle with this girl was fun: she was a skilled and safe rider.
We soon arrived at her cousin’s house. Her cousin was busy making cassava bread but she was almost done. Nevertheless, I still managed to flash a few pictures.
But my eyes soon caught the beautiful flower plants near to the house; and then, the beauty of the little house itself. The entire environment was reminiscent of a scene from the 1980s in my own hometown and for a few seconds, I was taken back in time.
I noticed some orange trees and they were loaded with healthy fruits. It then struck me that the soil in this area was highly suited for citrus farming.
After a few minutes, I boarded the motorcycle with Keisha once again and we headed this time to a family friend of Keisha. Aunt Loretta is also a sister of Ms. Desiree Hamilton. And Miss Desiree Hamilton is one of the managers of the Takutu Hotel. During her visits to the Takutu Hotel, Aunt Loretta had always extended a hand out to me if I ever decided to visit Araputa Valley. She had spoken of the beautiful natural scenery from her house, and I saw for myself, how truly beautiful it was.
But we couldn’t spend long at Aunt Loretta’s house and I boarded the motorcycle behind Keisha once again. We went back to Bryan’s house, and I guess it was an effect of the travels but I was feeling drowsy. After a short nap in the hammock I was ready to go back to the Takutu Gas Station. I boarded the motorcycle behind Bryan and he drove me over the Takutu Gas Station. And it is here in my little comfortable room that I am writing this article of this wonderful piece of travel across my “dear land of Guyana“. And very much it reminds of the song we use to sing in Primary School “this land is my land, this land is your land”. Indeed, this land is my land!