How now, with all the precautions that I took, did my camera still get wet one might ask. Well, you know those gales of wind that I was talking about, they uprooted the tent pegs in the rainfly. Then there was a small dip in the the tarp and water collected in this to such an extent that the weight of the water uprooted the pegs I’d used to hold down the tarp. This would all have been fine, except that both the rainfly and the tarp were disabled in the very same corner, and so water leaked into that one side, leaving the rest of the tent dry. That still would have been fine, but then I’d obviously rolled over in the night and knocked over the camera from its perch in the middle of my tent at the highest spot, so that where should it fall but to the lowest spot, in the only corner that wasn’t protected.
So with roughly half my electronics water damaged, little money left and my flight options limited, the need to get back into town is becoming more and more dire.
I strain back up the mountain to the falls, and arrive the day before the purported flight, confirm, and all seems to be in order. I am lucky too because Tony and Trisha are leaving to go to Georgetown as well to pick up more supplies, so hopefully we’ll be on the same flight. So the following day we wait for the flight and we wait for the flight, and we wait for the flight…is there an echo in cyberspace? No, just a lot of waiting. Kaieteur due to sudden fluctuations in weather patterns can be a difficult place to fly into. All the other days saw planes coming and leaving on time, but the day of my flight, there is a heavy fog that has fallen over the area. It’s not so heavy that we can just call it quits and go back to the tent and sleep. It lightens briefly, and my heart with it…and then it fogs over again and you’re left thinking…”God really does play dice with the universe, not only that, but he’s a pretty bad player”. So, we hear planes overhead and everyone gets that expectant look, and then the sound is heard receding into the distance and everyone sits back down. For some reason today almost all the locals from Mendie’s landing (all 5 people) wants to go to Mahdia or Georgetown, I don’t really get it. Well, around 4 o’clock in the afternoon and finally the fog has lifted. Tony who dissatisfied with the flight agent’s radio communication skills has wrestled the radio away from her and is communicating with the airport in Georgetown. “How has it come to this?” “Kaieteur to Ogle (Georgetown airport), Kaieteur to Ogle, do you copy?”, Tony repeats over and over. Finally we get a staccato reply from the other end, “Og, Kai…ture…over”. Tony leaps up excitedly, it looks like he hadn’t really counted on a reply and he looks around nervously like, “now what am I supposed to do”? “Is there a plane coming in today, over?” TChhh…Tchhh…static
We wait a couple minutes, only the static for company…everyone wondering whether their waiting has been in vain. Then we here a clear and distinct reply from the other side.
Tchhhh….Tchhh…”Yes, Air services…flying into Kai…Kaiteur, over”. “How long until it arrives?” Tony asks. “Left…20 minutes ago…”. So the eager crowd of passengers that had gathered around excitedly milled about bringing their belongings out from storage to the landing strip. We were all pregnant with expectation. Except the guys of course, how can they be pregnant? Tony is left alone communicating with the airport on the other side, no longer the centre of attention he has calmed somewhat. I’m about to leave, when we hear the voice from the other side start up again. “Ogle to Kaiteur, Ogle to Kai…”. “Yes, we copy” Tony almost yells into the microphone as people do who seldom talk on the radio and have trouble understanding what is being said on the other end and thusly assume that the other end also has those very same problems. “No flight, no flight”, the voice cuts cleanly through the static…There is a pause…”Trans is not flying…To…day…Air…Serv…still fly…”. God, so which flight service am I booked with? Air services or TransGuyana. One will ensure that I make it to Georgetown, the other will leave me bound to this place. Nothing to do but wait for the flight to come in and see!
15 minutes pass and we hear the flight overhead. This would decide my fate, was I to leave today to Georgetown, repair my electronics and get back on track, or was I to remain here and languish to an uncertain fate? We wait and despite the mist which looks like it is gathering force again, the plane lands and is swarmed by people eager to get on, as though it were the last flight out of hell. And for me, it kind of was…