NEVER BEEN TO... GUYANA

Business Traveller - - UPFRONT -

SPAN­ISH AND POR­TUGUESE NOT UP TO SCRATCH?

There is one coun­try in South Amer­ica where English is the of­fi­cial lan­guage – and that’s Guyana.

But don’t get too com­pla­cent. The ma­jor­ity of the pop­u­la­tion speak a strongly ac­cented di­alect known as Guyanese Cre­ole. One of its quirks is that, in or­der to em­pha­sise some­thing, speak­ers say ad­jec­tives or ad­verbs twice in a row. So, “Come right now” be­comes “Come now now”.

Head away from the nar­row coastal strip, where most Guyanans live, and you won’t find many hu­man be­ings to con­verse with at all; be it in English or cre­ole. The in­te­rior of this 83,000-squaremile trop­i­cal na­tion is a mix of dry sa­van­nah and sti­flingly dense and un­spoilt rain­for­est. It’s home to tepuis (or ta­ble-top moun­tains), which are said to have in­spired Sir Arthur Co­nan Doyle’s fa­mous novel The Lost World. Here you’ll also find Guyana’s most im­pres­sive sight – the 226-me­tre-high Kai­eteur Falls. This has more wa­ter cas­cad­ing over it than any other sin­gle-drop wa­ter­fall on the planet.

If you want to see it, you’d bet­ter come now now. The wa­ter drops quick quick.

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