Saturday, October 10, 2015

Trip to the Zoo; or Happy Mental Health Day!

"The contents of this [blog] are personal and do not reflect any position of the US government or the Peace Corps."

Happy Mental Health Day!

 If you were unaware, this week has been the International Mental Health Week and today is officially Mental Health Day. All week long at the Psychiatric Hospital we have been doing events helping draw attention to mental illness as well as working to promote mental health and wellness. People often think of mental health in regards to the illnesses that require medication and sometimes institutionalization. But mental health is something that each and every one of us are affected by and oftentimes can be prevented or mitigated with things like aerobic exercise, positive socialization, sleep hygiene, abstinence from drug and alcohol use and positive coping strategies. Hopefully, we all have ways to keep our "sanity" in this ever stressful world we live in. Topic for another day though:)

So anyway, yesterday we took many of our long-term residents to Georgetown to go to the zoo. The zoo is pretty much a rehabilitation, animal shelter for animals endemic to Guyana and the tropics.

We started boarding the bus a little behind schedule and then the loading took a little longer than expected but we finally were on our way! The trip from New Amsterdam to Georgetown, although only being about 60 miles, takes about 2 hours. So even with the delayed start, we should have gotten to the zoo by 11am.
We're off!
However, about 30 minutes into the ride we hear a loud explosion as the rear tire blows out! The bus swerves left then right finally skidding to a stop. Phew! That was close. We were lucky that for once on the road there were no oncoming cars, pedestrians or roadside animals.
Lucky spot to have had the accident. Nice little trail and plenty of places to sit. Not much sun though
 After disembarking and unloading all of our packed lunches and water, we proceed to attempt to fix the flat. Unfortunately, the other rear tire must have blown too so we now had two flats and only one spare. So our driver hitch-hikes back to get another tire as we all sit on the side of the road in the ever-hotter sun.
The blow-out

Over the next two hours we wait, have lunch and finish our lunches. At 12:30p we finally are ready to go. I just assumed that we'd call it a day and head back to New Amsterdam, but in fact we truck on. We get to the zoo a little after 2p.
Palm trees are everywhere along the ride
The zoo closes at 3:30 so I thought it would be a little rushed but in fact that was plenty to see everything. As I said it wasn't set up much like a normal zoo but it was pretty cool to think that these animals are all seen in the wild. Several of which I'm not sure I'd want to encounter.

3 toed sloth

 If the Jagarondi, which is only about 2x the size of a housecat wasn't scary enough. There were also Puma's(also known as Mountain Lions) which were SUBSTANTIALLY bigger. I couldn't get a picture but they were big. And Guyana has even bigger cats as they also have the Jaguar which is only smaller than Lions and Tigers.


A Paca
That last one is anaconda. Terrifying. Especially after getting an email from the race director of the trail marathon I'm doing in a month. This is taken directly from the email:
"I have yet to see any wild cats like Jaguars or tigers  and most likely will not come out, but if they do, please don't blame us for not warning that they are there.  There are the large rats native to the trails and often some snakes. There are approximately 4 swamps to cross.  The last 2 are crossing a small creek, but it's more like another swamp over log bridges."

This race is going to be epic! I'm just going to make sure that I run with some other people:)

Okay back to the day. So after we wrap up at the zoo head over to the Seawall which is nice and was relaxing.
The seawall
But it was getting late and as the residents had to get back for dinner we headed back around 5ish so we could be back by 7p. However, on our way home we ran into(luckily not literally) and herd of over 200 cows walking in the middle of the road. We eventually got home but now it was almost 8 and it was a looong day! But fun and glad we could celebrate in an interesting fashion guaranteed to be a topic of discussion at the hospital for the next few weeks at least. 

Okay that's it for me. Good luck to everyone racing KONA! I cannot wait to see how it turns out.


  1. Aww Thanks Dan for yet another colorful depiction of your travels .I so look forward to reading them all.
    Stay safe
    Love you
    Aunt Terry lol

    1. Thanks Aunt Terry!
      I will keep you updated as I go:)

  2. You are so cute Auntie Terry! Love you too :)