November 24, 2006
We spent most of the day figuring out how to leave town, trying to get money, and getting antibiotics and malaria drugs for Craig. The Cuban doctor in town wrote Craig a prescription for a lot of drugs, and he got them all right away, free of charge. We found the only bank in town, which just opened three months ago, and took out some money using traveler's checks because they actually got a better exchange rate than cash. It's a little weird at first paying three hundred dollars for lunch, until you realize that it's only US $1.50.
Getting out of town wasn't such an easy proposition. We wanted to go to Anai, a few hours up the road, but all of the buses go all the way to Georgetown, about fourteen hours away. Eventually, we discovered that a minibus would be leaving at 6:00, and could drop us off right where we wanted to go. At the end of another oppressively hot day, we got on the bus and were ready to go.
As soon as we pulled out of town, however, there was a problem. The bus backed up into a driveway and everyone got off and waited for the driver to look under the hood. He pulled the battery out and started charging it, then about half an hour later pulled out the alternator and started working on it. Things didn't go so well, though, and at 10:00, the alternator was pronounced dead. A taxi came and took everyone back into town, and a lot of people were mad that not only could they not get to their destination, but they also had to pay money for a taxi ride home. The bus driver wasn't too happy either because he lost all of his business for the night. The only person who made out well was the taxi driver.
We went back to our hotel, but it was full. I think the owner felt bad about the bus breaking down, though, because he let us camp in the gazebo for free. It's just a lost day for Craig and I, and Lethem's not that bad of a place to be stuck in.