Feeling hot, hot, hot
The title says it all. It is damn hot here, and there are relatively few places to escape the heat. Very few buildings are air conditioned, and shade is not easy to find--and forget about finding a seat of any kind, much less in the shade. I found myself drawn to the convenience stores in Shell stations, and spent more time than I really needed to in the food court of the City Mall, just for the AC. On the plus side, just about anything goes in terms of clothing, so you can dress in as little fabric as you like. Shorts and tank tops fit right in, for men and women alike.
Crime? Maybe. Deserted streets? Yes.
A lot of Georgetown's streets can feel a bit deserted, which can be anxiety-inducing if you are a solo, female, Caucasian traveler. I was warned (rather excessively, I thought) by my hotel desk to take a cab even to go the few blocks to the Scotiabank ATM on a holiday when the streets were empty, advice I ignored with no untoward consequences. I spent that afternoon and the next day walking around, including a lot of fairly empty places and a lot of bustling places like markets, and didn't have any problems. But I was extremely careful to keep my camera in my pocket for every minute that I wasn't taking a photo, to keep my iPhone hidden, and to pay very close attention to what and whom was around me at all times.
I did get quite a bit of male attention, which manifested itself as a fairly constant background noise of "kissy-kissy" sounds directed my way as I walked around. This was not dangerous, just annoying. Several men and boys also felt the need to remind me that I was white, which I rarely forget--again, just annoying. Georgetown does not appear to get many Caucasian tourists--I think I ran across maybe 5-6 of them, mostly in my hotel, so we are something rare and attention-getting. Be ready to be stared at.
Despite the new friends I made in Georgetown, I was also introduced to the problems with crime, theft and some shady dealings.
During my short stay, my camera was stolen right out of my hand as a motorcycle drove by. The day after I met some Peace Corp volunteers, they called to tell me that later that same afternoon one was taken from behind and had his backpack, computer, camera and passport stolen.
Crime is a byproduct of several factors, and unfortunately Georgetown has plenty of them. Foreigners tend to be targeted for non-violent crimes because the locals have learned that most foreigners are either hesitant to do anything against it, or will leave before they have any opportunity to follow up with the authorities.
Its recommended not to carry any valuables with you. Avoid walking at night and take taxis instead. After all, they are quite cheap.
Once out of the cities, the interior, jungles and villages are much safer. But still, caution should be taken.
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