Romina (left) and Luca do a gig at the busy intersection of the Railway Embankment and Sheriff Street (Photo by Anthony Layne)

Travelling tourists marvel at Guyana’s hospitality

By Anthony Layne

`THEY may be of different nationalities, but they have at least one thing in common: a yearning for adventure.

Luca Diana, 25, is from Milan, Italy and Romina Villaverde, 30, is from Buenos Aires, Argentina and they arrived here from Brazil, French Guiana and Suriname shortly before Christmas as part of a South American tour. Luca is a barber by profession, and Romina is a computer programmer, a photographer and a musician – a trombonist, to be specific. She has been travelling through South America for about one year now starting January, 2017, when a band in which she played toured Uruguay, where she spent two months.

“This tour,” she said, “Left me in no doubt that travelling is what I really wanted to do.” Her appetite, therefore, whetted for further travel, she journeyed to Brazil where she spent nine months and where she met like-minded people, including Luca, whom she met in Rio de Janeiro. Apart from Uruguay and Brazil and before embarking on this tour, she had already visited Bolivia, Colombia, several Central American countries, as well as Cuba and the Dominican Republic.

Luca, on the other hand, has not travelled as extensively, but lived in the UK for several years before setting out to explore the South American continent. In halting English, Luca said: “I have always been fascinated by South America’s cultural diversity and physical beauty. I’m particularly interested in visiting Ushuaia, in Argentina.” Ushuaia is a resort town located on the Tierra del Fuego archipelago, the southernmost tip of South America, nicknamed the “End of the World.” The windswept town, perched on a steep hill, is surrounded by the Martial Mountains and the Beagle Channel. It is the gateway to Antarctica cruises and tours to nearby Isla Yecapasela, known as “Penguin Island” for its penguin colonies (Google).

Both travellers have admitted that they knew little or nothing about Guyana before their arrival, but now that they are here, they have been overwhelmed –as most visitors are – by the warmth and hospitality of Guyanese. They are especially grateful to former Minister of Public Works, Robeson Benn, who was very helpful to them and also to a couple, Raj and Rosh, of New Haven, Bel Air, who accommodated them for two weeks.
They are fascinated by Guyana’s cultural diversity and the harmonious relations that seem to exist among people of different ethnicities and religions.

“With so many ethnic conflicts in other parts of the world, we find it truly amazing that people of different ethnic backgrounds and of different religions can live in peace and harmony,” Luca said.
They, however, regret that they were unable to venture beyond Georgetown and the fact that their stay was marred by a very unfortunate incident when Romina was attacked one evening and robbed of her Ipod, G$700.00 and her national identification card. The attack occurred under cover of near darkness on a street in New Haven, Bel Air. Undaunted by the incident, however, they have vowed to return and see much more of Guyana and to visit the majestic Kaieteur Falls.