Sunset in Guyana is relatively short and as soon as darkness sets in, an orchestra of sounds begin. The six o’clock beetle (or bee?) would give a burst of buzzing sounds like a mini electric saw, to announce that the show was about to start. Soon the frogs sang out loudly with their throaty voices, cicadas fiddled a continuous accompaniment, crickets chirped occasionally to highlight the medley of sounds. This went on throughout the night.
During the rainy season, the frogs would try to outdo each other as they bellowed out “Ribbit, ribbit… I’m the sexiest frog of you lot! Croak, croak!” And of course there was the odd bark from a dog to heckle some stranger going past it.
But it was just before sunrise that I have especially fond memories of my home country. Just before the dawn of a new day, cockerels (Oh gawd! write fowl cocks, nah man!) would call out verbally abusing each other, thereby proclaiming their territory. I can just see them now, deep breath in, flapping their wings energetically, as they crow loudly: “Cock a doodle dooo!”
Incidentally, where I live in the UK, on the way to the newsagents, I actually heard a cock crow. I was so disappointed with it. All it could muster was: “Cack dooh! Cack dooh!” in a broken voice like it was suffering from a sore throat! I guess it’s because it grew up as the only male chicken around, poor thing, no role model to follow.
Across Lombard Street to the West of us, was the rubbish incinerator, and about 5.30 am. the drivers would lead their donkeys pulling the collection carts on their way to various parts of the city. Some went East past where we lived in Drysdale Street, and others North along Lombard Street. The cart wheels rumbling in concert with the donkeys’ hooves made a pleasant waking call for me to get ready to rise and shine!
This was soon followed by the raucous calls of the kiskadees! There was one that would stand on top of the telephone pole across the road and seem to shout: “Kickadee! Kickadee! I’m the king of the kiskadees! Who wants to fight me?”
At about 6.30 am, Georgetown came alive! Dray carts pulled by horses or mules rattled and clipity-clopped past at a trot, well the empty ones that is to say. The loaded ones went past more circumspectly, obviously.
There were not many cars or lorries on the road in those days, and most persons went to work on bicycles. I miss the “bling! bling!” warning of a bicycle bell.
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