I’d been invited to stay with a Couchsurfer called Clément who lives near Kourou, about 90km from Iracoubo, but would be playing at a festival in Sinnamary, only about a 30km ride, that Saturday evening. It meant I had a relaxed day, which was really helped by a very friendly fire station that had no problem with me staying in the room until well past 10am – a definite advantage of having my own room rather than staying in my tent.

I was very glad to only be riding 30km, as during the ride I learnt that dragonflies can fly backwards. Or at least they can attempt to fly forwards, but be doing so into such a strong opposite force that they go backwards like a rat hopelessly flailing around while trying to swim up the Amazon.

The FESTI’Savann was on in Sinnamary and my first sight of it was when I crossed the bridge and saw a couple of rowing boats flying up the river. It wasn’t until later that I saw the tweak on how to start a race that was involved which you can see in the Faya Boto video below. I walked around a little, and then hid from the sun on a bench next to the church waiting for Clément to turn up.

Clément came over and introduced himself to me and then to his group – Les Connards Laqués. There was Vincent on saxophone, Clément on trumpet, Sophie on tuba, Guillermo Toni and Jon on guitar and … I forgot his name on a cool looking bass. There’s a video of their performance below, or you can hear one of their songs on the festival website with Guillermo singing in his rather distinctive style. They write and perform only their own music, which includes songs about the metros (mainlanders living in French Guyana) and also the picolet, a singing bird that people in this area have a lot of pride about including very manly gangsters that speak sweetly to their bird hoping it’ll sing well. It was a fantastic night watching different musics, and all the more fun because everyone seemed so eager to share and explain the performances to me.

The evening went on until past midnight so obviously I wasn’t cycling on. Thankfully Clément had a small van which I threw my bike into the back of. My GPS was turned off, and that’s why the track looks funny on the map.

The next morning I woke up to find my right hand had swollen up massively, and a small bite mark on the knuckle of my little finger. I was a little concerned, but with the care of Clément and Sophie I was assured it was just an allergic reaction to something and all would be OK. In the afternoon their landlord’s son had his 9th birthday party and we were invited over to eat, drink and be merry. The menu included a giant fish, chicken, caiman and porcupine. I met more interesting people, including Gégé who has been working at the space centre for 30 years and has flown all over South America in his own plane. When I said I’d be heading to Brazil he gave me the information of a contact of his in São Luis, who I look forward to meeting.

Clément had family coming over from France to visit, but Guillermo told me I was welcome to stay at his place, so I spent the next two nights there. It was a lovely rest, and very useful as I hadn’t known I’d needed to make reservations to visit the space centre who when I emailed them on the Monday morning told me there wasn’t any availability until Thursday. That could be a concern for some people, but when you end up meeting glorious people like Les Connards Laqués all is good with the world. As well as them, I had the fun of hanging out with Guillermo’s roommate Katrina who having spent a year in Birmingham liked to talk about fags (something that French seem to really like, so much smoking) and had a British sense of humour which is always fun to be around after so long abroad.

Now it’s time to go to Kourou real where I’ll meet up with Rubén, a Spaniard who works at the space centre and after finding my blog on Google sent me a message and invited me to stay. Life just keeps going well… other than my hard drive laptop making fun clicky noises. I’m planning on getting a new laptop next year, but it’d involve needing to find someone to bring it down from the US to Brazil. Here’s hoping mine lasts that long.

Faya Boto race

Traditional Creole music and dancing

Traditional Amerindian dance

Les Connards Laqués

More Les Connards Laqués

Audio recorded by placing my mp3 player on the table which then got tapped a lot for backing drums. I couldn’t really find a better setup!
Guillermo sings a French song

Guillermo as Johnny Cash

And singing about buffalos