There is a posh restaurant in the heart of the city of Georgetown. It is a thriving business and it is owned by Chinese nationals.
It terms of its interior design and beauty, it matches the best there is in the Caribbean. It is a facility that Guyana should be very pleased that it has.
And Guyanese are very proud of it even though it is foreign owned. Every time I am in Guyana whoever is my host on any particular day, usually like to take me there to show off the place. In order not to disappoint them, I often do not admit that I have been there many times. And with good reason because the food is very good also, that is if you know what to order.
A few weeks ago, I was with a friend who began to boast that Guyana has a really fancy restaurant and that he would be taking me there for lunch. I said okay and did not ask the name, since I was certain that it would be the same restaurant that I have been taken to by different friends on almost all of my visits over the past five years.
As usual of course, parking was a major problem. There was no parking available on the streets directly in front of the restaurant and so we had to scout around one of the side streets. Eventually we got a secure parking at the side of the building in one of streets adjoining the restaurant.
As we pulled into a parking slot, I glanced to my left and saw a sight that I have not seen in Guyana for years. Before I describe that, let me say that it seems today as if Guyana is overflowing with vehicles. There are far too many vehicles for the small roads that we have and something will have to be done to control the flow of traffic. The roads of Guyana were simply not built for this type of vehicular congestion.
I recall the time when bicycles were the main mode of transportation and on Saturday afternoons, boys could be seen towing their girlfriends on their bikes as they made their way to the cinema.
People used to go to weddings on bicycles, so popular was this mode of transportation. And if you passed outside of any cinema during the screening of a movie you could see hundreds of bicycles chained together in a long line.
That is exactly what I saw outside this Chinese restaurant. There was a long string of about 20 bicycles, every one of them having a basket. The cycles were neatly parked and there was a guard outside, no doubt to keep an eye on the vehicles and the back entrance.
It was good to see that bicycles are back in Guyana and especially in the overcrowded Georgetown where it can take you as much as ten minutes in peak hour traffic to move two hundred meters.
The problem is that, as I later learnt, these cycles were not owned by nationals. There were not the properties of the local staff of the restaurant. Instead they were the preferred mode of transportation of most of the Chinese workers of the restaurant. This is how foreign workers got to and from work.
They were not driving to work in cabs; they were not using cars like most Guyanese tend to do today. They opted for the simpler and easier form of transport, the one that has always proven effective and cheaper when you have to travel short distances. They chose to ride to work.
They will save a lot of money by using this mode of transportation. The maintenance is cheap and in the heavy traffic they can move in and out easily and get to work faster, especially if they do not live far.
With all the talk about clean energy and green energy, it is amazing that more persons are not using bicycles to get to work. Instead, people are calling up cabs to go short distances which they can easily walk.
Sometimes foreign workers can tell us something about the way we are living. Many families sometimes complain about the high cost of living. Yet when you examine their habits, they drive instead of walk or ride, the eat out more than they eat at home and they buy super expensive clothing, jewels and cellular phones, while at the same time bemoaning their plight.
If they would only look at how some of the foreign workers live and operate while in Guyana, they may not complain as much. And certainly given the high prices of petrol and the congestion on our roads, it is surprising that more and more people are not switching to bicycles.
They should because at least for the foreign workers at that restaurant, the bicycle is back.
Next week, I promise to tell you something else I noticed while at that restaurant.
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