A strange short story about a trip to Guyana, with even stranger sounds.

Recorded in Birmingham.

Score by Hayley Suviste and intro tune by James Iball.

Story #29: Crapos

So I’m going to tell you the story about when I went to Guyana in South America, which is where my dad is from. And it was the very first time that I went to Guyana, and I was 18.

So I was really unsure what to expect because I’d seen lots of photos, most of them are kind of from the early 60s, of people in my old dresses actually. It’s quite funny, my old dresses and my mum’s old clothes. And they lived in kind of wooden houses, some on stilts because of the snakes and the floods. So I had no idea really what to expect other than what I saw in these photos.

When I got there it was an amazing experience really. The thing I remember, most significantly, when I got to the village where my dad was born and brought up ; and it was in the middle of the night because the plane came in during the middle of the night ; was the sound of these – I thought they were crickets – this kind of real high pitched kind of screechy sound. And I thought they were crickets. It turned out they were frogs, but actually in Guyana frogs are massive, they’re huge. And they call them crapos, they don’t call them frogs. So this sound of these high pitched noises were crapos. All I could hear was the sound, I had no idea what they looked like. And when someone told me they were frogs, I had this vision of you know, these kind of giant dinosaur-like creatures that sat on the hills watching us.

So that was my first experience of Guyana, these mythological crapos, these frogs. And I had a kind of interesting encounter with crapos when I was there, and then I realised why they’re called crapos, ironically. Because my cousin, I was staying at my cousin’s house and he had at the time an outdoor toilet, which was basically a hole in the ground and a wooden shed with a bench with a hole in it. So you can imagine what you’re kind of expected to do. And it took me a few days, I supposed, to kind of pluck up the nerve to use the outdoor loo. And I was kind of getting used to it really.

And one night – I’d probably only been there about three or four days – I woke up and I just had to go for a wee. I thought I can’t not go to the loo. So I went downstairs with the torch and of course, you know in a rural village in Guyana there is no street lighting so the whole thing is pitch black. So there I am with my torch, lighting my way down to the shed. So I did my business, did what I had to do. And of course when I went in, I could hear all these kind of strange noises, and I didn’t quite know what to think really at the time. These kind of – sounds really horrible but – these kind of sludgy horrible slurpy noises. And I had visions of all sorts of things living in the toilet. So I managed to do what I needed to do as quickly as possible, got up and in my haste to get out of the toilet knocked the torch down the hole, which of course then illuminated. And the scene, well I can’t even described the scene really but you can imagine can’t you.

So now I know why they’re called crapos, let’s just put it that way. So there were frogs, there were other slithery creatures down this loo, and it was the most hideous thing I’ve ever seen in my life. But of course, the worst thing was – because I mean the torch must have fallen down about six feet probably – so the worst thing was of course that it illuminated the toilet for the next three days until the batteries died. So whenever anybody went to the loo, it was like going into a, I don’t know into something out of Space Odyssey or something. So that’s the story of my crapos.

[Carys]: When you said, last thing, I thought Rohanie said one of their eyes exploded or something?

I can’t remember…

[Carys]: And you said that you’d screamed and that its eyes popped out?

Oh, no, I don’t think so. Maybe I made that up.

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