When I was a kid summer holidays meant camping in France. Lots of baguettes, my dad BBQing under an umbrella behind Piper, campsite washrooms and insect bites. Well French Guiana was definitely a throwback to those times, except we also had rice and beans, tropic heat and hammocks. I was loving it.
We left St Laurent in a taxi collective to Kourou (€25 – we should have hitched!) making sure we would be there for Monday morning. Monday was Space Camp Day. I was excited. Liam was excited. It was just a shame the launch had been rescheduled. Now that would have been amazing to see!
We stayed at the Centre Kalawachi which actually had its own museum about the indigenous culture on site and a cute, in a toddler way, two month old puppy. The only downside was the lack of a kitchen, but you can’t have everything for €10 a night. Not in FG anyway.
We were up very early to walk to the Centre Spatial Guyanais for the morning tour. Alas, nobody offered us a lift, and they had not received our reservation and there was only one space left. Instead we reserved for the afternoon tour and spent the morning looking around the town centre for the Tourist Information Office which had moved (it’s now on the beach front).
Back at the CSG, the tour was in French. We knew that when we booked it but had hoped there might have been some sort of handout or translation, especially as all the staff we encountered spoke good English. The centre is “Europe’s Space Agency”, so you’d think something would be provided in the language of every country that contributes. But no, it was all in very fast, very technical French, of which I was able to translate the odd number to Liam when our guide toured for a split second breath.
But I did get to stand by a launch pad, and see the computer room, and other geeky highlights.
It was like being in Thunderbirds!
Afterwards we went to the museum (€4 instead of €7 because we’d been on the free tour) which I felt I didn’t get enough out of. I’d have liked to spend more time, but I also felt it was quite basic not telling me the information about launches and spaceships I would have liked. I suspect that that information was in the tour, maybe I’ll go back one day with someone who is bilingual…