As a child I loved accompanying my stout father, Mr Big, to the city sea wall for his regular swim after a brisk walk atop the crumbling Fort Groyne. Built near the strategic site of a former British garrison that watched over the coveted sliver of low-lying coastline and the adjoining mouth of the Demerara River, the concrete erosion barrier jutted out into the ocean like a fat index finger, at the far end of breezy Kingston. 

It was here, in 1781, British Lieutenant Colonel Robert Kingston decided to establish the little settlement that would become the capital Georgetown, after capturing the Dutch colony of Demerara-Essequibo and moving the administrative centre from Borselen Island far up the murky waterway.

While Dad waded out past the squelchy flats, to exercise in the deeper waters discoloured grey-brown by Amazonian mud, I danced barefoot on the warm beach, and screamed and squinted at him, a mere dot, bouncing up and down in the waves. Racing in the surf, hair streaming, the sharp taste of salt in my mouth, I would search for signs of that history, specimens and sea glass gems smoothened by the swollen Atlantic that has witnessed centuries of conflict and ships ferrying foreign explorers forever fixed on finding fame and fortune. ….

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