Prada, Polo and Juicy Couture
Trip Start Aug 09, 2009
108Trip End Oct 23, 2009
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From time to time an unusually colorful shop would have that certain jena se qua that was enough to pull me off the sun drenched sidewalks. Shops catering mainly to subsistence lined the streets in Georgetown, yet here, just one country over, shopping covers the basic needs and then some. Just the amount of Dolce & Gabanna, Prada, and Chanel merchandise blows me away. But then again, something tells me that if a Prada purse is hanging by a metal hook from the rafters of some cheap Chinese run storefront, that black handbag probably isn't the real thing
Racks of $20 Izod and Polo shirts drew me into another one of the dark stores (they don't use lights during the day), and I looked over the schlock as a sourfaced salesgirl hovered uncomfortably close to me. Now I know from time to time TJ Maxx has Polo that cheap, but I could tell this stuff wasn't the real deal much like its Prada cousins down the street. Whenever I am in the third world I always marvel at how locals with so little money wear designer crap and even have those giant $200 sunglasses that cover 2/3 of their faces. Just dig a little deeper into where they buy this stuff, and oh how disappointing to find out that a Juicy Couture pair of shades is nothing more counterfeit crapola.
And while checking out all the latest in designer fashions hanging off those old circular clothes racks we used to hide inside when kids, I noticed something else hanging inside and out of stores...bird cages all over the place. Some men even walk around the streets of downtown Paramaribo showing off their caged birds to anyone who wants to take a glance. Of course I had to investigate further and I found out that these birds aren't just your normal pets
Some asking around unearthed the fact that a bird singing competition takes place in the outdoor market every Sunday at 6am and the person whose bird can sing the most notes in a minute can take home some cash money prizes. Imagine that...a tiny little inch long feathered thing can bring home the bacon, or chicken in this case. So much like a queen showing off his Maltipoo in Atlanta's Piedmont Park, these men strut their stuff in downtown Paramaribo holding their birdcages up high. It's hard not to roll your eyes when some dude is walking around own holding his wooden bird cage above his head but then again these birds can be a cashcow.
Winning cash for bird songs may be easy enough in the market, but trying to exchange Euros from Surinaamse Guilders will step on anyone's nerves. Being that French Guiana is my next stop and it is part of France I needed just enough Euros to pay for my transportation over until I could find an ATM in Cayenne. Well silly me for thinking that a bank would be the place to exchange cash. The lobby of the first bank was bombarded with about 50 people waiting in various queues and chairs. The info desk babe told me to go to "over there" which I immediately did
As soon as I had approached that first desk, all hell broke loose with shouting people. Some even waived their little numbered pieces of paper at me indicating they are before me. Sorry folks! I was just following instructions. I didn't know you needed a number! I just quickly asked the lady where to exchange money and she I needed an account there to do it. Why couldn't the first lady had told me that before I spent ten minutes fumbling around in there?
Another bank around the corner was equally as chaotic and after being ignored for a few minutes at the info desk I finally banged my hand on the counter and asked where I could exchange money. You know that blank stare you get like when you order something at Taco Bell? That is exactly what I got and finally thirty seconds later the lady asked if I had an account there. I said no and she told me that exchanging wasn't possible. I asked her where I could do this and she shrugged and pointed me to Desk 2. Rather than face the wrath of waiting people again I just took off and never made it to Desk 2 since obviously I couldn't exchange at that bank anyway.
Across the street at the post office I spied a sign for currency exchange and what do you know...this is how we do it down here. Well maybe...the girl behind the glass didn't seem all that interested in transacting any type of commerce this day when I asked if I could exchange some dinero. All I wanted was freakin Euros and not the attitude. When I asked again if I could get Euros, she rolled her overly made up eyes, bunched up her lips, and looked at her coworker who then gave a subtle nod of the head like some mafia don
After a full day of navigating the Suriname shopping scene, we were ready to just kick back so I found us some Chinese food and Parbo beer. What better way to end a day than with some tasty vegetable fried rice and hops. Oh yeah...ordering Chinese takeaway comes with a lot of attitude, too at this one joint we have frequented many times already. The mere act of a patron standing at the counter does not necessarily mean he wishes to order I have surmised. One must actually summon the rude shopgirl over by shouting out "Ja, Vrouw" which translates roughly as yes lady. Yes, lady, I am just standing here in your searing hot establishment for my health. I really don't want to order so keep on ignoring me!
Tomorrow is an all day adventure in the rain forest which I am looking forward to.