GALIBI AND A GLANCE AT FRANCE
Trip Start Aug 14, 2005
13Trip End Dec 16, 2005
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This will be my last log before I head home in 3 more sleeps! While my mind is wandering to Canada more and more these last few weeks, I took a few days on the weekend for one last Suriname adventure. Sherilyn and I went to Galibi on the east coast of Suriname. We took the bus to Albina, a town directly across the Marijowena River (I've spelled that wrong) from St. Laurant in French Guyanna. St. Laurant is only minutes across the river by boat. It would have been fun to have crossed and I could then say that I have been to France! Apparently, it is quite different and also very expensive as it is Euro's and French prices. Anyway, I went to Galibi not France.
We left Parimaribo at the ungodly hour of 4 a.m. and arrived in Albina by 7 a.m. Then it was the usual "hurry up and wait". While still pretty much dawn, the waterfront was already bustling with boat traffic
Galibi commonly host tourists as it is the place where Sea Turtles nest. This is not turtle season though, they start in February with the height of the season being when the leatherbacks arrive in June - August. Galibi is a protected game reserve for the turtles.
The boat trip up river is about 1 1/2 hours. Galibi is situated at the mouth of the Marijowena river where is spills into the Atlantic. It is an Amerindian village so a different experience from the Maroon village of Baku. A major difference is that it is a fishing village and most of the men seem to stay in the village and not off to find work in the mines and the city. Fishing is the main occupation and I think more lucrative as many people no longer buy the river fish. The Galibi fishing is ocean fish and their market primarily French Guyanna where they are paid in Euro. They apparently get permits to sell in FG, although I'm sure there is numerous illegal operations as well. When I say lucrative, don't be fooled into imagining more than substance living.
It's an interesting village in that the sand extends for a long stretch, probably about 1/4 mile wide on a long stretch with the bush (jungle) behind
Galibi is quite a thriving village. They have a great looking school, quite new. A women's center which sells crafts, a store and a well established radio station. We visited the radio station as this is part of Sherilyn's work. She was impressed and said it was the best equipped radio station she has seen yet in Suriname. They have been in operation for 9 years and have a joint project with UNESCO, Educon (a training center in Parimaribo that has provided technical training) and their local organization.
The operator spoke English well and was very informative. A good contact for Sherilyn.
It was an incredibly relaxing weekend as there isn't much to do in Galibi. The village can be explored in an afternoon.
Our accommodation was a "camp" built by our boat man Robbie beside his hut. It's quite new, consisting of a cement floor and a palm thatched roof. A shelter really with all sides open. There is a table, a bench and some homemade wooden chairs (also 2 plastic bucket chairs - more comfortable) and a table with a 2 burner stove
We slept in hammocks and lounged in them during the heat of the day. Spent time on the he beach under the palm trees dozing and reading. At one point a man came up and suggested that we should move as we were below coconuts that he thought might fall on us. We swam and walked the beach, all the stuff of a very lazy weekend.
The bad news was that on Sunday night 3 motors were stolen off the boats on the beach. Robbie's was one of them 2 men came along the beach with flashlights at 5:30 a.m. to get him. Apparently this has never happened in Galibi before. We feel so badly for Robbie and his wife. They are sweet people and trying so hard to keep things together and make something for themselves. He was able to borrow a boat motor from a neighbour
We left at dawn on Monday and had a beautiful ride back to Albina on a very calm sea (like glass really) We say dolphins in the water and a monkey in a tree.
Now, I am into a bit of a scramble to get things wrapped up in these last 3 days. It hardly seems real that I am heading home early Friday morning and in a few days can sit in my kitchen with a cup of good coffee and the Globe and Mail. Well, maybe not, I have a 1 year old to get to know again.
I am looking forward to: - warm hugs and wet kisses from my grandgirls, catching up with my girls, long lunches with friends, my bed and being chilly enough to snuggle in the duvet, a bathtub, my car that I can hop into and go where I want when I want, newspapers I can read, the film society, big soft snowflakes and crisp sunny days with snow covered trees. Just being home.
See you soon.