Pancakes, canals and dykes in the tropics
Trip Start Jun 27, 2007
22Trip End Sep 14, 2007
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"Which one is Brian's?" I asked, having been told a few hours earlier that 'Brian' was expecting me on his. Nobody knew, and few people were keen on letting me onto their bus. After a heated discussion between two drivers one agreed to take me on, and I clambered on to take my place on a makeshift seat. We headed off down the brick-red tracks that cut a swathe through the jungle until we came out into the pancake flat agricultural belt of the Surinamese coast. We picked up speed as the heat of the day bore down, heading east along pothole flecked roads, apparently partly due to lasting bomb damage from the recent civil war.
Suriname is officially a Dutch-speaking country but it seems they can't really make up their minds. Roadsigns and advertisements will occasionally be in English, other times in Dutch, and sometimes in the local amerindian dialect. Most people, impressively, seemed to be able to speak all three.
A few hours later, and after being transferred between 3 different minibuses (the drivers still in heated argument over who was responsible for me), we arrived in Paramaribo. I was driven to the twenty4 guesthouse, where I managed to grab the last bed and a much needed shower.
I headed out down to the waterfront to sample some of the famous Suriname cuisine, finding a series of Asian-influenced food stalls overlooking the Suriname river, and passed a few hours in the company of some delicous spring rolls, and in conversation with some locals and migrants from Guyana before succumbing to the lack of sleep and heading home.
The next two days I spent exploring this fascinating city on foot, with its windy streets lined with wooden colonial houses, wandering around the old fort, and the awesome 'Palmentuin': a small park with 1000 enormous palm trees set just behind the presidential palace (where I was nearly arrested/fined for accidently straying into the gardens of).
However after three days here, travel weariness was definitely beginning to set in, and money was again beginning to run out, so I got up early to catch the bus to the Maroon river that separates Suriname from French Guyana - the final 'country' for me to tick off in South America. A milestone I had finally and somewhat wearily achieved.