Published: May 10th 2010August 15th 2009
Due to our late arrival we would need to catch up on some sleep before seeing Paramaribo. As time for us is beginning to run out we only really had one week to spend in the Guyanas. We were already up against it because we could only fly into Suriname - flying into French Guiana would have been the logical route. However the only international flights to Cayenne are from Paris and classed as a domestic flight. This logistical problem means that we would have to move quickly if we were to visit French Guiana, due to the fact that we would be doubling back on ourselves. More time issues have also come to light for the last segment of our trip here - getting from Guyana back to Venezuela is near impossible. The two countries are not on good diplomatic terms, leading to no border crossing between the two countries and also no flights. The only way would be an extremely time-consuming route overland via Brazil or an even more time-consuming and much dodgier crossing via the open ocean and a very small boat. Intrepid we may be, but sense won out and we opted for the overland route. As
there were a few things we wanted to do in French Guyana, we wanted to take the opportunity (and time) and decided to plan around an extended visit. It would mean moving swiftly and we wouldn’t end up with much time in the rest of the Guyanas.
We now would only have one day here in Paramaribo so our late start didn’t do us any favours. As the central markets sounded interesting we caught a cab straight into the thick of it. Meandering around smaller markets led to the central market, a collection of stalls containing just about anything you could want. Foods, clothes, hardware, software etc - all, it seems, at an incredibly reasonable price. What was also intriguing was the fusion of cultures… Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Muslim and Rastafarian. Suriname it seems has a healthy population of rastas - actually more than I’ve seen in the rest of the Caribbean (Suriname and Guyana are the only South American nations that are part of the Caribbean Community). Central market was full of colour and the rasta stalls were the most interesting, complete with rasta spiel!
After we had finished milling around the market with its friendly stall keepers we
moved onto the old town. Suriname was a Dutch colony and it’s plain to see the similarities in the old town: Paramaribo is a mini Amsterdam. Streets of wooden architecture in a typical Amsterdam style lead to a humble square containing the Surinamese seat of power. The close-by unthreatening fort guards the riverbanks lined with Dutch naval buildings. We sat and had a couple of drinks in the humid afternoon. However the peace was ruined by a ragged, dirty, tramp foaming at the mouth. He seemed to take a liking to me and, deciding to put his stealth skills to good use, he would try to mug me. Well it was more like scene from Shaun of the Dead. As the zombiefied fiend grabbed hold of me I thought I would end up having to clout him. Luckily I managed to wriggle away and out of a possible ‘situation’. We would later see him harassing other people who were just trying to enjoy the afternoon.
That was about all we had time for in our day in Paramaribo. Different and very Dutch! Full Photos on Flickr
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