Published: April 21st 2011April 21st 2011
Sorry for the recent radio silence. The travel day to Suriname was a long one, and mostly without problems. Maybe more on that later.
The main thing is that we are on the ground, and visiting with our friend Astrid MacDonald, who lives south of Parimaribo. We met Astrid 15 years ago when Sue Holloway and the late Murray Kocis asked us to host her through an organization called Canadian Crossroads. She lived with us for three months, and we thoroughly tortured her with various activities in the cold fall weather.
Now it's her turn for revenge. Despite this supposedly being the rainy season, we haven't had any appreciable rain in the last two days, and have instead been met with unbelievable, unrelenting heat. Our first full day, yesterday, started nice enough, but around nine in the morning it started getting uncomfortably warm. By ten it was opressive, and at 1pm unbearable. Around 6pm it started getting nice again. I have no idea how people live here.
Mercifully, Astrid has an air conditioner in the main bedroom which she has given up for our use here. So we are comfortable at night and can sleep well.
Suriname is definitely off the beaten path, so most people don't know a lot about it. I'll give you a bit of background. This is probably the most culturally diverse country in the Americas. Given that only a half million people live here, they have roots from Africa, Java, China and India. And they all speak Dutch because the Dutch were the last and most dominant colonial power before the country achieved independence. A local dialect of Dutch includes words from many different languages, and has a strong Carribean accent.
We now realize how valuable our limited spanish was to us in Latin America. Here, we are completely reliant on finding english speakers, or using Astrid to translate for us. Because we are light skinned (understatement), most locals assume we are dutch tourists, and happily start talking with us in Dutch.
Today we are at a river front resort east of Parimaribo, and enjoyed the pool this afternoon. The rooms here are also air conditioned, so that's good.
Hopefully will update again in a few days.