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Published: August 8th 2007
Stats and Thanks
We've been on the road for a little over a month-and-a-half and most of you have been right there with us. We appreciate it. We've had steady comments from Joan in Trinidad, Shana from Mexico, Tyrone from England, Sacha from Aruba, -G- from Curacao, Nadia from Antigua, Annelies from Holland and Robert from Guyana. Remember we thrive on comments, so keep them coming!
Again, we can't individually respond to and thank everybody so please accept this mass 'thanks'. Five destinations and 19 blogs later, here are some stats of your visits to our site: - Total Viewers: 7265
Most read Blog: Guyana: So much to do, So little time
- overtook Aruba Dushi Terra
There was a banging on the door
Thank You / Masha Danki / Dank Je Wel / Muchas Gracias
. "Time to wake up", Daddy said. We were already awake but Pops is like that. It was 4:05 am on the morning that we'd start the overland journey to Suriname
. We were only in Guyana for a week but we had to break away and go to Guyana's eastern neighbour because Vibert had an appointment at the Dutch embassy for his visa. Besides we couldn't be so close
and not visit. We'd both never been to Suriname before and Shanna had lots of family living there.
Robert, Petra and Ammiel decided to make it a family trip and drive us up to the crossing. We loaded our two knap sacks and the day pack in the trunk of the car and cradled the half-awake child and off we went at 4:30 am. The drive would take two hours from Melanie along the east coast to Rosignol where we'd take a boat across the Berbice River to New Amsterdam. From New Amsterdam we'd have to drive another two-and-a-half hours to Moleson Creek and from there take the ferry over to South Drain on the Suriname side.
It was a cold, dark morning and no sensible person was out of bed. The newly-installed street lights made early morning driving so much easier but they only continued about three miles up from Melanie. The dark road posed many dangers in the forms of sleeping animals. To further complicate things, rain started to fall and the poor visibility was further reduced. We cut speed and
not a moment too soon. Just in the nick of time we saw some cows
and while Robert maneuvered around them Shanna whipped out the camera and fired off a few shots.
From time to time it was more of the same as animals flocked to the street for warmth. The day gradually got brighter and brighter and around 6:00 we pulled in line behind a few other cars at the Rosignol Ferry Terminal. The terminal was a huge wooden facility built partly over the water. It had a gangway so that vehicles could drive thru and into the ferry. Vibert bought tickets at G$780 for the car and G$60 per passenger. The regular boat didn't come though. Its replacement, the M.B. Sandaka, a barge-like pontoon (or pontoon-like barge) docked at 6:45. Robert drove the car on to the pontoon and gingerly reversed into position. The deck hands packed more than 20 vehicles on board with passengers inside. Shanna, who'd never seen this before watched in horror as another vehicle came so close that our doors could barely open
😱. When we were properly sardined, the motors revved and we eased off from the terminal. At some time during the 20-minute crossing we squeezed out the car and stood watching the passing healthy mangroves and the
odd riverside sawmills. We saw, up north, where the Berbice River emptied into the Atlantic.
On terra firma again, we skirted the town of New Amsterdam altogether and made a beeline straight for Moleson Creek. Soon we reached No. 19 road - the longest straight road in the Caribbean. It runs straight without turning for 7 miles (we checked the odometer). Nineteen small villages are packed into this stretch. This journey thru Guyana's 'ancient county' was scenic. Rice and sugarcane fields extended as far as the eyes could see and stately coconut trees swayed in the morning breeze. Massive combines (rice harvesting machines) and muddy tractors with huge wheels for traction lined the street in certain villages. The place had a retro feel but then some huge rice mill or impressive house would shatter the mood. The house lots were more spacious than on the East Coast and the neighbours were farther apart. Shanna liked Berbice for all these reasons and then, of course, for the cows on the roadway.
Annie, a cousin, was waiting for us in Kilter Village. We got there 4:30 am minutes before our trip to Suriname started..around 8:30 am and straightaway smelled the
'goodness' from her kitchen. She laid out plates of roti and chicken and potato curry for breakfast and we abandoned our vegetarian status (if only for a few minutes). Stuffed, we waddled back to the car and still managed to fit Annie and Paula (another cousin) in and on we went. A few miles off Moleson Creek we passed thru Corriverton - a countryside town. The main attraction was the many 'pimped out' Tapir-brand vehicles which now worked as taxis. These vehicles were once, a long, long time ago, popular in Guyana but somehow they all suddenly disappeared. It seemed like they all just relocated to Corriverton. A few minutes after 'Tapir Land' we ran into a cul-de-sac and the end of Guyana's motorable roads in the east. The Guyana/Suriname Ferry Terminal was buzzing with activity as people and vehicles awaited the arrival of the M.V. Canawaima from the Suriname side.
G$3,000 (USD 15) per person was made to the rudest, power-drunk cashier we had ever met
nd after immigration and customs and a slight wait in the departure hall, we walked with the rest of the passengers to the ferry. The MV Canawaima looked sturdy, clean and efficient.
Both the Guyanese and Surinamese flags fluttered above us and birds sang and flew around a hollowed-out section below the captain's bird's-eye-view chambers. And as we sat on board staring at the Corentyne River which separated the green Guyana side from the visible, nearby green Suriname side, we were thrilled and our thoughts wandered. Shanna would fulfill another dream of hers - to visit the land of her fore-parents and meet family members. She longed to eat 'pinda soup' made in Suriname by Surinamese and experience the emancipation celebrations which were to be held in a week or so. Vibert wanted to experience the culture and diversity of a land so similar and yet so different from his country. The low hum of the engine woke us out of our daydreaming and the Canawaima started to pull away from the Guyana side taking with it two excited world travellers to Sranang Tongo Land.
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