Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Suriname re visited!

Suriname is a multi cultural country with a varied ethnic mix and this is obvious by the range of different restaurants in Paramaribo. With our water pump broken and having to wait for parts we had the opportunity to check out quite a few. David the rally organiser took us to a beautiful one called The Garden of Eden. It's a bit off the beaten track but worth a visit...like walking into someone's home. The food is Thai and you can see it being cooked ...there is a peaceful air to the place and we had an excellent night there. In contrast to this we hired a car and went over the bridge to New Amsterdam and the Fort there. We had been warned that there would be no where to have lunch but did not heed this advice. When we made it to the Fort (a fort in the loosest sense of the word!) we asked at the office who directed us to a Chinese take away a little way down the road . We managed to sit down with a beer and order and were presented with the most enormous potion of chicken and fried rice ....it would happily have fed four for lunch at the very reasonable price of 15SRD! We took at least half back to the boat with us ....supper sorted!While at Waterland Noel the owners ,wife celebrated her 50th,it was quite a celebration with a band,dancing girls and bubble machine and bouncy castle for the kids. It was a great afternoon!

Paramaribo is worth a good look ....the markets are excellent and there are different ethnic areas Javanese, Brazilian, Chinese and Indian influences can be seen. There are European supermarkets but the majority of supermarkets seem to be run by the Chinese.
It is also the only place I have been to where the Cathedral(wooden and well worth a look) is side by side with the synagogue and mosque.
There are also a lot of Casinos in Paramaribo , we were told over 50 and I can believe it! There seemed to be three or four in every street in the centre of Paramaribo.
We liked Suriname a lot but it became obvious that our water pump was not going to arrive before we needed to leave so the question was what to do. We really did not want to miss the opportunity to go to see St.Laurent and all the celebrations at the end of the rally. We were lucky and managed to hitch a ride with another rally participant. St.Laurent is just over the other other side of the water to a town in Suriname called Albina. Pirogues ply back and forth across the water all the time so we decided to spend a few nights in a hotel in St.Laurent with the luxury of air con and then return to Orion via Albina.
The celebration in St.Laurent was great, bands came out to meet us and we were followed into Port by jet skis. The Mayor, or a representative for the Mayor,presented us with all sorts of goodies, rum,a beautiful bunch of flowers, a lovely book about rum making and other assorted nik naks. It was very generous of them and much appreciated by all. St.Laurent is not surprisingly very French!  There is a Super U hypermarket there which sent the Swiss contingent in the rally into ecstasies as they were able to buy decent cheese for fondue! There is also a very good market twice a week excellent produce on sale. However not having our boat there John and I were unable to take advantage of any of it! Shame. It is an interesting town and whilst the prison there makes pretty grim viewing it is a major tourist feature of the town. As you walk around the town areas of interest are well documented. It would be easy to walk past the tiny houses still occupied by families without giving it a second thought until a sign outside one tells you that these were originally houses for those leaving the prison and it was felt that one door and one window would suffice for their homes.

The first night there John and I were told about a classical violinist playing at one of the bars. We popped along for a look...he was very good and as we sat listening to him sipping our delicious Belgian beer a local came up to us and took us by surprise. 'I have just one question' he asked ' Why did you burn Joan of Arc?' Somewhat dumbfounded by this we of course protested our innocence! Only to have the violinist come over to us and tell to be quiet while he was playing!! You win some you lose some.....we apologised and carried on sipping our beer.
We enjoyed our few days in St Laurent and it seemed like the town was gearing up for the new marina there. The internet connection was in place and was ceremoniously turned on in front of crowds and the moorings should be in place in the coming months. There were already boats there when we arrived and I am sure more will come once the facilities are in place. All the yachties who were there that we spoke to had come up from South Africa and I think that this is the most likely route for many.
John and I made our way back to the boat in Suriname taking a pirogue for 4euros over the Maroni River to the other side. Albina is another world compared to St.Laurent. There were guys selling monkeys,parrots and budgies. These were all crowded into cages containing about 15/20 animals each cage. John considered buying the parrots and setting them free but decided that they would find there way back into the cages in a matter of hours. Our driver back to Waterland,Frank was an interesting guy who kept us entertained with interesting facts about Suriname for the two hour journey. We arrived back at the boat safe and sound with the news that our parts would be arriving on Thursday....and they did. John was up early on Friday to fit the part... fingers crossed it was the right one and it was !!
We are back in business and our plan is to move out as soon as possible.
My thoughts on the rally are mixed. In the main I really enjoyed it. It is not for the inexperienced sailor and the tides and currents need to be taken into consideration. It is also not for those who want to swim in blue water. We were in Rivers, the water was fresh and you could swim but you needed to be wary of the currents that could run as fast as 2/3 knots! I don't think it is ever going to have enormous numbers participating and that is the way the organisers want it I think. It will evolve as long as those involved are flexible and understanding of the needs of everyone. The docking issues in Suriname need to be sorted and I know this year promises were made and not kept but if all else fails those participating in the rally could always pop in if they are the way North to the Caribbean.All three countries are fascinating in different ways which is what makes it so different and thoroughly enjoyable!

No comments:

Post a Comment