Ye Olde Dutch Guiana
Trip Start Dec 30, 2010
84Trip End Jul 06, 2011
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Where I stayed
We dock and head to immigration. Once visa is checked and passport stamped, I look for a ride to Paramaribo. I'm about a 3/4 hour drive away, so at the gate is some dude with a nice car that he is trying to fill. He is asking for 20 euro, not bad. I shop around, some bigger dude, is asking for 50 euro but we'll leave right now, now waiting to fill the mini van he has. No chance! I am more than happy to wait for 20 Euro. Slowly, the car fills. Some lady sits in the front, an Indian father and daughter sit behind me and eventually another Indian father and son sit next to me. We're full so set off. The lonely planet guide tells of the road terrain from Cayenne to Georgetown going west, that the state of the roads slowly get worse. This is how we drove, fast for thirty seconds, break hard, drive slowly through hole in road, not a bump or a small crack, a giant hole! Drive another thirty seconds, slow, drive through hole, speed up, slow down, speed up, slow down, oh boy! This lasted for 3 hours, on the way we were stopped by the police to check our passports, the two next to me didn't get an entry stamp so we all had to wait while that was sorted out.
I get to Paramaribo and the driver lets me out last but at my guesthouse, so that was good of him. He spoke English and some local dutch/local language mix to the others in the car.
Arrive at the hostel, I am a little tired from an early start, still thinking about how to fix my camera and get this etrade business sorted. I have been confirmed three nights at twenty4 guesthouse, but when I arrive a lady that lies, tells me I only have two nights booked, maybe they might squeeze me in a third night. I show her an email on my itouch confirming three nights, but she says that was sent by someone new and they didn't know what they were doing??? I predict she was the new girl or just lies. I'm in the basement, so she takes me to my room and for some reason, I don't know why, but when she tells me the room rate I kick up a fuss. I don't know why, and while I'm having a go at her, I'm wondering why I am having a go at her. Turns out the room is pretty great, well, to begin with. AC, en suite and three beds to select. Oh that was it, I looked at the room and straight away said, I'm not paying for three beds am I, and then I carried on, sorry lady that lies. She leaves and I take a couple hours nap.
I read about Roti for lunch, so I head off in search of some. I found one but have to admit to preferring the curry and veg to the rubbish roti. But, on the positive, they provide hand basins in the seating area, you know, with curry all over my face and hands, saves going to a disgusting bathroom. I wander around town some, and the heavens open again!! I stop at a little cafe for an ice cream and a coffee, maybe that will wake me up.
So, the plan was to spend one day in the jungle or seeing some turtles lay eggs on the beach or something like that, but that was not going to happen when I need to buy a new camera. It was either buy a new camera or go on a trip and I figure with the Angel Falls coming up soon, that will be a much better trip for pictures and experiences.
Then it rains. It rains more and more as I head through the Guianas. It is still warm, you know, no-one is dressed up to stay warm but the rain is so constant and so heavy that I'm continuing in my swimming shorts and popper top, at some point I'll have to change, but not yet!
I find an Internet cafe, try to fix this etrade issue, try find a hairdresser and think about the camera issue. How long before I give in and buy a new one.
The day was pretty low key, I skipped dinner, just bought some tasty juice and had an early night.
Miles walked 2.3
Day 66 March 10th - I had a great night sleep with the AC on, I did remember dreaming about being robbed and telling guy who was robbing me, that I have already been robbed but he can have my camera and phone. He looks at them and moans they are broken and so walks off. But, this morning, my phone turns on again!! It wasn't essential, but pretty handy to have a phone just in case, I've got two Sim cards so if the worst happens, at least I have a phone, by the worst, I mean can't find lunch, needing a football score etc. Sadly, camera is still dead.
I go upstairs and there is breakfast, looks like it's complimentary, so I grab a tasty squash like drink, coffee and some cheese and chorizo. I spend some time watching BBC world news with the sad news from Japan. After, I pack for the day and ask reception to book me a space on Bobbys minibus. This minibus drives direct from your guesthouse to your guesthouse in Georgetown, Guyana, so I need to get that space rather than trying to figure it out by myself.
I'm at the point where my hair needs cutting, it was pretty long when my bro saw me in Rio, but now, it's a mess. I remember seeing a barbers shack on the way in from Cayenne, so I head off in search of one. On the way I spot a camera shop and find one similar to what I had. I ask them to set it aside and I'll be back tomorrow, if the old one continues to not work, ahhh, fingers crossed. Then I walk, and walk and walk, pretty much in circles. I asked reception where I could find a cheap barbers but she said, yeah, just walk around. So I did and more and more walking till I was walking in areas where I shouldn't really be walking, but I need a trim. Finally, I see the classic sign for a barbers, you know, the red and white diagonal stripes.......when I got closer, it was a road sign! Then, I walk past a shed, look up and it says Isaacs barbers and some guy is sat reading the paper, 'are you Isaac?' I ask. He was. It was literally a small shed with a divide between waiting area and chair and he must have taken 40 minutes but it was a quality cut. We discussed the UK, he was a big football fan and he told me the Spurs result from the night before that I was yet to find out. Isaac was Indian looking but was born in Suriname, his parents moved over years ago, he loves the country and intends to live there for the rest of his life. He was pretty old though. The haircut ended with the old style razor blade to the back of my hair, I always am a bit nervous around those things since seeing Eastern Promises! No, the opening scene, not the sauna scene! Anyway, I asked him how much and he asked for very little so I tipped 20%. He could have asked for anything and I would have paid, but he was honest and a great guy. Now, I'm back to looking more presentable!
I leave the barbers with that 'just had a haircut' bounce in my step. I treat myself to an iced mocha. As the heavens opened again, I decided on an afternoon nap, without a camera, I am reluctant to do too much exploring. That does sound stupid I know, but I have more fun exploring with a camera, trying to find decent shots, scenes, that just walking around avoiding the rain.
After my afternoon nap, I find out I can stay another night but I am to move rooms. It was during my nap that I heard something move in the ceiling. I assume a rat or mouse, but later see a little gecho, so just assume he was a heavy one. It reminds me of the time I spent in the worst guesthouse ever......Punta Del Diablo, Uruguay. Let's see, it was more of a condemned hut than a hostel style room. There was a dying dog beside the hut, there was no bedding to the mattress with holes in, there was little ceiling, we could barely open or close the front door, no electricity, and no toilet paper. I assume we were forced to take it at gun point. Anyway, that night, after we had spread all out clothes over the bed as bedding, something moved in the ceiling all night. Not just once or twice, constantly moving, luckily the person I was with was busy snoring all night not to notice. I, on the other hand, had very little sleep.
I find some cheap chicken burger and juice for my evening meal and call it a night again.
Sad to say, but I feel I was hitting a brick wall. I read about travelling and how at some points, your morale becomes low, and you feel like you can't move on or you've just had enough. I'm in Suriname, a place where few have visited, a place that used to be Dutch Guiana, but I'm just not feeling the travel excitement that I have felt throughout the trip so far. I'm sure it will pass, maybe I have SAD and just have had enough of the rain and being wet.
Miles walked 2.45
Day 67 March 11th - Today is buy a camera day and explore Paramaribo. I grab breakfast again and find out we are charged for it. So this time, I had 4 coffees, 4 cups of juice and continued eating cheese, chorizo and bread with peanut butter till I felt a bit sick. The worst thing is, when something runs out, they don't replace it, so there were eggs both mornings but empty plates when I turn up. The girl at reception, who doesn't lie, asked me to remind her to confirm the minibus for tomorrow.
I quickly check my insurance, am I covered? No. I head to the camera shop and move them from 610 Suriname dollars to 560. So I'm pleased with the savings. It does not come with a card or a case and it is not charged. I head straight back to my room and charge the camera and now the wifi in the hostel is working. I have a camera card issue but end up going back to where I bought the camera and getting another one and also finding a camera case, to prevent future wetting instances!! I then set off to explore Paramaribo properly and this is what I saw.
Of course, while exploring the city, it rained some more, so I was very careful with my camera. I enjoyed the wooden buildings, it reminds me of say a small town in the USA, like Plymouth for example. Again, very few buildings pass three floors, all buildings are made from wood unless they are a bank or government building. The river edge was beautiful in places, but pretty disgusting in others. It is infact a protected heritage site. I loved the tall bridge that brings you into Paramaribo, I crossed that on the way from Albina, just a piece of original design that you don't often see. I spent a good 3/4 hours plodding around in the rain, before I gave up and found some food for dinner. I went for some chicken. Nothing special, after a pretty expensive day, something cheap.
I get back to the hostel and ask the lady who lies about Bobbys minibus. Half an hour later, I'm ready to slap her. She rang three people before she rang Bobbys minibus, and I go to bed convinced that I have no ride. The bus will pick me up at 5am, so I have an early night, in preparation for an early start and needing to pack my bag also.
Miles walked 3.6
Day 68 March 12th - I barely sleep and then the alarm goes off. I have trouble sleeping when I have an early start, just paranoid about missing the alarm.
I head outside, in the rain, and I'm not the only one waiting for the bus. Tim for Chicago is, but he told me that I had cancelled my spot on the bus??? Man, that woman!! I'll continue Tim and the ride to Guyana on the next blog.
Suriname - Sad to say, I did not see a full spectrum of the country or its wildlife and nature. I enjoyed speaking English again but there was going to be one country where I hit my brick wall. I expect Suriname, in the hot season, is spectacular, and I'd be happy to come back again to explore.