Wooden Cathedral and Dutch Houses
Trip Start Jun 03, 2012
86Trip End Feb 20, 2013
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The road is better than expected although there are some short stretches of dirt road ,but there is construction along the way so things are improving quickly. Paramaribo is much larger than Cayenne and seems to have a number of Casinos!!
The town is built on the Surinam River about 20km from the Atlantic. There is a large bridge spanning the river but the locals still use water taxis to cross the river. There are a large number od modern European and Japanese cars here bur very few scooters, motorbikes or push bikes, which seems to indicate a big gap between haves and hav nots. There are many different ethnic groups here, Afocan, Indian , Chinese and Indonesian all doing their thing. Not a lot of Europeans though. Plenty of young backbakers about mainly Dutch.
The Central Market on the Waterkant is in 3 parts. The upper story is clothes and household and dominated by the perennial shopkeepers of the world, the Indians. Downstairs the fruit and fish commercial market but the most interesting part was the separate Herbal Market. Here the stalls are full of strange twigs,roots,leaves and jars of potions and strange dried roots. I have no idea what any of it was for but is was different.
Many of the public buildings have been restored but not all, the Ministry of Police could do with an upgrade to say the least. .
The banks and lawyers have taken up residence in the best of th Dutch Colonial buildings and are keeping them in beautiful condition. We had a great walk around the town taking in the local feel and taking wat too many pictures. The jewel in the crown though is st Peter and St Paul Cathedral which was been recently restored, with EU money, but has to be worth every penny/euro. It was originally built for the poor and the slaves and is now the central point of the town.
It rains heavily twice a day but you can see it coming across the river so there is plenty of time to take covet at one of the many waterfront bars or stay on the hostel veranda until the deluge has passed.
Three of us have opted to take the boat trip to try and see the Pink River Dolphins, they are rare and not been found in many places. Unbelievably we did see them and one of us got a picture.... I didn't even try after my miserable failures in NZ. I did however see them an they were beautiful. A nicely judged return trip gave us a beautiful sunset in the river mouth of the Suriname River and the Atlantic. The fact that the tour included free drinks had little to do with the enjoyment.
Travelling west we saw flat lands an large rice paddies which have been carved out of the jungle for many years to supply the necessary ingredients for Nasi Goreng.
We arrive early for the ferry but as we are large and there is only one ferry we need to secure our place in the queue. Passport control is charming and we cook up a quick truck lunch while we wait. The duty free store not only provide cheap spirits for the next section of the trip but more importantly ...... Air conditioning. I am up to 3 showers a day when I can get them!