Array ( [total] => 17 [pageSize] => 24 [page] => 0 [results] => Array ( [866] => Array ( [iID] => 866 [tTitle] => Marienburg [tSlug] => marienburg [iTime] => 1045263600 [iUpdate] => 1045263600 [tDescription] => Driving towards Marienburg, we halted at Lila her parents house. After Kamta's numerous exotic fruits we were now stuffed with small snacks and fantastic roti. When we had cycled from town to New Amsterdam, we had halted at the same house, gaping at the sheer size and the small temple in the garden. We were impressed. Most of Lila's family had shops or businesses in the neighborhood and one owned the furniture manufacturer across the street from her parents house. Underneath one of the tables in the house, several Dutch and German mail order catalogs were laying around. If you wanted anything from her brother's, you just looked for the right closet, bed, door or cupboard in any of the catalogs and it would be custom built. It explained why many of the Surinamese interiors look quite 'bombastic': Someone is yet to bring in an IKEA catalog. 
 Marienburg is really amazing. That is, if you like your buildings in very bad shape. The factory was opened in 1882 to ensure local sugarcane farmers in getting a reasonable price for their work. After a bloody demonstration, early in the factory's history, the 'Nederlandse Handelsmaatschappij', a precursor to the ABN-AMRO, tried to make the plantation profitable. Sixty kilometers of rail were built and electrical machines for producing sugar, alcohol and rum were imported. However, due to lower and lower sugar prices and several bad harvests, the factory was unable to remain profitable. In 1964, it was sold to another Dutch consortium who sold it, ten years later, for 1 guilder to the Surinamese government. In the early 80s, the factory was closed although still many of those workers receive a monthly pay. In Suriname, it's not easy to lay off government workers. It is almost impossible to believe that the factory was only shut down twenty years ago. Already, floors are caving in, walls have disappeared, large insects and small animals live all over the place and vegetation is slowly claiming victory. After I had seen almost every aspect of the area and had been dragged out by Betsy for taking so long, we ate some of the oranges Kamta had taken with him from their plot of land in Commewijne. Shortly after, a small Javanese guy cycled up to us, saying he did tours of the facility. Since we had already seen the whole place, we didn't need his services but suddenly, he started to speak much faster, in Surinamese, claiming he had three kids, a small salary and, gasp, had just had surgery, after which he showed us a big 30cm scar on his tummy. Kamta was starting to get annoyed but offered him half an orange. Only when we left and the guy asked me for a coke did Kamta get pissed and cursed the guy away. Later, when at Kamta's parents place, we heard that the guy doesn't have any kids at all. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 3900 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 892 [iOldID] => 1240 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462189638 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 15 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => 5.92102 [fLongitude] => -55.0271 [tLocation] => Marienburg [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20030215 ) [865] => Array ( [iID] => 865 [tTitle] => Peperpot [tSlug] => peperpot [iTime] => 1045177200 [iUpdate] => 1045177200 [tDescription] => At Peperpot, lanti (the government) used to grow cocoa and coffee. A while ago, the area was sold off to private investors and still, on a small scale, coffee and cocoa are grown there. Due to the bad shape of the plant and the high cost of processing the raw materials, it's no longer possible to market the products professionally. However, middle men buy the produce and sell it in town. In a couple of supermarkets, it is possible to buy Peperpot coffee. Kamta had taken out the pickup to drive us around. We had met Kamta and Lila while at 'Op weg naar zee', were we had witnessed a Hindu cremation. On the road to Peperpot, the sides were littered with Coffee, cocoa, mango and many exotic fruits just growing in the wild. Kamta decided we had to taste them all. When he noticed a group of ripe cocoa beans, he had to take them down. Quite an issue, since they were hanging right next to a bunch of busy bees. It took him a while and five bites, but we did get our cocoa beans. We had agreed to meet Kamta and Lila at Tangelo's, a hip coffee shop in the Paramaribo nightlife district. When we arrived, I decided to have a filling breakfast and went in to order. When I came back out, Kamta and Lila had arrived and it turned out they were not only taking us to Peperpot and Marienburg, but also to both their parents. I was happily munching away my three sandwiches when they said that both their parents had made roti and snacks for us. After visiting Kamta's parents, the second social visit of the day, Betsy and I just barely had enough power to get into the pickup. At the apartment, my girlfriend rolled me inside. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 2884 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 891 [iOldID] => 1239 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462091693 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 10 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => 5.81139 [fLongitude] => -55.0813 [tLocation] => Peperpot [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20030214 ) [864] => Array ( [iID] => 864 [tTitle] => Growth and decay [tSlug] => growth-and-decay [iTime] => 1045090800 [iUpdate] => 1045090800 [tDescription] => After the abolition of slavery and the loss of cheap labor, the plantations of Surinam soon became unattractive for exploitation. For a while, it was tried with people from China, India and Java, but to no effect. The cost was simply too high. Taking the lead from the Portuguese, who brought the slave trade to Brazil, the English imported slaves into Suriname from the middle of the 17th century. The Africans survived the abominable conditions much better then the 'red slaves', the local indians, did. With this source of cheap labor, the sides of the Suriname river were cultivated. It would take another couple of years before the coast was also cultivated, due to the higher demand on labor by the clay-dominated ground. When the Zeeuwen, from the southern coastal region of the Netherlands, won Suriname from the English in 1667, the English took their slaves with them to Tobago. It was the new Dutch governor who introduced polders (low lying ground, drained by milling stations), dikes and canals and started the exploitation of the rich coastal area. Running a plantation was expensive and often very difficult and riddled with setbacks. Many of the plantation names remember this: Sorrow and hope, Good hope, Jacob's struggle, etc. After a crash on the Amsterdam stock market in 1773, many plantation owners left for Holland, leaving their plantation in the hands of an overseer. More often than not, this overseer tried to maximize his short term profit by over-exploiting the soil and labor. As a result, in 1863, when slavery was abolished, already half of the plantations were no longer in use. The new immigrants from Java, India and China who were paid contract workers couldn't change the tide. Although all were offered a trip back to their home country after completion of their contract, only few did go back. They came to Suriname mostly because their situation back home was bleak in the first place. The result was a multicultural Suriname. Only few of the plantations are still (partially) working. Still, these are struggling to stay afloat. On the sites of the Peperpot and Marienburg plantations, people still do some work, although only a part of the Peperpot plantation is still slightly in use. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 3606 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 877 [iOldID] => 1238 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1461976199 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 6 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => 5.82628 [fLongitude] => -55.1517 [tLocation] => Onafhankelijkheidsplein [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20030213 ) [861] => Array ( [iID] => 861 [tTitle] => St. Laurent du Maroni [tSlug] => st-laurent-du-maroni [iTime] => 1044831600 [iUpdate] => 1044831600 [tDescription] => Everyone in Suriname whom we told we'd be going to French Guyana considered us crazy. A couple of months before, one, yes that's one, bus was robbed by bandits. Probably since many illegal Brazilian gold diggers use the route to Albina and on to French Guyana to smuggle gold out of the country. This story, during the months since the robbery, was enlarged and modified and now everyone felt that every trip to Albina, where you cross the Marowijne river to get to French Guyana, was a high-risk trip. Of course, we didn't listen at all to this advice and left for Albina anyway. The only problem we had was with the driver. The road to Albina is bad, very bad, but the driver didn't seem to mind. Several times, I looked around the bus to see if I could find a list of best laptimes. The man was driving like crazy. Still, the trip was cheaper than your average Fairground ride and worse for the bones so I guess we somehow got our money's worth. Albina used to be a city where people went to escape from the 'busy' life in Paramaribo. A very green city, with many hotels, hammock camps, soothing views of the river and more. However, during the civil war in the 80s, the city was raised two times and now, although it's slowly gaining back something of its past glory, it's not much more than a transit point for traffic going to and from French Guyana. Even before the bus had reached our destination, we were already beaten into submission by people trying to get us on their korjaal (narrow boats) to cross the river to France. On the other side of the river, we noticed the ferry, waiting for its second and final crossing of the day. It only held room for some two cars and a handful of people. A couple of days later, when we were traveling back to Suriname on the same river, we shared a korjaal with a Brazilian couple. The guy, some 35 years old, was missing several teeth but was smiling most of the time. He tried to talk to me in a mix of Brazilian, English and TakiTaki (Surinamese). When he mentioned his reason for leaving Brazil, he apparently had killed someone over there, I kept on smiling as if it was the most normal thing to hear.
The boatsman later put everything in perspective: 'When the awaras (a local fruit) are ripe, the river is very unquiet. When the awaras haven't ripened yet, the river is as smooth as can be...' Back in Paramaribo, I had checked to see if there would be a launch at the Kourou spaceport during our stay, but nothing was planned for weeks. So we were surprised when, upon our arrival in St. Laurent, we learned that a launch was scheduled for that very night. We had rented a car in St. Laurent. Not that we had cash to spare, but since public transport is virtually non-existent, we didn't really have a choice. In Holland, back home, I discovered I never returned the car papers. Mild justice for the way we were treated by the only car rental in St. Laurent. When we returned the car, the office was closed. I had to call them but, although my French isn't all that bad, I had a hard time understanding the lady on the phone. To make things easier, each time I mentioned I hadn't fully understood her, she would repeat the exact same sentence, only twice as fast.
 We learned, through a special telephone number, that the launch at the spaceport would be postponed to the next night. A good thing since we had decided that we really wanted to stay in St. Laurent for the night.
Our arrival in France was typical: Baguettes, French cheese, Belgian beers, good pastas and amazingly high prices. During our five days in French Guayana, we spent more cash than over two weeks in Suriname. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 5840 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 887 [iOldID] => 1235 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462219713 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 8 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => 5.70823 [fLongitude] => -53.9429 [tLocation] => St. Laurent du Maroni [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20030210 ) [860] => Array ( [iID] => 860 [tTitle] => On Brownsberg [tSlug] => on-brownsberg [iTime] => 1044745200 [iUpdate] => 1044745200 [tDescription] => We had decided to relax at Brownsberg. Read a book, drink some beers, enjoy the view of the lake and maybe take a short walk in the woods. It didn't happen. Directly after our arrival, we were kidnapped by Sean ('Seen') and Ganesh, the guide and cook of two Americans, Bob and Vera, an older couple, and their personal Peruvian birdwatcher. The two guys had already tagged along for ten days and, by now, had gone all but completely mad by the American couple. During the evening, we stopped by to check them out for ourselves and if it wouldn't have been for me being too tired, I might just have killed either one of them. After every remark, Vera replied one of the following: "Oh my word!", "Fantastic!", "Really?" or "Oh my!". When we were about to leave, she talked for a second with Betsy: V: "It was so nice meeting you, I would love to see you again tomorrow!�" B: "But you're leaving tomorrow morning at six o'clock.�" V: "Oh, that's right, yeah." Sean, as it turned out a childhood friend of Betsy, and Ganesh, taking us along to escape the Americans wasn't all that remarkable after all. The walk to the waterfalls, however, was. On steep slopes and even steeper stairs we walked down for an hour, after which we had to walk up again for some two hours. Luckily, I guess, we got to see monkeys, snakes and a fist-sized tarantula. After meeting the Americans, we moved, together with Ganesh and Sean, to a campfire around which two Dutch galls and one Dutch guy were sitting, together with their "slave", not saying much to another. Sean, who was considering obtaining some fresh meat for the night, took along his guitar to impress his audience. He could have succeeded if the Dutch hadn't been so grumpy. Bimbo had come to Suriname on an exchange project for a couple of months and her brother Bozo and a girlfriend Nancy had come over for a short holiday. Most particularly, Bozo and Bimbo seemed to be at odds with the rest, for unspecified reasons. Nancy tried to liven things up by doing a twist in the light of the campfire on one of Sean's tunes, but to no avail. First Bimbo and shortly after, Bozo grumpily left. Nancy, unsure of what was going on, followed only minutes later. After sitting at the campfire for hours, not saying anything, they suddenly had found volumes to talk about from inside their hammocks, like little children being away from their parents for the first time and sneakily staying up later than allowed. In fact, they made so much noise that the English couple that was sleeping in the van next to our building, thought that we had gone out drinking with the whole group. Shortly after Nancy left, we all went to bed and I was able to fall asleep quickly. Betsy's request to the three Dutchmen to be a little bit more quiet didn't help. They went on for hours.
 The English couple, Mike and Aly, had bought a van in Chile, in January 2002 and had been traveling around South America since. Now, they had almost come to the end of their trip, with only another four months to go.
The second night on Brownsberg, we played Troefcall with them and taught them how to do a tjoerie. According to Sean, you're not Surinamese if you can't play Troefcall or can't do a tjoerie. Troefcall is a fairly simple card game you play with four people. A tjoerie is a disapproving sucking sound you make with your mouth almost closed and your tongue pressed against your upper teeth. Later, we met Mike and Aly again, in Kourou, in French Guyana. The cook at Brownsberg, Rocky van Ommeren, turned out to be a good friend of dr. Stolting, an old acquaintance of Betsy who works as a doctor in the state owned hospital in town. Rocky used to be the master chef there for several years. He now only left Brownsberg for a couple of days a month to get the right spices and such, but he was pleasantly surprised by us, according to him, finally some normal tourists. In fact, he was so happy, that he took us on a walking trip the next day. A 15km walking trip. Just like the day before, we basically had no choice and went along. This time we didn't see many animals either: a kolibri, some monkeys and, hurray, some more tarantulas.
 It's difficult not be woken by the shouting of baboons in the early hours of the day. Although the monkeys themselves aren't big at all, their shouts sound like a big storm that's raging right next to you.
Together with Rocky, we tried to find a group and although we managed to come close, at some point, one of the baboons shouted 'HO!' and all was quiet.
Later, Rocky told us that as we were driving away from the main camp, together with Mike and Aly, several baboons were hanging in the trees close to the entrance. Other animals we saw were mostly large insects. Huge butterflies, gigantic flies and a big dancing mantis. The mantis was in fact a praying mantis. When I was packing my bag, I noticed the mantis marching towards me but since I didn't want to step on top of it, I tried to lure it away. I thought I had succeeded but was proven wrong when Mike noticed it was actually camping on my back. He took it off and placed it on the table in front of him. Immediately, the mantis walked towards me, to the edge of the table. If I did a step to the left, he mirrored my action, if I took a step to the right, he did the same, I started to hold my arms like he did, in a praying fashion and moved my arms to the side, which he would do too, coming slightly closer all the time.
I already started to have a vision of me becoming rich by starting a flea circus and already had thought of a name of my mantis: Spargo. Then Spargo jumped of the table, against my head and flew away. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 3097 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 885 [iOldID] => 1234 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462159589 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 5 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => 5.02255 [fLongitude] => -55.1788 [tLocation] => Brownsberg [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20030209 ) [859] => Array ( [iID] => 859 [tTitle] => Beasts of Brownsberg [tSlug] => beasts-of-brownsberg [iTime] => 1044658800 [iUpdate] => 1044658800 [tDescription] => Brownsberg, a hill in the jungle of Suriname with a fantastic view of the Brokopondo artificial lake is actually owned by Suralco, part of Alcoa, an American company which turns Bauxite into aluminum. Bauxite is widely available in Suriname and is important for the war industry. The fact that Alcoa is American and is only concerned with optimizing profits was clear when we were on Brownsberg. Years ago, in 1970, the mountain and the surrounding area was giving in loan to Stinasu, a Surinamese organisation specialised in eco-tourism. Over the years, the camp on top of the mountain has changed from a couple of bare bones huts where you had to bring your own food and drinks, to a collection of fully equipped houses with a separate building with a bar and basic restaurant. From an enjoyable place to spend a couple of nights, the spot has turned into a great place to stay. Shortly before we arrived, Suralco had done some test drills on the mountain. With a big truck, they drive into the forest for 20 to 50 meters from one of the roads, squishing everything in sight, to drill into the ground for tens of meters. Officially, they were looking for Bauxite. Strange, since in the 60s, they had done exactly that and concluded there was nothing to find. From one of the employees on Brownsberg, we learned that they were, in fact, looking for gold. If they did find any, chances are that in a couple of years there will be no more Brownsberg since gold is retrieved by simply digging out the whole area..
On our first walk to the Leo- and Irene falls, we came across a pit dug by illegal Brazilian gold diggers. Some three meters wide and 10 meters deep, a dangerous thing to come across at night. The woods are filled up with illegal gold diggers. Although you're obliged to sell all your gold to the Surinamese state, almost no one actually does that. On the shores of the Brokopondo lake whole communities of gold diggers exist, complete with bars, hotels and brothels. You arrive at Brownsberg by way of Schiphol, a location in town where busses can take you south. In the past, only jumbos drove down south: large, old trucks from the Netherlands, rigged with windows and seats.
Now, most of the vans going south are similar to the regular discobusses that also drive through town. We took one to Brownsweg, at the foot of the mountain, from where we had arranged a lift through Stinasu to take us up the road, avoiding a three hour walk. We were told to arrive early at Schiphol to get a seat. We arrived at seven, but only left a quarter to nine. The bus was completely filled up. In every corner and below every seat, bags, containers, boxes and a new car battery were stacked. Two passengers didn't get a seat and had to sit, with bent backs to avoid the ceiling, on the luggage, during the trip. At first, the bus didn't start and the hole where the battery was located was unscrewed, after part of the luggage was taken out of the bus again, which everyone seemed to take in their stride. One guy started to fumble with the battery while a second guy tried to start the car, with no luck. They took out the new battery from under one of the seats and while a third guy held the new battery at an angle, the first one used large metal rods to connect the poles of the batteries while the second tried to start the car again. Again, no results, but this time, when the guy with the rods was about to let go of of the rods and the guy at the ignition tried to start the car one more time, sparks flew all around the bus. So they replaced the rusty brown old battery with the pristine new one and started the car after which they immediately replaced the new with the old battery again. The first thing the driver did after leaving was to stop at the first gas station. For some food, drinks and a sanitary stop. Suriname has one highway, the Martin Luther King Highway, or just 'highway', which in any western country wouldn't even deserve the qualification 'mediocre'. A swiss cheese has less holes in it. Rather quickly, the highway changes to a bauxite road, going south. Bauxite roads are easily created, you just get a couple of heavy trucks to flatten the road, but they are also easily damaged by wind and rain. The little traffic on the road had to move from left to right constantly to avoid the holes and pitfalls. Luckily, we were spared a flat tyre. If you don't bring your own tyres, you're stuck. On the road to Brownsberg, you pass the factories of Suralco. Employees mostly live close to the facilities in bungalow parks and get a large chunk or their salary in US dollars. The moving of bauxite generally is done in huge trucks. Unfortunately, we didn't get to see one. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 2727 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 885 [iOldID] => 1233 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1461238831 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 1 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => 5.02255 [fLongitude] => -55.1788 [tLocation] => Brownsberg [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20030208 ) [858] => Array ( [iID] => 858 [tTitle] => Cycling through Commewijne [tSlug] => cycling-through-commewijne [iTime] => 1044572400 [iUpdate] => 1044572400 [tDescription] => Although it can get quite hot in Suriname, many people have and use bikes. Not just kids going to school, older people too cycle. It's a good alternative to the 'discobusses' that serve as public transport in Paramaribo: Richly adorned vans that take up to 30 people on pre-set routes. Recently, they installed buzzers to alert the driver you wanted to stop. In the past, you had to shout 'Driver, stop!' over the heavy rap and hip hop tunes that many drivers play at full volume. To check out a different part of the country, we rented bikes at Cardy adventures, who also organize trips inland and rent out apartments. The bikes were quite good, although in Voorburg, from where you can take a boat to Leonsberg, on the Paramaribo side of the Suriname river, part of the gearbox on my bike broke. To not loose the 50 euro deposit, I successfully glued the part back on later, using super glue. Cardy has a large cage in the yard with a small monkey. Amazed by the attention we gave him, he couldn't stop examining us, to the point going through the hair on our heads, catching lice, I'm sure. Betsy claims he found something on my head which he ate. Cycling through Commewijne isn't all that spectacular. Although it is enjoyable to master 'Bosjes bridge' (the president that authorized the building of the bridge over the Suriname river was called Wijdenbosch) and some of the plantations are nice, distances are simply too big to really enjoy a leisurely trip in Commewijne. The only real attraction that's easily reachable is Fort New Amsterdam. The road to the open air museum is sealed off for motorized transport since the Suriname river claimed part of it. Still, by bike it's possible to avoid the 'long-cut' through Tamanredjo. The bridge over the Suriname river is an impressive 52 meters high. A necessity, since behind the bridge, oil tankers are filled up. The bridge is just a two lane road with a very small pedestrian path on the side which we used as a cycle lane. When we were almost half way, we noticed a black guy laying motionless on the floor. Grey from dirt, we considered him being dead and lifted our bikes over the railing to avoid using the pedestrian lane he was on. Close to him, I shouted and asked if everything was okay. He opened his eyes and pushed himself up a bit, grabbing his head with his remaining hand, as if he had just awakened from some liquor induced stupor. He looked at me and put up one thumb, "yeah, everything's okay". When we were looking out over Paramaribo, a Hindustani stopped his car, got out, and threw a dark blue linen bag into the water. Later, we learned from Kamta and Lila that, most likely, the contents of the bag was leftovers from a church service held in his home. Fort New Amsterdam The nicest thing about the 18th century fort is the view you get from one of the higher points inside the area: a great view of the Suriname and Commewijne rivers and the ocean. The fort itself isn't all that great, being rather empty and slightly boring. When plantations were built along the coast, in the 18th century, the old fort Zeelandia lost its purpose since it was too far off and a new fort had to be built. Not that it served its purpose since twice, in 1799 and in 1804, without any fight, the fort was handed over to the British. In 1907 the area was used as the central government building for Commewijne and later became the only state prison. In 1982, the fort was turned into an open air museum.
If you ever visit the place, don't forget to try and find the keyhole in the treasure box that's stored somewhere on the premises. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 2869 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 884 [iOldID] => 1232 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462161998 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 11 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => 5.80593 [fLongitude] => -55.1624 [tLocation] => Bosje's brug [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20030207 ) [857] => Array ( [iID] => 857 [tTitle] => Graves [tSlug] => graves [iTime] => 1044486000 [iUpdate] => 1044486000 [tDescription] => Some people, strangely, think, after seeing my pictures, that I have some obscure fascination with cemeteries. This is correct. I think this started when I was living in Hungary. The main cemetery there has some very impressive monuments and mausoleums. Since seeing those, whenever I get the chance, I can't resist to check out a local cemetery. Oranjetuin Paramaribo has a number of cemeteries, but the most interesting one is Oranjetuin. Dating from the middle of the 18th century, it was filled up quite a while ago. Now and then, the Dutch government invests some money for restoring the area but all that ever happens is some removal of weeds. Year after year, the site decays a little more. Synagogue Around Paramaribo's big synagogue a lot of large stone slabs are neatly ordered. Grave stones from an old cemetery that had to make room for modernization. One grave As almost everywhere else, it is forbidden to use your own backyard as a cemetery. However, if you know the right people, you can get everything done in this country so, occasionally, you'll come across a neighbor who's buried his grandfather in his own garden. St Laurent du Maroni St Laurent's cemetery, in French Guyana, is a large collection of mostly wooden crosses. The site itself is quite big, but most of the area is not used, grass as tall as I am, was covering most of the area, the occasional tilted cross breaking the green waves. Iracoubo Since French Guyana has been French for quite a while, people from this country fought in both world wars. And since the French are proud of their war history, most towns in French Guyana have a monument to the fallen heroes. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 5532 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 883 [iOldID] => 1231 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1461441523 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 0 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => 5.83111 [fLongitude] => -55.1607 [tLocation] => Oranjetuin [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20030206 ) [856] => Array ( [iID] => 856 [tTitle] => A Hindu cremation [tSlug] => a-hindu-cremation [iTime] => 1044399600 [iUpdate] => 1044399600 [tDescription] => I already had heard that the Hindustani population still cremated bodies in open air, here. This usually happened at 'op weg naar zee', a street running from the Kwattaweg, the main connection from Paramaribo eastwards, to the sea.
When I noticed an obituary giving notice of a cremation, we just had to go. Betsy thought it was only a short walk towards the sea shore from the Kwattaweg, but I had doubts. The road turned out to be eight kilometers long.
Luckily, we were picked up by the friendliest Hindustani couple, who also were going to a cremation. As it turned out, we got along very well with Kamta and Lila and they not only invited us home, but also drove us all around Commewijne later on, visiting old plantations like Peperpot and Marienburg. Although four stakes were set up, only three cremations were held that day. Under a large roof, long benches were placed next to one another for family and friends to 'enjoy' the fire after the appropriate ceremonies had been held.
The boy whom Kamta and Lila had come to visit had committed suicide at the tender age of 16. After the coffin was brought in, it was placed on top of one of the stakes with an open lid. One person held a parasol above the boy's head (to shield him from the sun?) while the rest walked around the stake, sprinkling yellow flowers and salt over his head. Earlier, someone had opened many boxes of gee (fat) which were poured over the stake, the coffin and the body. Not, however, before the boy's mother, full of emotion, had come back multiple times to cry over her son. Shortly after that, the stake was lit, near the head. Not all three ceremonies were identical. Many people who had come for the 'second' stake had shaved their heads, leaving only a small ponytail. When they brought in that particular coffin, they continuously chanted, placing the coffin on the ground every two meters or so before it was put on the stake.
Although some people did get emotional, here, mostly everyone was very relaxed. Shortly after the stakes had been lit, everybody started chatting and several people came in with drinks to hand out. On quieter spots, little children were playing with each other. In less then an hour, the three stakes were nothing more than small heaps of ashes. Not everything was burned, though. It was still possible to discern a piece of skull here, some ribs there. Later I heard the rituals would continue the next day. The direct family would come back with a bowl of milk, covered in the same orange flowers that were used before. They would sprinkle the milk over the ashes, to wash the bones, and then pick out the remains, the little bones, from the ashes and put them in a blanket. The blanket with the bones inside, would be washed again. Then, the remains would be distributed over flowing water, such as the mouth of the Suriname river. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 5901 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 881 [iOldID] => 1230 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462035734 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 11 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => 5.89831 [fLongitude] => -55.1799 [tLocation] => Op weg naar zee [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20030205 ) [855] => Array ( [iID] => 855 [tTitle] => A visit to Cola Kreek [tSlug] => a-visit-to-cola-kreek [iTime] => 1044313200 [iUpdate] => 1044313200 [tDescription] => You can't consider yourself Surinamese if you never pine to go to your 'boiti' on weekends. Be it one of your own, of the family's, or some kind of resort. Although Suriname has a 200km coastline, people don't relax on the beach. Often, the coast is not reachable, used as a dumping ground for used cars, washing machines or worse. If you want to relax and enjoy the sun, you have to go inland. Mostly on the line between the airport and Paramaribo, you can find small resorts, often centered around part of some creek, livened up with a couple of huts and the occasional food shop. However, you also can't consider yourself Surinamese if you do go to a boiti every weekend, but don't bring your own cooler with food, drinks, barbecue meats and more. 
Already the day after our arrival, Danny and Annerine took us to Cola Kreek, close to the national airport. The name does actually refer to the drink many love. The water, clean, but brown, gets its shade from fallen leaves who, basically, rot in the water, leaving behind a darkish color. Since it was a regular weekday, we were the only ones there. 

We were welcomed by a black guy, singing songs and standing up to his waist in the creek, moving a stick from left to right as if he was rowing a boat. It turned out the guy was looking for gold, using a fork to scrape the bottom of the creek, to see if anyone might have dropped any jewelry. By the time we left, he was still happily singing and hadn't caught a thing. Then again, if he had caught something, he wouldn't probably have told, since then there would be a chance of us returning the next day with our own fork. On the road to Cola Kreek, you can't miss the many abandoned trains in the small village of Onverwacht, completely overgrown. Shortly after independence, the few train tracks the country had fell in disuse and although someone tried to revive the Paramaribo - Zanderij line in the 80s, nothing much happened. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 6471 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 882 [iOldID] => 1229 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462233930 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 8 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => 5.52373 [fLongitude] => -55.2042 [tLocation] => Cola Kreek [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20030204 ) [854] => Array ( [iID] => 854 [tTitle] => Prayer houses out of town [tSlug] => prayer-houses-out-of-town [iTime] => 1044226800 [iUpdate] => 1044226800 [tDescription] => You can only miss the many prayer houses out of town if you go out with your eyes closed. Some of the more well disposed Hindu families even have small temples built on their own grounds, as did Lila's (see later) parents in Commewijne. Something you can recognize Hindi households by is the many flags in one corner of their yard. After a service is held in their homes, a flag is erected in their yard where the length of the pole refers to the importance of the god that was honored. Close to 'Op weg naar zee', where we saw the cremation of three Hindus, there's also a pilgrimage site. Similar to what happens in the Ganges once a year, Hindus come here to cleanse themselves. A large statue of Hanuman, resembling an ice hockey player, guards the entrance. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 2780 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 881 [iOldID] => 1228 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462117747 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 2 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => 5.89831 [fLongitude] => -55.1799 [tLocation] => Op weg naar zee [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20030203 ) [853] => Array ( [iID] => 853 [tTitle] => Houses of God [tSlug] => houses-of-god [iTime] => 1044140400 [iUpdate] => 1044140400 [tDescription] => Suriname is often credited as being a true multicultural society. This is only partially correct. Although many different cultures do live intertwined, it's just that, they're living close together, but not necessarily integrated. It is amazing to see so many churches, mosques and temples in such a small country. In downtown Paramaribo a large synagogue stands right next to an even larger mosque, both a stone's throw away from South America's biggest wooden cathedral. It's possible to get a tour of the St. Peter and Paul cathedral but the building itself is decaying fast since it's no longer in use. Just a bit further away, there's a small replica of the same cathedral which is still in good shape.
There is a second large synagogue in Paramaribo, but it's rented out as an internet cafe. Although the synagogue is normally closed to the public, it's possible to get a tour of the facilities when reserved in advance. When we arrived, one was just about to start and we joined the three older women that were there. One of them was an old acquaintance of Betsy and another, who lived in the Netherlands, was searching for the roots of her grandparents. Through old pictures, neighbours and children of old friends of the family, piece by piece she was closing in on the picture that was her grandparents. She had come to the synagogue since her grandfather was baptised a Jew, although that was in a synagogue that now no longer exists. We met the women again later on, when we were enjoying a beer at 't Vat, a tourist bar in the tourist district. They came up to us and talked about their experiences. In doing so, one of them stepped, accidentally, on a large cockroach, already on his back fighting to survive. Sadly, when the lady walked away, so did the cockroach. Our guide of the synagogue, Jules, was an old neighbour of Betsy's. He himself now runs the only McDonalds in Suriname, his father, who was also there, owns the Fernandes factories, where they produce soft drinks, breads and more. When Jules walked in, he looked at my girlfriend, "And that's Betsy!". Small world. The floor of the synagogue is covered with sand, a custom that was copied after the first (also wooden) synagogue, in Jodensavanna was abandoned. Since Jews aren't allowed to work on the Sabbat, a falling candle might cause quite a bit of havoc and destruction since, on the Sabbat, as a Jew, you're not allowed to extinguish it. There's one other synagogue in the world where the floor is covered with sand. It's in Curacao and it was set up by Jews coming from Suriname. After the tour, we talked with one of the workmen at the synagogue. He turned out to be an uncle of Daphne, an old friend of Betsy. That Friday, her little brother was going to celebrate his birthday big time in one of the buildings on the grounds of the synagogue. We had no choice but to go. The old man also pointed us to a nearby shop, run by an older brother of Daphne. My girlfriend had only stuck her head through the doorway when he said "Betsy!?". [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 3011 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 880 [iOldID] => 1227 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462238164 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 7 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => 5.82851 [fLongitude] => -55.1593 [tLocation] => Synagogue [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20030202 ) [852] => Array ( [iID] => 852 [tTitle] => Other places in Paramaribo [tSlug] => other-places-in-paramaribo [iTime] => 1044054000 [iUpdate] => 1044054000 [tDescription] => There are many more places in town worth visiting. One of them is Spanhoek, near the headquarters of Telesur, the national phone company. Amidst a large dry fountain, the 'Statenmonument' is accompanied by a glockenspiel that broke down shortly after its donation by the Dutch government in 1975. 

Close to Spanhoek, at the Kerkplein, the terrace of Orlando's is a great place to while away the hours on a relaxed Saturday afternoon or Sunday, when everyone has moved to their 'boitis', their outhouses. The middle of the square is occupied by the Centre Church with on one side a statue of Simon Bolivar and on the other a monument in honor of Nicolaas Helstone, a Surinamese musician of some influence. 
Orlando's is a great place to experience the diversity of the Surinamese people. Not only Peacecorps volunteers, tourists, Suralco workers and gold diggers stop by, the four people that work at Orlando's are a Creole man, a black girl, a Lebanese woman and a Javanese man. Close by Orlando's, the Keizerstraat is home to a large synagoge and a very large mosque. Just around the corner, you can find the rundown wooden cathedral of St. Peter and Paul, which still is the largest wooden cathedral in South America. 

Our visit to Suriname coincided with the Chinese new year. Since most of the casino's are run by Chinese, we needed to know which places to go to at what time. After talking to the owner of a Chinese supermarket, we found out where to go on Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday afternoon. Free food, drinks, pagara's (fireworks), dancing snakes and more, a whole weekend long. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 4888 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 877 [iOldID] => 1226 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1461801542 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 14 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => 5.82628 [fLongitude] => -55.1517 [tLocation] => Onafhankelijkheidsplein [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20030201 ) [851] => Array ( [iID] => 851 [tTitle] => The Waterkant [tSlug] => the-waterkant [iTime] => 1043967600 [iUpdate] => 1043967600 [tDescription] => The Waterkant (waterfront) is where locals hang out to be seen. The boulevard has many small eateries and bars which have been recently renovated by the, some say corrupt, bank director Henck Goedschalk. A number of buildings on the waterfront are worth seeing. Among them the Corner House, the central bank, the ministry of Social Affairs and the Waaggebouw. The balcony of the Waaggebouw was used by Anton de Kom to deliver his speeches to the masses in the 30s of the previous century. If you look out across the river, you can see the Goslar in the middle of the stream. The former German vessel was sunken by its crew near the beginning of the second world war, mainly to block the entrance of the river. Behind the Waaggebouw there's the dock of the SMS, the Surinamese Shipping Company, from where it's possibly to take boat rides on the Suriname river. On the other side of the road from the Waaggebouw, the former police offices was completely shot to pieces in 1982, by Bouterse's forces. Just a little up the road there's the central market, the biggest covered market in the Caribbean, where you can buy anything you might need, from clothes, through second hand wigs to spices. Close to the market, three slaves are remembered with a small monument. The three, Codjo, Mentor and Present, were burned alive after being suspected of lighting the city fire of 1932. Up to a few years ago, when money was still exchanged on the black market, the central market was the right place to change your cash and from every corner you could hear voices whispering at you 'wisselewissel' (changechange). Nowadays, things are slightly more professional where almost every street corner is fitted with a drive through cambio. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 3408 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 879 [iOldID] => 1225 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462129776 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 10 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => 5.825 [fLongitude] => -55.1534 [tLocation] => Waterkant [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20030131 ) [850] => Array ( [iID] => 850 [tTitle] => Fort Zeelandia [tSlug] => fort-zeelandia [iTime] => 1043881200 [iUpdate] => 1043881200 [tDescription] => Paramaribo probably wouldn't have existed if not for Fort Zeelandia. Originally built by the English, it was extended with five bastions by the Dutch in 1667. When in 1712 the French conquered some of the plantations downstream, it was decided to build a new defensive fortress closer to the sea. Fort Amsterdam took over as the main defense fortress in Suriname and Fort Zeelandia became more of a training ground for soldiers. Between 1967 and 1982 the fortress served as the national museum but in 1982 the army of Bouterse took over the building as its headquarters. The infamous December killings happened at Fort Zeelandia. Using some more of the Dutch government's money, in 1995 the fortress was revamped and reverted to its original style and now more than ever breaths a 17th century Dutch atmosphere. Close to the fort you can find the Nola Hatterman institute, and a statue of a former queen of the Netherlands, Wilhelmina, which stood on the Onafhankelijkheidsplein until 1975. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 3581 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 878 [iOldID] => 1224 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462173849 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 6 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => 5.82523 [fLongitude] => -55.1499 [tLocation] => Fort Zeelandia [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20030130 ) [849] => Array ( [iID] => 849 [tTitle] => Onafhankelijkheidsplein in Paramaribo [tSlug] => onafhankelijkheidsplein-in-paramaribo [iTime] => 1043794800 [iUpdate] => 1043794800 [tDescription] => 'Onafhankelijkheidsplein' (independence square) used to be called 'Oranjeplein' (orange square) until independence, but that name soon fell in disuse after 1975. In a distant past, the grassy field was used as a practice area for the soldiers stationed in Fort Zeelandia but nowadays the field is mostly used for cultural events and, every Sunday, by men (they're only men) fighting for the prize that comes with the title of best singing bird. Often, you can see men walking around town with a small cage holding a singing bird. In the west, people take their dogs out for a walk. Here, they take their bird for a walk. On the west side of the square, there's a statue of the first Surinamese president of mixed descent, Johan Adolf Pengel. The same who gave his name to the airport at Zanderij. Directly behind the statue you can find the ministry of finance, which was originally planned to be city hall. The ministry is a mixture of two building styles: colonial and old Dutch. The architect never envisioned a tower on top of the building but he was persuaded by the wife of the then governor who was convinced a city hall needed a tower, just like in her home town of Groningen. Right next to the finance ministry, there's the ministry of internal affairs. The house dates from the second half of the 18th century and its most notorious resident was Susanna Duplessis, wife to a slave owner. On a boat ride, she once silenced the baby of one of her slaves by holding it underwater for minutes on end because she couldn't stand the crying and it's mother couldn't shut it up.
Later, her husband fancied one of the young slave girls who, at the time, did their duties bare chested. Once, the girl wasn't serving dinner as she usual would have done, but Susanna served it herself, astonishing her husband when he found out that what he was served were the severed breasts of the young slave girl. At the southern end of the square, there's the modernistic congress building. Commissioned by former president Wijdenbosch. It was supposed to be ready for some important foreign delegation coming over. The building was finished in a rush, resulting in leakage and cracked concrete almost immediately after finishing the building. Between the southern and eastern side, a circle of flags are supposed to represent the countries that run an embassy in Suriname. Close to the flags, a monument remembering the Surinamese volunteers serving in the Dutch army during the second world war and a tree, planted in honor of the Hindustani immigrants can be found. At the eastern side of the square the national assembly, the house of commons, overlooks the square. When we were standing in front of the building, Annerine, the girl whom we had gone to Cola Creek with (see later), bumped into us. She had set her sights on visiting the presidential palace, on the northern end of the square, but before we got even close to the entrance, we were stopped by a group of angry looking men with machine guns. Some persistence resulted in us being directed to the presidential residence, to the side of the palace. After some asking around, we were giving an interview by phone with the relevant government employee, who told us that, in fact, it is possible to visit the palace, but only after requesting a visit in writing. Then, as soon as one or two months later, you could expect an invitation from the president himself. In 1995, the then Dutch minister of foreign affairs assigned some 12 million euros for renovating the palace which was vacated by the Dutch in 1975 and hadn't been occupied since. That is, the monkeys that had set up shop in the building were moved to the palm tree garden near the back of the palace. Close to the president's residence, Baba and Mai look out over the busy traffic route in front of them. The statues, an old Hindustani couple, symbolise immigration. Below the statues, a line of text reads 'Where I fare well, that's where my fatherland is'. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 4981 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 14 [iVoters] => 3 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 877 [iOldID] => 1223 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462106484 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 5 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => 5.82628 [fLongitude] => -55.1517 [tLocation] => Onafhankelijkheidsplein [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20030129 ) [848] => Array ( [iID] => 848 [tTitle] => Searching for Suriname [tSlug] => searching-for-suriname [iTime] => 1043708400 [iUpdate] => 1043708400 [tDescription] => In January and February, I visited Suriname together with Betsy Elstak. Betsy had lived there for some ten years but hadn't been back for more than ten years now. So when a friend of mine said he was going to get engaged in Suriname, we had no choice but to go there. Only a week prior to our departure, did he change his mind. He was going to get engaged in Trinidad. We had already purchased our tickets. What did we do? Well, meet old friends, of course, but we also got covered in Bauxite dust, cycled past old plantations, met crazy English people, experienced the final Ariane 4 launch, got bitten by hundreds of mosquitoes and more. Needless to say, we had a great trip. But I still don't understand the Surinamese fascination with Johnnie Walker Black Label. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 8542 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 5 [iOldID] => 1222 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462021588 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 21 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => 52.0109 [fLongitude] => 4.33628 [tLocation] => Home [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20030128 ) ) ) Keyword: Suriname ::