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by Günther Eichhorn

Itinerary

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In October 2015 I visited Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana. The private tour was organized by Wilderness Explorers, a tour company in Guyana. Everything worked very well, I was very happy with the organization.

Itinerary

I flew from Ogle Airport, Georgetown, Guyana to Zorg en Hoop Airport in Paramaribo, a small local airport in the city. This was much more convenient than flying into the international airport, which is about 45 km (28 miles) from Paramaribo.

My new guide picked me up at the airport and brought me to the hotel. The hotel was very nice, in the middle of downtown. Nothing was planned for the afternoon, so I visited Fort Zeelandia and then walked around town. Unfortunately, it soon started raining real hard, so I had to take refuge in a restaurant. They served reasonably priced beer in large, 1 l (1 quart) bottles. Fortunately, they provided a cooler for the beer, otherwise it would have gotten warm very quickly in the heat. It was around 35°C (95°F) with 95% humidity, pretty uncomfortable.

On the next day was Maroon Day in Suriname. Maroon Day celebrates the nation of African refugees who escaped from slavery and formed independent settlements. The term Maroon itself derives from the Latin American Spanish cimarrón, meaning fugitive, runaway, feral animal. The former slaves spread and settled in North, South, Central and Latin Americas, Caribbean islands and even in South Asian countries.

Maroons in Suriname created several independent tribes, among them the tribe of the Ndyuka. Creation and celebration of Maroon Day refers to the events of 1760, when the Ndyuka signed a treaty with the Dutch. The treaty was forged by a former Jamaican slave who had learned to read and write and knew about the Jamaican treaty. Signing of this treaty defined the territorial rights of the Maroons in the gold-rich inland of Suriname.

In the morning I did a guided walking tour through Paramaribo. The architecture in the city is quite nice, lots of interesting old houses. In the afternoon I had nothing planned. It rained again, so I spent the afternoon indoors.

On the next day we visited a nature reserve that has fairly intact rain forest with lots of wildlife. From there we drove to Fort Nieuw Amsterdam. This fort was started in the early 18th century and was used through World War II. The next, and last, stop was at a decommissioned cane sugar factory in Mariënburg.

On the next day I was driven east to the border with French Guiana for the continuation of my trip through that country.

Impressions

The colonial architecture in Paramaribo is very nice, with lots of beautiful houses. It is worth walking around town.

I didn't see much else of Suriname, just Paramaribo and the surroundings. It is a clean country. It was not quite as expensive as Guyana. People were friendly. The official language is Dutch.

Surprisingly, the traffic is left-hand traffic. It dates from the Dutch colonial period. Holland used to drive on the left until Napoleonic times. The Dutch colonies Indonesia and Suriname kept that habit, even after Holland itself changed to right-hand traffic.

Food and beer was good and not very expensive. One of the restaurants had beer in 1 l (1 quart) bottles for about $4.50.

All pictures are © Dr. Günther Eichhorn

People

approach zorg enApproach to Zorg en Hoop Airport. (398k) group maroon festivalA group of Maroon Festival attendees. (606k) maroon festival attendeesMaroon Festival attendees in traditional garb. (571k) maroon dancersMaroon dancers. (796k) stand patchwork blanketsStand with patchwork blankets. (876k)
blanket suriname flagBlanket with the Suriname flag in patchwork. (522k) baking cassava breadBaking cassava bread at the festival. (596k) ice cream vendorIce cream vendor. (644k) raining cats dogsIt was raining cats and dogs. (469k) drains couldnt handleThe drains couldn't handle the water, the housekeeping staff had to push the water out of the restaurant. (564k)
beer comes 1Beer comes in 1 l (1 quart) bottles in a cooler. Note the coasters under the cooler,they are necessary due to the copious condensation because of the high humidity (95%). (444k)


Paramaribo

street beautiful colonialStreet with beautiful colonial buildings. These are buildings of wealthy citizens with decorated balconies. (546k) street lined 100Street lined with 100 year old mahogany trees. (647k) simpler historical buildingsSimpler historical buildings of middle class citizens without balconies. (534k) church square churchChurch square. The church originally dates from 1835. (519k) nice building fortNice building near Fort Zeelandia, owned by officers stationed at the fort. (736k)
fancy house demeraraFancy house with Demerara windows. These windows supposedly keep the house cooler. Sometimes ice was used in these windows to further cool the house. (557k) demerara windowsDemerara windows. (513k) fancy light fixtureFancy light fixture. (465k) wooden door maroonWooden door, Maroon style. (474k) buildings main squaresBuildings on one of the main squares in Paramaribo. They are in french style (right), english style (middle), and dutch style (left). (653k)
governors house 1730Governor's house from 1730. (561k) church dating 1778Church, dating from 1778. (548k) simple colonial houseSimple colonial house. (498k) all houses goodNot all houses are in good repair. (669k) neighborhoods need tlcSome neighborhoods need some TLC. (540k)
food depot 1790Food depot from 1790. The brick was very valuable during colonial times, it was imported from Holland. This building burned out recently. (678k) jewish synagogue mosqueA Jewish synagogue and a mosque next to each other. (484k) jewish synagogue datingJewish synagogue, dating from 1833. (521k) mosque dating 1970Mosque, dating from 1970. (453k) hindu templeHindu temple. (535k)
interior yard fortInterior yard of the Fort Zeelandia. (829k) view river fortView of the river from Fort Zeelandia. (496k) all-wood saint peterAll-wood Saint Peter and Paul Cathedral, dating from 1882. This cathedral is built entirely of wood. (495k) interior cathedralInterior of the cathedral. (612k) ceiling cathedralCeiling of the cathedral. (592k)


Plantations

houses plantation ownerHouses of the plantation owner (left) and manager (right). (732k) plantation buildingPlantation building. (584k) plantation barnPlantation barn. (538k)


Mariënburg Sugar Factory

mariënburg sugar factoryMariënburg Sugar Factory. (494k) old trainOld train. (492k) german-built locomotiveGerman-built locomotive. (692k) sugarcane processing gearSugarcane processing gear. (782k)


Fort Nieuw Amsterdam

map fort nieuwMap of Fort Nieuw Amsterdam. (613k) powder housePowder House. (716k) old carriagesOld carriages. (713k) fire fighting handFire fighting hand pump. (450k) various old canonsVarious old canons. (905k)
old canonOld canon. (729k)


Suriname Nature

spanish moss growingSpanish moss growing on power lines. (496k) sacred lotus nelumboSacred Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera). (973k) sacred lotus flowerSacred Lotus flower. (521k) palm park paramariboPalm park in Paramaribo. (787k) bromeliads palm treesBromeliads on palm trees. (726k)
heliconiasHeliconias. (845k) heliconia flowerHeliconia flower. (601k) flowerFlower. (618k) cacao fruitsCacao fruits. (563k) rain forest preserveRain forest preserve. (1068k)
leaf cutter antsLeaf cutter ants. (688k) termite nestTermite nest. (548k) butterflyButterfly. (441k) dragon flyDragon fly. (482k) mud crawlerMud crawler. (500k)
lizardLizard. (1009k) lizardLizard. (654k) lizardLizard. (834k) solitary sandpiper tringaSolitary Sandpiper (Tringa solitaria). (631k) boat-billed flycatcher megarynchusBoat-billed Flycatcher (Megarynchus pitangua). (470k)
great kiskadee pitangusGreat Kiskadee (Pitangus sulphuratus). (394k) tropical kingbirdtyrannus melancholicusTropical Kingbird(Tyrannus melancholicus). (474k) chalk-browed mockingbird mimusChalk-browed Mockingbird (Mimus saturninus). (358k) green-rumped parrotlet forpusGreen-rumped Parrotlet (Forpus passerinus). (364k) pied water tyrantPied Water Tyrant (Fluvicola pica). The local name translates to "Ditch Whore". (837k)
tropical mockingbird mimusTropical Mockingbird (Mimus gilvus). (699k) ? (372k) wattled jacana jacanaWattled Jacana (Jacana jacana). (969k) little blue heronLittle Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea). (534k) striated heron butoridesStriated Heron (Butorides striata). (854k)
black vultures coragypsBlack Vultures (Coragyps atratus). (780k) black vulture coragypsBlack Vulture (Coragyps atratus). (565k) laughing falcon herpetotheresLaughing Falcon (Herpetotheres cachinnans). (626k) bird nest probablyBird nest, probably from Cacique. (519k) black spider monkeyBlack Spider Monkey (Ateles paniscus). (907k)
black spider monkeyBlack Spider Monkey (Ateles paniscus). (955k) brown capuchin cebusBrown Capuchin (Cebus apella). (822k) brown capuchin cebusBrown Capuchin (Cebus apella). (465k)


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All pictures are © Dr. Günther Eichhorn


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© Dr. Günther Eichhorn
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