Suriname, once known as Dutch Guiana, is sandwiched between Guyana and French Guiana. It was originally colonized by the British but then traded to Holland in exchange for New Amsterdam, which as we all know became New York. What a different city NYC would be, had that transaction not taken place. Instead Suriname became Dutch-speaking and New York English-speaking. Immediately we could recognize the long words with multiple vowels–a language of OOs and AAs. There are also big Indonesian and Chinese populations here, and we arrived just in time for Chinese New Year. Our host and his brother said that the Chinese tend to keep to themselves, but we still managed to enjoy fireworks on Sunday night and go to a Chinese dragon dance at a casino on Monday night. More ooh and aahs. Paramaribo, the capital of Surniame, was much more to our liking than Georgetown had been.
Here´s what I wrote in my notebook about Suriname after the first day there:
-SO much less honking of cars
-Less developed, more rural along the road from the ferry and more plants in town
-Paramaribo downtown is more city-like, bigger buildings, more bustling feel but also less trash strewn around
-Everything just feels calmer
-Kevin and Genevieve (our Canadian friends who we´d met in Georgetown but who we met back up with in Parbo) say you can take a bus (taxi not needed) from our host even though he´s far from the center–more infrastructure
-Easily met up with our CS host and another CS couple for dinner, seems like a more active community
-Much more Chinese influence–every 3rd store coming into town had a Chinese name and many written in both English and Chinese characters
-Some Indian influence with temples, but less
-Indonesian food all over–very different from anything I´ve had, different spices, presentation, textures (e.g., beef with coconut shavings)
So that´s a few thoughts from Suriname. I´ll try to post some pictures soon.