Up at 6:00 and finish packing and a call from Althea saying they were ready. Apparently, we were to meet at 6:45 and not 7:00. Anyway, off to the airport and checked our bags and weighed in. They then checked our passports for the visa and the yellow fever card.
We walked over to a local shop and had some breakfast – tea and a doughnut as we had bought breakfast treats the night before. Then back to the airport, through security (with another look at our passports) then into the departure lounge for about a minute before we boarded the tiny plane. On takeoff there were a flock of scarlet ibis next to the runway.
Flight of 70m minutes was uneventful – got to see the coastline and the huge rivers that flowed in. We landed in the middle of town and went through passport and “customs” which was some guys looking at us (only seven people on the flight). Our guide was not there when we landed and some folks got upset, but he soon arrived.
Althea had arranged for two tours for the group – Kitty and I in one group and the other two in another. We drove around a bit looking at things – stopped in at the Catholic Basilica in the center of town – the only all wooden Catholic Church in the Americas. It had almost fallen over once but was corrected and is constantly being worked on. It was quite impressive with the natural cedar. It was converted to a Basilica as a newly sainted priest was buried there. Kitty had to zip on her pant legs as there was a dress code.
Then we headed off to lunch and had some local beer – Parabo – another rice and barley beer. Plus a sausage and bean soup (and I got a chicken and graded arrow root meal). Quite nice.
Then we drove off to the market. The first section was very traditional and no pictures were allowed. The stalls were all of natural products from the interior sold by the descendants of escaped slaves. Natural medicine, foods, and other items.
Then into a more traditional fruit and vegetable market where we had a glass of ginger soda – home made and quite nice. Very strong. Lots of new vegetable and fruits that I had not seen before.
Then out into the streets of Paramaribo to look at the many sights. The streets were cleaned and more designed for pedestrians than in Georgetown. There were many old wooden structures dating from the mid-1800s but most were concrete.
We were told the story of how Jews came to the city – they were first farmers but when sugar prices fell they moved into the city. There are still between 100 and 200 in Paramaribo. Right across the street from the synagogue is a large mosque mostly from Indian Muslims. They came (75,000 or so) in the 1850s and 60s as labor for the sugar plantation. Some returned home but most stayed and they make up a sizable part of the population of the city today,
We travelled on and saw the gift the Dutch presented to the people of Suriname in 1975 when, after a ten-year transition, they were given their independence. Then on to the end of the tour at the oldest church (well, the third building on the spot) in the city. As the guide called for the taxi we had the realization that we did not have the little blue camera. We had left it in the van thinking we were going to go back to it, but no luck. Phone calls and the like did no good.
Then back to the hotel and check in to a nice room. Get another call about the phone but nothing. We asked at the desk about getting another camera and the clerk told us to go to the Hermitage Mall. We got a taxi and headed out. We found one camera, but it would not focus, so we got back in the cab and headed into town. Taxi driver very nice and some good chatting on the way back to the hotel.
We stopped in at the hotel restaurant for dinner, then back to the room after an exhausting day.