Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Escaping The Hurricane

My girlfriend and I far from the concrete jungles.

Without question, I escaped the merciless hurricane called Irene that attacked the Northeast. It seems like I took the easy way out. Except, I made my plans months ago. I am in a Dutch speaking country in South America: Suriname. No it’s not an island. It sits between British Guyana and French Guyana and borders Brazil. Population is 450,000.

For me, the weather is perfect. I am just south of the equator and it is hot all year round.

Because of that, I am taking a needed vacation and a break from writing about business. However, I will share my experience in this beautiful country where they hardly ever have natural disasters.

As soon as you land here and the airplane door opens, you can smell the jungle. Once again, something I love to smell and explore. Some of my friends describe me as Tarzan in the city. As you all know, New York City is a concrete jungle. So somehow it all works for me.

What is best about this trip is my girlfriend is from here. She has been here with her family for a few weeks too long. On this trip, I not only get the joy of a reunion, it happens in a beautiful country with great weather and many new lands to explore. Suriname is part of the Amazon.

If you decide to come here, you will be pleasantly surprised at the amount of English that is spoken here even though it is a former Dutch colony. It is one of the most international countries I have seen. There is a huge population of people from Indonesia, India, China, Holland, and Africans that were brought here during slavery. There is also a significant amount of people from the Dominican Republic, Brazil, and Guyana and of course there are the natives that were here before the Europeans arrived.  Each nationality has retained its religion and language. What makes it more interesting is they inter marry. The people are beautiful.

My girlfriend is Chinese, Indonesian and Dominican.  She speaks four languages and is well versed in cultures outside of her own. It seems like it is impossible to be born here and speak one language. In general, they see themselves as a Caribbean culture. 

As far as business, Suriname is filled with opportunity. While Suriname is rich in natural resources, like gold and bauxite – clay from the earth used to make bricks, the Dutch did not build an export industry. Holland, Canada, and the US continue to extract those resources for themselves.  There really is no strong manufacturing here.  They import almost everything. While I am here to enjoy, there are a number of possibilities I will explore. The culture of business and leadership in general is very different from the US. There are gaps in efficiency here.

I will keep you posted. I am here until September 12th. If you have questions about Suriname in the meanwhile or want me to write on a specific topic, connect through the comments.

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