Monday, September 19, 2011

Escaping the Concrete Jungle: Suriname, Part III

Trading taxi cabs for four wheelers.

I am writing this on a 6:00am flight that is leaving Suriname and returning to NY. I experienced so much this week that I am unsure of where to start.

Over the past week, I spent 2 hours riding a 4-wheeled motorcycle through the Amazon. See photo. Afterwards, I swam in a river that separated me from the piranhas with a thin mesh net. I attended three birthday parties: one for a 70 year old, another turned 50 and the third turned 45. I also attended another Hindustan wedding. The wedding was for Ellen’s best friend. She and I left the reception at 4:00am. However, it continued until 6:00am. And it was outside. Did I mention the DJ played the music quite loudly? I walked across a very high and long bridge that clearly was not made for walking. It is for motor vehicles only. And most of the days during this activity the temperature was easily above 100 degrees.

Two birthday parties were for Javanese women. The third was for a Hindustan man. The party for the 50 year old woman was a unique experience for me. There was an ensemble that played with wooden instruments made from bamboo. I have never seen these instruments before. The sound was incredible. In addition, there were a couple of women who performed traditional Indonesian dances. And the food only enhanced the experience. There were a wide variety of Javanese dishes. Unfortunately for me, all communication was done in Dutch or Javanese. Ellen was my translator for Dutch.

A few days before Ellen’s aunt’s 50th birthday party she and I took a day trip to a part of the country called Nickcarie. It is the rice district. During the 3 ½ hour drive to get there, I saw a completely different terrain. As a rule, Suriname has many large rivers that are connected to lots of streams and smaller rivers. As a result, it is ideal for growing rice. Nickarie is the place where most of the rice grows. I saw millions of acres of rice growing in perfectly flat land. While in the rice district, we stopped at a market and bought fruits. There I had a few fruits that were new to my taste buds. Without question, the rice district is filled with small towns. However, you get the feel of any city while at the market. When you arrive in the parking lot it is filled with cab drivers hustling for a buck. They are clearly not shy to offer you a ride. They are all very persistent.  

While I know I have responsibilities that I enjoy waiting for me in NY, it was great to get away and barely think about business. I loved eating delicious foods that I have never tasted. I had a couple of incredible fruits. And I truly enjoyed the food from Indonesia. Seeing Ellen and being shown new lands for both of us was an added pleasure. She will be back in NY a few days from now.

As you are reading this, I will be back in the office. If you have questions about Suriname or want me to write on a specific topic, connect through the comments. 


  1. Welcome to a unique part of South America. Hope thoughts of the experience endure through the winter.

  2. Thank you. Since I prefer hot weather, I will need those thoughts through the winter. Are you from Suriname?