Saturday, September 3, 2011

Experiencing the Suriname River

 Our group were packed and prepared for a day somewhere in the jungle! But to our surprise we found our bus, where we parked it ashore without both `flicker lampen` To the `Politie` we went! We reported the incident, and found out that we also have to be very sure of locking our dinghies as well, because the engines are very popular! We phoned the Car Rental company, only to find out that the insurance we paid for, of course doesn`t cover `lampen`.  We were in for  100 Euro. Thank goodness, it was a little less than the 300Euro for our little window in French Guyana. This didn`t break our speed, and soon we were on our way.  The road (200km) was not too bad, and we reached Atjoni, a very small village, where we met again, the blonde mom and daughter from Holland with their guide, Wilson.  We met them at Stone Island, next to a lake at a beautiful setting.  A little brown capuchin and a little bush pig stole our hearts at Stone Island. 
Stone Island

We even considered staying there for the night at 5 Euros per person. But we drove off, and we found ourselves in a long dug out boat with a lot of people with all their stuff.  Wilson persuaded us to come to the jungle with him, up the river to his family!  He will provide us with a the boat trip, a place to sleep, dinner and breakfast and the time of our lives!

Wilson on the left in the store buying our rations

We negotiated a price of 600 SRD, 120 Euros for our group of eight, everything included!  And off we went!

When inside the boat, we sat back and enjoyed the breath taking journey deep into the forest with this long wooden boat, (about 14m).

For two and a half hours we went down this huge river.  At some stages we had to slow down to pass the shallow black rocks, and sometimes we had to pick up speed for the rapids.  After many stops at villages, dropping some people, delivering verbal messages along the way, we eventually reached Bota Pasi.

Wilson took us to a wooden building with some rooms and a couple of beds and place to hang your hammocks.  The kitchen was filled with all the necessities, and a shower with a bucket for water and a toilet also with a bucket. There is no running water and the water we used came from the big black tank filled with water from the river. Electricity is switched on for a couple of hours during the evening. We settled and with my new mozzie nets, we changed our room in the honeymoon suite and the boys set up their hammocks for the night.

We went down to the river, watching the children cleaning the catch of the day, and some still hoping for something for dinner.  The only monkey I saw was the squirrel monkey with the round bullet hole in his chest, hanging from the hand of a man coming out of the forest. The only Toucan I saw was the one nervously jumping around in a small cage. This made me wonder….what will be for dinner?
We walked around the village with the people looking at us, and we looking at them. An old grey man showed me the `calabash` tree  and called his wife to show me the `kalbassie` after they ate the inside and cleaned and decorated it.  Now it was ready to sip your beer from it! 

 A young girl told me about the rice they grow deep in the forest, and showed me how she dry them in the sun on the bamboo mat.  The old women with the brightly colored cloth around her hips, bend low to show me the `maroeba` beans she will grind tomorrow to make oil for her cooking.

Starving, but a little bit apprehended about the menu, we went to the hut near the big tree with the wooden benches, the bar!  We sat around the tree, with the boys catching fire flies in our plastic cups. Eventually Wilson stopped talking for a moment, and dinner was served!  Steamed rice and a very bitter vegetable ( mozzies hate that), so you can imagine me having a second helping. The `chicken` cut into small pieces was prepared with a sweet sauce.  Was it chicken cut into small pieces?  Later we also had barbequed chicken grilled by the bar man.  My family devoured all, and even enjoyed my portion of meat too.  I just kept seeing a dangling monkey…
Joe was invited by the young men to join them for the night visiting a nearby village.  He wasn`t sure about the rules of the road…drinking and driving while steering this long dug out, so he decided to rather stay and enjoy the evening on solid ground. Tummies full we slept well among the village people, and woke up the next morning by the people getting ready for a days` work.

After scrambled eggs and peanut butter on fresh bread and black coffee we were good to go.  We waved good bye to the school teacher, the captain and the bar man and all the little children already busy washing the dishes and dirty clothes in the river, and we left with the long dug out. Thanks to all for an unforgettable experience!
Ps. Joe put his camera down for a while, and is working on something for his pages.  I had a sneaky peak, and you can't miss out on that!

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