|Up at 4:45 am for 'bus' (van) which picked us up at 5:30 at which time we were only ones in it. Spent next hour filling and left at 6:30 w/ 9 of us.
Altho a Dutch colony, English is spoken by just about everyone here in Suriname and TakiTaki is really the most widespread. Dutch is taught in school but many forget most of it it not in business. We are getting spoiled speaking English, it will be a shock to return to foreign languages!
Justone who was in minivan to ferry, is Indian decent 3rd gen., father is our age...3 sisters and a brother all older. Father was a farmer but when he got sick they sold the farm. Justone was 17 and he and his brother started a window making business. Shortly after a Chinese business partner (they were making windows and bought supplies from Chinese), asked if Justone could get wood/lumber for him. Justone, at 19, became a lumber broker! He is now 30 and owns several businesses as well as traveling the world doing lumber. He speaks Dutch, English, TakiTaki, Hindi, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, and some French. Most of his lumber goes to China and India.
Into Suriname via ferry then an hour wait in immigration line (lots of folks traveling before school starts 1st week in Oct). Justone generously offers us a ride to Paramaibo! We stop in Nieu Nickerie where he buys us huge Chinese lunch/dinner! Now 3 pm we stop at place where he buys more logs to go with ones just delivered, Dutch family owns lumber mill. You can see everywhere the huge Dutch influence! We pass huge 3000+ head cattle ranch, a banana plantation, and vast (goes for 25 km or more) rice fields. It is harvest time and combines are everywhere plus great #s of trucks loaded with rice heading mills.
Dogs here in Guyana are all in various states of starvation reflecting the general human state of affairs.
No speed limits are enforced if there are any at all, even within the city!
Houses are almost universally on 'stilts' or raised up somehow. Living is on 2nd floors.
Being 7-8' below sea level (Dutch did dikes here too!), much standing water - in ditches, trenches, pools, etc. All this standing/barely moving water is filthy, filled with garbage & trash. Rain (which it's done every day) just creates a stench from piles of ??? and makes walking more difficult (except on streets tho there you're likely to get run down by the craziest drivers I've ever seen!).
We've met some very nice folks and have encountered NO violence or hassles of any kind.
We saw no buses (other than one we arr in), they use minivans almost exclusively for bus 'system' - 100s of them! Also bicycles are much in evidence/use...poor folks transport.
On our drive out of Geotown we pass loads of wide ditches filled with lotus flowers & water lilies! Paved 2 lane hiway in good repair the whole distance to border/ferry. 80% of the way lined with houses on both sides like a long city but behind them are farms growing stuff. Plus, lots of critters roaming along the roadside...donkeys, pigs, goats, chickens, ducks, dogs, horses, cows- practically none of them tethered! With the speed they drive plus people walking on road and donkey/horse carts, bicyclists, slow farm tractors - I am amazed we only saw one dead animal the entire 4 hour trip! Did remind me slot of India. By the way there are a lot of Indian heritage folks, saw many prayer flags on bamboo poles all along the way inpeoples yards. Waited 'til 1 pm when ferry left arr in Suriname and ran to get in the line for immigration as there were a ton of people.
Juston, Third Gen Indian who befriended us, said for us to hurry or we'd have a long wait in line.