Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Guided Paramaribo Tour

Since Jill was back in her old stomping grounds of Paramaribo (or Foto) and we had a couple of days to kill in the city, she took Mike on a guided tour of the city, complete with megaphone and a safari hat.

Starting at Stadtz, the hostel where we stay, we walked towards Saramaccastraat, where we saw the tallest building in Foto, Hakrinbank.

Then over to Saramaccastraat for some kousu (the traditional skirt worn by women in the interior of Suriname) shopping at Jerusalem Bazaar.

From there we checked out the market.

Heading over toward Waterkant we stop at the Ghandi statue to reflect.

At Waterkant we checked out the Dutch colonial houses that are still really nice. Waterkant is an area right next to the river that has several permanent food stands that stay open 24/7.

And not so nice.

Past the Presidential Palace to Fort Zeelandia.

And the new I heart SU statue.

Then across to the Palm Gardens where over 1,000 palm trees are planted, and on to the statue representing the Indonesian population in Suriname that were brought over as endentured servants, mainly from Java.

Following the river brings us to the tourist part of town where the Torarica and EcoLodge hotels are, as well as fancy places to eat. Then we walk back past the presidential palace, up Henck Arronstraat to the largest wooden cathedral in the world, recently renovated.

And then over to the Muslim mosque located right next to the Jewish synagoge. The Surinamese are very proud of their diversity and tolerance for all cultures and this personifies it for many people.

That rounded out our guided tour of the most touristed spots in Suriname. On the tour Jill discovered that she knows a lot about a very small area of Foto.

We also happened to be in town for Srefidensi, Independence Day, on November 25th. Suriname declared independence from the Dutch in 1975 and apparantly have been celebrating ever since. There were lots of festivities near the presidential palace, on waterkant, and in the Palm Gardens. Not as many people were dressed up in traditional dress as in the past, but it was a party nonetheless. We spent most of our time on Waterkant, watching people and drinking djugos (liters of beer.  Parbo is about the only option, but its good and tastes like beer, more flavor than most light latin options). And trying to stay out of the rain.

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