In and around Paramaribo

Paramaribo has a nice atmosphere. The town plan seems a bit cluttered, because the oldest streets are built on shell ridges running parallel to the shore in an angle of 45 to the river; newer streets are built square to the river, as is common in most cities. The oldest houses are constructed in wood in colonial style and painted white. The largest are government buildings, so they are reasonably well-kept. They make the city attractive. PHOTO 1 Nostalgic element are the old-fashioned Dutch roadsigns. PHOTO 2
Fort Zeelandia
FOTO 3 is the most famous historic building in Paramaribo. It was built in the 17th century and originally called Fort Willoughby, after the English governer who reigned over Suriname before the Dutch took over. On 6 March 1667 Surinam came in the hands of admiral Crijnssen, who named the fortification after his battleship. So the English traded Surinam for the colony New Amsterdam, the latter New York. Now the Surinamese Museum is located in the fortification, with a large collection on Surinamese history. Highlight is the audiovisual presentation of the history of one plantation, seen through the eyes of a English soldier who as a planter married one of his slaves and bought her freedom. 
The famous Palm Trees Garden
nearby is also worth a visit. It is strange, all those huge trees in the city centre and it is a marvellous spot to relax a bit in the shade of the high trees.
Opposite of Paramaribo on the other side of the river, you find the district Commewijne. Commewijne consists of many plantations and you can go there by "korjaal" (traditional boat). PHOTO 5 All kinds of stuff are sailed to and fro by the same boat: tables and chairs to the plantation, and oranges and bananes on the way back. On the plantations themselves transport is often done by motorbike. PHOTO 6 We visited Laarwijk, a plantation divided into 150 units. Orange and banana trees everywhere, but also enormous bamboo bushes with branches of 10 cm diameter. PHOTO 7 And the king of trees: the kankantri with its immense plank roots. The kankantri can reach heights of about 50 m and 2,5 m diameter, The roots are extremely wide and in growing this way, the tree creates its own space, which gives him royal grandeur. PHOTO 8 The Marrons see the kankantri as a magic tree; they believe their ancestors live in the tree and if for example a child in the village is born dead, they bury the body underneath the kankantri. A kankantri should never be removed. If a road is constructed and a kankantri stands in the way, the road will be re-routed around the tree. The kankantri we met, is at least 300 years old and is lovingly taken care of by the man who lives next to the tree. He often sits with the tree and then they talk a bit. With his big knife he cleans the tree of weed growing along roots and branches. If he, by doing so, hurts the tree by accident, he naturally apologizes. He also takes care of the banabeki birds who love to build their ingeniously shaped nests in the kankantri. PHOTO 8A We really enjoyed Laarwijk's lush green vegetation PHOTO 9A and the fairy tale trees by the riverside. PHOTO 10A

People just love to party in Suriname. When the fishermen came in with a huge catch, they used the opportunity to invite their crew and family plus the sailors in the neighbourhood. It was a typical Surinamese multicultural party: Hindu, Javanese, Creoles and Bakras.
PHOTO 11A Lots of chilled drinks and icecubes. A big wok was placed underneath the foredeck with an icebox on the side, filled with fresh fish fillets and gambas. One of the fishermen, Sander (who organized the party) was continuously busy with frying fish for everybody (about 50 people). And Sander was very lucky to have JW around... PHOTO 12
The sailors brought their dinghies so we could land on a beach where everyone could take a swim. Unfortunately some party people could not tell the difference between a rubber dinghy and an ashtray so our dinghy got a burn hole in the floor.
But this was repaired the next day.

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