The holidays are history and we shared the
european winter feeling only thanks to the Blokker shop in Paramaribo, as we
discovered there a shelf stocked up with... ski gloves. In the meantime we
now finally prepare for the next leg. We didn't plan to stay longer than
1 year in
Surinam, as this means another
journey to the customs offices in Albina and French Guyana to get new
visa. But while the men continued the work, two days of summer holidays with
wine and French bread
and exclusive dinners within reach were not unattractive at all, most
importantly because we were a little bit tired. But renovation phase 1
is now finally concluded and we are preparing to hoist the sails again.
We celebrated Christmas at home, i.e. in the house. BBQ on our balcony, two hammocks and Boris was invited as a special guest as he was
totally miserable. Fought with a dog twice as high so 4x bigger than he
is. Result: a large wound in his forepaw and a cut in one ear, skinny
and apathetic, and a dull and dirty fur. We washed him with real dog
shampoo, fed him with his favourite dog food and for the rest of the day he remained
asleep. Didn't even wake up immediately when JW
put a roasted spare rib right under his nose.
New Year's Eve in Suriname. In the evening not a soul out on the
street, everyone is at home as of 10 PM. “Otherwise your house will cry
surely?” (Oma says). You shouldn't make your house feel miserable at the
last moment, so you stay at home. Nice opportunity to do a “wasi” as it
is good to be clean when closing the old year and entering the new year.
A real wasi is actually not a normal bath, but a ritual originating from
the Marrons, who soak special leaves and herbs in a special water and
use this mixture to wash themselves to find luck in the new year. On the
stroke of 12 everybody hits the street again, celebrating the new year.
We celebrated New Year's Eve in Mae's pub with a Dutch/Surinamese
company: sailors, fishermen and locals.
It was all very animated. Sofie baked the traditional Dutch doughnut balls and
there was a small pig cooked on the spit.
Furthermore the inevitable chicken, rice, noodles and Dutch potatoe
salads. The dogs positioned themselves strategically under the table
where the pig was served.
There were lots of fire crackers to drive away the evil spirits. Boris
ran barking after every fire cracker and because we feared that he would
catch one right at the moment of explosion, we held him tight when
things got pretty hot. On
Petra is assisted by Hoemba.
After one year in Surinam of which the
last three months working very hard, we are now completeley
tropicalized. Our labourers work from 7AM until 5PM and this means that
we have to jump in he dinghy at 0630. So the alarm wakes us up at 0550!
Except on Sundays, when it is switched off and we have the day to
ourselves. Well, during a six-day working week a to-do-list
develops, with items such as blocked feed-pipe of the toilet (the river
brings lots of mud into the pump water),
find leaks, chase bats from under the mizzen's sailcover, laundry,
With the house we gained lots of time in the planning. Originally we
would be finished by 2010, but this is now moved backward to 2007.
An enormous number of trucks loaded with wood drove up and we calculated
that we used in the roof and the balconies more than 10m3 of tropical
wood (400 euro/m3). The attic floor took another 5m3 of planed wood with
tongue and groove (630 euro/m3). All beautiful tropic hardwood; with the
only disadvantage (for the men) that it is extremely heavy.
After the wood, the sand was driven up: 23 truck loads, totalling 115m3
of sand which was used to raise and level our site. Other quantities for
the statistics: 100 liters of creosote to impregnate al this wood
against insects, approximately 200 kgs of nails and lots more.
Building or renovating a home in Surinam is very feasible. Our four
labourers work 9.5 hours a day, 6 days a week. In all 228
working hours, totalling 480 euro a week. We are extremely pleased with
them, and they feel the same about us. We often get compliments because
we work so hard! They were completely stunned when P climbed on the roof
to do some painting. The scaffold consists of only 1 plank 20 cm wide,
which is small enough to keep away most people (and surely women) from
their working premises. Except a sailor who has a safety harness with lifeline.
After two weeks the roof was finished. Which was necessary as it rained
cats and dogs all the time. Around the turn of the year our house got
the characteristic elements that completed the transformation of a dull 11-room
block into a creative 6-room palace; with the 5 pitched piles on either
side carrying the roof and the wooden gallery where we can play tag.
shows the back side of the house. To see the front in an earlier stage,
Even on a misty morning the garden looks good.
We have 12 orange trees which are the favourite site of a cute little bird,
the kissmequick. This bird eats fowrudoti seeds and excretes them again on
the branches of our orange trees, and these seeds grow into miles long
strangling branches which eventually take the trees in a deadly embrace. So
we are not so fond of the kissmequick anymore.
We will not leave our home unattended when we go sailing. We found someone
who checks twice a week for unwanted occupants and he will work 2 half days
a month in the garden. This costs only 30 euro a month and everybody is
Sailing: we plan to leave around the 20th of February. First to Tobago,
about 500 nm so we'll be
4-5 days under way. There we go snorkeling and scuba diving, alternated with
reading lots of books. In short: take a break. We continue to the Grenadines
and from there up north to Santa Lucia and
Martinique. By the end of May we'll head back for Surinam, to make a fresh
start on the house again in June.
Hot Dog News concerning Domburg's stray dogs. With Boris we have a LAT-relation
since Christmas. If he feels like accompanying us, he jumps into the car.
That is actually every day and he even sleeps beside the car! He hunts for
iguana's in the garden; but for the most part of the day he stays within 1
meter distance of Petra, as she seems to be his great love.
Shortly after the turn of the year Ramona the Queen of Domburg Herself ran
forward to greet us when we came “home” with Boris. Mad with joy and
obviously we were also happy to see her, although with regret as she was
dumped by her former owner. So now 2 dogs jump into the car every day...
In the meantime Boris proved to be a real watchdog. A few things were stolen
from our site and we had a suspect but couldn't prove it. A few weeks later
Boris delivered proof when we were having dinner at Tamara's and the
suspected thief walked in. We only noticed him when Boris was already
barking and growling for no reason... Probably he smelled the man's scent at
the fence and made the connection “unwanted intruder”. This dog goes
through hell for us!
Ramona's come-back film (3.84 Mb)