September 2002 - big trip - diary - suriname - september 2002


Local Tapir taxi of the Kingston Massif!

The road gets used for all sorts...

...but not by these anymore

Thursday 5 - Friday 6 September

It was time to leave Guyana. We decided to miss out visiting Kaieteur Falls after looking in a travel shop and seeing the poster which showed it looked exactly like Aponwao in Venezuela and cost $160 to fly there, the overland route not being something we felt like doing for a while!

We drove all day, through Georgetown, out along the road which runs parallel to the coast. There is an almost unbroken ribbon of villages with names like Hope and Success. They all blend into each other, have cows wandering about and old farm machinery or cars decaying by the roadside. We arrived at Rosignol where there is a ferry across the wide river to New Amsterdam. The queue of cars and lorries was long, we had time to eat dinner and B even found a local girl who wanted to marry him and have two children. Theres no accounting for taste, eh. Once we'd crossed over it was late and we ended up spending the night round the side of a Texaco station.

I wuz never there, guv

Thanks for a tasty breakfast

Another ferry

Potholes for the first 30kms

Early the next morning we left for the Surname border. The ferry was to leave at 10am but we were told conflicting information so we set off early just in case. This last section of Guyana is mainly populated by Hindus, lots of pink flags in their gardens, the usual cows wandering around and the occasional line of grain drying in the sun with tyre marks going through it. One thing they seem to have brought over from India is the Tapir, an utterly hideous wheeled box. These things are used as taxis and are fortunately slower than the Toyotas in the rest of Guyana, any faster and they'd tip over.

After a nice Indian style breakfast at a roadside shack we drove to the end of the road and the customs/ferry building. The police hut had a little cell in it and B took a picture but was seen by a mad looking bloke who came in behind us and started shouting to the boss policeman that B had a gun in his pocket! Things soon blew over when the digi was revealed and the mad bloke went away. The policeman showed his surprise that we had the 'permission to drive' paper saying that we needn't have bothered...wish the cop in Georgetown had the same attitude! Our Suriname insurance document was checked and again when we bought the ferry tickets, as was our visa which we had procured in Georgetown for $30 each, fortunately the only visas necessary on the whole trip.

Houses on stilts

Dutch version of the Mexican 'tope'

No need for a ferry

Entering Suriname was straightforward enough and we were soon on our way, zooming past the normal cars struggling along the massively potholed road out of the terminal area. The potholes turned to dirt for the next 30kms before we reached the tarmac which was as smooth as you like all the way to the capital Paramaribo, 'drempel' speed bumps notwithstanding. The countryside is much less populated than that of Guyana, no wandering animals or children to squash, just huge rice farms and plenty of guys with their (fishing!) poles in dutch style dykes.

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