We’re in the jungle! Yesterday we arrived in Paramaribo to find we couldn’t berth and had to move deeper down the river to Paranam. Expecting to be off ship by 1300, we were all packed and ready for a day out around the city, which mostly would have been at the Hermitage Mall because, as our agent told us, Paramaribo ‘is closed’ on 26th December – it’s the last day of Christmas parties. But 1300 came and went. And 1400. And 1500. And… we finally got clearance from the port authorities to leave at 1800. We scrambled onto busses and whizzed into the city to a most peculiar mall. Some of us got sim cards. Some got bug spray. Some got KFC and others got Subway.
This morning we got up early, cleaned the ship and jumped on busses to head inland. We followed a long corridor cut into the jungle that held the power lines that carried energy from the dam that created the huge lake close to where we were going. An American company built the dam to get more energy to feed its bauxite processing facilities to make Aluminium, our guide told us. Apparently most of the aluminum used in the Second World War planes came from Suriname. You can still see church spires in the lake from the villages that were washed under.
When the road ended we ditched the busses and boarded wooden longboats. As we motored up the Suriname river, the jungle grew denser. We stopped at a small island that will be out home for the next few days. Frisbee was played. Footballs were kicked. The highlight though was the swimming. We all got to jump in the rapids and swim against the current to cool off. After more than two weeks on the ocean, the fresh water and the explosion of trees is tonic to the soul. We went for a night ride to look for Caymen and found a few, as well as a snake chilling in a tree and some bats. The jungle at night is incredible… we’re in the Amazon!
Tomorrow we’re canoing to a nearby village to learn some local skills and get a feel for what it’s like to live here.