Paramaribo, Suriname
5° 50' N 55° 10' W
Oct 14, 2007 20:38
Distance 7938km

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Text written in: English

Home and Off Again: The Second Pilgrimage Begins

It has been just over two weeks since I returned to Vancouver from Africa, and I’m back where I belong (on the road), at least for the next while. Returning and leaving in precisely 14 days can make for a very hectic time; getting your life re-arranged and re-connected only to move on again was a challenging and rewarding experience. Seeing family and dear friends and finishing dozens of tasks in limited time made for a whirlwind stay.

On of the first things I did was buy two new cameras. The first one is a very serious single reflex with a 12 X digital zoom. This should result in better and more enlarged photos. Doris, a dear friend spent some time experimenting with the camera and teaching me, a photo techno peasant, a few of its many functionalities. You will see some photos of Vancouver which reflect its potential.

Like my last trip, I have a fresh supply of “zen” type books; this time there are two “new age” ones, one Buddhist and two Christian books. It is a wonderful reprieve to read this kind of literature when one is speculating about the next evolution and destination of one's life. Maybe soon, though not counting on it, I’ll know where I’m going and what I'll become - whatever. But I will enjoy the journey none the less and forget about the actual end point. I’m really starting to appreciate the simplicity and majesty of the power of now.

The flight to Suriname took 32 hours from door to door, of which 15 were in the air), getting to bed at 4 AM local time, midnight for me and 42 hours since I got up the day before. Each and every flight was delayed, and I got bumped from my flight from LA to Miami. Within 15 minutes of being airborne from Vancouver the lenses of my “repaired” glasses fell out. There was more stress and anxiety in the four flights to get here than all 25 airports I saw on my last pilgrimage. But, on the positive side, I got a $370 voucher from American Airlines, a 3 ½ hour rest in a hotel in LA (time for 2 showers) and met a wonderful enthusiastic young pair of Surinam Christians in the LA airport. They invited me to church on Sunday, which I went to; it was a refreshing experience even though I did not understand much of what was said. Suffice to say, I am glad to be here.

So what is here? I’m in Paramaribo, Suriname. Suriname in on the top portion of South America, more or less next to Venezuela. Until recently, it was at one time a Dutch colony. Population is about 500,000. The official language is Dutch. For me it is a first were the official language is other than English and I can almost understand it. The local population is anything but Latino - mostly black and Chinese. This city is a real melting pot. One of the most wonderful sights is a Jewish synagogue sharing a fence with a Moslem mosque (see photo). I have never seen a more colour blind place in the world. Race really does not matter here as no one is truly native; everyone came here to get away from stuff in their native land.

Paramaribo is a sleepy town of 200,000 on the shores of the Suriname River. With respect, it is a rundown city, with many of the wood construction buildings standing vacant and abandoned. The city has seen better days. When you walk around you almost feel like you are in a western city from some old cowboy movie. You would think twice about wandering around at night here, but in the day it feels relatively safe.

Photos / videos of "Home and Off Again: The Second Pilgrimage Begins":

This is a photo of Vancouver with my new camera, taken by Doris.  Did some practice birding in Vancouver, hope it increases my bird interest Typical street, the building are like in a old western, old and in need of paint One of the more sorry buildings in Paramaribo. What a wonderful sight, a Jewish synogue sharing a wall with a  Moslem mosque.  This apparently is the only place in the world where you can see this River scene near Paramaribo. Sunk ship in harbour of Paramaribo Roman Catholic church i Paramaribo.  This church is apparently the largest wood constructed structure in the world, and once restored will br classified aa a world heritage site Hindu temple Fort Zeelandia