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Suriname, November 2012

1st-6th November 2012

Paramaribo, capital of Suriname/Surinam. It’s a small former Dutch colony on the north coast of South America. Suriname borders French Guiana to the east, Guyana to the west, Brazil to the south, and the Atlantic Ocean on the north, where the majority of its population reside.

Tony outside Saint Peter and Paul Cathedral. This Roman Catholic cathedral is built entirely of wood and is claimed to be the largest wooden structure in the Americas.Tony outside Saint Peter and Paul Cathedral. This Roman Catholic cathedral is built entirely of wood and is claimed to be the largest wooden structure in the Americas. Construction began in 1883 and it was consecrated in 1885, although the towers were not completed until 1901.

Looking up at the front of the cathedral. The towers are covered with scaffolding.Looking up at the front of the cathedral. The towers are covered with scaffolding.

Inside the cathedral looking to the side of the central aisle. It is built very much in the style of a traditional European church with a vaulted ceiling supported by columns, except entirely crafted using wood.Inside the cathedral looking to the side of the central aisle. It is built very much in the style of a traditional European church with a vaulted ceiling supported by columns, except entirely crafted using wood.

Another view of the cathedral's interior. Wooden columns and a tall window behind.Another view of the cathedral’s interior. Wooden columns and a tall window behind.

The main altar.The main altar.

Tony by a stone platform overlooking the Suriname River. There is an old canon sitting on top.Tony by a stone platform overlooking the Suriname River. There is an old canon sitting on top. This is at Fort Zeelandia, which was originally built by the British in 1651 on the site on a trading post created by the Dutch. It was initially known as Fort Willoughby and got its present name in 1667 after it was returned to the Dutch.

Tony inside a room built of stone and brick at Fort Zeelandia. Maybe a cellar or dungeon?Tony inside a room built of stone and brick at Fort Zeelandia. Maybe a cellar or dungeon?

A courtyard in the centre of Fort Zeelandia, surrounded by buildings built mostly of brick.A courtyard in the centre of Fort Zeelandia, surrounded by buildings built mostly of brick.

Tony relaxing with a drink at a café/restaurant in the grounds of Fort Zeelandia.Tony relaxing with a drink at a café/restaurant in the grounds of Fort Zeelandia.

Tony outside the entrance to Fort Zeelandia with a taxi driver.Tony outside the entrance to Fort Zeelandia with a taxi driver.

The Neveh Shalom Synagogue seen through metal railings. It was completed in 1842 or 1843 replacing an older building dating from 1723. It is the only synagogue serving the Ashkenazi Jewish community in Suriname.The Neveh Shalom Synagogue seen through metal railings. It was completed in 1842 or 1843 replacing an older building dating from 1723. It is the only synagogue serving the Ashkenazi Jewish community in Suriname.

View of the Keizerstraat Mosque and a cultural centre alongside. The mosque was completed in 1984.View of the Keizerstraat Mosque and a cultural centre alongside. The mosque was completed in 1984.

Exterior of the mosque. Star and crescent moon decoration around the walls.Exterior of the mosque. Star and crescent moon decoration around the walls.

Looking back along a street towards the mosque with its four minarets and a central dome. To the right, part of the synagogue can also again be seen.Looking back along a street towards the mosque with its four minarets and a central dome. To the right, part of the synagogue can also again be seen. It’s one of the few places in the world where a mosque and synagogue stand beside one another – both religions share the car park!

3rd October

Tony at the market outside Oom Sam's Vis en Vlees Winkel (Uncle Sam's Fish and Meat Shop).Tony at the market outside Oom Sam’s Vis en Vlees Winkel (Uncle Sam’s Fish and Meat Shop).

Again at the market. Stalls in view selling pots, pans and foodstuffs.Again at the market. Stalls in view selling pots, pans and foodstuffs.

Tour in the Amazon Rainforest to a Maroon village and an Amerindian village

A building in the Maroon village. It is an open-sided shelter built of wood with a roof thatched using Palm fronds.A building in the Maroon village. It is an open-sided shelter built of wood with a roof thatched using Palm fronds.

Tony with a female traveller from the Netherlands sitting at a table under the shelter. This building is the dining room of the eco-lodge near the Maroon village. The area is only a two hour drive from Paramaribo.Tony with a female traveller from the Netherlands sitting at a table under the shelter. This building is the dining room of the eco-lodge near the Maroon village. The area is only a two hour drive from Paramaribo.

Two modern-style Maroon village houses built with breeze-blocks and corrugated iron roofs.Two modern-style Maroon village houses built with breeze-blocks and corrugated iron roofs.

Looking into a Maroon village house.Looking into a Maroon village house.

A table cloth and various bowls, bottles and other everyday objects inside the house.A table cloth and various bowls, bottles and other everyday objects inside the house.

Tony with two local children.Tony with two local children.

Tony holding a wooden pole which is inside a wooden vessel - it is used for grinding cassava - like a mortar and pestle.Tony holding a wooden pole which is inside a wooden vessel – it is used for grinding cassava – like a mortar and pestle.

Washing hanging to dry.Washing hanging to dry.

Looking into a Maroon village building. A large collection of pots and pans hanging on the wall.Looking into a Maroon village building. A large collection of pots and pans hanging on the wall.

Tony sitting outside a wooden hut.Tony sitting outside a wooden hut.

A tarantula on a wooden ledge inside the church at the Maroon village.A tarantula on a wooden ledge inside the church at the Maroon village.

A group of Maroon villagers, some with traditional drums, and lots of children, under the dining room of the eco-lodge near the Maroon village.A group of Maroon villagers, some with traditional drums, and lots of children, under the dining room of the eco-lodge near the Maroon village.

Tony sitting watching the villagers  perform several traditional dances. The dances represent slave life in Suriname, when it was Dutch Guiana.Tony sitting watching the villagers perform several traditional dances. The dances represent slave life in Suriname, when it was Dutch Guiana.

In a traditional canoe looking across a river to dense vegetation on the far bank.In a traditional canoe looking across a river to dense vegetation on the far bank.

Travelling along a narrower stretch of river in the canoe. Tony sitting in the seat immediately in front.Travelling along a narrower stretch of river in the canoe. Tony sitting in the seat immediately in front.

Tony in the canoe. Muddy river with dense jungle vegetation on both sides. This is the beginning of Suriname’s interior.Tony in the canoe. Muddy river with dense jungle vegetation on both sides. This is the beginning of Suriname’s interior.

Tony back on dry land examining another traditional wooden canoe. In a small village or hamlet where traditional boat building is undertaken.Tony back on dry land examining another traditional wooden canoe. In a small village or hamlet where traditional boat building is undertaken.

4th October

Looking up into trees. The silhouette of a small animal can be seen - probably a type of small monkey.Looking up into trees. The silhouette of a small animal can be seen – probably a type of small monkey.

Another tree. A sleuth just visible clinging to a branch.Another tree. A sleuth just visible clinging to a branch.

Tony with a man who is holding a machete and long straight stick. He is a local Surinamer, a Maroon, who works at the eco-lodge and lives in the Maroon village.Tony with a man who is holding a machete and a long straight stick. He is a local Surinamer, a Maroon, who works at the eco-lodge and lives in the Maroon village.

Tony drinking natural water from a branch of a tree. Rain water is collected in the tree. This is on my hike through the Amazon Rainforest to an Amerindian village.Tony drinking natural water from a branch of a tree. Rain water is collected in the tree. This is on my hike through the Amazon Rainforest to an Amerindian village.

Palm fronds woven together for roofing.Palm fronds woven together for roofing.

Tony examining a maggot in his hand.Tony examining a maggot in his hand.

Tony crossing a stream on a tree trunk bridge. Nearly at the Amerindian village.Tony crossing a stream on a tree trunk bridge. Nearly at the Amerindian village. These are indigenous people of the Guianas. They are extremely shy in Suriname. We met few people and had no conversations.

Inside a traditional house under construction in the Amerindian village. Tony holding some twine.Inside a traditional house under construction in the Amerindian village. Tony holding some twine.

Tony holding a long pole made from woven plant fibre at the Amerindian village.Tony holding a long pole made from woven plant fibre at the Amerindian village.

A crop growing in a field - could be recently planted sugar cane or cassava or another root vegetable. Palm trees behind.A crop growing in a field – could be recently planted sugar cane or cassava or another root vegetable. Palm trees behind.

Two colourful parrots in one of the villages.Two colourful parrots in one of the villages.

Tony resting his stick on a tortoise shell. This is back at the eco-lodge after our hike back through the Amazon and through the Maroon village.Tony resting his stick on a tortoise shell. This is back at the eco-lodge after our hike back through the Amazon and through the Maroon village.

Back in Paramaribo. Tony with Gilles in a parking lot. Gilles is Dutch but has lived in the Maroon village. He is the tour guide. He helped improve the Maroon village over 4 or 5 years.Back in Paramaribo. Tony with Gilles in a parking lot. Gilles is Dutch but has lived in the Maroon village. He is the tour guide. He helped improve the Maroon village over 4 or 5 years.

5th October

View across Paramaribo's grass-covered Independence Square (Onafhankelijkheidsplein in Dutch!).View across Paramaribo’s grass-covered Independence Square (Onafhankelijkheidsplein in Dutch!). Buildings around the edge of the square include the Presidential Palace, National Assembly and various government ministries. The building at the far side with the clock tower on the roof is the Ministry of Finance.

The flags of several countries flying at the side of Independence Square.The flags of several countries flying at the side of Independence Square.

Looking towards the Suriname River - more flags.Looking towards the Suriname River – more flags.

At the side of Independence Square. A colonial-era wooden building immediately alongside a modern glass and metal fronted building.At the side of Independence Square. A colonial-era wooden building immediately alongside a modern glass and metal fronted building.

The base of a statue of Jagernath Lachmon (1916-2001), a Surinamese politician.The base of a statue of Jagernath Lachmon (1916-2001), a Surinamese politician.

Again Independence Square, a little way from another statue. This is of Johan Adolf Pengelof (1916 – 1970), who was Prime Minister of Suriname from June 1963 to 5th March 1969.Again Independence Square, a little way from another statue. This is of Johan Adolf Pengelof (1916 – 1970), who was Prime Minister of Suriname from June 1963 to 5th March 1969.

The Palm Gardens (Palmentuin) located near Independence Square. Hundreds of tall palm trees.The Palm Gardens (Palmentuin) located near Independence Square. Hundreds of tall palm trees.

At the edge of the palm garden. Colonial-era wooden houses beyond.At the edge of the palm garden. Colonial-era wooden houses beyond.

A path through the palm garden.A path through the palm garden.

Looking up into the canopy of tall trees.Looking up into the canopy of tall trees.

A large shelter within the palm garden. The roof thatched with palm fronds.A large shelter within the palm garden. The roof thatched with palm fronds.

A grassy area between the palm garden and the river. More colonial-era houses. A bust can be seen to the right. This is of Titus van Asch van Wijck (1849 - 1902) who was governor of Suriname between June 1891 and May 1896.A grassy area between the palm garden and the river. More colonial-era houses. A bust can be seen to the right. This is of Titus van Asch van Wijck (1849 – 1902) who was governor of Suriname between June 1891 and May 1896.