Suriname

Roadside amadillos for sale

 

About half the population of Suriname lives in Paramaribo, the capital city. It is mostly a nondescript economic district offering little for tourists to see. 80% of Suriname is jungle so when you go you must see it—it’s wonderful! I visited the Brokopondo area about 2 hours south of Paramaribo. I had a private guide to tour me around the lake and we went ashore to watch some local ladies making cassava bread, looked at an old gold mining site, visited a local vegetable garden, and toured the Alcoa dam which provides much of the north’s electricity.

However, the highlight of my trip to Suriname in 2016 was prospecting for gold in a large cut in middle of the jungle. After asking our way around, we stumbled upon a mine owned by a local and staffed by a Brazilian crew. The owner agreed to let me work there, removing large rocks out of the catch area. The owner of the land has created an interesting ecosystem at the mine: he pays his employees in gold, they bum food and liquor from him (for gold), he rents rooms to prostitutes (for gold), and the employees pay the prostitutes (in gold). The owner of the mine ends up with all of the gold and happy employees : ^ 0.

One of the more colorful and fun facts about Suriname: it’s President Bouterse has been convicted of drug trafficking and is wanted by Dutch authorities. His son Dino is serving a 16 year prison term in the U.S for drug possession, terrorism, and money laundering.

 

Some new friends in Suriname
Working at a gold mine
Playing hide & seek

France

On our "Backroads" bike trip from Provence to Cannes in France Jim's Perspectives: I've lost count of how many times I have visited this gem of a country. Some of the more memorable time were as a young man right out of college, I took two summers to improve my...

India

At the Taj Mahal with Kenan, 2013 Country Information: More than 1.4 billion people live in India, making it ones of the most populated countries in the world. The capital is New Delhi. The official languages are Hindi and English, though there are over 22...

São Tomé and Príncipe

Typical streetscape in São Tomé Country Information: São Tomé and Príncipe is a volcanic chain close to the equator off the coast of western Africa.. The capital is São Tomé and the country’s population is about 250,000 people. The primary language is Portuguese, and...