Saturday, February 13, 2010

Dutch friendliness

Marowijne river between French Guiana and Suriname (and the ferry)

I'm happy to get out from French Guiana, it's nightmare for the traveller without car rental. Practically public transportation is non-existent and I had massive difficulties to get my passport from Suriname embassy at Cayenne. I was staying night at Kourou nearby space center and Papillon prison islands, when I had to fetch my passport from Cayenne 60 kms from Kourou. I couldn't get any kind of transportation except taxi, which was bloody expensive. Then the transportation from Cayenne to Suriname border was longish and nightmarish excperience as well. Now I'm happily at Paramaribo, the capital of Suriname. French Guiana is the worst country to travel, if you don't speak French and have rented car.

Waiting border river crossing with dug-out canoes

When the French Guianese guy was telling me that end of the world is French Guiana, I don't think it is...
When I crossed the border with dugout canoe and took a collective taxi to Paramaribo, the drive was full of life. The driver was driving 130 kms/hour on a road, which had half meter deep holes! Even in Finland at the best highways the speed limit is 120 km/h and the difference of road conditions are astronomical. Lonely Planet book states the distance of the border and Paramaribo as 4 hours and we did it in 2 hours! Reggae music was played at full volume during the whole drive and when the driver got phone call, he didn't lower the voice of the music but instead was shouting to the phone as loud as possible over the music. That's life if anything.

What changed when the country changed. Well, lot's of things.

1) Cars changed from Renaults, Citroens and Peugeots to Toyotas, Hondas, Mitsubishis and Nissans
2) Traffic changed from right hand side to left hand side
3) Language changed from French to Dutch and English (I'm sooooo pleased, now I'm able to communicate with the locals)
4) Music changed to Reggae
5) Money changed from Euros to Surinamese Dollars
6) The attitude and athmosphere changed a lot :) If you know the difference between French and Dutch then you know the difference. People are more relaxed and helpful on this side of the border.
7) People are more and more black than white here. Getting closer and closer to Caribbean.

However the hot and humid weather stayed at the same :)

At the same time I started to think if Finland would have had colonies like France, Netherlands, Spain, Great Britain, Portugal, etc...

What kind of country there would be. French Guiana looks like France, Suriname is a bit like Netherlands and I suppose Guyana will be like UK. If there would be fourth small country next to these 3 small countries, let it be "Finnish Guiana".

Definitely there would be saunas everywhere, but I'm not sure if locals would be delighted. Finlandia Vodka would be drink instead of rum & whiskey. On December, January & February thousands of Finnish would fly to worship sun and you could get ordinary Finnish foods in the restaurants. You could hear Eppu Normaali band playing the songs like "Murheellisten laulujen maa". It would be interesting to see how these Finnish melancholy songs would be evolved with Caribbean rhytms, and cheerful people. It would not be anymore "Murheellisten laulujen maa", but something else. Would it be paradise for other than Finns? Maybe not, you could hear "tankero" english everywhere, see drunk Finnish travellers, etc... Maybe it's good Finland hasn't been a great power in the past.

1 comment:

  1. Welcome to the last Eden!

    Enjoy the Prabo beer, Black Cat rum and the Sunday morning (7am) song birds competition in front of the Presidential Palace.

    Go to the interior for the real experience!!

    Keep blogging,