Friday, February 12, 2010

Papillon & European space agency

Ile du Diable (Papillon prison island) from Ile Royale island

Getting Suriname visa took two days, and meanwhile I had some time to visit couple of interesting places.
Leaving the application to Suriname embassy at Cayenne took 3 hours, it was quite a show with lots of people, lots of talk, some desperate people trying to get visa, lots of heat, loud voices and one person calmly taking applications and handling them sloooowly behind the desk.

Jails in Ile Royale island

On thursday I spent whole day at "Iles du Salut" islands, which is famous for Papillon autobiography of Henri Charriere. He spent 9 years in prison in these islands. Ile du Diable island is nowadays closed and I walked around the main island Ile Royale. Islands were penal colony even for 2000 prisoners and used until 1946. There are strong currents around the islands, which made the escapes nearly impossible. There is only one bay at main island, where swimming is allowed and even in that bay the current is pretty strong. I had difficulties to swim there, from time to time waves throwed me unexpectedly.

Punch at restaurant's terrace

Friday morning I visited Guiana Space Center, which is used by ESA to launch satellites onto the space. The location is ideal for launches due to its proximity to equator, which gives launches roughly 17% savings compared to other space centers. Earth's rotation is fastest at the equator and therefore launchs will need less energy than launches elsewhere.

The engine of the rocket

I'm trying to get to the border of French Guiana and Suriname today and take the ferry across the river to the Suriname tomorrow.

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