Back in Suriname
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After three months of sailing in the Caribbean and one month of holidays in the Netherlands, we returned to Suriname. Our garden looked so incredibly pretty, thanks to our friend Viviane (Tropical Plants), that we got compliments from all our neighbours. In other words: something is wrong with P's gardening management, but after all it turned out that they actually meant the roadside. And in fact we really planted those pineapples and banana's ourselves, as well as the exotic heliconia . The fire brigade paid us a visit as we had a huge bee's nest, and very un-Surinamese this is tackled by the authorities and for free, and... even on Sundays!
Progress didn't come to a halt while we were away because we now have internet at home. Upon our return our WiFi-antenna picked up a signal from neighbour Murk, so we were all happy as we ofcourse pay half of his internet subscription and life is extremely easy now that we don't have to frequent the cyber shop all the time. Internet only doesn't work when the electricity is down and this happens often lately. It is extremely hot at the moment (much hotter than in 2006 and 2007), resulting heavy rain squalls with thunderstorms. The lightning strikes frequently and then we once again light the candles. Very cosy, but also a bit... hot.

Our return was confirmed by a new edition of the telephonebook in which we are listed now, one and a half years after connection. A good reason to also try to get a permit. Until now we stayed in Surinam on tourist visa, with the bligatory leave after every six months. We didn't really complain about the trip to French Guyana, but the procedure to obtain visa was getting more and more complicated every time. So in Holland we got all the necessary documents (a.o. a statement of good behaviour!) and after only one morning of red tape our application was accepted. A real permit gives you more rights, for example that you can pass a driving test, so P is going to take that shortly! This will be a quiet test as it is going to be quiet on the road: op de weg: fuel prices have gone up spectacularly.

Petrol went up from 3,48 to 3,76 SRD (0,90 €) in one day and is now already 4 SRD. A fortune considering the average income of approximately 800 SRD per month. Busstrikes are of the order of the day and also at the local fisheries people were fired.
Petrol stations took advantage by refusing sales the day before the big  price-rise, thus being able to sell old stocks the next day for the new price, but now they are have problems as people drive less.
But we don't! And if you drive a lot you can also have engine trouble, and so did we. But fortunately this happened on a Saturday and  “our” mechanic (on weekdays a Holsu mechanic) was with us in 5 minutes, towed us to his home, diagnosed a calcified radiator and brittled hoses, drove to the city for parts and delivered our car four hours later in perfect order! And the damage? 100 euro; he beamed with pleasure because he had a terrific day and so did we!

Talking damage, the Witte Raaf came into colision during the start of the yearly swimmarathon! By the sand pontoon which served as start platform. The skipper had momentarily forgotten that the Surinam River is a tidal river although JW, standing on the bow, tried to warn him. and Confusing all around, especially among police and the people from the MAS (Maritime Authority Suriname) who immediately came to check the damage, because we were on board but... as visitors. At that moment two Witte Raaf's were anchored on the Surinam River, and the boat that was hit was from our colleagues who invited us to witness the start from close-by. This Witte Raaf belonging to Joanneke and Jan was located a little too close actually, in the middle of the crowd of manoeuvering officials' boats : the Pasisi of the MAS (to be recognised as an old Dutch tug), the crisscross of police and swim guards in their typical Surinamese aluminium little boats and ofcourse the fatal sand pontoon loaded with swimmers who all were bursting to go for the start of the 20 kms to Paramaribo, which could be covered by the fastest swimmers in about 2.5 hours in the outgoing tide.

The interior of our home is now designed more and more. In order to be able to put away all our stuff, a Chinese woodworking company made us five drawer cupboards to our design, but you can also order from an Ikea-catalogue. The cupboards look very neat but to carry them upstairs we had to ask Marius, the strong man from our team of workmen, as Surinamese wood is extremely heavy. A bureau top was added, an enormous bookcase is under construction and the kitchen cupboards will be finished with neat sliding doors.
The most important par of our new interior was formed by our precious stuff from Holland , of which the coffee table (formerly ship's hatch) turned out to be the most surprising item at the Surinamese custom's office.
Furthermore JW knocked together quite a couple of walls and P had a lot to paint. Only the staircase was a bit of a problem. From the colour chart we chose a nice red colour. Unfortunately they don't have coloured paint in stock and the mixing took a week. Apparently not long enough to be able to put all the necessary ingredients together, as the next day the paint was still wet. It turned out that the siccative was missing. The paint shop offered us initially a new gallon of paint (!) and when we started to mutter they promised us a gallon of terpentine as well, for the removal of the old paint. Imagining the mess (the staircase is right next to a white wall) we asked them to send someone over to clean the staircase and to re-paint the whole thing. This was something only the general manager could decide, so we feared the worst, but to our surprise (we already had one bad experience with a big Surinamese company) their after-sales-service was perfect: they sent an excellent painter with two assistants and the next day they gave us a telephone call to check if everything was in order now. So everything is possible in Surinam!

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