Picture wooden buildings with red tin roofs, many buildings with peeling paint, interesting architecture…that’s a start. People are very friendly here, and ask me how I like Paramaribo. And when I say I do, some say, “Paramaribo likes you, too.”
Got up this morning when I heard the birds singing and people talking out on the porch downstairs. My first order of business, after breakfast (discovered I absolutely LOVE fresh papaya!), was to find the bookstore and buy a map… Next on my list was to book a trip into the rain forest (Monday).
Wandered around a bit; found the Palm Garden and the Presidential Palace…and the big wooden church of Sts. Peter and Paul… If I get a little used to the layout of the city and where things are today, then I can zero in on something tomorrow.
Today it rained — a SUDDEN shower that lasted maybe two minutes. I happened to be enjoying a cold drink out on the porch of TwenTy4 at the time.
I have my ticket! (happy dance)
I will be going to Suriname in March 2012!
I’ve been trying to improve on what little Dutch I know, mainly adding to my vocabulary. And I’ve discovered something baffling. Words that have an interesting sound are more likely to be retained. For instance, the word “fietsen” which means to bicycle. Now I don’t plan to bicycle in the rain forest. Or even in the city of Paramaribo, for that matter! And I’m sure I won’t find anything in the old Dutch records of 1699-1701 about bicycling, either. Yet that word clings to my brain while more useful words just slide right off. What’s up with that?
I am excited about the trip I’m planning to Surinam. This trip will be different from the one I made to Germany. There I was more familiar with the language. But I don’t speak Dutch which is the official language of Surinam. So…I will take an experienced translator with me. (I learned in Frankfurt and Nürnberg that you never know where or when a casual conversation will reveal or lead to a real “gold nugget” of information.
I am looking forward to researching in the libraries and museums of Paramaribo. I am also looking forward to again walking the streets Maria Sybilla Merian walked, seeing some of the buildings she saw, experiencing new foods and new sights, sounds, smells, and textures. Trying to describe the taste of something totally new must be interesting. (I’m not sure I would have recognized the taste of pineapple from Maria Sybilla’s description, but then I already know that taste.)
I have no idea what the rain forest is like, so right now I cannot adequately write about that. And a writer needs to know the location used in the story. Actually going to the location leads to more authentic descriptions and feelings.
With passport, visa, camera, and notebook in hand, I am eager to gather sensory as well as documentary input. With that I can get back to writing!
While looking out the window and watching the snowflakes fall this Christmas morning, I found myself wondering whether Maria Sybilla and Dorothea missed the cold weather and snow at Christmastime. It must have been very different with the temperature in the 80s and rain everyday!
Nürnberg’s famous Christmas cookies, called Lebkuchen (or gingerbread), were first baked in that city in 1395. They were made with expensive ingredients – spices brought in the Middle East Traditionally Lebkuchen are large cookies (4″ or more), and were made by hand until 1867,
When Maria Sybilla Merian (Mrs. Johann Graf) and her family lived in Nürnberg, Lebkuchen were made only by master gingerbread bakers who were members of the Lebkuchen Baker’s Guild.