Boats are not allowed to moor in Paramaribo which is the capital of Surinam. So, most of the boats stay in Domburg a town a few miles upstream from Paramaribo. The town Domburg was actually made up of a resort, three restaurants, a small church, a barber shop and a supermarket. The resort has several moorings in the river and for a small daily fee you could use their mooring including the facilities of the resort like the showers (Yeah!! 🤗) wifi, laundry, etc.
The next day we went to Paramaribo to clear in. Because it is a complicated process since you need to go to three different offices which were far from each other, the resort suggested that we hire a man called Harry to help us. They told us to wear long pants and no sleeveless shirts when we go to the government offices otherwise they might not clear us in (hmmm… I didn’t think we were going to the Vatican 😜) First, we went to the Maritime authorities, then to Immigration and finally the Military police. It took us the whole morning to arrange this. We needed to pay 35 US dollars p.p. for a tourist visa but Immigration only accepted payments in euros or dollars and not their local currency!! The problem is we didn’t have any euros or dollars with us and the ATM machine only dispenses local currency. So, we had to go to a casino first to buy US dollars to pay for the visa.
The most important thing we needed to do was have the refrigerator fixed. At Domburg resort, a small group of Dutch men come together every evening to have a drink. One of the men is the manager of a fishing company and so he helped us in arranging a refrigerator technician. The electrician said he needed electricity but since we were moored at the river we didn’t have access to the 220 v electricity. So,
another man called the owner of the Waterland resort and marina further up the river and asked if we could use their pontoon. Everyone was very willing to help you out. Anyway, after three visits from the technician plus two new spare parts the refrigerator was finally working 😊.
We stayed six days in Surinam and had a bit of an impression of the country. It is very green and in many ways it reminded us of the countryside in the Philippines. Paramaribo still has many traces of the Dutch colonial times. People are friendly but they are struggling financially. The younger generation does not know how it was during the colonial times but the older generation still longs for the “good old days”. It’s an interesting mixture of different groups and cultures. The two largest ethnic groups which are the Creole and the Hindu do not get along with each other. Our taxi driver Harry is Hindu and he spoke negatively of the Creole and most of the government officials are Creole. Most of the businesses and stores are managed by the Chinese who came here from China about twenty years ago.
We moved to the Waterland resort and marina on the last three days. It is a beautifully tailored resort with a small marina in the middle of nowhere. We met other yachties (long distance sailors) there and had a few drinks with them.
All together Surinam was an interesting visit and we were glad to see it.