“Schaafijs” is a delicacy Helen remembers from the time she was a little girl in Paramaribo over half a century ago. It consists of ice scraped from a block with syrup added.
Scrape-ice is still as popular as ever. During shopping hours you can find this cart parked on the corner of Domineestraat and Steenbakkerijstraat and there is always a queue waiting for their favourite refreshment.
Choice of flavours: passion fruit, almond, pineapple, tamarind, ginger, soursop. Price SRD 5.00.
Now there's a question, any nationality from South America can enter Suriname without a visa, except people from French Guiana, winner. Even better, if you're American you pay more than the norm, but you can apply online, lucky you.
You have to physically go out of your way to go to the customs point in Albina and in St Laurent, it is far easier not to bother, its easier for the taxi guy in Suriname to drop you off straight away at the pirogues and half the people who will be on the pirogue to St Laurent, really don't want to go anywhere near customs, please, thankyou.
So, why bother?
Well, lets just say, Surinamese police don't fart around, and Surinamese prison is one place you don't want to be, likewise, French Guyana may be French, but the prisons there aren't that great, and worse, the paperwork is horrendous, and if you don't speak the language, you'll be there for a while. They do do checkpoints outside of St Laurent too, EVEN WITH the checkpoint at Iracoubu in place permanently, as it is now. So, for the price of 30 minutes max on your trip and a couple of stamps, it really is worth it, especially with the road between Albina and Paramaribo being what it is, if you have an accident, the last thing you want to be doing is explaining why you have no entry/exit stamp from Guiane/Suriname, whilst eating through a straw.
Its a small risk, a really really small risk, maybe 10% of people bother with customs, but, as I look at it, the 1 time I don't bother, I'll be in the merde, get a visa for Suriname for a year, and forget about it, sleep easy.
Fondest memory: Lots and lots, Paramaribo rocks.
Paramaribo is a name that sings. It's so nice to say it.
I remember my wonder when I visited this place when I was 16. So many cultures (see my Suriname page).
And I particularly loved the ice man. Scraped ice with any flavour syrup.