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Cynthia McLeod's Historic Plantation Tour
Favorite thing: There are more agents offering plantation tours, but only this one features Suriname's most famous author, Cynthia McLeod. She has written several novels set in Suriname's colonial society where slavery was abolished as late as 1863. One of these has been translated and published in English with the title “The Price of Sugar”.
Mrs McLeod founded the Merodia Foundation with the aim of better acquainting Suriname's youth with the history of their country. To achieve that aim the foundation acquired a river boat and offers free tours to former plantation sites to school classes and youth groups. These tours are financed from the fees charged to tourists who make the same tour. The name of the boat is “Sweet Merodia”, after the fictitious plantation “Merodia” featuring in one of Mrs McLeod's books.
Fondest memory: We took the tour in February 2012. From the pier the boat headed down the Suriname river, then at the Fort New Amsterdam turned into Commewijne river and made a stop at the former plantation “Rust en Werk” which in the 18th century was owned by governor Crommelin. We disembarked and walked to the Crommelin family grave site.
The next stop had to be cancelled because it had been raining the site was too muddy. So we did have ample time to roam the last site, Frederiksdorp. We learned that by the end of the 18th century there were 720 plantations along the Suriname and Commewijne rivers. Nowadays only a handful of these remain as tourist attractions. The others have been absorbed by Paramaribo town or reclaimed by nature. Frederiksdorp is the best preserved, the present owner has restored the buildings and turned the place into a resort.
During the whole trip Mrs. McLeod told about the history of the places visited. She has delved into the archives in the Netherlands, and enjoyed telling details and anecdotes as if she did it for the first time. Usually she speaks Dutch, but she will translate in English or French if needed.
UPDATE April 2013. Mrs McLeod has discontinued her plantation tours. The boat broke down again and she is getting too old. Who is going to continue the good work?
Price: EUR 40 p.p. The price includes food an drink during the tour as well as entrance fees where required.
Directions: The Merodia Pier is located on the left bank of the Suriname river, north of Paramaribo town, between the Residence Inn and the Marriott Hotel. From Waterkant follow the road north until its name changes to Anton Drachtenweg. When you see the Residence Inn on your left hand, a small sign on your right points to the pier. If you come by bus, ask to be dropped off at the Residence Inn.
Website: http://www.surinameecotours.com/en/Tours/Plantagetocht-met-de-Sweet-MerodiaRelated to:
- Historical Travel
- Sailing and Boating
Adaptor plugs in Suriname
Favorite thing: Suriname uses 127V, 60Hz
Typical outlet will be the 2-pin outlet with side grounding:
This will universally accept the European 2-pin plug:
Favorite thing: When visiting Suriname, it's good to knwo wich holidays you'll experience. All holidays are celebrated ery big with lots of food and music!:
New Year - 31 December & 1 January
Holi Phagwa - March (Hindu New year)
Easter - April
'Wandelmars'- April (sort of Surinam carnaval)
Labour day- 1 May
Mothersday - May
Fathersday - June
Keti Koti - 1 July (freedom)
Native people day (Indians) - 9 August
Independance day - 25 November
Chlidren day - 5 December
Christmas 25-26 December
Keti Koti (1 july)
Favorite thing: 1st of July, you'll experience on of the biggest national holidays of Surinam: Keti Koti.
It means "Cut the Chains" the abolition of slavery in Suriname (1863)
Everybody celebrates freedom & emancipation with lots of music & food everywhere.
Streets are full of people making music and stands with good food and nice souvenirs.
The Palmentuin is well known for the biggest festivities during these kind of holidays.
Fondest memory: lots of music and good food everywhere!
Favorite thing: Surinam people love Marathons!
They walk marathons several times a year.
The biggest Marathon is the 4-day marathon during the Easter holidays.
With lot of music and people in costume it has evolved into a unique cultural parade with international participants.
It's comparable with carnaval!
Thousands of people participate in the marathon (3000 annually on average), which attracts many more thousands of spectators.
It's more fun to walk, then beeing a spectator, it's no problem to sign in at an organisation.
Suriname country & culture
Favorite thing: Though Suriname is a small country in South American continent, they're not influenced by the latin-american culture.
I'd describe Suriname as having a caribbean culture, with a capital full of Dutch colonial architecture! (UNESCO herritage)
Only a small part of the country is inhabited, mainly along the coast. This small population harbours a great variety of ethnicities, cultures and religions, with much mixture and integration: the ingredients for delicious food!
Another thing what's making this country so beautiful: the uninhabited virgin Amazone rainforest.
When coming to Suriname you should definately make trips to see and experience this unique biodiversity. Brownberg is the most popular nature reservate to visit, since it's not so distanced from the city (still a 5-hour drive!)
Drop in at the Tourist Information Center
Favorite thing: Wether you have already made up your mind what to do or not, do pay a visit to the Tourist Information Center, Waterkant 1 (next to Fort Zeelandia). They are very helpful with brochures, maps, telephone numbers and advice.
Office hours are: Monday through Friday from 9.00 am to 15.30 pm.
Favorite thing: On 1 January 2004, the Surinam Dollar replaced the Surinam Guilder as the new monetary system. It was decided to make the change for two reasons, firstly as the Netherlands no longer use Guilder since the introduction of the Euro, and secondly to bring Surinam in line with the other Caribbean countries which all use dollar as their currency. Notes are in denominations of SRD100, 50, 20, 10 and 5. Coins are in denominations of 250, 100, 25, 10, 5 and 1 cents.
Guilder notes and coins are still in circulation, however they have been re-valued to a ratio of 1000 Guilder per 1 Surinam Dollar.
I was very interested to see square coins on display in the museum.
Favorite thing: The birdlife is Suriname is great, and everywhere you go, you will hear and see our little feathered friends, in all different shapes and colours.
Fondest memory: This is a smooth-billed Ani, found on the lamp post outside our hotel in Paramaribo.Related to:
Favorite thing: The origin of the name comes from the French word Capuce, meaning skullcap, referring to the appearance of a black "hood" atop its head. These vivacious and intelligent monkeys have thin limbs on a supple and slender body with hands are similar to the human hand and they posess a party prehensible tail. There are several subspecies of capuchin monkeys.
Capuchin Monkeys are diurnal and arboreal animals which have been used for decades as pets and performing animals; and are often found in captivity in the USA and Europe. They are native to nothern South America, and have a life span of 15-20 years. Capuchin monkeys can attain a length of 20 inches and a weight of 8lbs. They live in large groups of several dozen individuals, and only come down to the ground to drink. Each group has its own home range that covers a large area of up to 200 acres of thick forest, keeping in contact with each others by loud calls. They mark their territory by soaking their hands and feet in urine, thus leaving a scent on the trees. They feed on insects, fruit, small birds and leaves.Related to:
- National/State Park
- Jungle and Rain Forest
Independence Square Paramaribo
Favorite thing: Right behind Fort Zeelandia there is a green square, bordered by tamarind trees. In the past this square was the parade-ground for the militaries from the fort.
For years the square was mentioned 'Orange Square', but after the independence it has been changed in Indepencence Square.
Every Sunday the the men from Paramaribo come together to practice their hobby: singing-birds. At sunset the men show the singing of their birds. Every sound is registrated on a score-board and the bird who sings the best is the winner.
Favorite thing: Interesting is a visit to a village. In Suriname there are some kind of villages like the traditional and the Christian.
One of the villages I visited is Botopasi where about 800 people are living. Remarkable in this village is the height of the doors: very small. This is because the inhabitants think that evil ghost can't come in then.
To enter or leave a traditional village you have to walk through a gate with leaves hanging. This is to protect the village against the evil ghosts. Men and women have to walk through their own gate.
Visit the rainforest...
Favorite thing: Visit the rainforest especially places with waterfalls like tbitiesoela, releighvallen;
Also don't forget to take your time to know the cuisine from Suriname which consist of specialities from african, indian, indonesian, chinese and indian people.
You also must see the sun coming up from a place called Albina in the east.
Look also at the men (the most) who arrive every sunday morning early on a square with their caved birds. These birds do make distinctive sounds and are very special for Surinam people.
Fondest memory: If your there in december the 31st you must be in the city the whole day and feel how the people are anxious for the new year. The people like firework a lot and notice the red papers on the ground in my picture.
Visit Brownsberg National...
Favorite thing: Visit Brownsberg National Park. Bookings are through Stenasu´s office in Paramaribo. We got to use our own hammocks in their shelter for USD 7.50 per night. The trails are easy walking to waterfalls (with just a short, steep downhill for a few of them)
take trips over the rivers!...
Favorite thing: take trips over the rivers! Along the rivers of Suriname, there are still a lot of old plantations you can visit.
Fondest memory: My mom is from there, so a lot of family still lives there. I feel connected when I'm there, just love the country. The food, the people, the weather, just everything.
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