Up early, and off to the smaller “domestic” Ogle Airport for the flight with Gum Air to Zorg en Hoop Airport in Paramaribo, Suriname. Both of are the “smaller” airports that are “downtown” and when they say small they mean small! Unlike the charter flight to the falls the previous day, this one was actually pretty serious with security/immigration/etc, but they paid absolutely no attention to the baggage allowance. It was advertise at only 15 kg per person, but I was closer to 19-20 and they didn’t say a word. It was only like $2/kg extra anyways, so…
I had bought my tickets with TransGuyana Airlines, but showed up to find out the flight was operated by Gum Air. Seems they codeshare on this route, with TransGuyana offering one flight, and GumAir the other. Since my ticket was just a computer printout, I had no way of knowing in advance. No big deal, I was glad to see, however, it was the same plane type as the day before.
Georgetown, Guyana, Ogle Airport (OGL) to Zorg en Hoop Airport, Paramaribo, Suriname (ORG)
GumAir Flight 42
Departure 8:30, Arrival 10:45, Flight Time approximately 1:15 minutes
Cessna 208B Grand Caravan, Registration PZ-TBT
Seat “5A” alone in the back of the plane
Flight was completely full, but no luck this time in getting the pilot to let me sit in the copilot seat So, I took the seat way in the back so I could watch. This plane has seen better days:
A couple of aerial shots from during the flight. We were at a max altitude of 12,000 feet, which I thought was pretty unusual for an unpressurized plane.
Soon, we were landing on the very rough asphalt runway in Paramaribo. Departed, and took a quick shot of the plane:
The airport was two rooms, a departures/arrivals hall where the immigration guys sat at small makeshift desks and did their work, and a front check-in/baggage area where our bags were brought to us by a tractor!
The hotel had sent a driver for me, and soon we were arriving at the Royal Torarica Hotel. I had been mispronouncing it up until this point, and learnt it was the toh-RAH-rikka. Who knew!
First impression once inside was that the hotel was nice. Quite nice, clean, and modern. They’d made a big deal when I booked the driver that check-in time is 3pm, and anything before that would be an extra charge. When I asked how much, they agreed to do a favour and let me check-in early. However, room wasn’t ready but it was just a 30 minute wait…not too bad.
I had been unable to book a day hike to the Brownsberg National Park the next day from Washington, so I set the concierge to work on that when I headed out to explore the city. First stop near the hotel was the “I love SU” display. This campaign is going on, and you can see it on t-shirts, posters, and all kinds of little gadgets all over the country. Unfortunately, I forgot to pick something up as a souvenir.
Continued my walk past Fort Zeelandia, and a short walk later was in front of the Presidential Palace, which was undergoing renovations:
Another five minutes of walking and skies were starting to look rather ominous. Came to the Cathedral, which was locked up tight for some reason. Oh well, so much for using that as a refuge from the impending rain. Onwards!
The next sight was something rather unusual that you don’t see every day. Occupying the same block were the local mosque and the Neveh Shalom Synagogue:
Again, both were closed. I was beginning to get the sense that places in this town didn’t want visitors! It was a Tuesday afternoon, so I’m not sure what was up. By this point, the rain had started coming down hard, and I ducked into what appeared to be the most popular place in town to avoid it. I admit it, I just wanted the SpongeBob Happy Meal!
It turned out to be a good choice, because as you can see it was more than a little rain:
Wandered a bit longer, eventually making it back to the hotel for a short rest before dinner. I hadn’t seen anywhere that looked really promising for dinner so decided to go with the number one recommended place on TripAdvisor…because naturally, everyone wants to eat thai food in Suriname, right? Went to the Garden of Eden, and had a very nice seat out in the garden. For starters, a very unusual daily special…a cantaloup margarita, which was actually super tasty.
Next up was the Tom Kha Gai soup, which was also incredibly tasty:
Should have stopped there, because the entree that was recommended just wasn’t that good. It was supposed to be green curry beef, but:
It just wasn’t good. At all. Soupy, baby corn and broccoli, and was definitely the strangest green curry I’ve ever had. That’s not to say it was bad – it just was quite unusual and not all that good!
Back to the hotel and the concierge had managed to get a tour booked for the next day. A “private car” tour for $200, a tourbus group trip for $70 (which, according to their brochure wasn’t operating that day so I was suspicious, or the guide I’d managed to find. “Black Eagle Tours” was the name of the company, and yes, he was taking a family of three already the next day and I was welcome to go along on their tour…as long as I didn’t mind it being in dutch! Oh well, for SRD 290 it was a safe option, and hopefully it would work out!