I love being sent on assignment to places that I would have probably never thought of visiting.
Take for instance, Suriname, a small country in northern South America, bordering with French Guiana to the east (of “Papillon” fame), Guyana to the west, Brazil to the south, and the Atlantic Ocean to the north. Suriname used to be known as the Netherlands Antilles, and achieved its independence from the Netherlands in 1975. It is a young country, and a number of people in the USA have never heard of it.
At any rate, when you go on assignment to a country you learn very quickly to take advantage of whatever time you have left over after you’re done with your work to go sight seeing. In this case, there was a small window of almost one day between the end of my assignment and my flight home so I decided to take a half a day tour to the Suriname River to see the dolphins and the sunset.
As it turns out, I ended up in a tour boat with a fearless young man that served as cabin boy and navigator, two lovely ladies who were our tour guides, and a bunch of Dutch tourists.
“So,” I kept being asked. “Where are your companions?”
“What companions? I came here alone.”
“Yeah, what’s the point of going anywhere if you’re going to stay in your hotel room just because you had no company? ”
At least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
The sights from the boat were colorful and beautiful. It was miles and miles of sunny happiness.
But the most impressive sight was this:
What you are looking at is the immensity of the river as it goes to the sea. It really makes you feel very, very small.
We did get to see the dolphins. But seeing them and photographing them were two different things. For one thing the river is huge. For another, the water is brackish, and it is impossible to figure out where they are going to appear next. One thing is for sure, the Suriname River is not Sea World, the local dolphins (which happen to have adorable pink bellies) are not Flipper and won’t obligue by coming to you and squeaking “Take my picture!”
We kept going and I got to take some nice shots as the sun started to go down.
Here they are below:
And looky there! One of the Dutch tourists even took my picture! That’s a first. I never appear in my pictures. Hooray!
So all in all, I learned that the Suriname River is mucking huge and that navigating its waters is absolutely awesome.
And Suriname has a very special place in my heart.