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Date : 16th January, 2015
Time : 1h 15’ 09”
Total distance run to date : 420 km
Run map and details : http://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/683241011
Press coverage : http://www.dwtonline.com/309124
20 hours. 20 hours of mind numbing, frustration bottling, airport cursing, personal space invader repelling travel to get from London to Paramaribo in Suriname. Off the back of a 4 am alarm and about 3 hours sleep. I could write a whole blog about that one journey. It would do me good to vent.
But that’s what diaries are for. This blog is for you, dear reader, and I shall move on to happier, and more interesting, subjects.
I hadn’t previously met many people who’d been to Suriname and I suspect it’s a fair bet that many of you are unfamiliar with the country.
So, let the lesson commence. It’s a Caribbean country on the north-east coast of South America bordered by Guyana (to the west), French Guiana (to the east) and Brazil (to the south).
It was a Dutch colony until 1975 and there’s still plenty of Dutch influence. Paramaribo, the capital, is full of xyz straats, colonial buildings and Dutch speaking people.
But it’s not just Dutch. People from all over the world have made their home in Suriname and there are, for example, plenty of Indians and East Asians. Keizerstraat is home to a mosque, a Jewish temple and a Christian church and the locals will tell you, with pride, that there is no trouble and that’s how it should be.
But it does have a proper Caribbean market and I love to look round local markets. They give a real sense of local life, even if they do sometimes offend Western sensibilities. This one was no exception. Plenty of unfamiliar fish and greens, various cooked cloven hooved haunches, a whole baked turtle – and a chopped up armadillo.
Overall, the people and the place have that sunny, Caribbean ‘life in perspective’ feel to them. (The weather, on the other hand, did not. Or at least it didn’t while I was there. In fact the rain hammered down for much of my visit.)
Paramaribo also has the Hotel Palacio which is an exceptionally friendly gem of a place in the centre of town. They’d arranged for the local press to come along and for a bunch of people to run with me. I don’t think they’d arranged for the rain to stop. But stop it did – and just as we set off on our run.
The run itself was as pleasant as these runs get. Good company, fresh legs, cool temperature and a gentle pace. More pictures, a press interview and a couple of beers afterwards and then an early bed to get ready for another 4 am alarm and the journey to Guyana.
Thank you Avinash and everyone at the Palacio who made me so welcome and thank you to my fellow runners. I hope to see you all again someday!