Journey..hmmmm...sounds epic! well, the trip started with waking up at 3am. Getting ready, with gasoline tanks, cloths and all we needed onto my pickup truck and head down to gas station. Filled up the car tank full, filled up the extra back-up 20 Gallon tanks, around 8 tanks. Quickly made a pit stop, rushed to my "Opa's" (Elik) house where he was also packing up in the wee hours with my 'daddy' (Heerco) the other car/4 WD (well dirty car as dirty as he is anyway, sorry gramps). Me and Elik, quickly had a cigarette session with serious discussion on how to pack them all up, avoiding rain, bees, monkeys, innocent people from hitting our beauty and dirty car, deers, Jaguars, and so many that we finished the cigarette quickly. Hop in Amigos, we are kicking ass! So we started driving, Mr.
The triangle head shaped Boa - poisonuous
Heerco and me in my car and me driving which is a pain in the ass when you have someone who is always "concerned" about your driving and start sometimes to bla, bla, bla bla...but i love him. So Elik in another car. We head on driving, singing, of course no dancing. We drove from Paramaribo
town, into IndiraGandhi Weg towards Zanderij. Not many people on the road at that hour. We drove for nearly 1 hour when we pass through the Zanderij International Airport and towards the asphalt into the jungles. We stopped to see the beautiful early morning sunrise with mists in the air and we decided to pollute it with our cigarette smoke (idiots, I know, aren't we all).
I love this picture, don't you?
We took in the breath and vastness of the morning, sun, mists and trees (see, we are environmentalists too, we honour the Nature and Respect Mother Nature). After the heavy Sun-rituals, Jungle-rituals, Dutch-rituals, Malaysian-rituals and Amerindian-rituals performed in pure elegancy, we asks for permission (none of this happened actually), then we head on the drive of a lifeftime. We were like kids,almost, well not me, I am very maturedly shy guy engineer who is mostly serious as I have serious s(t(h(inking) ability as my brains get hyperactive and loses its functions. Just a little description as I have to narrate the scenario where we were driving and as soon as we spot a deep/shallow pot hole with muddy water on the path, we reel up our windows, reverse as far as we can and then with full force 'run' through the pothole and splash the dark-yellow muddy water all over the car.
Dutch? nay, just a native indian
We did shout like 'hooligans' though when we did that. It's part of the fun in driving through this amazing landscape. After sometime, we decided based on the growl of our stomach that it is time for breakfast. We signalled, all the monkeys to stay away and we stopped, set-up 'kitchen' with portable cooking utensils and our very own chef Heerco went to his expertise section apart from being a Geologists, and cooked us nice breakfast. We chat, eat, chat...packed and on our way again. Driving was extremely exciting, going hyperbolically upwards and then after first 3 hours or so, just became bored instantaneously as we drove thru only bushes, on both sides, tall bushes and the same sort of view took our energy away. So we sang, stopped, took pictures.
Careful old man, your car could take a fall....heh?
Then, it was lunch time, oh ok, we stopped by a stream/pond and our Heerco, master chef went on cooking, checked the tanks etc. on the back and realized a plastic pail with charcoal broke apart and charcoal was all over at the back, we care less and we had chat,lunch, chat and cigarette (only Elik and me). Then, we head on for hours and hours of bushes on both side that I thought I was in USA (Bush). Then, the real challenge came presenting to us in terms of deeper pot holes, winding roads, 'split-up' steep uphill clayey roads with a groove in the middle almost as wide as tyre width. What the **** are we doing here guys? our minds try to cheat us away, but we are 3 TOUGH guys so we 'bullheaded' ahead. It needs superb driving and handling and guess what we have experts, of course it's only me but OK, I can include Elik (he needs encouragement).
So we drove in that natural terrain for hours and hours uphill, downhill, uphill again. We prayed for no rain and God listened to us and gave us no rain. Wonderful. Are we there yet? 'Ich habe hunger', well at that time I said 'Ik heb hunger' and I was chased away by my brutal travel partners who were more concerned on getting there to the Blanche Marie by nightfall, well, that was impossible as we probably have to camp anyway. So, ok, with respects for the elders, I 'zipped' my stomach shut and kept driving. We wanted to make sure to drive clear away from the uphill, downhill terrain. How stupid? we don't even know how the path ahead looks like but wanted to get away from the bushy winding roads. We wondered along the way " How the fuck local bus travels 19 hours or more through this Magnificient shithole sandy-clayey road, without getting stuck or something".
The bushy path..
And if got stuck, then all hell coz no phone network, middle of nowhere, no communication of any sorts, no villages, only need to wait for another vehicle or soul passing by. SCARRY shit. Along the way, we met a truck load of guys who were by the roadside with guns, apparently hunters hunting for whatever they find. So we hid our 'animalistic nature' inside our car tyres and pretended to say hi and bi and went on. Met another car. What the fuck is the car doing moving so slow and how the **** it got up so far. Even with a 4WD pick up truck, we struggled. Ok, I admit, I am not a super driver here. Suriname people, Salute. We were bored following behind the car and seeing that the road ahead gonna be another uphill, downhill with grooves left over by flowing rain water, we had to do this and we just made hell of a noise with our 'hon' and asked the fucking car to slow down or go aside, Go aside, there is no aside!!!!!! So, the car managed to stop and the nice polite Suriname man, shouted-greeted us " ma-pam-pang' - something about your mother and you dunn wanna know.
So we greeted politely to him and moved ahead knowing that he might not make it thru that one and we do not want to 'crawl' behind him. So we head on thru many more potholes....HiiiHaaaa, YAhhooooooooooooooo. Aber then we were fucking tired lol. Driving and driving. But beautiful scenery along the way. Amazing. Saw many different trees, bushes, fruits, small animals. Kinda fun. I complained again and decided to threaten them both with wanting to lodge complaint to 'Oma' and then we finally got our food, cooked again by our very own special chef, master chef, Heerco (real name changed to chinese format for the purpose of keeping his name secret).... Finally, Thank God. We saw the signboard to 'Blanche Marie'...oh I forgot, we did get lost on a dead end, but that's another story and then the words will be long bla bla bla.
River from the waterfalls
.so I skip. Going through straight nice asphalt road for many kilometers thanx to the Logging industry (which fucks up the jungle anyway), we saw this signboard and little sign of cheer and relief came. It was already close to 9pm., total darkness. We turned left and drove up, up, up and away....more uphill road, with carefull concentrated driving, not wanting to let go my steering wheel, iw as insisting to hold on to it, even after we arrive at the resort almost around over 11pm. Enough!!!!!!!!! I AM NO MORE TAKING THIS SHIT....so we were all tired, tired as hell. We were cursing each other, except the learned oldman, my 'Opa' who is always rude, loving, caring but sometimes pain in the ass, but he likes it when we are rude to him. He is TOTALLY the WALTER (Jeff Dunham) in our 'family'.
So he set out to see where we will sleep that night as bookings made. Walking towards the hut/chalet we were like Morons (except Elik, because he is one most times anyway, no worries, he will not be mad at me for saying this. His advice to me is always : Misbehave, I live by it....ha ha ha). Then, we heard the running water, the hammocks between trees, the stream, the quietness amidst 'Melodies' by Frogs. WOW, this is good, nice and we got Diana for ourselves. Diana,is the name of our chalet. As usual as I am the most intelligent in the 'family', they put me on a single bed and they shared a room with bunker. I still love them both. So, we slept like babies. Next morning, we woke up. As usual, our master chef prepared breakfast for us. We sucked in the beauty of the place and of course since we are with Diana, we also have Chantal visiting us as we look like new comers in her territory.
3 Monkeys, and Chantal wanted to see the three. Chantal, the pretty dog wagged her tail at us and we knew she could not stand the dirty smell of our 'Opa' Elik, so we quizzed him to why she wagged her tail and went away. Of course he was wrong, everything wrong happens, it is his fault, that's the rule within the 'family'. It's an honour to him, our beloved Elik. Ok, getting away from him,which we always like to do. We walked down to the car and took most of our things and getting ready for the day. There was a cage with the most beautiful colorful Parrots I have seen, bug ones. Pity. What happens when you have 2 Geologists and 1 Reservoir Engineer, Competition!!!!! So, we rushed to set up our fishing rods and the next days are all about fishing and mostly not catching but waiting on catching.
Acting like fishing...
..ha ha ha... I m tired now and it's Happy weekend so I will get out of office now and hit Kassel downtown. Wish all of you beautiful weekend and nice evenings.
So, to continue, on 1st day, we made a walk up to the waterfall area thru a jungle trail. It takes a good 40 minutes to walk up there. Along the way, there are few fishing spots. We earnestly started competition but to no avail. All the fishes were laughing at us, we could almost hear them saying " look at those idiots". We did not bother because we have patience. We waited. Fishing, chatting, drinking red wine, cheese, talking crap is more important to us. But most breathtaking was the quietness of the jungle and the refreshing moments after that long journey. We had great times together, we always do, that's the magic we have.
Put us 3, or the other 2 ladies who did not come this time, put us in Sahara and we will talk to the grains to laugh with us.
No fish for the day. We retired to hangmats by the stream while our chef went to work and prepared us lunch. We chilled with books. Walked around, talked to the local guys there. We went back to fishing again. Dinner time came and I was seriously embarrassed when I tried to help them both in the kitchen. I offered my help humbly so Elik asked me to open a can of mushrooms. God damn, I tried with the can opener for good 3 minutes and I fucking did not know how to do it. Both of them had laughs of their day and taught me how. I am never good with cans, not my fault, ask me to open bottles, I can. We played cards and time to go to bed.
2 dudes fishing
NO. Heerco engrossed in the competition wanted to go fishing at 11:30pm. What the ****. Ok, I joined him for fucking 2 hours, in the mosquito infested river bank only to catch nothing while Elik was snoring in his dreams to chase away mosquitos. So we slept, not heavyheartedly but excitedly knowing tomorrow (tamara, in Sranang Tongu) we will catch big big fish.
2nd. day, no fish yet to take our bait. We device a cunning plan, let's put a big chunk of beef on the hook and leave it there for hours. Surely there'll be a catch. While Elik, with his smartness deviced his own with mega big hooks. We laughed at each other, inside. So we began with walking in some of the trails. Then, we deiced to drive to the nearest 'city', well small town called Apoera.
Fishing or chatting?
.. a beautiful Amazonian township (the biggest one on this side of Suriname, closer to Guyana). We made down the winding muddy road to the asphalt road which leads to Apoera. Mid way we saw this colorful triangle-headed snake, 'sunbathing' alone and quiet in the middle of the road. Excitedly, we rolled down our windows and started taking pictures, videos and we had so much of interesting moments that the snake got bored and left us, sliding back into the bushes. Pretty sight. We continued for more than an hour and came to the boat jetty in Apoera. Took pictures, toured around town. Stopped by an eating place and had some food and drinks. My eyes caught a turtle shell (still with its backbone inside), left under a tent. I took it immediately and went to the lady owner of the eating 'hut' who was lazily lying down in her hammock (hangmat) and asked her if I can buy it and have it.
Silent waters....with Piranhas inside..
She politely said NO.....but if you want to have it, just take it. Ooooohhhhh excited I was (and now the turtle shell sits peacefully in my apartment in Kassel, Germany so ...ssssshhhhhhh, don't tell anyone as it is apparently not allowed in Germany. So we had good time driving around and took more pictures. And yeah, that's the only nearest place where our phone worked, so touched base with family and reality. Then, a drive back to Blanche Marie...
Was a rough drive up back to Blanche marie as it rained and more potholes with water presented us with child-like excitement. 3 guys who risks their life for funny encounters with muddy waters...geologists!!!!!! hmmmmm.... we arrived in our sweet Diana, our own chalet. What would be the first thing to do,well, of course to rest.
...No, it was all about fishing competition, so we head to the rivers/streams and kept fishing till late. Cooked dinner and chat, played cards. Nice memorable evening and then back to fishing again. It's an addiction when in competition. Fished till late and the fishes ...again...laughed at us....so we went back to our sleep and dream about catching Big Hanyumaras (Peacock bass). Never happened, but we forgot to take a swim or dip in that pristine waters....how stupid! So, last day of our trip, we woke up early worried again about the long drive back home. We quickly had breakfast. Walked a little. Start packing and moving things to our cars (I mean things really, the amount of food and cooking stuff we brought for 3 guys, even the women will not be able to compete with us, as we had to bring back most and throw away some, we are always over prepared).
Still waters....peaceful nature
The problem was we cannot really drive in the dark as the dirt-wet-muddy-sandy-road leading downwards from the Blanche Marie waterfalls area is risky with dangerous cliffs and broken up bridges, narrow road with grooves-split in the middle that you almost have to drive with one side slanting down. And, on the other hand, after tens of kilometers of asphalt nice road, we will hit the bad roads again and again, it is difficult to avoid driving in the dark. Anyway, we decided to chill awhile and when it was close to sunrise, we set out to drive again.......another long hours journey home. We started off while it was still little dark. We bade goodbyes to the owner, staff, and our beloved Chantal and Diana....Again, we went up and down the muddy 'path'/trail, wooden bridges and bees.
Look at the surroundings...
..survived and came down onto the asphalt road. To reward ourselves, we stopped and had breakfast, courtesy of our chef. We drove again. I was on the wheels with Heerco beside me, bitching the whole time scared of my driving and to make it worst, i teased him with 'dangerous' driving. Once, almost, got ourselves killed, as the car skidded and started to turn around due to mud and grass on the sides....I was more scared of being 'scolded' by Heero than getting us killed....ha ha ha....SO I panicked, he panicked, and then we both laughed after the car stopped as we knew we were safe and it was like child's play, running down with a slide, the way we went down and turned in between the grooves broken-out muddy path. Was actually a serious matter, but since we are still alive and breathing, we 'enjoyed' the moment.
We kept driving while Elik comes from behind. At one point, we were quite in the front and we did not hear him, for minutes. We decided to stop and look. There is no easy way to turn the car as it was one lane, with thick high grass and bushes on both sides. So, Heerco got out and walked back the path to search for the other car. I drove up a little and with difficulties, managed to turn the car around and drove a good few minutes before I found Heerco who was still walking down and up the hilly path. I picked him up and drove back along the path we came. Finally, we saw our other car, Elik's car... A punctured tyre? Poor old man. We young ones, raced and ledt him behind, buthe was cool, as always. So, we got down and started to get the tyre changed.
Wasn't easy when you have bushes on both sides. Elik was kneeling down to check the tyre when he realized there was a small snake next to him, but the snake was more scared of him that it said " Damn, he smells worst than me and it splits right away from the crime scene". While we were doing our engineering best to get the tyre out of deep mud etc., a truck load of people came from behind and some of them helped us to change tyres. It was scarry funny, imagining if no one else came by and the tyre sinked in deep, we would have been spending more time getting it solved. We did have fun though through this as Elik got his face covered with black oil, don't know how he got that. He is like that, very spontaneously intelligent.
So we spend like 2 hours to get that settled and then continued the difficult journey thru road-less-traveled.
Our driving was not more interrupted by stops for food anymore since it was getting dark and not easy to manoeuvre through these roads. So we hurried on to pass the worst of the roads. Was also pretty scarry thinking that if the tyre punctured again, then we are in trouble etc. Somehow, we managed to get through the road leading out of the jungles only to re-enter another and it seems like never ending story.. We drove for many more hours. Kept driving amongst the bushes and grooves along the steep uphill and then downhill. Pretty scarry in the dark, total darkness, with no other vehicle coming your way for hours. BUt the night scene is so pretty and the Stars in the night sky. Amazing. We continued driving till very early morning and finally reached the asphalt road.
Man, then on, i think it was the frustration of seeing the bushes for so long, we raced on the road and almost got ourselves killed with heavy traffic along the way as people are driving back from their holidays, some from resorts/vacation places in the jungles around that area. With red dirt and dust stirred up the roads, visibility was poor but the 3 mad geologists just made their way through and it was fun that none of us died that day. It was still a tough drive, we made it to the asphalt roads and it felt good. We continued driving for another hour before arriving home in one piece. Making the trip and enjoying it, is fine but after trip unpacking and cleanup is awful.
We spent more time unloading and arranging things that night. However, we always reward ourselves with red wine.
Me and my mexican hat...
Funny part of the story is that within the days we were there, we were so focused on 'trying to catch' big fish that we forgot to take a dip in that pristine waters. Can you believe that. Best part of the trip was that driving. An unforgettable experience.
Just wanted to add more pictures I found on this trip.