Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas and New Year’s Suriname Style

The red bag arrived on January 30th. On our way back from Raleighvallen we were dropped off at the airport to make one last effort to track it down. Following a one hour wait and several negotiations with various bureaucrats “I’m sorry the customs window is closed, you will have to come back tomorrow between 8-2 etc.etc.” we were saved by a very kind agent (named Michela) who took us out to the warehouse for ‘suspended’ luggage, pulled out the red bag and handed it over to us (after filling in about five detailed forms). Hurray!

‘Christmas Day’ was thus on January 31st for us. As a final step on the 30th, Emma and Macsen carefully hung their Nana-made stockings under the spray-cover with great excitement and bundled off to bed “while visions of sugar plums (and fireworks) danced in their heads.” Mom and I then decorated the boat and arranged a huge amount of packages under a tiny fake Christmas tree on loan from the Mjolners. Emma and Macsen woke on the morning of the 31st, scurried outside and opened their stockings with great glee while sitting in their underwear in the warm sun in the cockpit. Dad and Seb then headed off to take on the last step of the (almost endless) Suriname Customs and Immigration process. Upon their return we had a champagne breakfast and proceeded to tackle the mound of presents around the tree. This is the first year that Macsen is aware that packages contain new and interesting things and we could hardly keep up with the two of them as they tore through the papers together. Very excited and happy monkeys.

For an entire week before the 31st you hear practice fireworks going off all around you in Suriname. This is a celebration that is taken very seriously and each family or community purchases huge amounts of fireworks and there is great competition along the river to put on the most magnificent show. We sat in the cockpit sipping our postprandial wine gazing in amazement at the wild array of truly spectacular fireworks all the way along the shore as far as the eye could see. And they just kept on going. The show reached its crescendo at midnight (as expected) and we popped our champagne and enjoyed them. Wonderful new kind of Christmas and New Year’s Day.

On the morning of January 1st we all bundled into a taxi and headed off to the comfort of the Torarica hotel in Parimaribo. After a lovely day by the pool Seb and I bid a tearful good-bye to Nana, Dadcu, Emma and Macsen and bundled back to the boat alone. They would all travel the following morning (very early) by plane to Tobago and Seb and I planned to leave on the Pjotter and sail with the two of us on the evening of the 2nd.

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