January 7, 2007
Craig, Yohan, and I walked to the city's main market to buy food for our upcoming trip at about 11:00 this morning. We were surprised to see that it was closed because it was a Sunday. Normally in South America, even next door in Georgetown, Sundays are the most important market days, but not here. Next, we walked to the bus only to find that it was about to leave. The driver told me that it was run by the government, so it had to leave promptly at 11:00. At least a dozen people told me yesterday that it didn't leave until 1:00. This is just one reason why traveling here can be difficult and frustrating. Luckily I was able to stall the driver long enough for Craig to run to a supermarket and buy a few food staples.
The bus arrived at Brownsweg, a Maroon village, in mid-afternoon. The Maroons were African slaves who escaped captivity in the Americas and fled to the jungles to resume their previous cultural traditions. Suriname has one of the largest Maroon communities, consisting of about 15% of the total population today.
We were told the Brownsberg Nature Reserve was seven K's from Brownsweg, but it was actually thirteen. We didn't have a reservation to stay at the reserve until tomorrow, so we decided to walk as close as possible and camp somewhere in the jungle. About one kilometer from the main office, we found a shelter off the main path that was perfect for camping. It got dark and started raining right after we got there, which was perfect timing.