I am extremely pleased to report that I have obtained a Suriname Tourist Card! This little tiny piece of paper has caused me a ton of heartache, there is a length story about my quest to find out what it took to get one while back in Seattle. It is, in fact, the main reason I'm in Curacao and not in Suriname already, turns out that you can buy one at the airport if you're flying in from Amsterdam, but not otherwise. Couldn't get one via my Visa services, as it took too long (which in retrospect is probably not true), and couldn't get one in the US without screwing up my already booked flights. I already threw away one flight from Aruba to Suriname, I'm looking forward to not having to do that again.
Of course, getting the tourist card here is not without its own story. You'd think you'd be able to show up at the Suriname consolate, pay them money, get the card, and be good to go. Was this possible? No, of course not. It's like they looked at all of the possible ways to get them money, and chose the most convoluted one. The official gave me a tiny piece of paper with Dutch on it, which was apparently instructions to go to a local bank, deposit 30 USD in a bank account (listed on the paper), get the receipt for the transaction (which required multiple stamps at the bank), return to the Suriname consolate with the paper, hand in two copies of my passport and a copy of my plane reservations, and only then could I get the Tourist Card.
So lets review. The tourist card costs $25. I spent $240 on a flight from Aruba to Suriname that I had to through away for not being able to get the tourist card at the airport, I spent $60 on the 4 taxi cab rides necessary today between my hotel, the consolate, the bank, the consolate and the hotel again. $5 for a processing fee for the card. $90 for the flight from Aruba to Curacao that I wouldn't have otherwise taken, plus a bunch of money spent in Curacao which I'm not counting since it's been a lot of fun and I'm glad I'm here. :) That makes $420 spent for the opportunity to spend more money in Suriname. I kind of feel the same way about this tourist card as I do about the divi divi tree. As in, screw you tourist card, I got you, booyah. So there. Tourist Card ha ha!
The rest of the day was cloudy in Curacao, I got a few images, they're below. Nice sunset, although really tough to shoot this time of year, the sun sets behind the "Mega Pier," which so far has always had either a large container ship or a passenger cruise boat docked at it. No nice little beach to shoot the sunset with near downtown Willemstad.
One last story. I've been making friends with the owner of a small waterfront outdoor restaurant, mainly because they have excellent food, and it's extraodinarily pleasant to sit there as dusk fades and watch the small human dramas being played out on the plaza. Today someone's car stalled on the small street that runs between the plaza and the water front. Of course, traffic started piling up, then someone helped push the car out of the way, which was subsequently abandoned. When the tow truck showed up, it also blocked the street, more honking, eventually everything cleared. The beer which went well with this scene was Polar, from Venezuela. Light, refreshing, perfect for a warm evening with gentle ocean breezes. The owner of this restaurant claims that his long term girlfriend is a top basketball player in Canada, who regularly plays in foreign country. He said that she was named #1 most valuable player by some magazine recently, and he said that he told her that she was his number one every week. :) I told him that was a very good answer. :)
Ok, I lied, this is the last story. Because I'm in a Dutch speaking country, blogspot has transformed all my links into Dutch. Good thing it also color codes them, so I still have been able to figure out how to do basic blog posting. After every post, I get a success message, which I'll finish this post up with: ""Uw blogbericht is gepubliceerd!"
Ah! That's where I left it. I knew I had put the internet around here somewhere,