Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Feeding insects in Suriname

The first thing I am doing each morning here in Suriname is showering and then coating myself with insect repellent. There are mosquitoes everywhere, and plenty of other biting insects too. From the mosquitoes you could get malaria or dengue, but neither of these is as prevalent at the moment as a sickness called chikungunya. It's being described as worse than Dengue (malaria is often said to be not as bad as dengue but it can kill you), with fever and aching bones, and although the fever will probably last less than a week you might get stuck with the aching bones for months or years. So, we are trying not to get bitten. Of course, completely not getting bitten is next to impossible, and not every mosquito carries a problem. Also, when I looked it up I found that we also get Chikungunya in Australia (but, I hadn't heard of it).

Of course Suriname has plenty of biting insects. It's tropical and wet. It used to be a Dutch colony and it seems the Dutch are good at turning wetlands into farmland divided by channels of water. 

I currently have 3 annoying bites from other insects, maybe wasps or spiders, but I don't know. The bite on my leg weeps clear fluid, and on my left ring finger I have 2 bites, one swelling my knuckle and the other giving me a bumpy welt on my fingerprint that starts to itch each evening. I got them both 3 days ago. 

We are pamped (can I make a new word?, we don't camp as we stay in the vehicle and have toilet and shower too, so we just park, but it's more than that... I think pamped sounds good) at a guesthouse that belongs to some Dutch overlanders that we met in Brazil. They currently have Dutch friends (Suriname residents) looking after things while they are away so we've become friends with them too. The place is lovely, there's even a swimming pool (and the biting insects don't bite me there!). 

Suriname is a former Dutch colony, so they speak Dutch. Before being Dutch it was British, so they drive on the left side if the road. The British and Dutch traded New York (formally New Amsterdam) for this piece of land. 

Being that this country speaks Dutch I am trying to learn some Dutch. It seems easy enough, but I don't think I have an ear for it. Also, many locals speak Surinaams and that just confuses me when I think they are speaking Dutch.  But, I can now say a couple of words if I think long and hard enough about what to say. It's a start!

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