Hey everyone :)
So it's been about a month since we've last posted- which happens to be the amount of time that we've been away from Maripasoula. Let's explain:
So we left on the 14th of December to go to Parimaribo, Suriname. There are much easier ways to get there, but so we could get there legally there is only one way: It took a flight to St. Laurent to get our passports stamped, a trip across the river in a covered pirogue, another stamp that we had to convince them to give us. Then we fought off taxi drivers until we found one with acceptable tread on his tires and after we convinced him that we didn't have enough money to pay for all the empty seats, we left for the capital at about 200 km/h over bumpy roads for about 3 hours. We had to go there to get Cody some extra pages in his passport, so we could go to the rest of the countries on our trip. We made friends with the guards of the American embassy we were there so many times working out the formalities (ok really we were just getting our backpacks that we forgot/getting the right amount of money in the right denominations). We spent about a week there. The city was pretty awesome; there is always a party/concert/McDonalds to go to.
Funny story about concerts... and McDonalds. For one of the concerts we were just walking by, they were setting up. We sat down and were kindly given a brochure in Dutch, which we pretended to read until we noticed a convoy of cars pull up. Well dressed people got out, the last of which was a woman in a wedding dress. At first we thought, "Oh cool! A wedding!" Then we realized..."Oh no! We're at some stranger's wedding!" The closer she got to us all, the happier we were that we were speaking French to each other- at least that way these people would think that we were French, not American :) We thought about leaving, but just as we had finally decided to just crash the thing, it became evident that the wedding party just wanted to get their pictures taken next to the large, lit-up Christmas tree that dominated the park. The concert was awesome.
As for McDonalds, we did the typical American thing and ate there or Burger King every night.... and evening. To be fair, we kept on trying to go to this other place, but every day we went it was closed. So, we'd be like.... well.... either walk around, get lost, and be hungry, or just go to McDonalds and take full advantage of the wifi and 50 cent ice cream cones. Umm, we'll choose the latter, thank you. Don't judge.
Then we met up with a few other assistants and moved on to the next country: Guyana (formerly British Guyana, the place where that religious cook took a bunch of people and made them kill themselves). In any case, we only stayed a couple of days, but it was sufficient enough time to be called out for being white more times than we can count. And, by being called out, I mean that they would call out "John. John. Johnny! ok then your name must be Mark. MARK!" or better yet "White Boy! You must buy the shark meat that I am selling. NOW!" Or something like that. The English they speak there is quite litterally unrecognizable, especially considering that while you are trying to understand them there is a meat cart absolutely blasting music right next to you, there is a car driving straight at you even though you are in the middle of the market, you are trying to figure out what that strange fruit/veggy is next to you, and about ten people every second are accosting you because they think that, because you're white, you have come to spend every penny you have.
Then we proceeded to our next and final destination: Barbados. There were seven of us in a large villa with three bed rooms, two sitting rooms, and the most beautiful beaches a leisurly stoll away. We honestly didn't do much besides wake up whenever we wanted, walk to a beach, swim with a multitude of different fish which seemed indifferent to our presence (including one really weird bottom feeder with large wings and fins that it used to walk!), and try not to fry in the sun. One day we rented surfboards and enjoyed the sea turtles we were swimming with just as much as the surfing. Then we would go home and everyone took turns cooking dinner. Christmas was spent trading gifts and, what do you know, going to a beach. Cody got a nice Christmas sea urchin that he stepped on in the water. Sadly, though, we eventually had to leave.
So, we did the whole voyage in reverse. This time, in Parimaribo, it was our one year anniversary!, and boy do the people of Suriname know how to celebrate it. From about 5pm to past midnight every night for three nights there were constant fireworks. The day leading to our anniversary every store put out a line of firecrackers on steroids in front of their business and set them off. Each deafening series would last for about 2-5 minutes, and after the streets were red with firecracker wrappings. There were also concerts every few streets. And yes, for those of you who were wondering, our anniversary is on Jan. 1st.
Since then, we were able to get back into the country (even though we were illegal... long story), and have been in Cayenne since then (now two weeks) trying to get out medical visits sorted out so we can be legal immigrants. To explain why it's taking so long, let's go through a typical obligatory visit that I just so happened to chronicle:
-We just barely slipped in to get our lung X-rays done before the only machine that we're allowed to use broke down. It had been broken before we left for Christmas (part of the reason we were illegal, but was repaired a few days before we got back. Only to break down again) We needed these X-rays for this visit.
-We get to our appointment a half hour early, only to be told that we should be somewhere else. Meanwhile, it was this office that gave us the appointment to come back to them, and we were at the the address that was on our paperwork.
-Because we were sure that we were in the right place, we insisted and we were able to convince her.
-Only after asking twice why it was taking so long when we were the only one there for this particular kind of appointment, she then told us that the doctor doesn't come in to work for another hour.
-They switched our birth dates, and so the paperwork had to start over.
-Cody saw the nurse, and then the doctor. Yay! Only 1:45 after we got there!
-After another half hour when Becca still hadn't gone through, Cody went and asked why. The reason was that they had lost her appointment form.
-The whole thing took 3 hours, and when we got the paperwork at the end, Becca's nationality was marked Brazilian.
Oh French Guyana. Tomorrow Cody is going back to Maripasoula, Becca is following a few days later. We'll tell you about that next time!