Tweety Fest, Backpacking South America By Bus
Eight Months On the Road
By David Rice  
Page Twelve
Paramaribo Tweety Fest, Backpacking by Bus In South America
Eight Months On the Road
By David Rice  
I thought that I would race through the countries called the Guianas, which include Guyana, Surinam, and Guyane, or French Guiana. How was I to know that the call of the Twa Twa bird would catch my attention.

From Georgetown, I headed to Moleson Creek on the collectivo and went to the stlling or dock where I would go through immigration and board a boat to cross the Coientyne River to South Drain in Surinam. From there I took another collective taxi and passed through many dikes built by the Dutch along all the rivers that drain the Amazon Basin as we headed to Paramaribo the capitol of Surinam.

At Paramaribo, I stayed for three days to rest. Great architecture of Dutch design marks the city as different, the highlight, a 19th century Dutch wooden house, the Alberga, located on the prettiest street in predominantly white Paramaribo. But there was more.

Folks gather each Sunday on the banks of the Surinam River, for Paramaribo’s Sunday Fest, or Tweety Fest as some call it, one of the most unusual contest I have ever seen.
It seems the Twa Twa bird, a resident of the interior, has an unusual call, such that the men of the town, and a few of the women, raise them and have a contest to see which bird has the loudest and prettiest song. The event is held on the Onafhankelijk square in an area of open restaurants and markets of Asia and Indonesia. Above the din of people ordering Roti, a pancake rolled with curries and stuffed with spiced lamb or pork, and Indonesian shops called Warungs with screaming hawkers, and the Indian and Chinese food markets with their chatter, comes the cry of the Twa Twa bird as the Tweety Festival heats up on a Sunday afternoon.   

Colorful customs and friendly peoples along with unusual buildings including a Muslim Mosque, make this is a great town to visit although hot. Most folks spoke English and Dutch.

On the forth day, I left for an hour and a half trip to the Maroni River and the border to Saint Laurent Du Maroni in French Guiana.

When entering a new country I get money from the ATM and at this border, was surprised to receive Euros. I almost felt like I was in Europe but Cayenna French Guiana’s downtown is nothing like Paris although they do speak French and it is costly.

The downtown is nice but not worth the forty dollars I paid for a crummy room. There I was for the evening, sitting in a French bar, watching French TV,  eating French fries,  and drinking Pepsi made in France.
The architecture is not French colonial nor is it European in design and although they are stone buildings, they defy type.

I felt myself longing for the songs of the Twa Twa or anxious to keep going south to the beaches of Rio and the sambas  of Ipenema.
Tweety Fest
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