Just arrived in
It took me 7 hours to get here from
I have left at home my Yellow Fever certificate, which I had earlier obtained for the purpose of the African journey rather than for
Fortunately, the friendly French border officials did not ask for the vaccination certificate and instead stamped my passport without any fuss. Hurrah! Given the tight schedule I have, my trip would have been in a mess if they didn't allow me to enter
Secondly, even before getting my passport stamped by the French, I was really nervous of the mess that prevailed at the Suriname-French border, which is basically a wide river full of small canoes bringing people across. I arrived at this riverbank after a 2 hour journey in a cramped-up shared taxi where I was squeezed between a fat Surinamese man carrying in his lap a huge cage with a noisy black bird and a petite Colombian hairdresser with dyed blonde locks, only to be mobbed by half a dozen aggressive black men soliciting for passengers for their cross-river canoes - two of whom were already having a tug of war over my luggage. I had to shout for them to stop (while secretly trembling with fear) as I had to get my passport stamped "exit" by Suriname Immigration.
You see, this river might be full of people crossing this international border, but 99.9% of them did so without bothering about passport stamps. Some of these Surinamese have dual Dutch nationality (
The French doesn't give a damn because firstly, French Guiana, half as big as France in surface area, is very thinly populated with only 250,000 inhabitants, and so illegals doing dirty work is unofficially tolerated. Secondly, French Guiana is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean on its northern side, and by the deep jungles of poor
I had to ensure that I get a proper
Then back to the riverbank, I got into a canoe full of passengers who had no
Even as he returned to the boat with another black man supposedly to bring me to French Immigration
What a day!
I would stay two nights in
After settling my stuff at Central Hotel, I walked around