Saturday, May 12, 2018
SMS-pier, Waterkant #5, Paramaribo, Suriname.
55º09´173´´, North, 005º49´520´´ West
The arrival of the Ship of Fools provoked a small revolution on the last jetties that belong to the Suriname Maritime Company. Expectations were high. The Company, in a heroic attempt to remount the inexorable slope, speeded up the pace of patching the worm eaten wooden jetties so as to make a fine impression on the expected great run of crowd. For the same reason our neighbor geared up to prepare his jungle wood art craft shop. Then, the Company used the Fool’s arrival as the perfect excuse to chase away a enormous dilapidated pontoon that had squatted the quay for years. After having failed to become first a floating casino and then disco, it now sticks in the mud, 60 meter upstream, most likely for ages. It illustrates pretty well the state of the Company and, by extension, the Nation. It seems, reality hardly makes an impact on high expectations and devout intentions. In fact, the only vessel the Suriname Maritime Company still operates is the former ferry to the other side of the Suriname river, made obsolete by the new bridge. It functions occasionally as the National BoomBoat after the striking example of many a BoomBus that crisscross town as driving disco. At Dutch Kings day, two hundred Dutch virgins, who as stagiaire usually are bicycling around town in shorts, went collectively swinging there. A big blot on our paradise are two BoomBars that explode aloud at erratic moments. Our landing place seems doomed. So seems the Night Cabaret. The crowd never ran. There’s no club culture, no homogeneous public, no drinking habits, no money even for the drinks, nor, so far, a solid programming that could beat this all. But the quay retains an extraordinary beauty. A wooden roof alongside and as long as the ship serves as an antechamber for friends and guests and protect us from the enthusiastically alternating sunshine and rain showers. Everybody remains extremely cheerful.
Fifty miles upstream we find ourselves in another paradise, called Klaaskreek. We went by car. It’s a small ‘transmigration’ village of a Maroon community that was evicted from the jungle for the creation of an artificial lake. The maroon are the descendants of the slaves who escaped from the Dutch colonialists. They celebrate an impressive and heartfelt Heritage Festival with storytelling, singing, dancing and a fashion parade, all four wrapped up in an engaging contest that shows euphoric winners. A festival of pride and faith. To reach the catwalk, you’ve to plough through the mud. We met the Minister of Tourism as this festival is supposed to attract tourists, but except for the crew there’re hardly any. And we’re hardly tourists as we participate by making music and playing with the kids. It looks like this community is gong to play an important role in our next show, since our new director and other partners belong to it. I risk to lose my beloved role as “The Fool’s Captain” that fitted me so well in Cape Verde to play instead the Bad Guy, a resurrection of the Colonial Captain who created mayhem. We go for an happy end. Leaving the village you see an huge bill board with a hot line crisis number, indicating that huge problems might match the huge heartiness we felt at the celebration.