👨👧 A Day On The Bicycle With Monkey-B 🚲 Creating Cambodian Fun In Suriname 🌴
Anytime I have errands to run here in Paramaribo, Monkey-B always wants to join along. On this day I had to put in 45km on the bike, and she wasn't gonna let me go on this adventure alone.
Missing Cambodian Adventures
This adventure starts, or at least the pictures start halfway through our journey, as I more or less had to make a roundtrip covering the same route to and fro.
After a one hour and fifteen ride, we arrived at a friend's house to collect some herbs, but had to wait a few minutes for him to return from a nearby market.
Monkey-B noticed the ganja plant slightly concealed by the fence, and requested a selfie, so I indulged.
Also, in honor of my wife @sreypov, we attempted some insect hunting and photography, but it was high-noon in the tropics, and all the bugs were hiding except a little rolly-polly we found.
A Minute Of Rest
We had just finished the longest leg of our trip, our butts hurt, and some much needed hammock rest was in order. After a bit of hydration and rest, we hit the the road again, this time headed for the edge of downtown Paramaribo.
I've learned to navigate this place by avoiding the main streets and roads that locals suggest we should travel on, and instead opt for sidestreets where traffic is less hectic, giving us a chance to take in the sights and sounds.
Repair and Disrepair
There are a few bottlenecks here and there where we have to hop on a highway briefly, but this is still a better trade-off than weaving through downtown traffic.
The above photo is one I've always wanted to take. On the left is one of the more well-known beer brands in Suriname, whose factory is in a state of disrepair. Only a stone's throw away is a building depot, a business which could help replace all the fallen letters from the Sranan Biri adorning the front of the building.
Along the highway next to a gas station is this KFC, which made me think of @davidke20, Malaysian KFC enthusiast and connoisseur.
Feeling a bit hungry, not long after the KFC is a Roopram Roti, the most well-known fast-food chain in Suriname. Eating here is always a gamble, sometimes delicious, and other times inedible.
COVID-19 policies prevented indoor dining, so we rode down the highway a bit, found a culvert alongside the highway to sit on, and made an impromptu picnic.
Monkey-B opted for a bara kouseband, and I went with the a roti vegetarische. Our food was barely edible, but provided some sustenance to keep us rolling.
One Last Stop
Our next stop was a bike shop, where I picked up a new tire and tube. I had just replaced the rear a few days ago, but the front tire is bald, and has almost washed out on a few sandy corners, so it's better to replace than wait for a failure.
Near the bike shop is also a Chinese market that has two or three things we can't get in our neighborhood, so we grabbed some chives, mint, and wished they weren't perpetually out of oyster mushrooms. On the way back to our room, we stopped for some drinks at a random shop, and I took the above photo.
I leave you with a shot which reminds me the road is long and narrow, both literally and metaphorically. Our journey here has been a tough one, but I do my best to provide Monkey-B with a portion of the adventures we used to enjoy in Cambodia on a daily basis.
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Hi hi Justin... Wow.. a really nice blog of a day in ur life. I enjoyed reading. Suriname looks quite peaceful. How is the traffic like? Do you miss the US? Your daughter must have the best view on the trip.
The pics are definitely different from the way of life here. We definitely miss the social living of Cambodia and SE Asia in general. However, a return to Cambodia as a united family due to COVID regulations is impossible. With these circumstances, we only have a choice between staying here and a chance to leave via US immigration, so the USA looks pretty good for once, considering there is almost no competition.
I hate to say the only thing I miss about the USA is family and friends, but I definitely don't miss the poor quality of life I had there. I was doomed to a life of manual labor and farm work in the USA, but in Cambodia I became an English teacher within three months and climbed out of poverty, something absolutely impossible in the USA.
Our bicycle adventures here are the closest thing to the kind of fun we used to have back in Cambodia. We will return one day hopefully and use our crypto assets to live a more comfortable life there, perhaps even own a small home one day, my dream.
Hi hi Justin.. wow.. I am getting more interested listening to your life story.. you come a long way and I know it hasn't been easy with so much life challenges. The most important thing from my view is having a loving wife and your kids. They are the power. I wonder how you travelled from the USA to Cambodia. In TV, USA is always seen as a country of riches. But I do see the parts in documentaries about poverty and crime. Sometimes, I do wonder, what it is like to be in a country where gun ownership is legal. In Malaysia, no one is allowed to own a gun and if found without license, I think it's the mandatory death penalty as well as drugs and murder. There is no life imprisonment for these cases.
Luckily, in Malaysia, the poor and rich, the gaps aren't that far. So there aren't any extreme Poor's here. Everyone in the city helps the poor. At the moment, covid times, a lot of food bank throughout the whole country giving out food free to those in need. In the state of Sarawak, the population is small but the state is huge so there isn't much competition. Brunei is the city next to my city.
In Brunei, those without houses can apply for a house and only pay around USD 180 a month. It is a two storey terrace house.
These are the food bank for those who are in need.
Wow.. it is definitely not a fun thing to do hard manual work. But in Malaysia and Brunei, farmers here are rich. I know a couple of friends who make tons of cash doing farm work. Here in the country, fruits and veggies are expensive. But my friend told me it's hard work.
It's good to know that you are working towards your dream. Definitely, one day, your going to make it. What we think is what we are. I am also doing teaching part time to guide the youth to bring up the country.
There is more to share but next time. It is nice to know you, Justin. I met a good friend when I was in Steemit many years ago from the USA. But then he never moved to Hive. So I have not talked to anyone from the USA for a while except on my YouTube channel. Thanks....have a good day...
The USA is a weird place indeed, and the difference between being born in New York or California versus Kentucky is world's apart. I think if you are are born poor in the USA, it is nearly impossible to have a decent quality of life unless you spend your whole life in debt.
Even though an American passport is a good one to have for tourist visas, when it comes to immigration or residency, it's all about money and formal education. I had neither, so I googled "easiest countries to get residency visas," and this search led me to Cambodia.
I arrived with no plan, just $500.00 and a dream, and I went from being a manual laborer in the USA working 60 hours a week, only saving $600 per year, to being head teacher of a school with an income of nearly $600, all of this within 6 months of arriving in Cambodia.
My quality of life improved greatly, and I knew immediately it was my home. My Cambodian friends were always shocked why I made this move. I explain it to them that for me to move to California, it may take months to find a job, plus I need a deposit for apartment, rent for several months, gas money to drive there, and food costs covered for maybe three months until I possibly find work.
All these costs quickly rise to more than $10,000, but a one-way ticket to Cambodia was only $650 at that time, plus I took $500 for surviving until I found work. I started out teaching Angkor Wat sunrise tuk-tuk drivers for $30 a month because no schools would hire me due to my lack of experience. This class had to be conducted before sunrise, so nobody wanted it except me.
After doing this for a few months, I gained a reputation and found some work in schools, and quickly climbed out of poverty in just a few months, something impossible for me in the USA. Because the country gave me such opportunity, I learned the Khmer language, and this gave me an advantage over other foreign teacher with proper qualifications.
I was able to visit Malaysia briefly while living in Cambodia, and it remains one of my favorite countries, people were super friendly. However, my lack of education prevents any chance at getting a long-term visa there.
The Cambodians I know that immigrated to the USA always land in California, and were wealthy in Cambodia before they attempted immigration, so that is why they don't understand my situation.
Thanks for your thoughtful words my friend.
Hi hi.. Justin... I had a great time reading your comment.. wow.. I never knew that there was this other side of the USA that wasn't seen by the world. I never knew that it's quite impossible to move to a decent life without taking on debt.
It is definitely not easy to move to another place once we have everything settled down. I do understand that feeling of not having the required qualification to do certain things in life. I had job interviews where I did not get the job due to certain requirements.
Your journey isn't an easy one with loads of hard parts in between. However, from my own experience in life, these hardship makes us better cherish the simplest things in life that money can't buy. Do stay strong and have hope. There was a period of time where I had some struggles myself and had to battle the inner demons. One day, I decided to just go YOLO. haha.. and have been doing alrite so far. There have been times when I've had some fears that never materialize.
Wow.. it must have been quite scary at first to travel to a new country without knowing what was going to happen. My parents went to Cambodia many years ago, but for me, the nearest place to Cambodia that I've been to was Thailand and I almost got into trouble for looking like a criminal. hahaha.. After reading what you wrote, it makes me better appreciate Malaysia.
As a Malaysian, there is a choice of going to premium hospitals or government hospitals. USD 25 cents per visit for government hospitals, however, that doesn't mean the service is bad. Then, there are government universities, overseas universities and affordable colleges to choose from for further studies. For government universities, the education is free. For overseas universities and other institutes, the locals can borrow money from the government interest free and pay slowly.
So far, in my city, most of the population can afford a car cause the locally made cars are pretty cheap. Most of the people I know even with low paying jobs can afford to get just a simple basic house. Cause in Malaysia, the popular housing blueprint is going to be the terrace houses, so that's how they keep housing cost low. Petrol here is around 48 cents a litre. Then the discrimination level here is pretty low. There is a place in my city where the mosque and church are built next to each other where they share the car parks. Food is cheap too here. In my city, it is quite peaceful at night. My wife is from Brunei. Sarawak used to be its own country until it joined Malaysia. So technically, there are two Malaysia, for those who come into Sarawak, even if they are Malaysians from the other side of Malaysia needs to get a visa.
I like reading about your life. It is quite interesting.
I usually take some time to think before I reply. hehe.. sometimes, I may sound crude but I usually don't mean it. Have a great day, Justin. =)
Funny you would say that because I was thinking the same thing. That dude REALLY likes KFC.
Looks like a fun day out!
That KFC dude is here. I don't particularly love KFC, but the outlet near my office is the winner. And KFC is the most consistent which their recipe tasted almost perfectly same in every countries I've visited. 😂
KFC should hire you as an international traveling quality control consultant. I also saw a Subway which I thought to snag a photo for you, but I fumbled the phone too long and passed it by.
They recently introduced a ZERO CHICKEN BURGER, and the "NOT MEAT" patty taste almost like... a piece of cardboard. But I do convert to cow during lent season. I'm not a Catholic, but my home minster is. So, I kinda respect that and observe together, to learn to be a cow for a month in every year.
Your photography is great. I love taking pictures of clouds in the sky
I agree, the pictures have quality lighting and are very colorful ✨
Give thanks, the skies are very blue here, when the weather is nice.
What a nice day you two enjoyed, glad to see you out in the sun 🙂
To me they are errands, but to my youngest daughter, they are "adventures," so that makes it a little more fun for me to have her join along instead of going alone.
yay! I really enjoyed reading your content sir, it must be a long ride but as the saying goes no road is long with good company, spending time in simple ways with family is love..
The time flies so much faster with my little Monkey-B, and she brings a lot of humor to any situation.
45km is a real trip and those colorful building/houses in the 8th picture are new. Wondering what that's supposed to be.
Yeah it's brutal, only 500m from home, my left leg stiffened up and finished the rest of the journey pushing with one leg. Those colorful facades were along the Ringweg, near the Sranan Biri building. I don't know what it's going to be, but it looks like it will be some kind of strip mall.
Argh, not another strip mall 😂.
I can imagine. I once participated in a cycling tour/event, while I didn't prepare for it, nor did I rent a proper cycle for it. I didn't feel my legs that evening and really wanted to cry out 😅😂.
Thank you so much for sharing,I like your post.
Thanks my friend, for your support and kind words.
Beautiful pictures! Looks you both have a enjoyed day. Thank you for share your pictures.
Yes, you know Monkey-B is my adventure buddy, and she's still light enough to tote around on the bike.
I know you want out and I certainly don't blame you for wanting to go home to Cambodia but I really find that place interesting even if it's crappy.
I noticed the colorful homes that remind me of something you would see in photos of Holland. It's so weird that it's in South America. I realize what a weird yet almost cool place it is except for the fact that it is a prison for you guys. I love how you keep your sense of adventure and humor through all of this.
Monkey B is too adorable!
Externally this place is kind of cool, and it felt exciting here for the first 30 days, but it quickly wore off when we realized the way of life here is very western. It is basically a much hotter version of the USA. I long for the day to return to the social life of Cambodia, but it's all in the hands of bureaucrats now.
Luckily Monkey-B makes running errands feel like an adventure, and that brings us both great joy.
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The photo's of Suriname brought back many good memories! I have been there twice and enjoyed it every time. I look forward to your next adventure!
Very cool, I haven't met many people that have been here. For us it's more of a prison than a country we wanted to travel to. The cost of living compared to our former home in Cambodia is now about 10x greater, and I must admit this place is about 10 times more boring too. It's very hard to make friends and even harder to maintain friendships if you're not in the same socioeconomic class.
We really miss Cambodia, and wish we could return, but COVID-19 has stranded us here. What sucks most is there are less than 20 varieties of vegetables in the whole country, and in Cambodia any random market will have at least 200 or more varieties of fruits and vegetables. I hate to admit this is one of the few countries I've lived/traveled in that I wouldn't recommend nor will I come back to.
Yes it's true. The cost of living is very high. For some reason they import a lot of food instead of growing it. They have the climate and space to produce a huge amount of food themselves. Similar situation in Guyana. What I enjoyed most was making trips into the interior. Amazing nature. A lot of it is untouched or unspoiled by humanity. Beautiful jungle and rivers. If you haven't already done so, see if you can plan a trip into the interior that includes a boat trip on the river. It will be well worth it! 😎
The interior looks so beautiful, but it's too unaffordable for us. For a family of 4, the cost of a couple weeks traveling the interior could buy us a sizeable chunk of land back in Cambodia. We have been an hour or so past the airport where a friend has a cabin, and that was as close as we've been.
😬 Oh dear. That's ridiculously expensive. I only went for day trips. I had a friend that drove me in his car about an hour or so(can't really remember how long) to a large river and then we had a lovely boat trip on the river. We were back in Paramaribo by 5 or 6pm. So I guess I might not have gone very deep into the interior, but it was lovely nevertheless.
Okay, similar to us, we've had a few day excursions, but only ever encountered the edge of the Amazon, mostly blackwater swimming trips.