16-Dec-2005 -- Suriname confluences are no easy conquer. All of them are either just off the coast in the ocean or deep in the Amazon jungle. Nevertheless, I (steve) have had my eye on this point since Amie and I started working in Suriname 3 months ago. From the GPS map and the maps available in the capital city (Paramaribo), it looked as though the confluence would be less than a kilometer off the main road near the town of Afobaka.
Finally the free weekend came and we set out for the excursion. First of all, just getting anywhere in Suriname is a pain in itself - everything is way overpriced and the efficiency of the transportation system is the worst I have ever seen. We caught a local bus to the place where long distance busses gather. We left the house an hour later than usual because we know how long some of the busses can take to fill up.
Still tough luck. It is hit and miss usually - either you are too late and the bus is already filled up and gone or you are too early and you wait for several hours for the bus to fill up. Our situation this time was the later. So after our 2-hour wait, we took off south towards Afobaka. Several kilometers later the pavement turned into laterite gravel road which is usually the case anywhere off the coast. From then on, passing trucks throw forth a mighty dust cloud that sticks to your skin and makes you wish you never left home. Anyway, we finally got to the town of Afobaka. Of course, the map data was all wrong and the Confluence was 4 ½ kilometers from the town. This was a huge problem because anything too far off ends up in impassible, dangerous jungle.
We set off anyway, heading west out of the town beside the looming man-made lake. We stopped for lunch on the Afobaka dam - probably the only reason for any road and town anyway. The dam was built in 1964 to generate hydroelectric power for the country. Unfortunately it resulted in the relocation of 5000 people and a river expanded into a 1560 square meter resevoir. Across the dam there was a little road up to the top of a hill. After the grueling climb we realized this was the end of the trip. The radio tower at the top of the hill was still a kilometer and a half from the Confluence and between us and the goal was thick downhill jungle - impassible with our energy level and lack of machetes and snake repellant.
So we ended in failure but not all was lost. We hitch-hiked up the road to the town of Brokopondo and enjoyed the beach and the cheap accomodation. Good luck for anyone else interested in Suriname confluencing!