A Perambulation around Paramaribo: Part 3

Yeah!  It’s back once more (and I’m too lazy to think up a new title, so that’s also part of it).  Today is another quiet day (as work that was going to be done today ended up being given to us yesterday, which means it’s already been done – if that makes sense)?  Anyway, enough of that.  I’ve once more been out around the city, this time ticking off a couple more of the Lonely Planet sights.

The aim for the day was to go and have a look at the city’s mosque and synagogue.  However, the first building of note that I passed was the Foreign Ministry.

The Foreign Ministry

The Foreign Ministry (on the right)

Continuing along the road, I passed the cathedral (see my previous post for pictures) before heading down a road on the left.  I’d noticed on the map that there was a small square that looked like a park, as it was on the way to the mosque and synagogue, I thought I’d have a look.  The building in the centre of the grassy area was the Reformed Church.

The Reformed Chuch

The Reformed Church

Continuing down the palm lined streets in the hot Saturday morning sunshine, I enjoyed the Dutch colonial architecture that pervades the city.

20141115_104156

A little farther along, I came across some rather picturesque overgrown houses.  It reminded me of the old houses in Britain that have creepers growing all over them, a bit like Lincoln College at The Other Place, but with a more tropical atmosphere.

20141115_104332

Emerging on yet another street, I’d reached the area where the mosque and synagogue are, but, like the previous expedition, that’ll be in a separate part!

Advertisements

A Perambulation around Paramaribo: Part 2

There are two reasons why I decided to split up my trip into a multipart extravaganza.  The main reason is because one long post would have been exceptionally photo heavy, and secondly, because the internet is very slow here, and it would have taken an age to upload all the other photos.  Oh, and because everyone loves a multipart special!

Anyway, picking up from where we left off from yesterday, on my journey around the central area of Paramaribo, I’d reached the wooden cathedral of St Peter and St Paul.  It was rather striking, and is built entirely out of wood (as far as I know).  Crossing the road, I went inside.

20141108_114729

Unlike the mediæval stone cathedrals of Europe, this one was very light and airy inside.  This was definitely a good move, given how hot it was outside.  Being in the shade was a refreshing change at this point, as I’d been out in the sun for the best part of an hour and a half (and being of Northern European descent, my skin was getting a rather sound beating from the sun)!

20141108_114857

With the cathedral having been seen, it was time to make my way slowly back to the hotel where I was staying (and where the office is situated).  En route, I stopped by Independence Square (which I’d passed on my way into town, but hadn’t stopped at).  Various important government buildings surround the square, including the Presidential Palace, the Finance Ministry, and the National Assembly.

The Presidential Palace

The Presidential Palace

The Finance Ministry

The Finance Ministry

Moving round to the riverside edge of the square one finds Fort Zeelandia.  Originally built by the Dutch, it was extended and reinforced by the Brits (Fun Fact: it turns out Suriname was one of Britain’s colonies for a bit, but it was swapped for what is now New York as part of the peace settlement reached at the end of the Second Anglo-Dutch War).

Fort Zeelandia

Fort Zeelandia

The final stop on my two hour expedition was to the Palmentuin, the oldest park in Paramaribo, and a national monument.  It was a delightful place (aside from the warnings not to visit it at night from the FCO).  However at midday it was very peaceful.  It contains around 1,000 palm trees, giving it an exceptionally tropical vibe.

20141108_120817

After this, I strolled back to the office before grabbing lunch.  All in all, a very enjoyable and interesting morning!

A Perambulation around Paramaribo: Part 1

Due to various reasons, too numerous and tedious to list here, there has been no work to do since I arrived in Suriname on Tuesday evening.  I have however been required to man the office with my colleague during office hours.  Sadly this has led to exceptionally itchy feet being developed (figuratively speaking of course), as it seemed a bit of a wasted opportunity to sit in an office with nothing to do, whilst in a country one is highly unlikely to ever return to again.  Fortunately, my colleague this morning (for we work 7 days a week the entire time we are out here) said I could have a couple of hours off to have a look around.  Said colleague instantly became a hero in my book, and I seized the opportunity with a slightly manic level of enthusiasm.  Having a quick look at Lonely Planet webpage for Paramaribo, it lists the sum total of nine things to see (at the time of writing).  Of these, there are more or less two duplicates, leading to a realistic count of around seven things to see (although the Cathedral isn’t listed on that site).  Anyway, without further ado, let’s get down to business.

A tradition that I started during my Chilean exploits, I have bought the national flag of each country I have been to, and so top of the to do list was the need to acquire a Surinamese flag.  Fortunately I’d done my homework, and I knew exactly where to buy one.  There’s an arts and crafts shop called Readytex that caters to tourists, and so this was the first target of the day.  To get there I walked along the riverside, and enjoyed the colonial architecture and saw the Suriname River, along with the bridge and the wreck of De Goslar (link in Dutch), which was sunk in 1940 and has been there ever since.

20141108_104944

After buying my flag, I took a quick detour to look at a church, and went in search of the Central Market.  This was enormous, with all sorts of fruits, vegetables, and fish on sale from a plethora of vendors.

20141108_112711

Inside the covered area of the market was an enormous array of stalls, selling more fruit and vegetables.  There was also an upstairs section where clothes and other assortments were available for purchase.

20141108_113040

Looking at the ground floor of the market from the staircase up to the first floor

Next door to the main building of the market was another, smaller one that sold a variety of herbs and other odds and ends.

20141108_113724

After exploring these various stalls, I headed back out into the baking equatorial midday sunshine, and ambled to my next destination, the wooden cathedral of St Peter and St Paul.  That is where the next instalment will continue from.

Gooooood Morning Suriname!

So I have arrived.  The flights were long and uneventful, especially the transfer at Amsterdam Schiphol, but I am at least here.  It’s a stark contrast to the UK here, with temperatures of 30C all year round (much nicer than the 6C I left behind)!  Upon stepping off the plane, I was greeted with a smell I’d only encountered once before, in London.  It was the smell of the rainforest (hardly a big surprise given that the airport was in the Amazon!).  (In London the same smell may be found inside the Palm House at Kew Gardens in case you’re wondering why there’s a rainforest smell in London).

20141105_114541

Paramaribo is a rather quaint capital city.  There are no high rise buildings to be seen anywhere, and many of the houses are built in the style of Dutch houses.  Palm trees are found everywhere, and there are (what I assume to be) tropical birds singing.  Unfortunately, given that I’m working here rather than holidaying, I won’t get to see much of the city, but such is life.  Something is better than nothing though of course!

20141105_121616

Today is fairly quiet aside from a couple of meetings (in reality this equates a casual chat with various people), but tomorrow the work is likely to ramp up some more.

20141105_082805

The New Computer

I remember a while ago I said I’d write about my new computer, so without further ado, here is said post!

Obviously, the first thing to talk about are the specifications, so they’re listed below:

  • CPU | Intel Core i5-4690K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor
  • CPU Cooler | Noctua NH-U14S 55.0 CFM CPU Cooler
  • Motherboard | Asus Z97-PRO (Wi-Fi ac) ATX LGA1150 Motherboard
  • RAM | Corsair Vengeance LP 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 CAS 9 Memory
  • Graphics Card | Sapphire AMD R9 280X VAPOR-X TRI-X
  • Solid State Drive | Samsung 840 EVO 500GB 2.5″ Solid State Drive
  • Hard Disk Drive | Western Digital Red 2TB 3.5″ 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive
  • Case | Corsair 760T White ATX Full Tower Case
  • Power Supply | Corsair 860W 80+ Platinum Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply
  • Optical Drive | Pioneer BDR-209DBK Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Writer
  • Monitor | Asus VE247H 23.6″ Monitor
  • Primary Operating System | Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard Edition
  • Secondary Operating System | Ubuntu 14.04 LTS
  • Other | Motherboard 4 pin Buzzer

I spent several weeks reading oh so many reviews about every single part, and eventually decided on the selection you see above.  One advantage of building your own computer is that you can choose the specifications exactly, but it can take quite a lot of time if you get keen.  Depending on your level of geekery, you can end up reading (and being interested in) exceptionally detailed reviews (like this one for the power supply I bought).

One of the first steps in the build was to install the CPU.  This is a simple thing to do, but can be expensive if you make a small mistake.  The CPU goes in a special socket on the motherboard that has 1150 tiny pins (which correspond to 1150 tiny contacts on the bottom of the CPU) – it looks like this.  If you bend even just one of these, then you’ve got either a very difficult DIY repair job (as the motherboard makers don’t repair this part), or you buy a new motherboard.  Fortunately I was very careful, and managed to put the CPU in without any trouble.

DSC_5270

The CPU placed in the socket

Once this was done, the next stage was to install the CPU cooler. Most CPUs come with one, including mine, but I elected to get a better one (as I intend to overclock it in a couple of years, and adding this now would save me the hassle of changing it later).

Cpu cooler added

CPU cooler added

Next was to connect this partial assembly up to the power supply and do a trial boot outside the case (in case something doesn’t work, you don’t want to have to remove it all from the case).

Fortunately it all worked fine, and I heard the reassuring “beep” noise that you don’t really hear in computers any more (hence the purchase of a motherboard buzzer).  After this was just the installation inside the case which was fairly painless, and plugging all the remaining fans and cables in (along with connecting the SSD and Hard Drive up).

A few days later, my graphics card arrived, and after that, the Blu Ray drive.  Once they had been added in, it was all finished!  All that remains now is for a few more pictures!

DSC_5298

DSC_5297

DSC_5291

DSC_5294

DSC_5299

DSC_5301

The final result (click to enlarge)

A Fun Weekend

Last weekend was excellent if I can be completely honest.  For starters there was no 10 mile walk (see previous post for details). Friday evening consisted of me meeting up with several of my second cousins (and one first cousin once removed if you’re keen on genealogical pedantry) who all live near/in SW London, along with their various partners.  It was a hugely enjoyable evening, and great to catch up with them all again.

Saturday I had a work social with some of my colleagues.  This involved going on a steam train that had two real ale breweries on board, selling various beers that they’d made.  Let’s be honest, it’s a pretty golden combination.  Steam trains and beer?  Hard to go wrong.

Sunday concluded the weekend with a visit to my parents and grandparents back on the other side of Surrey (where I originate from).  A delicious Sunday roast lamb kicked off proceedings, followed by various other goodies.

All in all, pretty successful!