Butterflies, bamboo, and birthday celebration
Yesterday was a good day.
As of last week, I was not sure how the day would go, because I did not have anything planned for the one day of the year for which I wanted to make sure I had plans. On Saturday a friend and I decided to go to the butterfly park in a nearby district; it was something I had wanted to see for a while but had not yet been. As an added bonus, she told me she has a friend who is an organic farmer in that same area, and we could visit him to see his projects.
Then on Monday, my counterpart called me into her office and told me she had made a plan for a number of us to go to the butterfly park the next day. So the group at the park ended up being larger than I had anticipated and we got to learn about not only the life cycle of butterflies native to Suriname, but to see them in their different stages in the life cycle and learn about their export business. But that is not all…in addition to the butterflies they have tortises and snakes, which they also export, and we were able to see them as well (well, see and touch the tortises but the snakes were kept behind glass).
During the tour we also got to hold caterpillars, which brought me back to childhood days of finding and playing with the fuzzy creatures. Ah, memories…
After an early lunch, half of the group went back to the city and three of us continued on to my friend’s friend. He has a number of projects going on, one of which is hand-building small-scale versions of typical Surinamese buildings, the other of which is his farm, where he grows things from basil and morenga to dragonfruit, lemon mint, and marva (and I had not heard of morenga and marva until yesterday).
But our time in Lelydorp was not over yet. He brought us to a friend of his, who makes items (large and small) out of bamboo; most of which do not entail the use of nails. Because I love me a good story about how I found items that I either have or give to others, I ordered a couple of items to be made and am excited to get the finished products!
But we weren’t done with the artisans yet! Our next stop was to a man who sells pottery type items, though his main calling is as an artist. I had fun in his store and got a few things there as well – again, good stories and supporting the artisan directly. I also got an added bonus in that in one of the mini vases there was a salamander/lizard/gecko/type of reptile who had been hiding and we saw her coming out. Unfortunately, my friend tried to shake her out and she held on for dear life, then crawled back inside. This morning when I checked the item, she was still there, curled up at the bottom. I think getting her out may take a while…
On our way back to the city I realized that it was a day that called not only for champagne (well, sparkling wine, though it was from France) but cake too, so we stopped and picked some up on the way back to my apartment. And another bonus – I got to pick up a number of roti from my favorite roti place in Suriname, which I put in the freezer to be reheated and consumed later. By that time, I had a whole bunch of things I was carrying around and it was time for cake and wine!
By luck of the draw, I had picked a wine that was called Jaqueline, and someone I know of the same name happened to be celebrating with me, so imagine how happy she was to find a namesake wine! Happy surprise!
The celebration then moved to my apartment; or rather, outside my apartment since inside my apartment has little room for sitting and chatting. Cake, wine, friends, and later, pizza = happiness on my birthday.
I am so very grateful for my friends and family, and for those of you who sent me text, e-mail, and Facebook wishes for my day. Two years ago, I decided that, contrary to most of my life, I was going to really celebrate and honor this day, and have been lucky for the past three to have some wonderful company and well wishes to make it a really great day. It will be interesting to see what the next year brings!
Photos from the day can be found on my Picasa album.