Saturday, November 24 2018, 2 pm.

A scorching sun is blazing overhead, but I am sitting in the shade of a canopy tent drinking a local beer. The beer is called Parbo and the place is the Majoor Henry Fernandes Airport.
Majoor Henry Fernandes Airport, also known as Nieuw Nickerie Airport, is near Nieuw Nickerie, the capital city of the Nickerie district in Suriname. This is one of the oldest airports in Suriname, in use since 1953, when the Piper Cub of Kappel-van Eyck named "Colibri" landed there from Zorg en Hoop Airport. 
 
The Republic of Suriname is a country located on the North-East shoulder of South America, sandwiched between Guyana and French Guyana. My wife was born in Nieuw Nickerie and we are here visiting family. I came to the airport at the invitation of my nephew Charan. He is one of the organizers of today's Drag Races.

As soon as I got there, he showed up to greet me and presented me with this delicious ice cold beer, before going back to the command center. The command center is a little shack on wheels with the RENEGADE logo written on its sides. I found out later that Renegade is a type of high grade fuel used by racing cars. Anyway, at this point there are skinny motorcycles racing each other two at a time. It is an elimination kind of tournament and the winner moves up to the next stage. They have been at it for a while, but I couldn't get there earlier due to other engagements. I snap a few photos of the bikes, the support crew hunching under purple umbrellas and the light tree that is positioned between the two lanes on the tarmac. My photos somehow end up with more gorgeous young women than bikes, but what can I say, it is what it is. Suriname has a very small but ethnically very mixed population. The various groups can trace  their roots back to Indonesia, China, Africa, and Holland. There are also some native American Indians who call themselves Arawaks. Some of these groups try hard to keep their children from marrying across the ethnic barrier, but they do not always succeed. Thus, there are a lot of children of mixed parentage and let me tell you, they are beautiful. 
 
But, I digress - lets get back to the races. The little bikes have been replaced by some much larger motorcycles and they are revving their engines furiously. My beer can is empty and I go to look for a refill. There are food vendors selling kip sate (Indonisian barbeque chicken skewers), lumpias (Indonesian style egg-rolls) and other local delicacies. I am not really hungry so I keep looking. As if he has read my mind, Cheniel (Charan's younger brother) pops up out of nowhere with another ice cold beer. It's quite touching. I have only seen these kids a couple of times in the last ten years, but they are treating me like royalty.

The motorcycles have done their stint and now it is the cars' turn. A BMW and an Audi are taking their place on the start line revving their engines. My mind drifts as it tends to do once in a while and I imagine Vin Diesel and Paul Walker duking it out. The lights cycle from red to yellow to green and off they go. They are shrinking in the distance until I can barely see them when they turn around the pole and race back. I watch a few more rounds but then I have to leave. There are other commitments. Before I say goodbye, I ask Charan why the cars don't look like the racing cars I see at other races and he tells me that the asphalt of the airport is too rough. Cheniel comes to drive our car out because we are parked in the VIP section and it is a bit complicated. I say goodbye again and tell him that I wish I could stay for the awards ceremony but I am in a time crunch.
 
All in all, there were a couple of fun filled hours and I wish the boys lots of luck with their future events. 



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