Taking my third consecutive banana boat since Yurimaguas in Peru, I finally got to see and taste the Amazon...
"Fresh" off the boat from Iquitos, I decided to jump straight on the next one for Manaus the same afternoon. I figured the more tired I became, the more likely sleep would come in the hammock during the next three nights. The price for the voyage had doubled in comparison to Peru, at 37 USD for me , the same for the bike. The street wise manageress tried to talk me into a cabin with Air conditioning and a fridge for those all important beers, but at nearly 200 USD I wasnīt about to get too soft...
I cleared immigrationg in Tabatinga no problems, but to my surprise and despair customs were closed that Saturday morning (I thought this was quite ridiculous considering Tabatinga borders Colombia, Peru and Brasil.) I asked the Police Federal to write me note, but they went one step better and used the radio to advise Police further upriver what was going on.
Quite thankful I did really, as no less than 14 Police Federal marched on board at 11.30 the first evening and searched at least one bag from every passenger. The one suspicious package I had to unwrap was an oil filter, that seemed to calm him.
I met various nationalities on board, including a Colombian couple who agreed with my not wanting to travel through thier country, and also a French couple on thier way to French Guiana at the end of thier South American trip.
Xavier and Isabelle enjoying the Amazon sunset
We shared a very memorable cruise up the Amazon, poo-pooing those who said the river would be too wide to see anything. Often the captain would steer us through narrow channels, and we would see bizarre sights like cows grazing on fresh pasture, right in the middle of dense vegetation...
The views, sunsets, moonsets ( I donīt know what other word to use, as the suns light reflected back off the moon onto the river ), and village stops gave us all a feeling this was a spectacular part of each of our journeys. ( Was that sentimental enough ? ). Here a few shots of the trip ;
Isabelle pretending she hadnīt eaten all the fish, fresh out of the Amazon and grilled to perfection...
Life can be hard in a Hammock....
This boat was doing more trading in fish than bananas...
Entering Manaus the water changed from the characteristic muddy brown to a nearly black as the Amazon merges with the Rio Negro. I did a brief excursion from Manaus with Xavier and Isabelle to see the meeting of the waters, as the description in the guidebook promised swirling eddies etc etc...
The meeting of the waters , much ado about nothing...
Much to Xaviers chagrin, France buckled to Senegal in the world cup, but the soccer fever in Brasil just didnīt seem to mind a bit. Anytime Brasil played in the morning, sleep was impossible thanks to fireworks going off after every goal. Anything which could be painted in Brasils flag got the treatment, including the hotel staff...
Brasil was founded by Viking football players obviously
I took the chance to weld a crack in my headlight assembly mount, which I'd discovered only because I'd glanced beneath the speedo. I thought the whole assembly had been wobbling a bit much, and seeing the crack made me cringe..., the whole lot was really only one good bump away from snapping off !
No wonder it was all wobbling too much, click here for closer look
The original plan had been to take another boat to Belem, and then ride into French Guiana to see the Ariane launch, but time was against me. For the second time I left my beloved behind, and flew to French Guiana... ( See the next report )
Somehow I think it will be a Germany England Final....
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