Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Cruising the Amazon--Day 2--May 9th

I woke up at 6AM after sleeping through the night and even though it was daylight outside, our cabin was very dark. EC was still sleeping, so I quickly got dressed to get my first daylight view of us cruising the Amazon.

Many of the passengers were still sleeping or hanging in their hammocks as I walked about trying to figure out how the meals work. I met Robson, a young Brazilian from Porto Alegre that is in southern Brazil, who was busy taking pictures. I have not seen any other Gringos on this boat and he is the first Brazilian on the boat who speaks English. He then showed me the ropes on how and when to get meals on board the boat.

Dining room is at the stern of the boat.

Lunch: rice, black beans, shrimp in gooey yellow cream sauce, salad, and beef for 10 BR.

Robson is on a 30 day vacation to the Amazon, but only plans to stay on this boat for a few days before getting off and flying to Manaus for more jungle trekking. He said that he learned how to speak English by working in the UK for two years at both Starbucks and McDonalds. Before he learned from Seattle, he said that every American who was from Seattle that came to his Starbucks store would tell him how Seattle was the home of Starbucks. He is a newlywed and they both like to travel, but she had to work and had already visited the Amazon. For their honeymoon they traveled throughout Mexico. He works as a mechanical engineer for the Porto Alegre Airport authority.

Our first stop was at Breves where thankfully they only had to unload a small pile of cargo. All day we would get small children or women paddling out in small rough cut canoes and people on the boat would throw the plastic bags full of goodies and clothes. There were so many that came out that not all got those bags.

Another group of canoers were those that motored up to our boat and hooked up to it to sell their goods. Most of these vendors were selling palm hearts, and shrimp. a couple of boys had a parrot that they were trying to sell and with Robson, they wanted 10BR for him to take a picture.

During the day we passed through a narrow passage where you could easily see the stilt homes on either side while the endless domino game continued with the loud slapping down of the pieces on the table followed by some very animated comments and challenges. For the most part, people just hung about in their hammocks like a bunch of cocoons.

This river travel is quite hypnotizing with constant throb of the two engines and gentle yawl of the boat as it slightly turns with the bends in the river. I find it easy to nap off during the day and sleep easily through the night.

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