The Last Boat Trip
Trip Start Jan 20, 2004
88Trip End Feb 01, 2005
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It was sad to say goodbye to Kylie and Trudi, as we had been travelling together for 4 weeks and had spent some quality hammock hanging time together. It was nice to have other people to do stuff with and I look forward to catching up with them when all our South American travels are over to reminisce about the mopeds we hired, the boys we kissed and how we are just skanky slappers.
I was very nervous about the boats as I had heard that they were worse than Brazil and that people get sick from the food. I didnīt want to take any chances so I stocked up on a few cans of essentials, tuna and corn, and plenty of chocolate biscuits (I even found chocolate covered wafers which combine my two favourite types of biscuit in one)
Getting to the boat on my own with all of my bags proved to be an interesting experience in being mauled. On the three previous visits to the port, I was regarded with some interest (most when I was by myself instead of with Kylie and Trudi) and was given good information on the boats. When I had my bags I was suddenly being hustled left right and centre. I kept saying "Por favor, NO!" while trying to get out of the motorcarro. They laughed at me as I put my backpacks on and picked up the food bag, which was understandble, but then they kept trying to push me towards another boat, the Eduardo, that had appeared since my visit in the morning. I managed to somehow shake them off and get onto the Don Adrian like I had planned.
I was entertaining the idea of being the only gringo on the boat with a bit of trepidation and a bit of excitement. This was unfortunately dashed when I met a retired school teacher from Melbourne travelling with her Peruvian boyfriend.
The scenery on the sides of the river was so much nicer than in Brazil, the lush green trees covered with creepers and the tall spindly white trunked trees gave way to occasional villages that were so pictureque they could be on a postcard or advertisement for travel
The food wasnīt as bad as I had feared although it was BYO cutlery and crockery. I figured that I needed to eat some of the food I had brought on board, so for lunch on the second day I opened a tin of tuna and a tin of corn. The corn was easier said than done. I donīt know why they call that implement on your pocket knife a can opener. I stabbed and jabbed at the can for ages, spilling juice all over me and my hammock and looking like a stupid gringa, before getting a slit big enough to fork some corn out. I wonīt be buying any more tins without the easy opener.
I had heaps of hammock swinging room, and I could swing without touching another hammock which was a nice feeling compared to the sardine cans of the Brazilian boats. Also, as we stopped so often, it wasnīt long before there were only about 30 passengers left on the huge boat
I think that I have discovered an allergy to some animals. Iīm not sure whether it was the rooster with itīs feet bound that kept crowing, or the budgies in a tiny cage or the turtles in an old soft drink bottle. Whatever it was, I was sneezing like I had never sneezed before (quite a feat of itīs own really) and I used 2 hankies in the space of an hour.
We ended up arriving in Yurimaguas at 2am (beating the Eduardo which had left after us and been unable to keep up the pace when they did catch up to us at one point due to our frequent stops). I stayed on board until 6am before getting a motocarro to a hotel. It was so nice to have a room to myself again and to have a shower after deciding that being skanky for 2 days was better than getting in the skanky shower.
Yurimaguas seems okay, although not much in the way of things to see so Iīll be off to Tarapoto tomorrow, getting closer to some ruins.
Things I learned
* The men on the Peruvian boats are very well behaved. No wolf whistles or unwanted attention - YAY!
* Peruvian children arenīt as well behaved as Brazilian children, and are much noisier and rattier too.
* My Spanish isnīt as good as I thought it was.