Deeper Into the Amazon
Trip Start Jun 07, 2008
34Trip End Sep 14, 2008
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All did not go smoothly after that either. Since the boat was scheduled to leave around 2pm, I took a few hours the next day to walk around the town, use the internet, get a bite to eat and buy a few supplies. Upon returning to my boat, I found it almost completely empty and the few remaining items were being unloaded onto a new boat. I ran on board, grabbed my hammock, and scrambled aboard this new boat to find it packed from bow to stern with hammocks. Determined to not get left behind, I squeezed my hammock in anyway, as many a local would later do. This boat I was on was the one that Lonely Planet warns travelers to avoid due to the need to change boats in the middle of the night about half-way through the trip. That turned out not to be a problem as on our first night, the boat ran aground and we spent about 10 hours waiting for them to free it. So we changed boats mid-day without any trouble.
Your ticket on these boats includes meals, and they aren't as terrible as you'd imagine. They're just terribly repetitive. Breakfast on the first boat consisted of only crackers and coffee, and both lunch and dinner were the same: chicken, white rice, and plain spaghetti. The second boat actually served eggs and plantains with breakfast but otherwise the same fare. The second boat was also a bit larger. It had a sun deck and snack bar up top, so not quite as claustrophobic. I was the only gringo aboard either vessel, but befriended the young Brazilian guys and girls that were my hammock neighbors. I got to practice a bit of Portuguese and they worked on their equally meager English skills. We occasionally stopped at small riverside towns to pick up or drop off cargo, which provided a welcome diversion from the monotony. Five nights after boarding, we arrived in Manaus.
Check out some photos from this riverboat trip on flickr.