Manaus or 7 days on the Amazon!

Trip Start Jul 15, 2004
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Trip End Jul 15, 2005


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Tuesday, November 9, 2004

OK, as I left off, we were ready for our Amazon boat cruise, 4 nights and 4 days cruising up the Amazon River from Belém to Manaus.

At 4:30pm we made our way down to the dock and boarded the Amazon Star...a large boat/ship that could carry over 350 people. I am bad at sizes, maybe it was 40-50 meters long...I don´t know! We had cabins, luckily on the outside of the upper deck. I am not keen on boats generally, they don´t agree with my head, I was nervous to see how I went. The cabins were small, but the beds were comfy and it was airconditioned. There was a bar area and two open areas on the upper decks. Below was a dining room and a room we dubbed ´hammock class´, where about 150 people put up a hammock and slept there. The room was airconditioned, but they also had lights on all the time, and constant piped music. It wasn´t awful by any means, but the cabins were at least some privacy...or as much as you get on a boat anyway.

Well, the trip started uneventful. I wasn´t sick, even when we initially headed out to the open sea to be able to enter the Amazon at a wider point. I slept so soundly that night, even with the rocking. The next morning was sunrise on a massively wide stretch of water, welcome to the Amazon. The day was pretty uneventful...you relax, read a book, watch the people and start to recognise the faces. Eating times are different for Hammock Class versus Cabins, but otherwise there is lots of mixing. There were die hard dominoe players and lots of people drinking and chatting. That afternoon a huge storm hit, and it rained then for nearly the rest of the day, very heavy and it was actually cool. We saw lots of people living along the side of the river, who would paddle out and hook onto the boat and then sell things on board. One thing I forgot was the constant music being played on board...loud Forro from the bar, and miscellaneous from the other speakers near the cabins and down below deck. Our cabin was conveniently located near a speaker and close enough to the bar to hear both types of music at the same time. Our speaker had a mysterious accident first night in....

The next day we stopped at a port, and I made some new friends on board. I met a lovely guy from Rio called Henrique who was the only person on board who could speak English. He was really interesting and it helped get to know lots of other people to. That day was scorching with the heat and sun out all day. There are these showers at the back of the boat, where they pump up river water, so you can cool off. They rock...but are a little intimidating because it is a guy´s domain. Also, there are like 5 guys to 1 woman on the boat...the interest you receive is non-stop...I was the Aussie novelty item...it was funny.

Again, the days were cruising. Henrique got off the next day, and I was left trying to talk very bad Portuguese to my growing male fan club. That night, things went a little off course...we ran aground about 1am. Apparently someone fell asleep. to put this in perspective we are on the largest river in the world, and the width was often at least 1 km wide! Luckily no one was hurt...but we were wedged for 7 hours, and had to get pulled out by a passing barge...it was entertainment in itself watching that all happen. But it was the start of many delays, and so, with the food running out and the heat increasing, we ended up not getting off when expected! In fact, we got off this morning, 7 days after beginning....but I loved every minute, a holiday from reality and it was great meeting locals, watch people pair off in shipboard romances and taking it all in.

Well, I have a jungle tour and then into Venezuela...

Bye for now!!
Sarah
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