Archive for the ‘Brazil’ Category

Amazon Cruise (Mar 8-13)   3 comments

Brazil

The Amazon

Our journey down the Amazon began in the jungle metropolis of Iquitos, Peru. This is the largest town in the world you can’t drive to and is situated in the deep Amazon jungle on the edge of the Amazon basin. The streets were flooded by moto-taxis taking people where ever they needed to be for 2 pesos as well as the continuous rain that followed us. Travel tip: If a country has an entire season dedicated to rain, don’t go then. From Iquitos we took a fast boat down the river for a 12 hour ride to the border with Brazil and Colombia. Once through their jungle interpretation of border formalities we settled in a lovely hotel (probably Magan’s favorite) in the Brazilian town of Tabatinga.

Our first goal was to get a hammock and passage on board a boat that is heading to Manaus. The hammocks were no problem and we were lucky that the Voyager III was heading out the very next day. That day, however, turned out to be a long day of waiting and walking in mud and rain. Never the less we were soon in a mass rush to get through security (looking for colombian bam-bam) and on to the boat to find the best spot for our hammocks.

After our hammocks were hung and we had settled in amongst the scores of other hammocks hanging around us we began to feel relaxed. That evening we departed for a 3 1/2 day journey down the Amazon swinging in a hammock and finishing off a bottle of rum. The down side of the trip was, of course, the people. At various ports more people would join us and try to put up hammocks directly above ours. But with a little persuasion, they would move on. Despite a few annoyances the trip was great.

We spent our days gently swaying in our hammocks feeling a slow breeze blow past us keeping the bugs at bay. As we floated down the large ( at some points very wide) murky brown river we were surrounded by the beautifully green dense Amazon rain forest. The knowledge that we were floating in the largest river in the largest and least explored forest in the world gave our trip an air of adventure. At random points along the river we would see small huts miles from any town that would force us to wonder just exactly what it is they do.

The end of our trip brought us to the international port city of Manaus (hundreds of miles from the Atlantic) where two
rivers, the Negro which is a dark black and Solimoes which is a muddy brown, meet, but stay separated for miles because of their different speeds and consistency. Here we left our boat and prepared to leave the city for some much longed for clear weather.

Other Activities in South America

Potosi Mines

 

Potosi was once the richest city in the Americas thanks to its silver mines. Today, however, the silver is gone, but locals continue to mine what precious minerals are left. The working conditions (heavy lifting, toxic dust, high altitude, etc…) are such that our guide informed us that he knew only one miner in his 50’s.  Before we went we stocked up on small supplies to give to the miners as “gifts”. These included soft drinks, coca leaves and a Timothy McVeigh starter kit (dynamite,  ammonium nitrate and a fuse with blasting cap).

Sandboarding in Huacachina, Peru

 

On the way to Lima we stopped in Huacachina for a couple of days and went sandboarding in the desert there.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

 

Before heading to Africa we spent about a week in Rio de Janeiro relaxing on the beaches and taking in the beautiful city. Above is the large statue that overlooks the city, Christ the Redeemer.

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