Where Peru finishes and Columbia and Brazil start

Trip Start Sep 23, 2010
Trip End Jul 13, 2012

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Hostel Bagpackers

Flag of Brazil  , Amazonas,
Tuesday, October 19, 2010

19th Oct.

Got up nice and early this morning for our 5am motocar journey to the boat. It was a
bit confusing to say the least but we had to climb down a mud bank to a row of boats at the bottom. As we got there early we weren't too far from the front but had to bash bags into people trying to push in! We had to show passports to a policeman with a sniffer dog and
luckily had to forgoe the bag check he was giving the locals. We'd have been there a while if he wanted to look in our backpacks as they where locked! Got on board and sat in some pretty cramped seats, though we were lucky as some had to stand or find a corner outside
the loo to sit! Breakfast came at 8am which was a ham and cheese roll. The Amazon is wider here and there are more wooden huts than I thought there would be. The journey started slow and bumpy with a few stops for red tape and dropping off and loading locals. Well it's certainly not a tour boat so what did I expect! An hour or 2 later the river flattened out and the ride got
smoother but we couldn't understand why every now and then the driver slowed down gave the engine a few revs then carried on! Lunch was served around 12.30 which was mashed potato rice and a piece of beef followed up with a cup of coke (cola that is). We got talking (sort
of) to a local woman with a little girl who was as good as gold the whole journey. On one of the stops the mother bought a coconut and offered us one, which we declined but did try a piece of hers which was really sweet. There were a few more stops along the way but on the last one more got on than got off, so there were a few unhappy people that couldn't get a seat and the isle was completely blocked. We finally arrived into Santa Rosa at around 5pm and had the usual hassle of immigration, moto and water taxis. Immigration was a 30min hike across muddy uneven ground so with 4 other gringos (2 French Canadians 1 Swiss, Alex, and Laura who was from Germany) we negotiated a price to get us nearer to immigration on the Peru side then take us across the river first into Columbia for the French Canadians and Tabatinga in Brazil. Even though we were closer going by boat it was still a 15min hike with full backpack over mud to the
Peruvian immigration but it was the most exercise we'd done all day. It was dark by the time we reached the police station for their stamp (which was not lit due to no power) by torch light and then it was 5mins to immigration for their stamp again by torch light. Once all the formalities had been done we headed back to the water taxi to ferry us across the river where the French Canadians went into Leticia in Columbia and the rest of us went to Tabatinga in Brazil.
As we were so late the Brazilian immigration was closed so we had to stay overnight as illegals in the nearest Bagpackers (no typo) we could walk to, it did have a private bathroom
but was a bit of a dump. Welcome to Brazil!

After a bite to eat and a cold shower (that leaked all over the bedroom floor) we
settled into our rock hard bed for some sleep.

20th Oct

Got up around 7am to cook some boiled eggs for breakfast. At 8.15am we headed to the Brazil federal police for immigration then we would be legally in the country. Once stamped we headed to the port to buy our boat tickets to Manaus, stock up on water and snacks. At 11am, 3 of us got a taxi (R15 6) to the port as Laura from Germany preferred to walk, it wasn't too far
but in this heat I'd rather pay the 2 each! When we got to the port we lined our bags up about 10m from the front then waited an hour or so for the Police to turn up and search the bags. First came the sniffer dog then one by one we went though a door to a room with tables to search our bags. Once they were happy with our bags we were frisked (me against the wall and Cat in a private room) then we were allowed to go down to the boat (the Olivera V from Manaus) to get a
good hammock spot (hence getting there early) the two girls were ahead of us and already got a space so we managed to hang ours near theirs in the middle of the boat away from toilets, stairs etc. We were due to leave around 2pm and were under way by 2.30 so not bad. It is quite nice swinging away and watching the world go by and people on the boat are quite friendly and willing to chat. There's quite a mixture of people on board but enough English speaking to get
a good conversation going. One chap we meet was called Zohar, originally from Israel but now lives in Ecuador and looking for his holiday home. He is quite a big talker and was very excited to be able to talk English with someone, he could literally talk for England! Dinner was around 6ish (in the dining room "Refeitorio") and consisted of pasta veg and beef in a soup. After dinner we sat up on the top deck with Zohar and the girls, watched a stunning sunset and when it got darker lightning in the distance whilst chatting the night away.

21st Oct.

Got woken around 1.30am as we had docked and more people got on hanging more hammocks all around us, it was getting quite cramped. It also got rather cold in the night and the lights got left on but luckily we had our eye masks and ear plugs, but we still got woken every few hours or so. At around 7am we had breakfast which was a cheese roll and cake, plenty of coffee
and sweet uht milk but no tea, couldn't even get hot water to make my own! At around 11am we docked again and more people got on with more hammocks (one guy set up so close that when he swings I swing too) this time the Police came on board for more bag checks, luckily for
us they ignored us but Alex had hers checked again. Once we got going again and we were in the lunch queue, we saw some small river Dolphins swimming along. It seems that lunch in Brazil is also the main meal of the day where we had spaghetti, mince, beans and cold
chicken, there was also a fruit drink that was very sweet and to me tasted of cheese! Had a chill out in the hammocks then later in the afternoon we went on the top deck for a bit of roasting. Now in Peru and Brazil they like loud repetitive music, but this time though the
same track was played over and over again, so in my best Spanglish I asked the Brazilian Portuguese speaking bar lady to change the music, to which she did! Roasted for about an hour then had a nice cold shower and another chill out before dinner. After dinner it's back up to
the top deck for the sunset (not as good as yesterday but pretty good) and enjoy the evening breeze. Javier 57 from Spain set himself a task to get me some hot water, 2 hours later he was still unsuccessful and gave into defeat. I don't understand these people, it can't be that hard to boil water, but It was never going to happen! Again more loud repetitive music and with our now growing group of Europeans Argies and ozzies, none of us Portuguese speaking, we negotiated quite loudly at times the turning down of the music. At around 9pm we docked again so this time no more Mr Nice Guy. Laura and I went down to the hammocks to defend our space, which worked for now with one arrival having to squeeze the other side of the guy next to me. Mission accomplished we headed back up for an hour then back down to bed.

22nd Oct.

A rather restless night as I was coming down with a cold, and at 6.30am Cat was nudging me to get up for breakfast. Half an hour later we had breakfast which today was scrambled egg and a cheese and ham roll, still no tea though! After breakfast Cat and I had a rest in our hammocks whilst Alex went for a shower and asked us if we would keep an eye on her stuff. Cat and I
feel asleep and were woken by Alex who was shocked to see someone from last night had moved in between Cat and her, (her stuff was ok thank goodness) but we were now even more squashed in! But the ladies set on a plan to evict her by chatting loudly and using the
elbow technique and within an hour she up and left to the other side of the boat, the UN strikes again! 11.30 we queue up for lunch, believe it or not we're the last and lunch finishes at 12. There was our usual crowd of Alex, Laura, Javier, Zohar, Fredrico snr and Fredrico jnr and a little miracle happened, Javier again asked if he could get some hot water for me, this time success, so after lunch I enjoyed a lovely cup of nice hot tea! It was rather hot this afternoon so we stayed down below for the shade, the heat wasn't doing my head cold any good. After a rather boring dinner of more rice, spaghetti and chicken we stayed below for a while then went up for an hour or so for some fresh air and chatted to an English couple (Rod and Maureen) who'd lived in oz for 40 odd years. As they were retired they were in a cabin with air con, double bed and private bathroom, not bad at 3 times the price!

23rd Oct.

Officially 1 month travelling! Breakfast this morning consisted of a bread roll with marg, (no other filling) a nice small sweet pancake (so I had 2 of them) and a really chewy doughy rolled pancake (that was horrible). Headed up to the top deck and got playing Brazilian Rummy, (played with 9 cards to get 3 sets of 3, and when anyone lays down your winning card you can grab it even if it's not your turn) I managed to win my first game but it seems it was beginners luck. Then I played Cho cho (another card game a bit like shit head) with Laura and Alex.
Lunch was very exciting, more chicken, rice, spaghetti and beans, there was also a strange tasting juice (a bit like ribena) and a small jelly for pud. After lunch the heavens opened and we had to pull the side covers down which stopped most of the water, although we did get the odd river across the deck. One of the Brazilian guys on board has a music player and everyday we've heard Air Supply (I'm all out of love) playing, so today Cat and I sang the words that we
knew at the top of our voices to an applause from the rest of the deck that were mainly Brazilian! Dinner was a nice soup of the leftovers from lunch. We docked into Manaus at around midnight and we had opted to stay on board until morning, it also saved us the cost of a room for one night!

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