Boat from Santarem to Manaus - Day 81-82

Trip Start Jan 31, 2008
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
In a hammock on the boat

Flag of Brazil  ,
Sunday, March 29, 2009

Day 81 - 28/03/09

Today is the day I finally embark on my first Amazonian boat journey. Let the mission to Peru commence!! Manaus will be my first stop in 2 to 3 days time, dependent on the river current.
Woke-up at a silly 5am after only a few hours sleep. Had a very quick shower, I suspect the last one for a few days. Then flagged down a cab to take me to the port. Was still pitch black and chucking it down with rain when I reached the port, not very inviting weather to begin my first long boat journey up the Amazon.
I boarded the boat as the sun was rising and hung my newly acquired hammock. I was one of the first people to board, so I had a choice of hammock spots. Front of the second deck is the best bet, away from the engine and smelly toilets. My boat is called the "Karolina de Norte" and is far more comfortable than expected, it's clean, has a bar and a plasma TV on the top deck and even showers which I wasn't expecting.

I then had a long 6 hour wait before the boat left port. We finally set off after a one and a half hour delay. Within 15 minutes we were on the Amazon river, leaving the Rio Tapajos behind. The colour of the waters changed as we switched rivers, it's the Amazon river for me for the next 2500km!
The boat is now absolutely packed with hammocks and cargo. There's a multi-coloured array of hammocks hung in every available three dimensional space, high, low, left, right, across you, on top of you, it's chaos!!
This evening I went on the top deck to drink a couple of cans of "SKOL". The Brazilian men where watching a football match on the Plasma. Watching a footy game on the Amazon, another unexpected slow boat surprise!!
Day 82 - 29/03/09

Didn't sleep too well last night in my hammock, I did manage to get a couple hours in, I think. Most of the day I just sat on the top deck looking at life passing by on the river. Saw many village's and smallholdings on the banks. Houses on stilts seem to be the preferred option in the area due to the annual flooding which can cause the river to rise 15 metre above the normal level. The houses are basic but some have satellite dishes and electricity which surprised me. Power lines along the river bring in the electricity from somewhere but i'm not sure where?
Another football game was shown tonight on the top deck, Brazil versus Equator in a World Cup qualifier. A guy with a rope was moving the satellite dish when the boat changed direction. This was the only way he could watch the game and keep the picture stable at the same time, very funny!
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