Rio Amazon

Trip Start Sep 03, 2007
Trip End Jul 03, 2008

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Flag of Colombia  ,
Sunday, May 11, 2008

Sometimes I do wonder if it may be a little irresponsible to take a year off and travel the world. Should I be working towards a pension? Should I be looking for promotions? But when you sit on the back of a ferry going down the Amazon with a nice cold beer and a fantastic sunset, you realise that you´ve made the right decision!!!

So our time in Colombia finally came to an end and it was time to move on, or return, to Peru on our mammoth journey to BA for our flight home in July. Leticia does not have any roads in or out of the town and flying is too expensive so we had to resort to the traditional mode of transport... the Amazon! There are two boats down the Amazon. 1: the fast boat, costing about $60 and takes 1 day and 2: the slow boat, which costs about $25 and takes 3 nights and 2 days. All food is included etc but it is not the most luxurious mode of transport. Obviously we choose option 2.

Before you leave Colombia you have to return to the airport and get your passport stamped out. You then have to make you way to what the Colombians call a port but could more accurately be described as a piece of wood leading across a march from a shanty town to a floating shop. You catch a speed boat across the Amazon to the Peruvian side (2000p) where you present yourself to immigration. The Peruvian side is very basic and is made up of wooden shacks and mud paths with various farmyard animals wondering around!

Once the formalities were out of the way if was time to board our boat, El Manuel. The pìctures that will follow shortly will better describe the state of the ship! But briefly... It was a huge cargoesque boat with three levels. 2 for passengers and 1 for cargo. We lugged our bags onboard and set up our hammocks on the less crowded top deck. and waited for our 7 o´clock departure. The boat slowly filled up with people, food and anything else the locals thought useful to ram on. At 8pm we left under the cover of darkness. 3 nights and 2 days seemed like an awfully long time at this point. We both rocked to sleep with Braziliann music blaring from the TV speakers, the only Gingos on a all Spanish speaking vessel!

When we woke up in the morning we were immediately pleased we took this mode of transport. Our boat was docked at a remote amazonian village collecting more passengers and cargo. The weather was fantastic, the river calm and Caroline even saw Dolphins bobbing around the boat! The rest of the day was spent lying in hammocks, sitting on the Deck and merely watching the Amazon slide by. Our boat made various stops at small villages and slowly began to fill up. At this rate its going to be a squeeze by the time we get to Iquitos.

We´d been told that it was advisable to take extra food on the boat as it can be a little undesirable at times. This however was not the case on our ship. After a breakfast of some white paste thing in a cup, surprisingly good, and a couple of rolls we were pleasantly pleased by the arrival of lunch. Rice, chicken and vegetables. A good staple diet....

At the end of our first day we had some new additions to our passenger list. A pen had been erected (hehe) and a contingent of pigs had joined us for the rest of the journey along with some chickens and a rooster. So to add to the snoring, swaying Peruvians we had the smell of pigs and the crowing of chickens!

I won´t bore you with a hour for hour, village by village account of our trip but think you might find it amusing to know that I did manage to loose my flip flop over the side of the boat and had to send Caroline in to a village in the middle of know where to buy my some new ones!!!! Caused Caroline endless laughter!

We finally arrived in Iquitos at 6am to a mad rush of locals attempting to get first dibs on the cargo we had just delivered. They´re main target was the plantains!
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