My next move was to make the 4 day, 800 some mile journey down the Amazon river to Belem, a large port city near the Atlantic coast. Boris and I bought our boat tickets in ´hammock class` but when we arrived, there was absolutely no space... people were hanging next to each other nuts to butts!!!!! They were on top of one another, across each other, in the walkways...everywhere; some 2 to a hammock. So we decided that sleeping in the shape of a banana and smelling a possible non-showering neighbor for 3 nights was not gonna cut it and we upgraded to a cabin with refrigeration like air conditioning
. The trip down river was actually fun... the boat is big enough to move around and the top deck was outfitted with 2 huge speakers and a well stocked bar... Samba dancing and drunken Brazilians were the norm for the evening. It was also fun to watch the people that live along the river board the boat... they would hook one of the tires used as fender and get towed along in their canoe until they could tie off. Then they would get on the boat for a free lift and to sell food items and stuff. It was quite entertaining... especially when all there is to do is watch the shore go by, which in some cases was a couple miles away in both directions... the Amazon River is HUGE !!!!
While in Belem I did the usual city exploration and checked out a couple museums and the fish market. From here, I am well positioned to start making my way south... slowly of course but eventually to Argentina.
Well one thing is for certain... I cannot speak Portuguese. I speak more like Span-guese or a Portug-ish combination of Spanish and Portuguese. The languages are similar but different enough that I can´t use it... yet. So for now, my travel buddy Boris does all the speaking and information seeking as it´s his first language. This sucks though, going back to square one with a new language and communicating like a 2 year old.