Fry an egg on me head

Trip Start May 08, 2007
Trip End Nov 10, 2007

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Flag of Brazil  ,
Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Amazon River trip from Manaus to Santarem

 I managed to take this photo without collapsing in the heat or getting my camera nicked. I reckon there where about 250 hammocks on this deck alone.

I paid extra for the upper deck on the Amazon Star, god knows what the lower deck is like. A 36 hour trip plus for some unknown reason you are told to be on the boat 4 hours before it leaves? I squeezed my hammock between 2 other hammocks only to have another 5 hammocks placed between mine and the other 2. As all this was happening I couldn't help wondering how I was supposed to get out of my hammock. I had my main pack strapped to the floor with a belt and padlock and my valuables placed between my legs, next to my other valuables. Luckily I made friends with the people either side of me even though we couldn't actually communicate to each other. Amos the old guy on my left kept talking to me, even though every time I answered him with  'No Comprendo' . The Lady's on my right watched my bags when I did manage to go for a wander.

 The boat docked in Santarem and then I got the bus to Alter do chao.

I got off the bus at a junction in the middle of the town next to some vultures going through the rubbish bags on the side of the road. I had no map so I flagged down the police to ask directions, but it turned out they didn't know where the hostel was either. One of them got out of the cab and got on the back of the pick-up with my rucksack and I got to sit in the cab. We drove around the town looking for the hostel and asking directions. When we found the hostel the Rastafarian owner seemed quite shocked to see the police walking down his drive. He later told me "Man!, I was so pleased to see you, man, after I saw all those police, man!

Alter Do Chao Hostel 

I happened to land in Alter Do Chao the weekend of a festival(which would explain why the police I asked didn't know the area). I went with a German to the main event but unfortunately I didn't take my camera. I was very impressed with the high standard of the event which was set inside large grandstands and consisted of hundreds of people dancing and performing(...oh and some slightly dodgy looking giant props). The Brazilian crowd didn't need much encouragement to take part in the singing,dancing and the waving of the flags. Martin and I. on the other hand needed a little bit more persuading to take part, we were caught totally off guard when we entered the arena and was given a pink hat and flag each. But a few beers later we soon developed a bit of Brazilian swagger (well, thats what we could see through our beer goggles anyway). The event reminded me of an Olympic games opening ceremony and like an Olympic games opening ceremony it never seemed to end. When people started to enter the arena in little cars like in the end game of Takeshis castle (The crazy Japanese TV endurance show), we decided that 3 hours was enough and sneaked out.

When leaving Alter Do Chao, I jumped off a bus just in time to see the airport bus drive away. Knowing that the next bus was going to be at least another hour, I had just become a human sun dial and it wouldn't be too long before my ginger skin would turn to cracklinŽ, I would collapse and be eaten by the black vultures circling above me. I decided to break my budget and flag down the next air con taxi that drove by. 

At this stage of my trip my budget has become more of an issue and I now have more respect for Gordon Brown.
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