Last Night in Rio, Bus Trip & Belem
Trip Start May 02, 2008
5Trip End May 26, 2008
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The bus ride started very very badly as the bus drove up this hill at high speed. I thought I was gona be sick and the view was a vertical drop down into jungle. During the bus trip we stopped at Bela Horizonte and Brasilia to pick up more people so our bus got a bit more full than we had hoped. Every 6-8hrs we stopped at a roadside food plac where there was a buffet and you would load up what you wanted and they would weigh your plate and give you a ticket. My plate would consist of salad and chicken with rice, Tom´s steak and little else!! The views were amazing as we were pratically covering the whole distance south to north Brazil. The landscape is just so lush and green with miles of nothing but zebu (funny looking cows) and fields. At some places it looked quite like the UK!! The housing throughout the bus trip was dreadful, little shacks andwooden houses but very oddly a honda garage selling lots of nice cars would be in the middle of the village
After the terrible start the majority of the roads were just straight, the majority were of resonable quality but some were awful dusty tracks with rumble from landslides on the side of the road. Of course we were the only non-brazilian people on the bus and no-one spoke any English, everyone was really nice though. A mum, 100 yr old lady and 5 yr old sat next to us and after 24/52 hrs the little boy puked all over his mum and the floor - was not a pretty site and smelt awful!! Everytime we got of the bus people just stared as we must have looked so weird!!
T - 11/05/2008
Arrived in Belem just before dark and got a taxi to a hostel near the center. its very hot and very humid so the A/C was a releif. Met a Brazillian/American couple and went in search of water. If you are a 'gringo', Belem is not a nice place after dark so we had food and chilled at the hostel.
Got up early, had breakfast and walked to the centre and on to the port. Belem is a strangepace, obviously very rich a while ago when the Colonial powers were resident with the rubber boom due its positin at the gateway to the Amazon . The old buildings, as well as the relatively new are now falling apart; however in some areas new buildings are going up. The port was in good shape but we had go to the nearby market to get Lizzie a nice big hat - in the near-equator sun she started to bake
Met a girl from London at breakfast, Alice, and went on a mission to see the sights of Belem. First we wnt to the Museu Emilio Goeldi, a zoo/museum set in a small patch of rainforest housing 2 jaguar, crocodiles, turtles, a giant river otter, iguana's, sloth's + others. Then we went on to the Church of Nazare which houses a tiny image of the 'Virgin of Nazre', a rather old sculpture beleived to have been sculpted in Nazareth. We went on to visit the Manal das Garcas, an ecopark with domes housing butterflies and differentbirds, including hummingbirds (see my expert photography!) We had some local food - tacaca (a gummy soup with shrimp and jambu leaves) and manicoba (GM cardboard?) which, without wanting to cause offence, waere bloody awful. Went to the supermarket in the evening, bought a crate and cunsumed in the hostel. The following day meant a 'five' day boat trip to Manaus along the Amazon River.
Up early again for breakfast, met Gabrel a Spannish guy who spoke perfect English, of course, and went on a last tour of the town before boarding our boat, which left port at 6pm that evening.........