Friday, November 5, 2010

Slow boat up the Amazon River



2/19/11 thru 2/25/11

I found a boat leaving sooner than expected. Paid the $180 US for the 6.5 day journey up the Amazon which does not include your hammock (bought for $24) but does include all meals. My experience 4 years ago going downriver from Iquitos on the Amazon was less than a favorable experience. This trip, however, was much better than expected. The boat was larger and newer and the meals were really good for this type of cruise. HOWEVER, every lunch and dinner were exactly the same except for the type of meat served. The meal consisted of rice, beans, spaghetti noodles, and meat or chicken. Still loved it until about the 4th day then I was craving almost anything else. There were approximately 200 passengers on board and every hammock was touching someone elses. People started lining up for each meal approximately 1 hour before they began serving because the dining room only served about 30 people at a time. We got a much closer view of the banks of the Amazon than those who go down river because the boat stays close to the bank to keep away from the current. Most of the time we were within 100 to 150 feet from the banks. Not much to do during the day but watch the scenery, eat and sleep in your hammock. At night the top deck turned into a Salsa dance club with many Skol beers being consumed. I made some really great friends on the trip, Bobby (Canada), Hanas (Italy), Elise (Colombia) and Sonny (Australia). The sunsets were spectacular with the sun setting sometimes on the Amazon River and others with thunderstorms putting on a lightning spectacular. The first 4 days went by fast as the boat never docked at any other ports but starting on the 5 th day we stopped several times a day which was so boring. You can only watch people unload things for so long. The 6th day we stopped in port for 11 hours which was an eternity. Back to the hammock for more sleep was usually the remedy for boredom. So happy to land in Tabatinga, Brazil and then walk the 2 km to Leticia, Colombia. Finally on solid ground again. So happy I did this trip as I made great friends and added a more positive perspective to river travel on the Amazon than my previous trip.  Thought that I saw a pink river dolphin at the mouth of a river that empties into the Amazon but it was a Manatee, how cool. Picture included.





Hanas trying to figure out how to get back on the boat after jumping off the 2nd deck.

Crazy Hanas jumping after we encouraged it.

Hanas debating whether to jump, ego won and he jumped.



My home for 7 days.










The galley. 1 if 4 things u can do on the boat. Watching the scenery, sleeping and drinking beer are the other 3.
Just above Manaus where the Amazon and the Rio Negro Rivers meet. The 2 stay separate here due to the difference in temperature. Pretty cool.




Finally, more room after some disembark at 1st port.

F
Elsie from Colombia

My Amazon amigos, Sonny (Australia) and Hanas (Italy)

Hanas and other amigo, Bobby (Canada)











Children gathered on the hill to watch the boat.



Manatee






Boat's engine on fire as he started it. This happened 3 times.







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