Day 278 – Amazon Riverboat Day 3

Day 278 – Amazon Riverboat Day 3       05/26/11        Mileage: 0

The scenery was again great and it seemed there was always something new or interesting to look at as you watch the world float by.

This is the view from the sink to brush your teeth….

Not all the bathrooms on the boat were as “nice” as ours. Notice the large bug on the wall on the left side of the picture….

We docked in a small river town of Almeirim to offload some cargo of vegetables and beer….work that is done entirely by hand.

We also bought some tasty fried pastels from the food venders that come down to the docks on bikes to meet the boat.

Back underway it was more great scenery along the river which I could and did watch for hours.

Here’s how most people travel the river boats….in hammocks….

Wonder where that road goes??

It was also my birthday today and the irony is, it was my father birthday yesterday and my parents are on a cruise in Alaska….so he celebrated his birthday on a boat in Alaska and I’m celebrating mine on a boat in the middle of the Amazon…although I can guarantee his accommodations are a bit nicer! John had snuck off the boat earlier while we were docked and tracked down a cake which was extremely thoughtful! So the highlight of the day, or night as it were, was having happy birthday sung to me in Portuguese by some Brazilians on the boat….here’s the video….

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After cutting and sharing the cake with the other passengers, I made up some capirinha’s with the limes we bought earlier and we washed them down with several beers. Unfortunately once the cachaca started flowing everyone forgot about the cameras…so no more pics….oh well! We laughed and had a boatload of fun…excuse the pun…and that was definitely one of the most memorable birthdays I’ve ever had….

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Day 277 – Amazon Riverboat Day

Day 277 – Amazon Riverboat Day 2      05/25/11      Mileage: 0

Today was our first full day on the river and now that it’s daylight I could have a good look around the boat and the river. I’ll let the pictures do the talking….

Here are the bikes on the cargo deck….with the banana’s, limes, produce, motor oil and everything else….

Ian and I split a cabine…..sure isn’t Royal Caribbean!

The river is incredibly wide in some spots and very narrow in others as it splinters in to several parts around the islands.

The boat runs close to the shore when it runs up river so the kids that live in remote villages often paddle out to meet the boat…

This kid was using a kayak paddle…the only one I saw during the whole trip…..brite kid!

This boat doesn’t look like it’s gonna’ make it!

Locals with food or wares to sell will also paddle out to the boat and use a small hook to hook onto the boat, then get climb on and sell what they can and then unhook and paddle away….

Ian, John and I had a nice dinner on the top deck…nothing fancy mind you, but the setting was superb…

And to cap off a great day we were treated to a great sunset over the Amazon River….

Day 276 – Belem and Amazon Riverboat Day 1

Day 276 – Belem and Amazon Riverboat Day 1      05/24/11       Mileage: Local miles

After packing the bikes and checking out we headed to the port to hopefully get the bikes loaded onto the boat that will take the three of us up the Amazon River to Manaus. We have to load the bikes when the river tide is high so the dock and the boat cargo deck are close enough together….if the water is too low it’s very difficult or impossible to do. The dock is a chaotic place and with the language barrier it’s hard to get accurate answers. We are again told a different time and to come back in 4 hours….frustrating. So instead we headed for Alex’s motorcycle shop called Moto Mania a few kilometers away….something we were going to do anyway.

We hung around the shop for a while and did a little work on John’s bike to stop an oil leak. With that done we said goodbye and thanks to Alex who has been a great host and made our stay in Belem infinitely more enjoyable and fun. On the way back we grabbed a quick burger and then it was back to the dock. Riding out on the dock into the chaotic scene, people were waving at me but I wasn’t quite getting what they wanted (read ignoring what they wanted)…..so I continued riding slowly up the pier and pulled off to the side near the boat. Well, a fellow in a black shirt with a gun comes storming up the pier yelling and seems to be pretty upset with me. After we “exchanged” some words he stormed off back down the pier. A dock worker standing nearby pointed at the guy and said he was military police, then made the universal sign for a gun with his hand and pointed it at me and said bang. He was trying to say that that guy could or would shoot me. Oh well, what’s done is done….and right now getting the bikes on the boat was the number one concern.

The tide of the river was still not exactly right after all that and the boat cargo deck was some 4 ft. lower than the dock. A ramp wouldn’t work because the bikes were too tall now to clear the opening into the boat.

The only way now was to hand the bikes down which was something we were trying to avoid, as it requires hiring dock hands which adds a layer of BS to the process. At first they wanted more than 30 Reals for each bike, so we told them it was too much and started to load the bikes ourselves…and in the end we did get some help and paid only 5 Reals per bike….which is what Alex said was a fair rate.

In this video, we loaded Ian’s Yamaha Tenere first followed by my KLR….

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Once the bikes were onboard and safely stowed for the trip up river, we stashed our bags and went to the top deck to see about some beers….which we enjoyed while taking in the frenzy of activity on the docks and the now darkened skyline of the city.

She was checking our tickets…high heals in a cargo hold, sure why not!

Those carts are stacked with cases of beer…at least we won’t run out!

 Looking back at the city lights of Belem…

Shortly after 11pm…almost 5 hours late, our boat, the Ciudad de Santarem II, pushed away from the dock and headed up river…we were finally on our way up the Amazon…