Amazonas Part 2
Two days we had to wait till the next boat to Manaus would leave. Another option would have been the speedboat, one day earlier, but that's much more expensive and not a nice ride. We used the opportunity to have another look at the area and eat ridiculous big hawaii-Hamburger. Usually a fan of big markets this one was really disgusting. The fruit area was ok, but the smell of the meat and fish in the heat was... rather extreme. It wasn't rotting,but fresh fish and hot weather is not a nice mix.
Two days later we boarded the ship at 12 o'clock. It was even at that time absolutely full. The bikes were locked to the railing at the front part, and two workes had to make space and move, so we could put up our hammocks. A nice surprise were two Australians on board, just 2 hammocks to the right :)
We reached Manaus after 3 nights and enjoyed the gourmet food consisting of chicken, rice and beans...
Manaus was easy to navigate, the main square full of people and little stands, the church and the theater, all good landmarks known to us from our map. Unfortunately most things were closed, e.g. the internetcafes. It took a while till we found one, but lucky for us, the accomodation we were looking for was just on the other side of the street. We even had a (nonworking) air conditioner :) The hotel was a bit... I might say narrow, the corriders were barely wider then the handlebar.
Since Martins handlebarbag has been stolen we started looking for a replacement. Not for the bag, but the camera and mp3-player. We did find a big electronics store, with both things and even a bunch of Apple products. The iphone and ipods are especially taunting since the display of my iphone broke as well. The touchscreen still works, and I can play music, but I cant see what I have selected and just listen to the same songs in reapet, over and over. But we bought a new mp3-player and a small camera with 5x zoom and even a really bad headlamp for Martin. At least enough to go on traveling.
The next boat was lying in port already when we bought our ticket, so we had the option to sleep a night on deck and save the costs of a hotel room. Being the only people on board we hoped that it would stay a bit emptier than usual, but of course it did not. We even moved again and went to the very last spot on the up most deck. The company was better, too. A guy from Venezuela, two Japanese and a Brasilian that spoke English. So at least we could have some rudimentary conversations. ;-) A note here: This boat was the only one without included food, which hit us unprepared. We only took water with us and were forced to buy overpriced sandwiches at the little shop on board. The only good thing was the breakfast, several different fruits and some kind of pudding.
We reached Santarem late in the evening and decided to stay yet another night on the boat, this time together with the Japanese. The next morning still proved to be unpleasant, at least for my blood pressure. The first time on the bike for a 50km ride in the humidity and heat.
Still a bit weak from the days on the boat with little food and incredible heat, we started cycling towards Alter do Chao, all hills, up and down... Wow, I have to admit, that I reached my limit there. But Alter do Chao is a real treat, similar to Huacachina near Ica. Everyone goes there, and that for a reason:
Named the Carribbean of the Amazon, this little village lies next to beautiful beaches on the Lago Verde. The water is as warm as it gets, and the place is full of restaurants selling ice cold beer for the sunbathing crowd. The weekends are busy, but the rest of the week seemed to be quite. We just stayed in the shade, took a swim and enjoyed the scenery.
Since my name is Nicole, I'm from London and today is my birthday me and my companion Julie got a free lunch paid by a love stricken tiny guy, who could not resist my blond hair and blue eyes. I just had to fool him, since everyone and their brother seemed to hit on me here. The food was takeaway and quite delicious, actually. We even visited the restaurant later, since it has wifi. Finding accommodation in Alter do Chao was a little adventure in itself. A small group of backpackers advised us to go to a place a bit further out, in the forest. The search, in darkness, was a bit tricky, we entered 3 wrong places before we found the right one. But once there we noticed how nice a place it is.
A small gravel way leads off the road into the forest,and after 100m we found a gate. Behind is a property owned by „Busch“ who runs a little hostel here. For just 5 Reais you can string up your hammock or put up a tent, and he supplies electricity, a kitchen, free drinking water and more. Since we do not have a mosquito net on our hammocks we decided to sleep in the tent. The very moment I hit the ground I was asleep. The name of this difficult to find place is Caminho das Pedras, and you can reach the owner at email@example.com
To enjoy the place a bit more we decided to stay a few nights, and went back to the beach and abused the free wifi in town.
The only thing besides swimming and internet was a tour into the jungle, with everyone from our campsite. Maybe 10 people all together we hiked to a river and started swimming in the cold water, when one of the others started to ask around if everyone was up to a little adventure. Sure we are, and off we went. We did leave all our stuff just lying there and started to walk, swim and tumble down the river, which was full of tree trunks, palm leaves and very long, poisonous and sharp grass leaves. Dodging these plants and not running into each other in the strong current was amazing fun. In the end we came out a little pier at a shallower part of the river, all a little bruised, but alive :)
After 4 days we decided to go on and take the next boat, the last boat, to Macapa. We went back to Santarem, the bigger town with the port and bought our ticket, before being spotted by two german ladies, traveling around the world as well. A little chat later we headed for the boat, a smaller vessel than we were used to. Actually a nice change, because it means fewer people on board, unfortunatelG also that the boat is influenced stronger by the waves. The hammocks were bouncing left and right and it was near impossible to sleep in them.
Two days went by like this before we reached Santana, the last port, 25km from Macapa, and we were free to go. Biking into Macapa, getting picked up at 14o'clock by our couchsurfing host and staying in his little wooden house outside of town, all by ourselves. We will do our organizing here, ATM, laundry, supermarket, and even a Spanish fortress which we visited.
Here we finished our Amazon Boat tour, after 5500km and will continue on land, onwards to the three Gyuanas.