Clearing the Brazilian formalities was a doddle after Venezuela and we were
gone within 35 min. 15k's out of the border in the middle of nowhere the
battery light came on and the temperature gauge was in the red!!! EEEk - we
pulled over and after expert examination and cross referencing in the manual
by James, Kerry looked in the bonnet and noticed the main fan belt was trashed.
Luckily this was the belt we did not have a spare for!
We had however pulled over next to a remote Indian house (not a village).
James saw a motorcycle parked there and armed with the fan belt went over to
try his luck to bum a lift back to the border. After much sign language with
an old man who could not even speak Portuguese, he returned with a newish
fan belt. The GODS were with us - this guy had exactly the right size belt!!
After fitting the belt we were on our way, albeit 2.5hrs later.
After a 250km drive to Boa Vista we were tired and it was getting dark. Our
guide book said there was an unofficial campsite 3k's out of the city next to
a river. This was right below the mention that the city is unsafe to stay in!
We spent an uneasy night camped in the bushes on a river beach, but all was well.
The next day - up early and ready for a 750km drive to Manaus.' No problem'
James said, 'I will stick to 100kph!' 200km's out of Boa Vista we started to
encounter pot holes of an extraordinary depth. A couple of times having to
stick the diff lock on and a lot of driving in 2nd gear. However - once again,
the scenery was amazing and we were extremely excited watching a flock of 8
Scarlet Macaws fly across the road and then encountering Blue and Gold Macaws
along the the roadside.
We did not make Manaus in one day and drove in the next - the start of Carnival.
After booking into the Brasil hotel we went walkabout and booked ourselves on a
4 day Amazon Jungle Explorer boat with Swallows and Amazons
tours starting the next day. We luckily were able to leave Lodzi safe in Tania's garage
(owner of the company).
We left early the next day with Anand - our extremely impressive and knowledgeable
guide, Palle and Faith a wonderful American couple, Lloyd and Ruth an ancient American
couple (we believe she may have been in her 90's) and Fabio a young Brazilian guy. The
Dona Tania was our boat where we were fed like kings. A bit more pricey than backpacking
rates but very convenient and definately worth it!
First stop was meeting of the waters - the official start of the Amazon where the
Rio Negro (almost black and clear coloured) joins the Rio Solimoes
(light brown and murky in colour) From there we went and saw the Giant lilies of the
3 superb days ensued where we jungle trekked, fished and caught Pirahnas
(the guide was bitten by one-take a look at the hole left in his thumb,)
caught a Caiman (croc), spent a night in the jungle in hammocks to be woken
at 3.30am by a huge thunder storm and toured a Bare tribe Indian village.
Take a look at the photo of the pet Howler monkey baby - what a cutie.
We are now back in Manaus and are booked onto a ferry tomorrow night for
a 4 day 10hr trip down the Amazon on a barge to Belem. Not too sure about this
one but once again Tania at Swallows has helped and has been excellent and patient
with our naivity. Oh and as promised - James hand now has an infection!!!
Will be back soon.