After collecting 2 weeks worth of laundry, doing a large grocery shop for our 4 day
barge trip, we headed the 10kms to our port of departure East of Manaus, as requested
arriving at 4pm on the dot. After paying and not coming across anyone who spoke
English we were told to wait in the car park for our turn. Nobody paid any attention
to us for the next 5 hours as we watched loading of various vehicles onto an open
sided barge - (floating platforms). We were the last to load and were therefore right
at the front of the 3rd Barge about 4 feet from the edge of the platform and we were
not even tied down - they only put a couple of logs under the one tyre.
Thinking 'not to worry they do this all the time' we settled in. As we were leaving
the port another barge to Porto Velho was leaving. We were just in time to see the
driver cut a corner and drop one of the front lorries half in the water. After which
we ratcheted Lodzi down and added another 7 chocks to the wheels.
The trip took 3 days and 10 hours and was an amazing experience as we travelled the
whole 1300km of the Amazon River - from start to finish with a front row seat in the
comfort of Lodzi. We ate the food cooked on the tug behind which was very tasty.
We got to know the truckers really well, who were all so friendly and struck up a
good relationship with Milto, Jean and amigos. Nobody on spoke English but we got by on
alot of animated gestures.
Lodzi also got its first wash courtesy of a Tropical rain shower. We even got to watch
a DVD in Milto's flash Mercedes truck.
We arrived in Belem mid morning and were offloaded 3 hours later. After a nightmare
journey in the centre of the town in roads so small James had to do 5 point turns to
get round corners we located another fine hotel suggested by Mr and Mrs B which was
complete luxury after the barge. Belem was a bustling city and we visited the world
famous Ver-o-Peso Market full of beautiful smells and sights with everything from
Anaconda skins & Amazon curios to fish, meat, fruit, vegetable, basketry and clothes,
we purchased a beautiful double hammock.
Advice from the truckers on our route to Fortaleza had us take a 250 km longer
detour but reduced the journey time by almost a day missing the bad road conditions.
On this route we were introduced to camping Texaco!! Free, excellent showers and
toilets and security guards (with pump action shotguns!)
We also came across our first HUGE spider - take a look at the picture - we thought
it was a huge crab crossing the road! Les - thanks for the e-mail we had no idea you
were a huge butterfly fan. As it turns out we have come across thousands of butterflies
and have included a photo for you to check in your book what type they are.
On route we visited Sete Cidad National Park full of weird natural rock formations
and rock paintings and then Kerry suggested a detour to Jericoacoara,
"the most famous beach in Brazil". 150 kms on a dirt track and had it not been for
a local doing the last 15kms we would never have found it. We drove through towering
sand dunes and even had to pull our leader out of the sand - our first recovery.
Kerry thought it a bit rude to try getting a photo. Unfortunately it wasn't a
Landcruiser or that would have made our trip. After the two nights in a garage we
lived it up in a beautiful Posada. The road out the next day took us along the sand
dunes beside a beach - stunning.
We are now making our way down the East coast, stopping at beaches all along the way.
Yesterday we met Mick and Jerry from Tucan overland tours, who had parked in the same
car park we are camped in. They are heading North, so we swapped information and were
shouted some decent teabags - Bliss! Mick is preparing for an overland motorcycle tour
from London to Vladivstock for charity, 'Riding for F.A.'
Lodzi is still going well although has developed a leak from the Transfer box underneath
and we are going to try get it sorted out this week. The weather has been fantastic if not
a little too hot and we have topped up our tans so much we now blend in with the locals.