Thursday, October 26, 2006


Equator crossing

Crossed the Equator today again but with less of a monument than Ecuador, but with a road side monument, not just a sign.
(One question remains: (Is it just downhill from here on ? )

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Belem and Beaches

The first day in Belem I decided that I would go to the Amazon theater,
which was built in the rubber boom days. The most ornate parts for this
building were imported from Europe and Englend. They had so much
rubber then that they even paved the road outside the theater with
bricks made of rubber sand and stone so as to reduce the noise from
late arriving carriages. (Some of these bricks are still in place today!)
But I was having some truble finding it and was asking directions. I
kept being sent to this building! It looked nice but did not
seem like what I was looking for

It was a theater of sorts, just not the one I was looking for.
I was in the right area and just across the road was the correct

Another part of my time was spent at the resort town of Ponta Negra.
It's quite supprising, considering that it's on the river bank of the Amazon
river, but with all beaches in Brazil there is beer , ice cream and other vendors

Sunday, October 22, 2006


Amazon barge ride

After some looking I found a company that would take the
car (and me) from Belem to Manous. I arrived at their depot
to find I needeed to wait two hours before getting to the dock.
I was then taken to the dock, which was a very dusty yard surrounded
by brick fence. Here I was told that the barge would leave at
8pm. In fact it was not loaded till 8pm. Once loaded, it was just a
case of waiting until the tide came in to float the barge.
I went to sleep and woke in the night when the tow barges were joined together. In the morning it was just cruising up river at 11kph (I am told that the V12 caterpillar consumes 160 liters of fuel a hour) and on the trip runs 24X7.
As the barge makes it way it passes towns, villages,
and houses on the river edge. Some people come out
in canoes and try to trade fruit or wood products for
diesel to run their generators for light

Today, cruising close to the river bank, butterflies were
streaming from the jungle out across the water (at
this point the river was some 3 KM wide, I guess, via my
GPS )and continued for some hours till sunset.
The jungle is ever consuming and for the people with
river bank homes it is a never ending job it keep it back.
It even tries to enter the river ,till the river takes what it wants
back. The fight goes on.
The barge makes a stop at one town to unload some cargo
and trailers and reload trailers. The stop was a good chance
for me to restock on beer. I had come a little ill-prepared, not
knowing what to expect exactly, but the best thing was that one of
the truck drivers had a refrigerated cargo and was happy to play host
to beer! The cook traded for some fruit. One was a melon and other
was some thing else ? all was described to me as Amazon
fruit , the melon looked a little like a pumpkin and tasted
like a honeydew and rockmelon but very sweet. The
other fruit was pear-shaped with red apple skin and
inside was sweet and sponge like and no seeds.
As it takes seven days to get from Belem to Manous,
we pass many other boats and barges. One barge that
passed had some 90 trailers on it.(5X6X3=90)

Also there were just plain river boats. Some transport
people, like this one. Two decks of hammocks, lots of people.
I gave them a beer salute as they passed and just a little thought.
4 of us passengers on this big barge and all the space we need

and what does one do on a warm afternoon on the Amazon? Take a
pic or two and it feels like a Carribean cruise.

What surprised me was the fact that ocean going ships are able to
navigate the river, not just barges.

Arriving in Manous I was somewhat sad to see the ride over, but it takes
some hours to unload the barge and I was on the second one to be
unloaded so the four of us passengers headed up to a local bar and restaurant
for a few quick beers. It took 2 hours till I was unloaded.

Each barge is almost the size of a football field, and for the trip
they are lashed together. The barge I was on only took 5X5X2=50

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