Im back! Although i feel that Dean has a real flair for this blog writing malarkey and you will all be pleased to know (after a few words!) that we will be sharing this responsibility from now on!
So everyone we have met on route and spoken to have thought we were pretty crazy taking on the 5 day (actually turned out to be 6days!) river ride from Belem to Manaus, not only did people rubbish the length of the trip but we left people with mouths open when telling them ´´no we won't be taking the nice touristy cruise along the river´, we will actually be rolling our sleeves up donning a hammock and roughing it properly on the cheapest boat going with the locals and cargo!´ apparently to enjoy the real experience!!, However as Dean mentioned we did meet 3 others in our hostel that turned out to be just as tight with their pennies as us and the river ride that was set to be a killer actually turned out to be pretty good fun, with friends that I know we will keep for life!
Rochelle is a Canadian who is married to Cuauh who is a Mexican and both are funloving and slightly mad, Rochelle should be avoided until given coffee in the mornings much like Dean! However for those of you that know my beautiful friend Jemma Buckley back in the UK, youll completely understand who im dealing with!.. for Rochelle and Jemma could be identical twins personality wise, absolutely barking so mostly our time was filled with singing at the top of our voices, stupid games, waxing, eyebrow plucking, hide and seek, 40 40 in and a few arguments with silly locals that tried to either touch our friend Marion whilst she was sleeping or rocking up and pitching there Hammock in the middle of a walk way or over Deans head or occasionally opening the windows of our deck and letting in mosquitoes!!! Honestly some of the locals were unbelievable so, yes we were the boat police, bringing calm and order to the deserving community of the cruise ship.
Our other friend was Marion she is French and the most beautiful girl in both appearance and mind, so gentile and calming yet brilliant fun. So there you have the famous five!!
Halfway through the trip we also met Arron a French Dude who boarded in Santerem but despite our first excitement that we may be able to start a Blind date night on board between him and Marion, there was even talk of weddings, we later found out he was hanging out with a Brazilian girl a lot so that dashed our hopes of date night!
Then came Leo and Leo a couple of bronzed argentines who just looked so a typical traveler it was unreal, they roughed it up on top deck under the stars however soon gave in and joined us down below when the mossies got to hard to handle and the 6th local tried to rob from them!! Safety in numbers we told them!! Safety in numbers!! no one was going to riffle through our stuff we had our area marked and guarded 24/7 and even then they would be brave as we befriended action man whilst on board who coincidently I have grown to miss. He was a Brazilian who was built like nobodies business but not only that he had the attitude, every time the boat stopped in a port for a 5 minute offload or load the boys would run their hearts out and risk being left behind in order to stock up on either beer or food however by the 2nd day the boys caught on and just followed action man for he would saunter off the boat, walk at his own pace, get his supplies, maybe sit and have a look at the view and then re board when he was good and ready! The ´´capitan´ would wait, for he was action man and nobody messed with action man!!
By the 3rd day cabin fever really set in, there was talk of getting the locals involved and forming a theatre company, talk of reworkingShakespear, even talk of dressing the boys up as women we were well and truly bored!! We even grew accustomed the many little canoes that made there way through the treacherous wake of our boat in order to get close enough to catch some of the clothing, food or money the people on board would throw off for them and their community. Dean and I bought sweets especially for this but getting overexcited and throwing them all on the first day we felt too bad sitting out on the deck watching their desperate faces.
Again by day 3 we were well used to the many port stops that involved our boat being invaded by locals in the community tryin to sell things to us and the amazing contraptions they used to collect money and give the goods when we arrived in ports where they were simply unable to board was amazing!
So things were looking bad, we got off in Santarem for 2 hours and however liberating it was to be on solid land we soon longed for our boat and of course nap time was upon us, whilst waiting anxiously to reboard we met our capítan who was looking very jovial with his big bad of coca cola which we joked was for his whisky and this I must say lifted our spirits (only 2 days to go after all and maybe just one more night's sleep on the hammock!)
We took another 5 hours however to load and the talk was it was capitans orders for the crew to load slowly, so eventually we pulled out of the harbor only 5 mins later to come to a stand still. The harbor police were here, had tied there boat to ours and ordered our engines to be cut. An hour later out capitan gets arrested and escorted off the boat for drink driving, and here we are now sat on the boat in the middle of the amazon with no capitan, Dean offered to take on the job however action man was on the case and a revolution was about to begin. The lower deck doors were forced open and the public as well as the crew could now mill around down there, whilst action man came over and said in his best action man voice ´if you care about your future then you must come down stairs and fight for a new capitan!´ so that was that the boys were off however Marion and I took this golden opportunity whilst all the men on the boat were shouting across at the owner who was now on the floating gas station we were attached to in the middle of the river to break into the normally forbidden area and play titanic for an hour or so! BRILLIANT!
Eventually we got a new sober capitan and 8 hours later we were on our way, it filled the time I spose but actually put us 8plus hours behind!
Party night was scheduled for the next eve however was put to an abrupt end at 10pm as the b**** and I mean b**** of a bar women shut the bar! Honestly she wasn't a b**** because she shut the bar early but because she hated us Gringos with a passion to the point I have never experienced someone so rude in all my life, she wouldn't serve us, wouldn't look at us, when she did speak she would spit it at us honestly the women was a…. I need to get over it now… so yeah party night was scuppered!
I have decided on reflection that I am going to write a book on hammocks, some people we met after our epic boat journey had to spend one night on a hammock and we gave them some friendly advise, this advise ended up in an hour long convo and I swear that after spending so long in a hammock we are now qualified experts so heres the Hammock low down….
Day one - mmmm Hammocks pretty comfy, good spot by the aircon, chillin, reading a book, I don't know what the fuss was about.
Night one - so at midnight there was a fight with the Hammock I ended up on the floor for three hours just appreciating the fact I had no bend in the middle, hard floor was bliss compared to the stupid friggin arseing hammock
Day two - so the floor is starting to get a bit dirty and the hammock and I had words and are consequently friends again, nap time was okay probably cus I was so tired, will reckie the boat later to see how is best to lay in hammock
Night two - got the knack lie sideways across your hammock for maximum comfort ensuring body is flat not bent in middle, also learned how to block out light by placing head in a certain place to create a screen from hammock
Day three - seen a grandma lying on belly in hammock is this possible? Will try tonight when no ones watching so I don't look like a**** and fall out with hammock again
Night three - it takes some wiggling however sleeping on belly in diagonal position works and you can get approx 5 hour of comfort sleep from this position
Day four - using hammock as swing today whilst reading by simply moving hammock to closer hook sitting upright creating a back to the hammock
Night four - went in for a cuddle with Dean tonight partner sharing hammock positioning is perfect with male slightly higher for arm round head comfort, then brilliantly when had enough of cuddling you can create a dividein hammock by moving over slightly and Appling pressure to head and feet end in synchronized move
Day five - feeling a little lethargic and plump with all this hammock lazing and very little exercise so hammock high jump as a fitness regime goes down a treat
Night five -in all honesty I wasn't expecting to lay with hammock tonight however having been given one last opportunity we try out all above positions and Hammock and i have a special bond
Day six - packing hammock up, I'm taking her home with me, it's a sad day, its been emotional.
So that was our Amazon riverboat experience in a nut shell
Theres no moral to this story just advise…. DON'T BOARD A BOAT IN BELEM TO MANAUS UNLESS EQUIPT WITH AN EXPERT COMFY HAMMOCK GUIDE; SOME BLOODY GOOD FRIENDS: A PACK OF CARDS for copious games of d*** (see pictures for leaderboard!)AND COPIOUS AMOUNTS OF SKOL
Peace out ppl xxx