After we got back from the jungle on Wednesday the luxuries of a
shower, shave, takeaway pizza and a sleep in a proper bed with air
conditioning were very welcome!
Thursday was our little trip in to the unknown on a boat down the
Amazon river, for the experience rather than because we actually
needed to to make any progress, and we made our way down to the docks
to find our hammocks. We knew that the worst place to be hung was in
the middle row and so it was unsurprising that they hung us gringos
smack in the middle of the boat, to which Sowers seemed incredulous!
Despite all the stories we had been told and what we had read in the
guidebooks, none of that had prepared me for that first sight of how
we were going to spend the next day and a half!
Every available hammock hook was taken and I couldn't believe just how
many people there were crammed together, with hammocks crossing in
between each other leaving no room for any privacy or personal space!
In the midday heat that first look was a was a bit of a 'why the hell
are we doing this' moment, but to be honest by the time we had sorted
all our bags under our hammocks and got in them, I actually felt
pretty happy and started to enjoy it, and I was definately the most
positive out of all of us about everything, to the point where
everyone else actually started to try and deliberately sabotage my
happiness!!! Hutch, on the other hand, was pretty grumpy and wasn't
seeing the 'experience' aspect to it all - not helped by the fact that
her hammock hung unevenly to one side and had stained her blue denim
shorts yellow! She did nooooo like her hammock!!
The rest of the boat was surprisingly well organised with a top deck
bar area with TV and a lower deck where we ate. Most of the time,
despite being in the middle row (which meant every time you wanted to
get out you needed to push past someone else's hammock - it was a good
job that the guy on the outside next to us seemed friendly and
understanding!), there was a nice breeze coming through which kept
Yes it was ridiculously cramped, but to experience river travel down
the Amazon the way the locals do it was for me really good fun and I'm
definately glad we did it, even if sone of the others needed a little
bit of encouragement!
What was a good decision however was that we had chosen only to do the
day and a half trip to Santarem rather than 4 days all the way to
Belem, as one night was more than enough!
After pitching up at the docks in Santarem around 8pm we found ourself
a hotel room with 5 beds and space for Heather to hang her hammock,
and then after another welcome shower went out for something to eat.
Contary to what Hutch claimed at breakfast in the morning, nobody came
in and viewed the room during the night (these doxy's are giving us
both some freaky dreams!) and we headed to the airport on the bus and
made it with plenty of time to spare for once!
Having spent a day and a half on a boat to get to Santerem from
Manaus, in a slightly ironic twist if fate the first leg of our
mission to get to Salvador was to then fly back to Manaus (it just
happened to be the way the cheapest flight was routed)! Despite our
bags supposedly having been checked through all the way we decided to
hang around the baggage carousel just to check nothing came thru - and
it was a good job as for some reason just Riggers' bag appeared!
Heaven knows where that may have ended up had we not been so diligent!
Thankfully the next 2 flights, in and out of Brasilia, went off
without any mishaps and we eventually arrived at our hostel in
Salvador at around 1am on Sunday morning after a pretty eventful and
tiring couple of days travelling!