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To the end of the world, back, and everywhere in between Some take holiday, some go on gap year and some never come back...this is for all of us, lost in travel

The jungle adventures

BRAZIL | Wednesday, 1 August 2012 | Views [1202]

Agua de coco post, somwhere in the jungle

Agua de coco post, somwhere in the jungle

When you arrive to Manaus you really don't get a feeling of being in a middle of a jungle. It's a very modern and huge city with a pleasant centre and some good museums. But its mostly a place to get supplies for the jungle or boat trip.

We arrived at 2am to Gol hostel and we sadly missed our first free caipirinha... After a good night rest we pretty much spent the next day planning what are we going to do next, and for me it was time to find out when I can get the boat to Colombia.

The first couple of days were hard as we just started to take the malaria tablets and they were taking the toll on our energy levels. We did manage however to book ourselves for 3 day adventure in the jungle which gave me just right amount of time to get back to get my boat out of Brazil. I was starting to be a bit push for time with visa running out in 10 days.

So with everything sorted we headed out to the jungle. The journey there is in itself an adventure. First you take a boat, passing the point at which Rio Negro joins with Rio Solimoes to form the Amazon river. Its quite interesting as the two waters don't mix due to different density and temperature. After that its a van journey all the way to a little kiosk with agua de coco and from there canoe journey to the pousada.

Even though you don't feel completely taken out of the civilisation at the pousada, you are very close to the nature and surrounded only be water and forest. The civilisation only comes in a form of electricity and some other houses scattered around the bank of the river.

The original plan was to spend the first night at the pousada and the second night in the jungle, camping. But as we arrived it turned out that if we wanted to stick to the plan it would mean just me, Alicia and the guide camping together. We decided that safety is in numbers and quickly packed up to join the group that was camping out that night.

The journey to the camping place is beautiful, passing in a canoe through mangroves and lakes, watching the birds and trying to spot the monkeys. Unfortunately we had a bit of bad luck and on our way it started to pour down. Normally its not much of a problem getting wet in the tropics but in this case it meant that the mosquitoes will be out much earlier and that we will be sleeping in wet clothes and it does get a bit chilly at night.

And the mosquitoes did come. In their thousands. We were consoled by the fact that our guide was suffering as much as we did but it was only slight consolation. Every time anyone was taking a photograph the cloud of mossies was visible around them. The repellents only worked for about 5 minutes after application so we all pretty much engaged in a mossie dance, trying to stand as close to the fire as possible in a vague hope that the insects will avoid the heat.

Nevertheless it was a fun night of cooking on the fire, sharing stories, looking out for the crocs lurking in the dark, listening to the monkeys and then sleeping in the hammock. It's an experience not to be missed.

Next day after breakfast we headed to a nearby fazenda to meet with the local family and learn about the plants of the Amazon.

We came back to base for lunch and refreshing swim in the river. We were all pretty exhausted so it was siesta time and then a trip to do some piranha fishing. We failed miserably and only caught one, just as well the dinner was not dependent on our success... We did however chance upon a group of 20 monkeys that passed right above our canoe. There is really nothing like watching the animals in their natural habitat.

After watching the sun set over the river and a quick dinner we ventured out again in the canoe to catch some caymans as they hang out on the banks of the river at night.

Then it was back to the pousada to relax, grab some beers, play guitar and sing the night away.

Next morning we went for a lovely walk through the forest, learning some survival skills, trying medicinal plants and tasting the worms...

Amazon is truly enchanting with its wilderness, beauty and peace and so it was very hard to tear ourselves away from that and head back to the hectic Manuas. Unfortunately for me I have run out of the luxury of overstaying in Brazil as I absolutely needed to catch the boat next day.

So the afternoon back in town was spent getting the all important supplies - books, hammock, snacks.

In the morning I woke up ready for the journey. To my disappointment boat did not leave that night, it decided to only take cargo rather than passengers and so I was facing another night in the city as well as knowledge that I have now overstayed my visa to Brazil and will need to face the Policia Federal in Tabatinga.

With the extra night to spend with Alicia we headed out to the main square for some good bye drinks. There we have run into some of the friends we made in the jungle and it also turned out that some were heading with me to Tabatinga and so at least I had company for the next 6 days on the boat.

The party was cut short by the fight that erupted over the choice of music and with Alicia sadly losing her camera. So with low energy we decided to head back to the hotel and rest. It was going to be my last night in proper bed...

And then I nearly missed the boat... I was all ready for mid day departure when we got a call at 10am to say that the boat was leaving early. So we jumped into car, rushed down to the port, picked up a motor boat to drop us at the side of the boat and very much like illegal immigrants we climbed on board. This is what you get for not paying the port tax... Doing it this way (buying the ticket on the street) saves about $R100 but is only doable if you speak Portuguese. Otherwise I would say its an unnecessary stress as technically you are boarding the boat illegally, through the cargo entrance...

Luckily it all worked out fine, I found my friends, hanged up my hammock and settled in for days of river watching...

Tags: adventure, amazonas, jungle, manaus, on the road

 

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