Hi mates! This time I speak of the journey by boat from Belem to Santarem on the Amazon river.
Apart from a bit of inconvenience due to sleeping in the hammock together with a hundred other people in the under-bridge, the trip was really amazing and when, after more than three days, I arrived at destination in Santarem I almost regretted having to leave the ship. The fact is that you pass through spectacular scenery. Already during the first night I was filled with all the charm of the river, the forest, the lights of small coastal villages and houses on stilts, scattered here and there, mysterious, with little dim lights before the black wall of forest.
The next day, then, I have not ceased for a moment to contemplate “Heart of Darkness” scenarios, with thick vegetation that falls plunging into the brown water. In some places it is extraordinarily wide, it is amazing to see how much water pushes towards the sea. In other points we passed through archipelagos of small islands, entering in long corridors through the forest. Sometimes I saw freshwater dolphins.
Another curious thing are the children who come by canoe from their little houses to greet the boat. Some of them are very small, at six – seven years venturing alone in the canoe, and indeed in that context it is important to learn to drive one of it almost as walking. Other times, the mothers bring their children to see the boat.
However, I had never seen a river so big, and in fact it is the biggest. Then a question arises: how is it possible that with all the water that this and all the other rivers of the world always pour in the sea, this remains constant salty? I will look for an answer on google.
In short, an amazing experience, which however I will do again early to go to Manaus and then from there to Ecuador, although the latter seems not so simple as it seems looking at the map.
The Lonely Planet describes these trips much harder than they are, in the end there was no sultriness, nor mosquitoes, nor smell, and apart from some discomfort of sleeping on the hammock, the only problem was the food because a heavy rain in Belem had prevented me from doing the shopping before boarding, and being now vegetarian, the only choice were the cheese toast but, for some reason, they were pretty disgusting and were very expensive as well. Fortunately, the next morning when we stopped at Breves, a kid from the port sold me on the fly two baguettes of bread that I have used for the rest of the trip.
Arrived at Santarem I took a bus to Alter do Chao, where I am now. It’s a small village on the river where there is not much to do and then is a good place to rest before leaving again.
And these were the photos. Ah, now on call me Dekaro Geographic!