Hello! I am in Manaus, where I arrived yesterday after another boat trip of two and a half days, from Santarem.
I was in Alter Do Chao 5 days, and I was a little sad to move away from it. It’s a beautiful and peaceful place, where the river seems a lake because is surrounded by a bay. There are beaches with white sand, especially on ‘”Ilha do Amor”, approachable by taxi-boats.
It has nothing of the hostile environment one would expect in the middle of the Amazon and the only animals you encounter are curious ugly ugly black vultures who cavort through the streets in search of waste and, on the shore of the river, iguanas that look like mini-dinosaurs escaped from a Japanese cartoon.
Then I took the boat to get to Manaus from Santarem. This time the boat was most unlucky, and the trip was a bit harder.
First of all, last time I was able to place my hammock on one side, so, at least on that side, I had no one. This time instead, I found myself in the middle of the tangle, with hammocks on the right, left, up, down and only a great weariness made me finally fall asleep the first night.
The next day, however, after a lot of people left the boat in a stop, I hung the hammock in another place, relatively spacious. But I didn’t think about the engine, which was just down there. It did a continuous noise that which prevented me from sleeping, I don’t know how others around me could. Luckily I have a laptop, so I read something, played some chess, watched a couple of movies and so I spent the night. (Thanks to my friend Stefan for giving me various films to use in the dead moments of the trip.)
In the three days on the boat, an almost persistent flat and white sky and washed the colours, making the scenarios less spectacular respect to the other time.
We crossed several areas violently cleared from trees, turned into meadows where cattle, buffaloes and horses graze. For other traits, however, we skirted as long orgy of dense trees of every kind, clinging to high cliffs. The dolphins appeared more often, together with an enormous variety of birds of all kinds, herons, hawks, small, colorful, long and white, etc. …
While the meantime, more and more, a powerful thought conquered me: if this crooked proceeding in a dark forest, to the West … The road to western lands … if it was just a symbol, a metaphor of existence? “Why do we fly precisely in this direction, where all the suns of humanity have hitherto set? Is it possible that people may one day say of us that we also steered westward, hoping to reach India — but that it was our fate to be wrecked on the infinite? Or, my brethren? Or?”
Next time I will tell of Manaus. I was thinking making a tour in the forest from here but, by all accounts, those that are made in Ecuador are much nicer and cost less as well, then, as I go there, is better to wait.
Also, I’ll do a little “cheating” in the sense that I will take a plane to get to Colombia. The fact is that there are not freighters for passengers to Ecuador, the only one passes (maybe) once a month and the travel conditions are terrible. So the only way to reach the Ecuador from here is: Manaus-Tabatinga (a week by boat), Tabatinga-Iquitos, Peru (another week in the boat) Iquitos-Yurimaguas (another week of boat) where finally the road is reached and from there to Ecuador it takes maybe a week, in short, more than a month of travelling!
So, because the flights to Ecuador are very expansive from here, I took one for tomorrow night to Bogotà… keep following me!