Sunday, July 7, 2013

Peru-Brazil 2013 – Day 20 – Second day in the Crystal I and arrival in Manaus

As I said before, the Crystal I is tearing down the river at high speed (30 to 40 km/hour), but it still takes a long time to cover 1,000 km of river. The second day was pretty much the same as the first, and we are ready to reach our destination (hopefully before 6 pm).

The shore really looks flooded now, and one can only guess at the number of esteros that extend behind them. What amazement Francisco de Orellana and his men must have experienced when they explored the river in the mid 1500’s? The river is so “flat” that at times it is hard to decide what is a tributary and what is the main channel, so how did they decide where to make a stop for the night?  

Now and then we pass a village, where the houses appear to be floating. Up in Leticia the community was hard at work planting, cutting boards, or making boats. These folks in contrast are still flooded, and the river does not show a lot of signs that it is going down. I wonder how many days of dry-land will they have to get a crop in.

Manaus is not along the Amazon itself, but tucked in a few kilometers along one of the tributaries. It is easy to see why the site of the city was selected, as it occupies one of the few hilly promontories we have seen, and is thus not subject to flooding. We arrived around 5:30 pm, picked our luggage, and headed on foot for the hotel I had picked through Expedia, only five blocks away from the port. The city reminded me a bit of Lisbon, but it appeared run down and not very clean. The neighborhood of the hotel did not look that attractive, and the hotel proved to be below even my very lax standards. Annie had a look of panic in her face. So we hoofed it another four blocks to the Youth Hostel, but they didn’t have space. We tried a third and finally fourth hotel before we found a room, barely Annie acceptable and quite expensive, but we need a place to spend the night. Tomorrow we will move to Hotel Number 3, where we made a reservation for the next two nights.
We complain about the room, but the first thing we did was turn it into a Chinese laundry, with three different lines of clothes set to dry. Annie made the mistake of skipping one day of laundry and dirty clothes accumulate in a hurry!

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