Headed to the Sunday Street market after breakfast. I had a little money and needed to use it carefully to buy some gifts for my homies. The market was cool, so many stalls with beautiful local products. I wish I had a lot more money to be able to buy more, although not sure how much would fit in my case. We spent a couple all morning strolling around shopping and taking a few more photographs, then it was lunch time. We found a nice Italian themed restaurant and relaxed with some good food and very welcome cokes. After lunch some of the team grabbed an ice cream before we all headed back to the hotel to relax and shower before the Church service tonight at 6pm.
Quite a ride for the final quarter of the boat journey home. We seemed to stop and start a lot until the captain finally pulled into the side of the river for a few hours. Once we started up again we definitely hit the roughest waves. Instead of the gentle sway our hammocks were being thrown from side to side. Several of us had support poles next to us and were slamming into them repeatedly. I figured out a way to wrap my toes around one to stop from rocking – it worked but not before my left calf had taken a battering. As night turned into morning, most of us were up and drinking our first coffee around 5:30 am. The scenery kept getting a little more industrial the closer to Manaus we got.
Because the boat was moving all through the night, as with the outward bound journey, I couldn’t hear Mark ‘the Olympic gold medalist for snoring’ for the constant hum of the engine, consequently, a good nights sleep! It appears that however noisy – a constant noise works a treat. I woke around 5:30am and after a quick wash grabbed a coffee and sat and relaxed on the deck, watching the rainforest go by. As we were fighting a very strong current, it made sense to hug the riverbank rather than going in the center where it was strongest. This meant that we were almost touching the scenery on left and later right hand side of the boat. After breakfast the day became one of spotting animals and birds waving at the gradually increasing population and generally grabbing some sun.
So, our last day at the Vila Nova. Despite the discomforts, the visit to these wonderful people has been far too short. After the morning routine we split up so that the majority of the team went to the village center to give some more classes and play more games, while the rest headed to the church construction site. I took my camera and went with the latter in the smaller boat with the intention of walking through the village later to the main group, photographing the scenery as I wandered around.
As we approached the construction all the workers were sitting around, the roof was all up and the guys from the US were late for work… as usual! We weren’t a complete waste of time though because we had brought a big pot of pasta, juice and granola bars – gratefully accepted by all. It looked like the building had come to a standstill. They cut and finished all the wood for the building straight from the rainforest (not Lowes!) and so far hadn’t got around to the flooring. So other than raking the earth and bringing up some pews from the existing church hut, ready for this afternoons dedication, there was nothing more we could do. Before I headed over to see what the rest of the team was up to back in the village hall I gave chief Joao my set of heavy duty work gloves (oh yes, I know who to side with, just in case?)