Back in civilization (and wifi!)

20120325-143349.jpgQuite 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.


The rest of the journey was for the tourist in us! First up was a little floating dock where there were a few souvenirs and some fish pens where we could ‘fish’ for some huge captive fish. Not exactly real fishing, but fun never the less.


Next stop was January Lake (not sure why it’s called that?) It was raining as we took a short walk down a long wooden gangplank trail, through some rainforest to a body of water that was covered in giant Lilly pads – very beautiful and also prime for kaman! There was a much larger souvenir shop here and we got to spend a while choosing some gifts to take home. As I’m on a limited budget and also gave to the Pastor back in the village, I need to choose my presents very carefully. I got quite a few things then held off as we were going to a cool street market tomorrow where I can get some more (including a t shirt for myself for two reasons – one, because I would like one, but two, because I’m down to one change of top and two days to go!)

Last thing on the river was for us to all jump in Patricks smaller boat and head into a quiet spot for some Piranha fishing. We all cast our bamboo rods into the water around the boat and waited… And waited… And waited. Lots of biting, but no,one could hook anything. We moved to a couple of different spots then finally Patricia hooked a couple of fish (not Piranhas) then first, my new wonderful friend, Emily followed by Randy caught a couple of the elusive ‘biters’. I was fishing off the back of the boat alongside Randy when he caught his and at one stage I thought he was going to land it in my lap – trust me, you never want an angry Piranha in your lap!


Fishing time up, we headed back to the main boat for the final short trip back to Manaus. We docked in a back part of the port – really nasty, the garbage place for the city I think. As we had a lot less luggage coming back there were less bags to offload, however, it was on a slippery, muddy bank making it very hard alongside the odor of the floating garbage – a real jolt back to civilization after the beauty of the rainforest. As I hiked a case up,the bank I walked right through a fire ant nest. As I stopped to drop the bag off I felt some intense biting on my right foot, looked down to see it covered in the little buggers. Shoes off socks off… Goodbye PF Flyers, I loved you but you weren’t going any further! I’m sure someone else will pick up my old trusties and wear them.


Got to finally meet Lauries husband Wilson, a pilot for her organization and really nice guy. He helped load all the luggage onto a trailer, we hopped into an air conditioned van (aha, AC!), and headed to the Go Inn. Once there we had two things on our mind – wifi and making contact with our loved ones after a week being off the radar, and that first hot shower… Ahh bliss.

Hung around the hotel for a few hours in my case I was busy adding the photos to my posts then uploading, then we all met up in the lobby for our evening meal. We went to another of the fast serving, amazing variety, pizza restaurants. Good fun with a big crowd of people related to our mission. Unfortunately one of the team – Emily was having a pretty bad reaction to her Malaria medication ( it really messes with your insides), so she wasn’t in the mood to eat and was in some discomfort. Laurie and co advised her to stop taking the medication and I’m happy to say she seems much better today.