23 October 2023 Amazon River Day 3
In search of ‘flow’
“What the mind frequently thinks about and ponders, that will become the inclinations of the mind.”Siddhartha Gautama (the Buddha BEFORE his awakening) talking about neuroplasticity without knowing what it was.
The Buddha didn’t suddenly just “awaken” under the Bodhi tree, some of his insights into the human condition happened BEFORE he even left home “while still young, a black-haired young man endowed with the blessings of youth in the first stage of life.”
“Cells that fire together, wire together”Donald Hebb in his 1949 book The Organization of Behavior
The boat makes a stop somewhere after midnight but I am too tired to look. I wake up before 6 am. Some people are packing up to go. This part of the Amazon borders with Colombia. My new friend, Marina is French but speaks excellent Spanish and a smattering of Portugese, asks one of the crew what time we will get to Santa Rosa. He replies 12 o’clock. Both Marina and I were hoping to formally exist Peru in Santa Rosa and enter Brazil in Tabatinga in time to catch a boat to Manaus. My Yellow Fever vaccination is valid from today to I am allowed to enter Brazil.
Currently, there is another long stop with lots of bags of onions and bags of cement being unloaded alternatively onto adjacent small boats. I have my doubts about getting to Santa Rosa/Tabatinga by midday.
I brush my teeth using toothpaste and mouthwash, I wasn’t going to risk fresh Amazon River water!
I had to have a shave, shower and change of clothes, I couldn’t put it off anymore. The facilities, or lack of them, do not make showering easy but I managed it somehow. The provision of a couple of hooks to hang towels and clothes on would enhance the experience no end.
We arrive in Santa Rosa about 12:30pm but no problem as there isn’t a boat going from Tabatinga to Manaus until tomorrow.
Much to my good fortune, Marina is happy to travel together as far as Manaus where we will part ways. Marina will take another boat to Belem, I have a flight booked to Cartagena, Colombia.
We take a Water Taxi to the other side of Santa Rosa island where the Immigration Office is located. Because the Amazon River is currently so low, there is now a great deal of ground to cover just to get to the road, so we take a Tuktuk.
Marina sees the immigration officer first as she has overstayed her visa and will need to pay a fine.
As I am sitting in the waiting room, a brightly coloured parrot flys past the window.
Once we both have exit from Peru stamps in our passports we head to Tabatinga to get out entry stamps into Brazil. So, another Tuktuk and Water Taxi ride, then a long walk with bags to the Police Immigration Office. We managed to get our stamps at the second office we visited.
There hasn’t been internet access for the last couple of days, so I have not booked a hotel room in advance, and the current internet access is at times 2G. We spot a hotel on Google maps and take another long walk.
Not only am I carrying my backpack and frontpack but also a rucksack with a 2 litre bottle of water and 2 litre bottle of soda, snacks and fruit. It is very hot, and my toes are hurting from walking so far in flipflops. There are buzzard like birds everywhere. I think that they are keeping an hopeful eye on me.
Travel Tip: Travelling with just cabin bag sized backpacks (one large for the overhead locker and one small to go under the seat), I have found packing cubes invaluable both in terms of space and organising clothes.
The hotel only has one room and is quite expensive, so we decide to try our luck elsewhere. After another few hundred metres we find the Hotel Pousada do Brazil. There are two rooms available so we agree to take them. As we pay, we notice a nicer looking hotel opposite (Hotel Pajé), but it is too late to change our minds.
The Hotel Pousada do Brazil is very basic, bed, shower and toilet. There are heavy-duty hooks in the walls if you want to use a hammock instead of the bed. Each room cost the equivalent of € 15 without breakfast. I would not use this hotel again at any price.
We dumped our bags and headed out to find dinner and an ATM. There was a restaurant a hundred metres from the hotel were all the dishes were R$ 15 (€ 3). I had a very tasty Lomo Saltado and a soda.
We went in search of a working ATM but no joy. So, we had Brazilian Ice-cream instead. A very pleasant end to a day that didn’t really have any ‘flow’ but tomorrow is another day.
- Water Taxi from slow boat to Santa Rosa Immigration landing point € 2 (for two people) – same for return
- Tuktuk to Immigration Office € 2 (for two people) – same for return
- Hotel Pousada do Brazil € 15
- Dinner € 7 for two people.
- Brazilian Ice-cream at Acaiamazonas € 3