25 October 2023 Amazon River Day 5
In search of a bucket
“Life is a state of continual striving. We have to expend effort to ward off unpleasantness — for example, to prevent pain, assuage thirst, and minimise frustration.
In the absence of our strivings… the unpleasantness comes all too easily, for that is the default.David Benatar
At every stop along the river there are people in large and small boats with buckets bailing out water before setting off or while moving. Unless we strive to stay afloat then we suffer.
We all have different ‘buckets’ that stop us from drowning, stop our life from going under.
Wisdom transforms striving to thriving.’
Buddhist’ mindfulness is always in the service of reducing suffering for ourselves or for others or for both ourselves and others. Mindfulness as awareness is the antidote to ignorance – the antidote to ‘not knowing’ and particularly to ‘not wanting to know’. Mindfulness as recollection or ‘remembering-to-remember’ that there are rubbish bins all over this boat and no-one, Peruvian, Colombian, Brazilian or otherwise should be throwing plastic into the Amazon River.
Breakfast consists of a buttered bread roll, cornbread, polenta cake, dry biscuits, melon and very sweet coffee with or without milk.
As my good friend and travelling companion, John Coghlan (he of Dublin & Belfast fame), would say “it doesn’t get any better than this”.
Before lunch we stop at Santo Antônio do Içá, quite a large settlement for an hour or so. Operations are very organised, with Police checking who and what is going off, and who and what is coming on the boat.
I think that I saw a Pink dolphin, if such an animal exists?
Lunch was an interesting assortment of food. Spaghetti noodles, bean stew, mashed potato, and a good portion of fried chicken. I am not sure if it was OK to do so, but I went back for more potatoes… well, I am Irish.
As I watch the jungle, sandbanks, and occasional wildlife go by, I am starting to appreciate the advantages of slow travel. If I didn’t already have a linked set of flights booked from Manaus, I would seriously consider taking another boat further downriver to Belem.
When I was a young shipping clerk for Liner Shipping Agencies in Leadenhall Street in the City of London, I looked after ships coming from South America, including the Amazon Basin with transhipments to/from Belem, Manaus and even as far as Iquitos. I can vaguely recall a story about one of our Blue Star Line shipping containers being found somewhere in the jungle and no-one knew how it got there. When I was about 21 or thereabouts, I had an interview for the job of Head Office Representative in the Belem office. It was the type of company where it mattered which university you had attended. I never finished A-level studies let alone higher education. I didn’t get the job but I always remember that Belem has an Opera House. Maybe, I will come back one day and go to the opera.
Both myself and my clothes are too ripe even for my liking, so its off to the shower I go with three dirty shirts and a bar of soap. After my laundry duties and ablutions, it is simply too hot and humid, so I decided to ‘go native’ for the rest of the afternoon. That is to leave my shirt off and expose my 66-year old badly neglected body to the elements and the other passengers. However, I think that I could have changed into a buggie smuggling pair of Speedos and no one would have raised an eyebrow… this is Brazil.
Dinner was more of the same, rice, spaghetti, bean stew, chicken and savoury fried mince of some sort… more than adequate. Sweet black coffee was also on offer.
After dinner, I watched as storm clouds formed over the jungle eventuating into a dark lightning filled sky.
The boat stopped at Jutai at 7:40 pm which is almost on time according to the posted schedule. If this is correct, then we should arrive in Manaus the day after tomorrow, Friday, morning. But a contradiction exists in that we were told when we bought tickets that the boat will arrive late on Friday night. Hopefully, there will be some more information on Thursday.
It doesn’t get any better than this.
- Fresh Fruit Juice € 1.50