Day 0: It’s the journey that matters

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged about a good adventure! Now that I’ve uploaded my photos from Maurice‘s 40th birthday trip to the Amazon, I’ll post the daily diary entries I wrote while in Brazil the first half of July. But if you want to wait and binge the whole trip at once, come back in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, you could read about my 40th birthday coast-to-coast hike across England on the Wainwright Walk, or my hut-to-hut hikes through New Hampshire’s White Mountains portion of the Appalachian Trail.

[Future Benj says, “It’s all up there now! Also, hover over images with your mouse cursor to read insightful captions. Or on Chrome mobile browser, press down on the photos for the caption to pop up.”]

I woke up to my alarm (which is actually just the fading out of my white noise) at 7:29am. I had been up until midnight at Maurice’s house doing final packing after enjoying dinner and ice cream at Kimball’s, and then a round of pre-birthday ice cream cake, too. But now it was game day! A shower and a banana later, and it was time to order our Lyft. Only $60 from Lancaster to Logan!

Our Lyft driver, Paul, was clearly nervous about driving into Boston. He repeatedly reassured us about how he’d get us there one way or another. It was 8:30am on a Saturday… He was reassuring himself, poor guy. By hook or by crook — or simply by following his smartphone’s map — he delivered us there safely and comfortably. And 3 hours early for boarding.

Luckily we were upgraded on the first leg to Miami. So we spent the extra hours in the Admiral’s Club getting in our final web activities. I posted an out-of-office Facebook and Instagram message for Charitocracy, finished a hair-raising last-minute 24GB data upload for my day job, and drank a fancy coffee.

Admiral Benj
photo credit: Maurice Ribble

Both flights were uneventful, and I watched the last episodes of Mr. Robot season 2. Halfway thru we met Eric in Miami, where he’d flown separately from Wisconsin. I don’t think I’d seen him since the Wainwright Walk (coast to coast across England). But we hugged it out like it had been yesterday. I’ve got a solid adventure crew.

The Journey

Arriving in Manaus, we were met with the shortest passport control line I’ve ever seen. The officer didn’t even open his mouth. Just looked at my visa, stamped my passport, and that was that. The other thing we were met with, unexpectedly, was our tour guide, Erikes, and his partner. We weren’t expecting them to pick us up until the next morning, but they came out late to the airport and saved us a cab ride.

They dropped us at our hotel near midnight, where we sat in the lobby while Maurice gracefully performed damage control on a reservation he accidentally made for two beds instead of three. 45 minutes later, we were in a small room with three strange small beds each with one small pillow. That’s all we needed! White Noise on, though I was informed there would be no white noise on the river. [Insert foreshadowing here.] [Also insert PTSD flashback.] “Alarm” set for 6:29am!