Day 7: Disembarkation in search of more water

Let me just start by saying my day began playing Civilization VI. I bought it for my iPad a few weeks ago when it went temporarily on sale at 60% off. I started a tutorial game last night around 10pm and forced myself to quit at 1am.

Eric lent me his Bose noise-canceling headphones to see if that would make his snoring more tolerable. So at 1am, on a boat in the Amazon, I stopped gaming and put on white noise — of the brown noise variety for those curious. I could only hear the crescendos of his snoring where he’d wake himself up, but the headphones totally took the edge off, and by 1:30am I was out cold.

5:30am came to soon! The boat was awake with dawn’s early light, and sunrise arrived shortly thereafter. I couldn’t resist a few photos, but then tried to eek out another hour of sleep. Then it was breakfast (eggs, goat cheese tapioca blintz things, watermelon, and sweet tea) while we motored one more time back to where we first boarded the boat.

Eric is safe from my smothering again

Good morning, star!

After tipping the boat crew and loading our belongings in a pickup truck and trailer hitched behind, we set off for 6 hours of driving to President Figueiredo, Amazonas’s famous waterfalls.

Bye, Com Te Isaac!
photo credit: Maurice Ribble
Loading up for a long drive
Photo credit: Maurice Ribble

But less than an hour in, our truck lost power, and the engine started knocking badly. Erikes and his father-in-law, who we didn’t realize was in the back of the truck, looked under the hood but didn’t see anything obvious.

Photo credit: Maurice Ribble

We figured it had something to do with the quality of the gas that his father-in-law had just siphoned (by mouth) out of another vehicle. Seemed to me like maybe it had water or something in it? Erikes tried to continue driving it for another 20 minutes. The road was just one big hill after another, and we’d go 5 mph up the hill in lowest gear, then as fast as possible down the other side, trying to build momentum into the next hill. With the painful knocking and backfiring sounds, it was like riding the start of a roller coaster. Click, click, click, click, …… wheeeee!

This would have turned the remaining 5 hours into the next 2 days if we kept at this pace. Another deep consultation under the hood, joined by another boat crew person who apparently had been riding in the trailer the whole time. It was like clowns coming out of a Volkswagen. How many people were riding back there in the luggage trailer?! Among other things, they inspected and cleaned wires leading to the spark plugs, and that seemed to resolve the issue long enough to burn off the rest of the shitty gas and pick back up the pace.

I’ve said it before, but Erikes’ driving, bless his heart, is the only danger we’ve encountered in the Amazon. Other than the vegetation. Every plant here wants you to die and rot away right above its root system. The animals on the other hand are total sweethearts. And the humans are kind, generous, quick to smile, and can I just say unrealistically attractive? Young, old, women, men, in the city or in the woods: Brazil, you are HOT! But damnit, Erikes, it’s okay if we get to the waterfall 30 minutes later… I hope the 130kph in an 80 zone isn’t just to entertain the Americans! 😬

Amazon Mystery Speed Limit Tours
photo credit: Maurice Ribble

Just FYI, we’re at about 2° south of the equator.

2 degrees south

We did survive the trip to the first waterfall/grottos, after swapping the truck and trailer for the little car halfway, and having Brazilian BBQ for lunch. (It’s a lost branding opportunity if you ask me, but they just call it BBQ here.) The caves adjacent to the waterfall were formed when this part of the Amazon was under the ocean. Jurassic Park meets Waterworld is all I can conjure in my head. Which is good because Jurassic Park theme song is already stuck playing on repeat in there. Question: Does Waterworld have a theme song? And, is Waterworld one or two words? Answer: Who cares? [Future Benj: Nobody does, Benj of Yore. Nobody does. But it’s one word, and does have a theme song.]

Show me, the way, to the next, cerveja bar



Big caves

Big men

Big men in waterfall

Moe hates getting wet

Anaconda napping spot

Good times

Tomorrow requires another 5:30am wake up to squeeze in our last day of Amazon Mystery Touring at Presidente Figueiredo. So I better get done blogging and get started gaming!

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