Tuesday, 12 August 2008


Ok, so I've finally sorted out a plan regarding this whole Amazon deal.

I've been torn and deliberating for the last couple of days over what to do regarding heading into the jungle with the time I have left. Despite the time constraints, I want to see as much of it as I can (I mean, it's the freakin Amazon!). Initially it looked like the best way to do this would be to go all the way to Manaus - by all reports a big, dirty, expensive, ugly city, but one located deep in the jungle - then sign up for a trek once I was there. This would involve a 7 day trip up the river on a big crazy boat, then trekking with a group of 8 or so other people and a guide in the jungle for about three days. The only problem with this plan was that, as I want to make it to Sao Paulo by the 30th, It would leave me about 7 days to see the entire east coast of Brazil...

Fortunately, chatting to some of the dudes at the cheap little hostel I'm staying at in Belem, I found out something interesting. There is another city in the jungle, just 3 days up the river, called Santarem. This one is much smaller and doesn't have any of the tourist infrastructure of Manaus. I had heard of Santarem, but I hadn't been able to find anyone running treks into the jungle - what I really want to do. However, apparently, it is possible to just pack yourself a bag and go trekking solo for a few days!

Ok. Calm down. This isn't as horrendously stupid as it sounds. What you do is hike to a small village not too far from town, and ask one of the local guys to guide you. He takes you deeper into the jungle to the next village where you can sign up a new guide to do the same. Repeat until adventure! I'm going to have to find out some more information before I'm sure this is a doable thing, but it sounds pretty amazing - trekking through the deep jungle, off all the tourist tracks, just you and someone who lives in the area. Pretty epic no? Certainly it sounds like more than the package tours of Manaus, and an extra 4 or so days on the coast is not to be sniffed at!

Anyway, I'm getting on a boat upriver in about an hour - I went down there and attached my hammock to some pipes earlier this morning - which sounds like a hell of an experience all of its own. I don't know if they have any internet access where I'm off, so if not I'll see you on the other side! (Hopefully entirely un-mauled).

What I'm listening to: The New Pornographers - Adventures in Solitude. (Also Mutiny I Promise You as it is basically distilled happy! Challengers is a chuffing awesome album.)

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