Saturday, 19 January 2008

Around Brazil – Journey to the Jungle

What a time, what a place, what an experience. With no ayahuasca hangover at all, we stopped for supplies and headed for the dock. The twice weekly big boat to Manaus took an age to load. Uncle Mad had to follow us with his own little rib boat to fool the river police, big boats towing little boats being illegal in Crazy Town. He roared out of the darkness, circled Big Boat like a sheepdog with its flock, threw his rope to the crew, ran up Little Boat and climbed up Big Boat like a monkey to join us at the back. What an entrance.

Not finished with climbing, he decided we should go up to the roof. What a move. A crate of beer, the roof of the boat, a clear night, the jungle going darkly past, what more do you need? How about a full moon? One was rising over the trees, huge and round and yellow. We drank, we talked, we laughed, with journeys down to the toilet becoming more and more precarious. One slip, one stumble meant disappearing with a splash to alert the caimans and piranhas. We´d wanted to bring one of the 5 litre jugs of ayahuasca from the ceremony. Probably a good job we didn´t. Well...



As the moon died, we stopped at the Village of Mud and unloaded, loaded up Little Boat, climbed in, and headed down Wood River spotting caimans on the muddy banks with the spotlight. Turning up a tributary, we headed through the half-submerged trees into areas where the river widened into a lake or narrowed so we had to thread our way between the trunks.


All this as the sky brightened softly in front. The dawn chorus was starting, with huge groups of macaws screeching, flocks of parakeets panicking, and toucans gliding effortlessly into the tree-tops, wings closed. A million more birds, unidentified or unseen, added to the racket, and they do this every dawn of every day in the Amazon. Huge fishing birds fly down the tunnel of trees ahead of the boat, swallows dart, dive and skim the surface as they catch the morning insects. Neon-blue butterflies bigger than your hand dazzle in the first rays of dawn, others crackle like electricity as they dance together, spiralling like smoke towards the sky, and still more covered the floor and our skin, licking salt off the morning sweat. We could enjoy all this in silence.

The silence had started when the engine of Little Boat was turned off as we turned on to the sand of a tiny river beach four hours from Wood River and the Village of Mud, six hours further to Crazy Town but possibly four days, we were a long way from civilisation as we strung our hammocks up between the trees.

This was it. We´d made it. We were deep in the Amazon Jungle.


7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Ricky,
Your blog was recommended to me by Kieran and I've gotta say I'm really electrified by your traveling experiences. Have you got a personal e-mail where I can get in touch?

Regards,
Gabriel Silvestre
Jungle Drums Magazine
www.jungledrums.org

Anonymous said...

Ooops, my e-mail is destination@jungledrums.org

Cheers!

Gabriel

Ray Adkins said...

Ricky,

If your intention is to exagerate, distort and scare foreigners from going to Brazil you might just be sucessfull.
I am an American from New England who lived in Brazil for many years and absolutely everything you describe sounds like an absurd negative distortion of what life in Brazil really is, your adventures in the Amazon sound just like the Disney comics from the 50's and Donald Duck's adventures in Africa...
Your blog about driving in Brazil is a blend of distorted, negatively exagerated, insulting and flat wrong conclusions about Brazil and traffic conditions and driving habits in it's big cities.
I recognize the first traffic picture as being Avenida 23 de Maio at rush hour in Sao Paulo, the picture was taken from an overpass over looking Parque Ibirapuera.
Your second picture of Brazilian traffic is NOT ANYWHERE IN BRAZIL at all, that is somewhere else in the world, perhaps Europe?
What is up with you?
What are you trying to prove?
I recognize you have wonderful and interesting experiences to share!
But why such a negative spin on things? Do you need to feel superior than the folks in Brazil?
You sound like a severe case of inferiority complex, do you think that by putting Brazilians down with your negative dark spin on reality is going to make you feel like a superior and "civilized" european?
Really sad if this is the case!
If you don't undestand the language and have no clue or know little about what is going on around you, take it easy with the absurd conclusions!
You are not the only foreigner in the world to have ever visited exotic Brazil!
Just remember that when your creativity is blowing sparks in your dark little mind...


Take care

Enjoy beautiful Brazil

Ray Adkins

Stijn said...

Helo, I read some of your articles on gringoes.com. I agree with most, gain some insights, and above all, find it to be very, very funny!

Ray Adkins said...

Ricky,


I just read your adventure trying to pay the fee with Immigration officials at Guarulhos Airport and noticed you mention there were NO WESTERN UNION offices at the Airport.
I just wanted to let you know that THERE ARE SEVERAL WESTERN UNION offices INSIDE the Airport.
One on each terminal plus one inside Banco do Brasil.
I only know because I have worked for Western Union for 15 years now and pushed hard for offices in that particular Airport.
Please look them up for future reference.


Cheers

Ray Adkins

Anonymous said...

thx u very much, i learn a lot

Anonymous said...

People throw stones only at trees with fruit on them.......................................................