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Thursday, 17 February 2011

Day eighteen, Wednesday 16th February, Parantin

No tours today, just a visit this morning to the little town of Parintin.  It doesn’t have a dock big enough for the ship, so the Boudicca anchored in the middle of the river, and we went ashore by tender.
It was pretty uneventful really. Two lifeboats and two of the local riverboats were used for tenders. The thing with the riverboats is that they are the main means of transport along the river, like buses, trains and articulated lorries. Some trips easily take 6 days in these boats, and when they are used by the locals for transport, the customers bring their own hammock, using them for seating and sleeping in.
But us tourists don’t have hammocks, so the riverboats suddenly produce a load of plastic seats that we would use as garden furniture.  They are not very substantial or secured to the floor which means they slide and around and you don’t feel that safe in them.  One large guy proved they weren’t safe n as much as the chair leg snapped underneath him and he landed on the floor.  Not very dignified, poor bloke.

We had a quick wander around the town which is actually quite nice, and a refreshing change from Manaus.  We visited their cathedral which is pleasantly large and airy, and wandered down one or two of their main streets.  Bikes are the main form of transport:- push bikes, motorbikes and taxi’s in the form of a backwards trike, (Can’t remember what they are called, see picture). The telephone booths put a smile on our faces, (cows!) and we enjoyed a cool drink at a little bar on the edge of the river before returning back to the ship.  A grey dolphin even popped up to say hello whilst we were there.  It was very hot but still very pleasant.
*A quick note about Manaus by the way, we’ve heard about a few muggings there. Two passengers have had gold chains ripped from their necks, and there was an attempt to snatch a camera from another passenger’s hand.  She had the cord wrapped round her wrist so the attempt failed – but other visitors beware!
Now for the real news......  THE SHIP HAS BROKEN DOWN!  We left Parintins at 1pm as scheduled, travelled down river for a couple of miles, and then stopped, because there is a problem with the steering.  The captain has been making regular announcements about the attempts to repair it, but so far, at 7pm, no go.  Maybe they can’t fix it?  The speculation from passengers is going to be so much fun.  I can’t wait to hear it all.
If they managed to fix the problem short time, the Captain is going to have to put his foot down to catch up on lost hours. We have three sea days, (including checking out at Macapa Pilot station tomorrow), before Tobago to do it in.  But this repair seems to be taking so long to fix, who knows what will happen?

Well, they managed to finally fix it and we set sail (Funny term that, setting sail. There are no sails on this ship.) at 8.45 which makes us 7¾ hrs behind schedule.  We’ll have to get the crew to pedal faster and not have any breaks.
PS We are still having difficulty with the phones.  No signal, and when we do get one, there’s a foreign guy keeps repeating the same message.  I think he’s telling me I can’t phone home.
PPS I have no mosquito bites, not one. Poor Peter on the other hand is covered in them!  

Parintins visit 2012

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