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Sunday, 29 January 2012

Leaving the Amazon

We’ve had a couple of cruising days.  The first day has been to travel downriver heading for the open sea.  I can’t really explain how it feels to sit on deck watching the jungle, river boats and Amazon life go by, except that I feel privileged to be able to do so, and very sad that we are leaving.  Maybe we’ll be back. 
We are back in the normal sea day routine, and I’ve decided to use this post to update on little bits and pieces of interesting stuff – just because:

We learnt that one of the main exports from the Amazon area is soya.  Massive cargo ships visit the cities to collect it about twice a month.  In the meantime, the soya, which is produced about 60 miles away from the city, is stored in containers of the type we are used to seeing on trains and ships.  These containers are kept on huge barges which are parked in the middle of the river (which is several miles wide, so why not?), and therefore save space on the dockside.  Ingenious

Brazil is making a serious attempt at protecting it’s wildflife.  If you suspected of killing a man, you can pay the bail and stay out of jail until the trial jury makes a decision.  But, if you are suspected of killing one of their protected species, you go straight to jail, no bail options available. 

In Manaus, at the end of St Sebastion Square, is St Sebastion church. It should have two small towers, one on each side of the main entrance, but it only has one.  It seems that the church was built during the rubber boom and the bricks and design were imported from Europe.  Unfortunately, the ship carrying the left hand tower sank leaving the church looking a little lopsided.

About 40 cruise ships a year visit the Amazon and stop at the big cities like Manaus and Santarem, but places like Alter De Chao and Almeirim very rarely see them.  Us white folks where definitely a novelty.

Tomorrow we arrive at Iles Du Salut..  Brilliant

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