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Monday, 23 January 2012

Parintins (eventually!)

10.30 am  As usual, I am awake dead early.  I think my body clock is still on English time, so I woke at 5.30am (Brazilian time), which is actually 9.30 in England, and probably about right for me.  I dozed for a while and got up about 7.30, just as the power went off!   The loos are very very dark when there is no light in them!  And the power has been off since.  We’ve had several announcements advising of a “small electrical fault”, and rumours are flying, but so far no sign of electricity.  This means that the ship has had to stop, and anchor here in the middle of the river.
I have to say that the crew have managed really well with us so far.  Breakfast was served, although they couldn’t keep producing toast , but everyone has eatenl.  Tea and coffee has only just run out, (me n Peter are sitting with the last two cups served), and the activities scheduled have been rearranged to suit.
We are supposed to be in Parintins right now, enjoying our Boi Bumba concert.  I will be quite disappointed if we miss it to be honest, but unless they resolve the problem really soon, I think we have lost that one. 
It makes you realise how much the ship relies on electricity.  Obviously we have lost lighting, (I feel really sorry for the people in cabins without portholes,) but the loos won’t flush, the water is only just dribbling out of the taps and of the water dispensers in the lounges have had to stop.  People are generally in good spirits, despite being forced inside by the persistent heavy downpour which was there when we got up, and hasn’t slowed for a minute.
 10.40 am We’ve just had an announcement telling us they’ve worked out what the problem is, and they think it will be about an hour and a half before it is fixed, i.e. by 12-12.30ish. We’ve been told that they are negotiating with the locals to use a couple of large river boats to take us ashore, and hopefully get to our little festival show.  The final part of the announcement also told us we can drink the bottled water in the cabins at no cost.  That raised a cheer throughout the ship, the water costs £2.20 per bottle.  Lunch will be salad n cold stuff, and it’s still raining!
18:45 pm Well what a day we’ve had.  Shortly after the paragraph above, the Boi Bumba tour passengers were asked to meet in the main lounge for 11:15 ish.  Everyone arrived, and we were told that a large riverboat had been organised to come and collect us and take us across to Parintins for the show.  It turned out we were not even half a mile away from our destination!  This made us wonder why the lifeboats hadn’t been used as tenders to take us there earlier?  It turns out that the gangplank walkways need power to be lowered into position.
Se we all sat and waited in the lounge for the riverboat.  We waited a very long time.  I think it was around 12.30 pm by the time it arrived, (still no power by the way) and then getting us loaded, across the water and unloaded at the other side took forever.  The show started immediately the last person was in, which was probably about 2pm
But the show was absolutely brilliant.  I knew it was going to be good because of things I’d heard about it last year.  But I didn’t know it was going to be that good!  Spectacular.  Amazing.  Wonderful.  All words that were being used by our fellow passengers to describe it.  Peter filmed the whole thing. And  extract some stills for this blog.  It really was truly awesome, and something I would recommend to everyone.

It was 3.30 by the time the show had finished and we’d had a look at the craft stalls.  We decided against it staying in Parintins a little bit longer, we’ve been here before, and although it is a delightful town, there isn’t a lot to capture our attention.  So we joined the queue for the riverboat back to the ship.  We found out while waiting in line that there was still no power on board, and that the latest update was that it should be back by 5.30pm.  We were back about 4.30, and noticed just as we arrived that lights were beginning to show in cabins.  Power......  Yippee!   Unfortunately the problem is not completely resolved.  We still don’t have full lighting in the cabin, but we can flush the loo.  (Phew!)  So we had a very late lunch, no coffee yet, but I will find some soon.  As a minor compensation, we are to be given a complimentary glass of champagne at dinner tonight.  As Peter says though, it all adds to the adventure. 
Twilight zone It should be noted that weirdly, the Fred Olsen ship that we were on last year broke down in very nearly the same place.  On that occasion, it happened just as we were leaving Parintins.  Something went wrong with the steering and we ended up going round in circles.  It took the Fred Olsen ship about 7 hours to fix the ship that time.  Spooky or what?  (Peter’s calling the place the Amazon Triangle).
We are due to arrive in Manuas tomorrow afternoon, about 1pm, (perhaps, we left Parintins about 4 hours later than scheduled, which might have a knock on effect).  We are book ed on a city tour which should include the Opera House.  Brilliant.
Afternote  It turned out that the whole thing had been caused by the downpour I mentioned earlier.  It was absolutely bucketing it down when I got up, and stayed that way till about 12 o’clock. Turns out water got through a ventilation duct and onto one of the main circuit boards.  Most of the systems worked, (sort of), until we got Manaus.  But in order to get the lights working properly and other systems back to rights, the whole electrical system has to be rebooted by switching it off and then back on again.  Sounds familiar!

Parintins visit 2011

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