Brazil – 2009 – The Cruise

Feb.25 We had a wonderful night at the Carnival Parade and the following day we walked the town and saw the sites, after sleeping in a little. It is amazing how many Italians live in Brazil. Every other restaurant seems to be an Italian one. No complaints here, I love the food. Just the observation of a hungry tourist. So we had some time to wander and then….

The flight to Manaus. It was uneventful which is always a good thing when flying. I met a young woman on the plane who, I think, was a doctor. She was headed north with us to return home and to see her family. We were off to to a new hotel and our cruise after the plane landed in the middle of then jungle. The view beneath us was a green carpet of trees and the unseen beneath them.

Our hotel in Manaus was wonderful. It was trimmed in the fine hard woods that are found in the Amazon forest. The hotel had a recovery hospital for animals found injured in the jungle. The hotel was built in the shape of a wagon wheel with the hallways being the spokes of the wheel and all of the rooms attached to the spokes. The hallways were the longest I had ever seen in any hotel. Maybe I was just tired.

Eventually we walked down to the docks and found our ship. It was a huge river boat, two stories tall and very wide. Portuguese is the language of Brazil, but of course in Rio, more Spanish is spoken due to the tourists who come to visit. Out in Manaus it is Portuguese that is spoken. They are very similar as you probably know, so communication was not difficult.

I asked the woman sanding by our ship who seemed to be in charge, “how many people were going to board?” Let me stop here for a moment and ask all the men out there reading this something. Doesn’t it seem like the women are always in charge? I digress. Anyway, the ship was full when my wife first tried to get tickets a year or more ago. Now this lovely woman tells me in a foreign language that there will be eight people sailing the Amazon on this ship. I know my Spanish is awful, but that awful? I asked here again and she held up eight fingers as I looked at her in disbelief.

This ship which had once been full of all sorts of people including a large contingent of Japanese tourists was now empty, but four eight tourists. I will give you the countries of origin of these adventurers. Two from Chile, good, I speak Spanish. Two from Italy, turns out the husband was French. The husband from Chile spoke some Italian. Perfect. The woman from the Italian couple spoke good English. Perfect. The third couple came from England. They spoke an English foreign to me but, partially understandable under the right circumstances. My father’s Father was an Englishman I believe.

Then there was myself and my wife. I speak English, not well, but it is my native tongue, as does my wife. However my wife can translate English English for me since her father and all of his family are English born. She understands them well since most of them still live there and have never learned our proper style of English speaking. They are stuck with the old English which is quite interesting in it’s, shall we say, silliness.

So, back to the crew and the ship. The gift shop remained closed during the voyage. Several of the staff, sadly, were sent home, and the eight of us had this grand ship to ourselves.

Next, I will tell you about the actual cruise. Hurry? no, not necessary on this cruise of the Amazon.