Published: March 13th 2010March 13th 2010
Alter Do Chao, Brazil
A popular weekend getaway for residents across the river in Santarem
Tuesday, March 2 to Monday, March 8, 2010
Day 1 - We begin our 900 mile from the Atlantic Ocean to the town of Manaus. The current in the Amazon moves so fast that at the shore line the river acts like a vacuum sucking the vegetation and shore line into its flow. Consequently the river is the color of pale chocolate milk and we’ve seen lots of logs and bushes flowing down the river. It is the rainy season here and it is HOT - 90+ degrees with 90+ humidity
Day 2 - Alter do Chao
The village of Alter do Chao enjoys a lovely location amid lush vegetation above the Tapajós River. The small settlement consists of rustic native cottages dotting the fringe of a tropical forest. Thanks to its beautiful sandy beach and the river’s amazingly clear water, Alter do Chao has become a popular local weekend resort to residents of Santarem, a commercial city 33 km away. visited entailed a bit of shopping, a walk through town and a cold beer.
My visit consisted of a bit of shopping at the Arariba Art Store (indigenous art and crafts), a walk through town and
Boca Da Valeria Resident
You can take my picture for $1
a cold beer.
This area is also home to the pink dolphins. We unfortunately did not see them but others did. (Honestly, it’s not a drink….check them out: http://www.dolphins-world.com/Pink_River_Dolphins.html
Day 3 - Boca Da Valeria -
Located at the confluence of the Amazon and Rio da Valeria rivers, Boca da Valeria, translating as "mouth of the Valeria River," is representative of the thousands of tiny, isolated communities within the Amazon basin where basic, almost-primitive "os riberinhos," or "river dwellers," live from the river and the rain forest in a dozen or so wooden houses supported by stilts, their 75 inhabitants frequenting a single school and church and sharing a communal manioc farm and produce field. It can, by any measure, be considered the "real Brazil."
This village has established relations with the cruise ships and plays host to about 15 cruise ships each year. People from neighboring villages arrive to spend the day, sell handicrafts, pose for pictures and offer rides in their boats.
Day 4 - Manaus -
Early morning found us just east of Manaus at The Meeting of the Rivers. The Rio Negro and Solimoes River converge at this, the official start
Costumed in Boca Da Valeria
Residents dressed in costome and opened their homes to visitors
of the Amazon River.. The dark clear water of the Rio Negro and the muddy yellow water of the Solimoes weave together for several miles before they blend together.
This city of 2 ½ million people is the major city serving the Amazon. We stayed on the ship today and watch riverboats load at dock next to us. Supplies and people are transported up and down the river via these boats. We saw a motorcycle, a refrigerator and a wheelchair among the boxes (of who knows what) and crates of fruits & vegetables being loaded.
Day 5 - Parintins, Brazil
Each June, this town of about 50,000 people hosts some 300,000 visitors to the Bio Bumba Festival. Bio Bumba is the folk tale the story of two disputing families. Teams each interrupt the story with elaborate costumes, dance and music. There are Bio Bumba schools, the City has a stadium built specifically for the festival plus there several buildings which service as practice halls during the year and competition sites during the festival. Teams spend an entire year in preparation for the June festival.
The cruise line arranged a private performance for us. A cast
of probably 75 presented a dazzling (and loud) show for us. A great show and in an AIR CONDITIONED building - very important.
Day 6 - Santarem, Brazil
Santarem is about half way between the Atlantic Ocean and Manaus is home to 200,000 people and an export center for the soy beans and other products from the Amazon region. Today’s adventure was a river boat trip to Lake Eco Maica where we fished for piranha. The only catches on my boat were by one of the guides. Fine with me as these mean little fish were NOT happy about being caught.
Day 7 - March 8, 2010
Our Amazon adventure concluded as it began, with a one day journey back to the Atlantic. It’s been quite an experience: we’ve seen beautiful sunsets and jungles, met people who live very differently than we do and learned about the history and challenges faced today as the Brazilians work to find eco friendly and sustainable methods to utilize the natural resources in this region.
There are more photos below