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Published: July 17th 2009
brazil belem boat and santarem 249
this is what the beach looks like right now
I can't sleep again. And the internet is working a little better than it has been.
We met an artisan here that makes goods for tourists. He trades with the indigenous peoples of the area for animal skeletons, hides, woods, etc. and then he makes stuff out of it. Knife handles and stuff for blow dart guns, keychains, necklaces, etc. He took us to the zoo and fed us lunch at his place. We bought some things from him.
The zoo here is awesome. Dirt roads in the middle of a preserve. Only part of the preserve is the zoo, the rest is... well its preserved, noone goes there. It is owned by a University. We pet a tiny Jaguar, tortured some monkeys with a latex glove (they are afraid of white gloves), saw some monkeys with down syndrome, etc. I think it is really awesome the way this zoo is set up. Most of the area is wild and then small adaptations are made for the zoo portion, but still maintain dirt paths and not super ellaborate nor intrusive on the area.
I already told you about the flooded beach and the new water front
Oh did I mention they have pink river dolphins here? It is one of the few types of freshwater dolphin in the world and is somewhat endangered. The local legends about the boto (the dolphin) state that at night they can turn into men capable of seducing any woman. And they say that if you go swimming at night a boto might get you pregnant, especially when there is a full moon. So there is a joke in the Amazon; when a woman doesn't want to tell someone who the father of her baby is, she will say it was the boto. This dolphin has a thinner snout, is faster, and more manuevarable (due to the super flexible spine they can take ninety degree turns.) than regular dolphins. Not all of them are pink and I read somewhere that the pink area is suspected to be scar tissue because the male dolphins are extremely aggressive with one another. They play in areas where two rivers meet and here in santarem the Tapajos meets the Amazon. It is neat because one side, the amazon, is brown and the other, the Tapajos, is deep blue. They have a lookout tower
here where you can see it really well.
We are leaving this morning for the jungle (FLONA is the name of the jungle and the IBAMA is where we recieved approval to go if anyone was wondering) and will be gone for a week. We come back sometime on Friday and then leave early on Saturday for Manaus by boat. We will be on the boat for two days and I do not know if we will have internet in Manaus, it is very unlikely. From Manaus we fly back to Miami on the 29th. This is likely the last blog entry I will have then until I am back in the United States. I love you all and I hope this blog eased your worries about my traveling and provided some good information about my stay too.
I think when I get back to the United States I want to start a non-profit organization to support Fair Trade and Sustainable Communites by ordering and selling their goods. Then using the excess profits to fund various educational programs in Tampa Bay such as Alternatives to Violence Project Tampa Chapter, Community Tampa Bay, Bring Your Own Knowledge, etc. If
anyone has any advice on how to do this, please let me know. Oscar if you are reading this, I'm lookin at you buddy! We will talk when I get back.
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