Don't Die, I Love You!

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July 4th 2009
Published: July 4th 2009
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So the title is a phrase we have started using alot between me kathryn and our homie Josh. He started it really. Kath as he calls her was going to pet his giant dog Rocky Rambo and he just blurted it out.

We bought some tickets at the train station to Maraba because we were told it is cheaper to get to Belem. And since they couldn't provide a map nor information and since it is difficult to get to the train station to buy tickets, we made an adventurous decision. We bought tickets and talked our friend Josh into coming with (Foda-se!, Foda-se!). Upon arriving at home and reading our travel guide to find out more about this city Maraba that was recommended to us by the train station we found out a really funny thing about it... well I will just give you an excerpt from our book:

... is often described as the worst of all Amazon towns. It's the market centre for the region (Para), and also the place where ranchers, contruction workers, truckers and gold-miners come for entertainment: it has a bad reputation for theft and violent crime, and it's not a place you should (or would want to) hang around any longer than you have to.

Ok. So with that said I have looked into it a little bit and it is probably not quite as bad as they say, but still probably not a place we should hang around (especially considering Kathryn is a blonde haired, blue eyed, sexy woman and a major oddity here). Just be glad we are not taking a bus on this road to santrem and taking a boat instead:


(borrowed from a travel blog I found online)

My intention had been to take a bus to Santarém from Marabá. This bus takes a route of 1177km along a road called the Transamazônica and this road needs a bit of explanation. In the 1970s Brazil´s brutal military dictators, enlightened souls that they were, were simultaneously grappling with two complex and entirely separate problems. Firstly the northeast of the country (thats the bit me and Sarah went to together, minus Rio) had a population surplus and severe unemployment. Secondly the Amazon region was in danger of slipping into the control of unspecified 'foreign powers´ due to
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I think this is an anthill but the guide said something about boas (like the snake)
a lack of population and lack of infrastructure. After lengthy pondering of these parallel statistics someone noticed that if you take the unemployed people from the northeast and set them to work creating infrastructure in Amazonia... Brilliant! And so the idea of the Tranzamazônica road running from east to west in Amazonia was born. As I said, brilliant. Except for the minor flaw (seeminly unnoticed by the generals) that a large section of the road is under water for 6 months of the year. Actually the section of road that i was intending to travel on was not part of the underwater section (and anyway it is the dry season here) but as it is impossible to get from A to B on the Tranzamazônica these days, no-one really bothers to maintain it any more with the result that there are potholes in the road into which an entire bus could fall according to traveller legend (I dont believe this however - its not in the Lonely Planet), which in turn has the result that thebus is not able to go very fast along the road. I had been warned that if you leave Marabá bus station at any time
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a palm tree and a cactus had sex once upon a time and this is their baby
which will leave you near the city on the transamazônica after dark you run a severe risk of the bus being robbed (the word in Portuguese is 'assaltado´ and it really is an assault: several motorbikes appear in front of the bus from which gunmen shoot its front tyres, then a 4x4 pulls up in front of the bus blocking its way, then they take EVERYTHING at gunpoint - you are lucky if they leave your underwear apparently); I had also been warned that the jounrney was likely to be at least 30 hours. Im not sure whether the news that the bus left an hour and a half before sunset at 4pm, or the news that it takes at least 58 hours to get to Santarém was more important, but suddenly it became apparent to me that the Tranzamazônica was not my destiny. I bought a ticket to Belém instead.


On the bright side we bought Executive class train tickets so the crazy train to hell will be very pleasant! we are going to get right off the train (14 hours?) and go straight to the Bus station and buy a ticket to Belem (8 hours?) where we may or may not stay for a couple of days. From Belem were we will catch a boat to Santa Rem (3 days?). In Santa Rem we will be doing some jungle tours and hiking and bird watching and seeing rock paintings and all sorts of cool stuff. We are going to stay in Santa Rem for a little while and live it up. Josh will probably stop here as he has to be back in Sao Luis by the 15th of July for the opening of Hairy Potter. He is a huge fan and a major leader in the creation of the local role playing group. (Don't tell him, but we are going to find his favourite tree in the amazon, since its the only place it grows, and make him a hairy potter wand out of a branch from it.)

alright well I love you all and good night I am going to get some sleep before we do some ultra bad ass traveling into the amazon!

Oh yeah,we went to a free botanical garden today and had a guide walk us around. It is owned and operated by a private
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this tree is being studied for its cancer fighting abilities... specifically cervical cancer
mining company that is one of the largest companies in Brasil: Vale.

We also saw Ice Age 3 in Portuguese and i actually understood a little under a third of it. Its really funny and I recommend it.

Additional photos below
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and mound in the trees... man ants freakin rock! they can do anything!
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I think he said this vine is a pepper plant... like salt and pepper... but we didnt really understand everything he said about it
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don't know but its pretty

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