Welcome to the Jungle

Our first stop in the Amazon was Santarem, a city of 300.000 inhabitans on the place where the Amazon meets the Tapajós river and they both form a huge river which looks like a lake when you see it. Our plane landed in Santarém after we managed to go from Sao Louis by local transportation during rush hour to the airport to catch the flight to Santarem. Quiet exhausted we arrived in our hotel after an expensive cab ride, but we had no choice, we arrived at 1am. The hotel room was – I think I can say very simple. To beds, a big one and a small one, two fans and a door. There was no window, no connection to the outer world. The breakfast was nothing special and the price for all together too expensive. We couldn’t believe that we just spend a night in “Hotel Brasil”…

This day we organized everything for the Amazon: cash, toilet paper, mosquito spray, flashlight, hammocks and two boat tickets to Manaus for Monday. After that we went to the bus station for Alter do Chao (Alder Tschau – how we called it). I asked a woman when the bus is supposed to come. She said, that it always passes at 11am, so in 10min. Finally it came after 30min, but 20min later is in Brazil still super okay. We arrived in Alter do Chao, the Caribbean in the Amazon how they say with white beaches and turquoise water at 12:30. The problem was that we did not realize that and the bus was already on the way back to Santarém and I was wondering why we passed the same place again, only on the other side. We already left the village and had to walk 2 KM back with all our luggage.

A cold beer on the way gave us power and motivation and an old man the directions to the hostel in a hard slang Portuguese that I wasn’t sure if he was drunk or if that was the accent. After we reached after another kilometer the hostel – nice little cabins in the forest – we first went to the “beach”. But because of the heavy rain the river had too much water and all the promised nice beaches were gone. We rent a paddle boat and went to the island of love, but all love was with the high tide gone so we just floated in the water because we were too lazy to paddle on that hot humid day…

The next day we started at 8 in the morning to our 2 days tour in the jungle. The guy who organized for us the tour brought us with his boat to a local village one hour from Alter do Chao.

Here we spent unexpectedly a long time because a local guide was first showing us a latex factory in the next village, 3KM walk from the first one. We thought its already the beginning of the jungle trip but after we went all the way back to the first village we asked ourselves why we stand up that early. Obviously they wanted that we buy some of their handmade latex products (no condoms), but we were there for the jungle and not for some souvenirs. After a chicken-rice-noodle lunch and a one hour siesta on a hard small bench we managed to leave the village at 2pm, but what we got was very cool. Our local guide was explaining us all the plants and trees and described what kind of medicine you can made from it. I had to translate everything from his hard understanding Portuguese for my friend Matze and I am not sure if it was always right, but I believed so… The guide was an 18 year old guy who made his first tour alone with us as they told us after the trip. He is 19 and has a 3 years old girl, because he was not that careful after his first time (ouch!). He has to work because if he does not pay the aliments for his child he has to go for a while to prison.

He showed us huge traces of a Jaguar and added that the Jaguar is one of the most dangerous animals in this region and there all several of them. Nice – We are going to sleep in the rain forest, I don’t want to meet that animal at night! Whatever we passed weird plants and animal houses. On bug, which makes a super loud noise has a house like a hard penis so we passed a field with bunches of them and sometimes he had his penis house in the middle of the trail and we felt sorry when we accidently kicked one.

Then we passed huge trees, one tree was so big, that 22 people can hug the tree. Next to this huge tree was our night camp, a roof to but the hammocks under it and a fire place where our guide prepared some very good tasting grilled chicken. Sitting at the camp fire in the middle of the jungle was just an amazing and tranquil moment.

Plus there were no mosquitoes, only a million different animals made their concert only for us. We slept that night in the hammock which was a nice and interesting experience. Once I was waking up, because a huge branch was crashing done right next to our roof. It was raining heavily and we first did not know what this noise was. The guide told us before we went to bed that last time 3 Jaguars appeared t this camp and Matze though that one Jaguar came and kicked his backpack from the table. We were a bit afraid and checked with the flashlight the camp. Nothing appears but for the next minutes the bushes and the leaves made weird noises and it seemed like a Jaguar was walking around our camp. I was happy to stay in my hammock, and once I thought something touched my place to sleep. It was scary. Matze was not that lucky, like always when we went to a tour to the rain forest (last time in Peru) he got diarrhea and had to go to leave his hammock more than 10 times at night like he told me – one of the worst places to have this problems…

It was incredible to see that even in the deep amazon the phone network is working, as our young guy demonstrated from time to time…

The next day we went back to village and saw several Tucans, but all of them too far to catch them on a foto. Monkeys were also hard to spot and the big tarantula was out of his house and didn’t appear. But we saw a smaller one in the house of our guide and his father showed us the skin of a six-meter Anaconda which they killed several years ago.

We left the community and the rain forest in the afternoon. I was happy to be a bit more far away from the Anacondas and Jaguars, but also a bit sad to leave the forest. It’s so amazing to see the fauna growing in so different ways and it was definitely one of the best experiences to sleep in a hammock in the middle of the rain forest after a nice grilled chicken on a smooth camp fire. So I am pretty sure that soon it means again for me: Welcome to the Jungle…

Reisevorbereitung

Mathias Written by:

One Comment

  1. 12. April 2012
    Reply

    The jungle looks a really nice place, and you were lucky that no animals attacked you. The funny thing is the penis-shaped insect’s home. It must have been very funny to kick it hahaha.. Btw, sleeping in a hammock must be wonderful. There are places in Mexico (Tabasco) where people instead of having beds, they have hammocks.. And I’m not kidding.

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