|07/02/2012||Santarem||Highlights||Hot and humid!|
|08/02/2012||Parintins||History of the Boi Bumba||Gatecrashed festival show|
|09/02/2012||Manaus||Highlights||Hot and humid!|
|10/02/2012||Manaus||River cruise||Dolphins, caymans and sloths|
|15/02/2012||Scarborough||Island explorer||Rush, rush, rush!|
This was an interesting cruise up the majestic Amazon river but I won't be hurrying back there soon! It was hot and humid but the insects weren't troublesome. I took the train up to Gatwick and stayed over at the Ibis Hotel on the south side of the airport. The flight to Bridgetown, Barbados was uneventful. On the first afternoon the lovely Jane Rainger and Dennis Stapleton took the first ballroom dance class and I took the first line dancing one.
At the first port of call, Santarem, I escorted the Highlights tour around the town in the morning. We went to the local museum and a native village. In the afternoon I went back into town to take some photographs.
In Parintins I went on the History of the Boi Bumba Festival tour and then gate crashed the performance itself. We went to both the blue, the red and the combined stadia. At the red one we went backstage to see the props warehouse. The show in the conference centre was truly incredible with music, singing and dancing around the enormous decorated floats!
At the next port, Manaus, I walked around the city in the morning before being an escort on the Highlights tour around the city in the afternoon. In the spectacular opera house I stumbled on a hidden step and smashed my camera lens. Henceforth I had to use my mobile phone camera instead. Manaus is an enormous city with skyscrapers, a thousand kilometers upstream in the middle of the jungle! It has no road connections with the rest of Brazil but thousands of cars. It also has a brand new bridge across the river going nowhere!
On the second day in Manaus I also walked around the city in the morning before being an escort on the River Cruise in the afternoon. We went downstream to the famous Meeting of the Waters where the black, acid Rio Negro meets the brown, alkaline Amazon but the two don't mix for miles! We then headed up a backwater creek into the jungle where we saw a pink river dolphin, a cayman, a sloth and lots of birds. The ship was impounded by the Brazilian authorities over night until, we think, a 'ransom' was paid.
My Bahamas Seaman's Book arrived in Ipswich the day before sailing so Fred. Olsen had to courier it to some passengers in Bury St. Edmunds to bring it out with them. They had already left for the station but thankfully the courier caught up with them on the platform! Unsurprisingly other staff on board did not have Bahamas Seaman's Books and so couldn't work in Brazilian waters. This included both lecturers and so the cruise director Ashley asked me if I could give a talk. Unfortunately I didn't have anything suitable prepared. Two of the musicians in the pop group also couldn't work, so Fourth Dimension didn't play for over a week, making life easier for us! Surprisingly one of the cruise staff didn't have one either and couldn't work too.
The final port of call was Scarborough, Tobago where I went on the all day Island Explorer tour. The guide was hung over and rushed us through the Fort George Museum, the Plantation House and the lunch stop. The driver then sped us back to the ship two hours too early. I nearly had a riot on my hands, but Sandra the tour manager dealt with the situation for me. She also very kindly allocated me with all my first choice tours on this cruise.
On turn around day in Bridgetown, Barbados I went into town in the morning and on to Brighton beach in the afternoon.