We arrived in Leticia expecting to stay one night and board the boat to Manaus the following day. After a five hour walk to the port in the hot sun to buy our tickets
we returned excited to go. The day of departure, two hours before we were to be at the port, we found out we needed Brazilian visas. This seemed stupid; however, three countries make up the large town and one can easily walk from country to country with no formalities. Probably the most exciting thing in Leticia was English flatscreen television and cars equipped with home stereo systems attached to the back which were larger than the car itself and deafening. After four days of boredom and moderately good food, we boarded our boat to Manaus, Brazil. Upon first inspection of our cabin on Itapuranga, we discovered that the beds were designed for children. Lindsay slept exceptionally well for the three nights in the fetal and random yoga positions. The food on the boat was mediocre at best. Breakfast consisted of bread, butter and overly sweetened coffee. Lunch and dinner consisted of meat, rice, noodles, beans and the occasional salad. We survived on beer and hamburgers topped with ham, cheese and egg. This may sound gross but judge us once you´ve been in our shoes. Our ensuite was loaded with mosquitos and quickly became referred to as Bug Auschwitz. We understand that some may not appreciate this title; however, we refused to share our room with a thousand malaria-carrying mosquitos....so we sprayed poisonous bug spray in the bathroom and sealed the door. We took many pictures, read and watched the scenery because our only other form of entertainment was Asian fighting films with Portugese dubbing. There is actually a satellite on the boat they kept adjusting. One interesting scenery change occurs when you come into Manaus where the Amazon and the Rio Negro river join and the water turns from brown to black quite prominently. Grateful to be off the boat, we were desperate to find our hotel and shower. We went to Hotel Dez de Juhlo. We were originally booked for one night, but managed to get a flight out at midnight to Rio de Janeiro. The hotel manager graciously has allowed us to leave our bags in the room and use the shower for half the price of a typical night. More to come from Brazil before we head to Ignaçau Falls and Argentina.
We love and miss you all.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
So after 14 hours of planes, layovers, and time changes, we arrived at one very hot and happy destination. We exchanged the remainder of our money at the airport seeing as Canada and the Miami airport could not offer us enuogh Colombian pesos. Turns out, it is much better to exchange in Colombia as we recieved 1750 pesos for $1. Miami gave us $1605 for $1. Good for us. Our airport pick up was waiting to take us to Hostal Arrecifes, which is outside Cartagena in a fishing village called Boquanilla. The area is a wee bit sketchy and is overpriced because there are not as many tourists. We mostly stayed at the pool in our hotel and slept because we were so tired. Lindsay had forgotten to tell Megan that in some places TP must be put in garbage cans and not down the toilet. Needless to say all questions were answered and the system becomes second nature. We had a dinner of fried fish, fried plantains,rice, and salad for $15 mil. The money system here is somewhat crazy. Mil = thousand, so 50 Mil=50,000pesos =$25.00 USD...get it, we did. It takes time, but you get the gist. We took the bus to Cartagena to meet a brother of one of Lindsay´s restaurant regulars. We forget to get off the bus, so a taxi took us to where we needed to be...don´t judge us. Today we woke up and returned to the walled city and Hotel Casa Tatis, which we highly recommend. It is $20 per person per night and includes breakfast. Very nice place in the Getsamani district and is surrounded by other hotels, hostels, traveleres. We spent the day eating street meat and taking pictures around the old city, which resulted in an afternoon siesta. Again, good for us. We just finished a dinner of tipico...fish, meatballs, 2 beers, rice, beans, french fries, and beets that cost us $10 all in. So far we have remained under budget everyday. Friday we fly to Leticia, a town on the Amazon bason that borders Peru, Colombia, and Brazil. From there we will take a 4 day boat ride into Manaus Brazil, so it is unlikely that you will have an update before then. On a side note, we have been offered special services twice in 5 hours (aka, cocaine). Lindsay told one guy she didn´t want his kind of party and threw away his number. The second guy tried to tell us he had something special, but someone was in front of us...Policia. They are on every street corner...thank God. Needless to say we are having fun and feel safe, but it should be noted that you have to act safe and make smart decisions in this country. You also need to say No gracias...translation, get your dirty drugs away from our clean selves. Over and out...pictures to come