Monday 24th March 2014
Santa Ines to Belem, Brazil
We were up early for breakfast in the hotel and on the road again at 7:00am for the final leg of the trip to Belem and the Amazon Ferry. It is the rainy season here now and showers are the order of the day, usually sharp and heavy. Because we are now only 2° south of the equator, it is consistently hot and steamy and the land is very green, but surprisingly, not very attractive. We stopped around 11:00am and our driver did an oil change on the truck which took about an hour. Shortly after we set off again, the truck was making a “funny” noise so he pulled off the bitumen to check it out. The front right wheel - don’t forget we drive on the right hand side of the road here – Immediately sank up to the middle of the axle in the dirt on the side of the road and the truck could not be reversed out. They decided that we would have lunch there while they figured out how to extract the truck from the bog. While lunch was being prepared, a huge storm drenched everyone preparing lunch and everything else. In the meantime a truck with a trailer (about 15-20 tonnes) stopped to see if he could help us get out. He tried, but couldn’t quite succeed. Then a tractor came along and finally, after about an hour and a half of attempts, they finally combined to pull the truck out. Amid many cheers from the passengers, we pulled away and headed for Belem. It was very wet by the time we reached the city (about 1½ million people) and the traffic was quite chaotic, so it took us about another hour to reach the hotel. We parked around the corner and carried our bags the final 200m to the hotel. As it was about 8:30pm by this time and the streets outside looked a bit dodgy, we had a light dinner in the hotel and then went to bed at about 11:30pm. So we have finally reached the Amazon River and our trip is one third over. We stay here in Belem for two nights then board the ferry for the five days up the Amazon to Manaus and no doubt more adventures.