Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

The MV Explorer is at speed - 28 knots - detouring towards the coast of SA to rendezvous with a medical helicopter as we have a passenger who requires hospitalization. Another passenger fainted and fell while we were in port, breaking her hip. She is in a hospital in Santarem awaiting her evacuation to the U.S. Just a reminder of the unpleasantries that can occur despite the best of plans, the most wonderful of adventures. As if another reminder is necessary...

I have recovered from the 24/48 hour virus that began to present itself as we were entering the port at Manaus. This virus - probably a Norovirus - is very annoying for a short period of time, thrives on passenger ships, and is very cleansing. While I did spend most of my first day in Brazil in my cabin, the second day's activities did proceed as scheduled, if at a slower pace.

My second day's planned trip, to the Amazon EcoPark (, was wonderful. We traveled by river boat an hour and a half up the Rio Negro, had lunch, played in the natural swimming pools, listened to a lecture, and toured the rainforest. As I did not want to overdo it, instead of the walking tour I found a swing and took a nap. Afterwards I walked down to the dock and hung out with the boat crew.

After a days travel & rest we ported at Santarem. My day was spent first at a forest tour that ended at a village where the locals showed us how they process manioc into flour. Ever had tapioca? They then fed us local fruits and juices. I am becoming very fond of acai.Alter do Chao Then we bussed to the village of Alter do Chao where we swam in the Tapajos River, relaxed on the white sand beach, and later drank Brahma Beer and tourist shopped. That is me lying on the beach in the shade.

So if you were expecting a typical Brazilian photo, just remember who's blog this is. I have more photos coming to my Flickr account as time permits. As Brazil and the Amazon are a bit overwhelming, I am still collecting my thoughts.

The medical helicopter is overhead as I write this, my best wishes to our stricken passenger.

Tomorrow, Trinidad.

And Happy New Year to Y'all.

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