Today I booked passage on the riverboat N/M Rondonia, one of the larger riverboats that ply the waters of the Amazon between Belem and Manaus. Some 1400 KMs through the jungle, hot and very humid. However the Rondonia is one of the more modern boats on the river. I am unsure of the size but it is quite large, three decks constructed of steel. There are three classes of accomodations available., sleeping on deck in a hammock, a shared small cabin and private cabins. For security reasons, I booked a private cabin.
I must have the BMW at the docks for loading tomorrow at 10:00 A.M. The Amazon, this close to the Atlantic. actually rises and falls several feet each day. At 10:00 the river will be at the right level to load the bike. Passengers are allowed to board at 4:00 P.M. and the boat sails at 6:00 P.M. The trip is six days (more or less).
There are numerouos quick stops along the river, to off load cargo and to unload and load passengers. The only stop of any length of time is in Santarem, a riverfront city of some 200,000 deep in the jungle. The stop in Santarem is several hours.
The Rondonia was not my first choice of boats but it is the one here now that can transport the Goose. That is the main reason I chose this boat.
Upon arrival in Manaus, I will travel northwest some 800 KMs to Boa Vista, Brazil and then cross the border into Venzuela. I am uncertain of the distance from Boa Vista to Caracas but that is my destination. My goal, my hope, my prayer is that I can ship the bike from Caracas to Panama City, Panama. If not, then I have to develop a new plan. I still expect to return to the U.S. no later than early April. However, the big unknown is my ability to tansport the Goose from Caracas to Panama City.
Today, I met a delightful group of men in the hotel. They spoke English and helped me sort our the issues involving the riverboat. The three actually worked for an organization headquartered in China, Unlimited Resources International. Mineral mining, gold and other types is very strong here in Brazil.
One of the three, David Lucas, trained as an architect, lived for some years n Missouri and easily could have passed for an American but now he is back in Brazil serving as International Marketing Director for |sUnlimited Resources. Of nterest, his son lives in Los Angeles and just returned from a one year Army tour in Iraq. That war seems to effect people far and wide.