Viking Ocean Cruises - From the Caribbean to the Amazon
January 1 - Belém, Brazil
Weather high 87, low 73 with no precipitation. Map of Belém.
After a two-day sail, we arrived in Belém at 8:30 on New Year's Day. Actually we anchored in the river close to Belém. We met our excursion in the Star Theater where we were assigned group numbers. We walked to the gangplank to our river boat - Tribo Dos Kayapos to start our Life Along the Guamá River tour. We chose seats on the exposed top deck so that we could better see the scenery as we sailed up the Guamá River. This was a mistake because the weather was hot and the sun was beating down upon us. Fortunately we slathered sun screen on our pale exposed flesh.
The ride along the river lasted an hour or so and only became interesting when we began passing colorful houses and buildings built on stilts along the shore with the inhabitants waving to us. Soon our boat slowed down and turned into a narrow tributary with muddy brown water and lush green tropical foliage. We sailed up the tributary until we reached Boa Vista do Acará (I think) where we climbed down a crude gangplank into what appeared to be a visitor center/handicraft store. Really good locally made chocolate candy was handed out as we waited for everyone in our group #3. Once together, our guide lad us through the a very small run-down village onto an open road for a short distance. Then we plunged into the tropical forest for our nature walk. Our guide identified local plant life. This walk was similar to the other two forest walks that we took on previous days. The difference with this one was that there was civilization around us. We came upon families in houses along the trail and we could hear sounds of human life (music and motorcycles) very close to us. Although a lot of what we saw was redundant, it was nice to be outside after two days on the ship.
Our guide lead our way back to the river boat and we set sail for Belém. Instead of taking us to the ship, we were let off on shore at the tender dock. It was now past time for lunch so Ann and I decided to look for somewhere to get snacks. We were pointed to a large warehouse alongside the dock which had been converted for restaurants and shops. We stopped at Cervejaria Amazon Beer where we had some food and some really good beer. We ordered two plates of food that I thought would be small servings. Instead, we had more than enough to eat.
Leaving the warehouse, we ran into the Bensons and Matutes who had just finished a very disappointing excursion. They were supposed to walk through the city's major market and then see the sights of Belém. Because it was New Year's Day and a holiday, the market was almost empty and the major sights were closed. We walked with them to the tender port and cruised back to our ship.