Posted by Emily Block | 2 comments

Cruisin' the Amazon!

You, whose day it is, 
get out your rainbow colors 
and make it beautiful.
-Nekoosa Indian Poem

Hello from the Amazon River!  When I first saw the itinerary for this trip so many months ago, I thought it was a typo when it said we would sail up the Amazon River.  No river I had ever seen could support the passing of a ship!  Turns out, they make rivers a bit different here.  When we first entered the river a few days ago no one would have  even known other than that the water turned from deep blue to chocolate milk brown and the captain made an announcement.  The river is so huge that we couldn't even see either shore the whole first day we were sailing on it!  Now that we are almost to Manaus, we can see the banks but it is still a huge river.  

I've been spending my days in class, resting, eating, or in talks and my evenings hanging out with people or staring out at the river and shore from the deck right outside my room.  I have been seeing some truly remarkable sunsets!  No wildlife to speak of yet other than some bugs that found their way to our ship, but I'm promised much to see once we are on land.  Another strange sight is to see what is floating past our boat in the river.  Since it is the rainy season here, a lot of the vegetation has gotten washed out of the rainforest to bob along in the river.  It's strange to be gazing at the mucky water and suddenly a whole tree taller than a house goes by!
Yesterday three people from the U.S.Embassy came aboard to give talks and lead Q & A sessions.  Even though one of them is a little goofy (and possibly a little too anglocentric) I've learned a lot from them!  So much so that it is a bit to much to process and share, but I will include highlights in the Fun Facts below. 

I am eagerly waiting my adventures in Brazil that will start tomorrow!  I am going to be quite busy with all-day field programs each day (and an extra one at nighttime tomorrow.)  I'm a little worried about the heat and humidity of course, but it really isn't that bad.  I am far irrationally fearful of the bugs!  I learned in global studies about all the heinous bugs and parasites here which freaks me out disproportionately to risk.  I will surely be lathering up with the bug spray!  From what I have learned in the pre-port sessions, I am really looking forward to meeting new people in Brazil and looking for non-bug critters in the rainforest.  Especially the monkeys!  

Fun Facts #3
-As recommended by a biology professor on the ship, "Definitely poop in the rainforest.  Then sit there and wait and you'll have dung beetles come and start rolling your poop away!  It will be neat!"  umm…ok?
-On an ocean voyage, you know you are getting close to shore when you start seeing smaller birds.
-Piranhas don't actually eat you if you swim in the Amazon and a case involving the "penis fish" has never been substantiated.
-Brazil is divided into states 
-A big mac will cost about $10 in Brazil!  (High prices are mostly due to high taxes and difficulty with transportation of goods)
-Brazil is undergoing lots of positive growth including a large and expanding middle class.
-Some federal government workers in Brazil 100% pay as their pension!
-Brazilians are traveling more and more.  When someone from Brazil travels to the U.S. they spend an average of $4000 while they are there.  
-Brazil gets most of the energy it needs from hydropower.  


  1. Thanks for reminding me about the beautiful Amazon.
    And you don't need to poop. Just kill a big bug and there will come the ants to exhaust the rests.

  2. - Just keep going river up on a smaller boat and you will get to Ecuador! :)
    - Use insect repellers
    - Limes or "cals" are extremely refreshing. Fruits in general and cold water would help you stay fresh.
    Glad you are having fun!


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