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Cruising the deepest Amazon

The only luxury aboard was a small bar on the upper deck selling drinks and cookies. Unfortunately I only carried bills of 50$ Reals (about $17) which they were unable to change. In front of the bar two small water slides stood between the chairs, which was odd as there was no pool. Behind the bartender a tv showed Brazilian soaps all day long. One of the crew members wanted to buy my Ray-Ban sunglasses as he’d never seen such a model before. I didn’t dare to tell him that I paid over a hundred dollars for them. The quietest spot aboard was at the bow, beneath the headlight. This light beam was the only navigational system on board and therefore all that prevented us from hitting floating logs, other boats or the shore by night. To save power it only went on as the captain pressed a button in his cabin. A long way from Western Europe and its abundance of GPS systems.

Most of the time on the ferry was spent sleeping and reading, recovering from the exhausting days on the houseboat. Once the Rio Madeira flew into the Amazon River the shore dropped further and further away, in the end literally being several kilometres away. When we finally arrived in Manaus, a city with 1.4 million inhabitants and thousands of kilometres away from anything else, one of the first things I did was taking a taxi to a massive shopping centre to see a movie. After a week of playing Indiana Jones indulging myself in a bit of luxury was very nice indeed.

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