|My hut, in the middle of the Amazon|
My first and only ever full day in the Amazon started with a nice breakfast – again a buffet style thing with lots of choices. It was good to talk to Bob and Brenda a young Dutch couple, two French guys from Montpellier and a couple of German girls from Saarland. Then we went off to do some piranha fishing - minus the German girls who had already done this. Basically, you put a bit of meat at the end of a hook, throw the line in the water, and wait for the slight pull on the line at which point you lift like mad, hoping to sink the hook into the fish. I got a few bites but never managed to actually catch one. Only the AZ Almaar fan, Bob, actually managed to land one, but the boat driver caught three so our team were not totally disgraced.
We then took the fish to the “rubber man” – some strange guy of mixed race who does this re-enactment of the old rubber producing method. Amazing to think that process was the foundation of the great wealth of Manaus until 600+ seeds were smuggled out (couldn't have been difficult) by an Englishman, Mr Wickam, eventually planted at Kew gardens and then put into plantations in Malaysia/Burma. It was very interesting to see it done, from the sap of the tree to making a rubber ball which, even then was then sent off for processing into things. Of course the item they chose to show the diversity of products was the condom. He showed us a huge condom he’d had made from his rubber on a wooden phallus. Bob did an appropriately Dutch porn guy pose with it and his wife/girlfriend seemed to like it very much!
|The "Rubber Man" Is it just me, or is there a bit of "John Terry" in there?|
|German showing off one of the "Rubber Man's products|
Back for lunch and I’m starting to feel the kg creeping up again. I haven’t weighed myself in over a week, but a quick tactile survey of my abdomen tells me it’s not going to be good news when I do.
|Meat bait for piranas - some bit this off but I couldn't catch any|
|Pirana for lunch|
|Our rivals caught more pirana than us - thankfully so we all had some to eat|
|Another rain storm brewing|
After the heavy rains subsided the last session could begin - another boat trip to another spot close by. It was lovely to cruise down the Amazon but I got frustrated when, as usual, I didn’t spot the monkeys that everyone else seemed to spot. I had my nice new binoculars ready too. Damn! I’m always really bad at spotting wildlife and all I caught a glimpse of was a few tails and vague shapes in the bending branches of the tree. Another disappointment was how many locals were out on the boats at this spot and how many houses and clearings there were. Above the river, you saw the occasional electrical wire suspended from two distant posts – again indicating man’s encroachment. Worst of all, at one point the boat was quietly drifting down what seemed a very isolated spot, with the noisy engine turned off. How peaceful and lovely, until in the distance we heard the unmistakable sound of people shouting their approval at something. Apparently Brazil had just scored in a friendly. Goooooooaaaaaaaaaal a Brasil! Bloody football, you can’t get away from it!
Anyway, so after another tasty dinner I had a couple of beers with Yves and Jonothan, two Oracle developers from Montpellier. You find yourself in bizarre situations, being taught to play Bellot (a French version of trumps) whilst discussing Oracle Forms in the Amazon! After Yves had gone to a lot of trouble to translate the rules for me, my brain kicked in and told me I had to sleep, so I never actually played a round.
So endeth another wonderful day.
So endeth another wonderful day.