Penguin Island, Antarctica 2008

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

SUNDAY,MARCH 13 - Parintins, The Amazon, Brazil

Today we visit Parintins (Par In Sheen) to see a cut down version of its famous, local Boi Bumba Festival. The real one takes place in late June and pulls in thousands of people from all over the area, but they are going to give a one hour rendition for us. Terry Breen tries to give us an idea of what we will be seeing but admits it is confusing and something you have to see to appreciate. In our experience, this is an apt description of most folkloric type shows. In addition to Terry’s talk, the morning includes Ray's church service and Team Trivia...Dick’s team wins. All this while the Amazon speeds us down stream at a fast pace!
We arrive at Parintins around noon, as scheduled,
and anchor in the fast flowing river.

We have a bite to eat off the buffet and check out the huge, native, river fish the chef bought yesterday morning at the Manaus Fishmarket. They are grilling it for lunch on the open deck

There is only one spot on the town’s floating dock so tendering is slow. On our tender, the coxswain (boat driver) tries to pull ahead, when leaving the ship, and the current, running at an estimated 5 knots, slams the stern of the tender back into the tender platform and side of the ship and pins the tender there. It takes much radio talk, shouted instructions, roaring diesel engines and a exhaust filled tender compartment before we are free and head for shore about 15 minutes later. On the way to shore, the captain gets all the boat drivers listening over the radio while he explains they have to back away from the ship so the current will carry them free...he is a bit pissed!

The river is full of floating debris and the coxswain gingerly picks his way among floating trees, floating grass islands and other stuff. At the dock, the locals slide a stairway down into the tender to facilitate disembarkation. The floating dock is five or six feet above the water level so there is quite a difference between the level of the dock and the tender.

Once ashore, we walk several hundred yards along the floating pier to shore. The area has numerous "Sea Scouts" lining the way and pointing out the breaks in the surface of the pier.
They are in their Scout uniforms and their adult leaders are there, in uniform, also. This is impressive to us as it is the first sign of Scouting we have seen in South America and it indicates a higher level of societal organization, at least for some kids, than we have seen so far. On the way back to the tender, the Scouts are soliciting donations, in a low key manner, and are making quite a haul. We donate 20 real ($13.34) and are happy to do so. Dick gives and receives the Scout salute along with a big smile in both directions.

The venue for the folkloric is indoors and "air conditioned!" Well, maybe it would be if there were only 100 people but it is like a school gym and we have crammed most of the passengers, 600 people, plus all the performers into it. The folkloric is very high energy and loud and it does not take long for the room’s temperature to soar well into the 80's if not the low 90's. The performance is a dance telling a very disjointed folk tale about a farmer who kills the favorite bull of the ranch owner to satisfy his wife’s craving for bull tongue ("Say what?")
and all the things the local shaman (witch doctor),
forest spirits
and the saints of the church
try to do to fix the resulting problem. Actually the real thing is a contest between two dance groups telling their version of the tale, known as the white bulls or the black bulls. By the way, Boi is bull in Portuguese (we think). Today the white bulls (Red Team) are giving us the show. The music bounces off the walls and the dancing is wild.
After 20 minutes or so, Dick has enjoyed all he can stand. He leaves Carolyn and the camera to their own devices and heads outside.

The performance has been going on for 20-25 minutes and Dick has to push his way through passengers still trying to get into the building. The ship sure did not allow enough time for tendering. We wonder if they knew how slow it was going to be or did it just catch them by surprise? Perhaps that is the case since half of the floating pier is blocked from use by debris it has trapped from the river.
We wonder how and when they will clear that mess. Not for another several months when the water level starts to recede.

The show is over after about 45 minutes. People have been bailing out all along but Carolyn stays to the bitter end. As usual, there are handicraft stalls set up on the street outside the show and Carolyn finds a small gift for our stewardess and a pirana pin for Jack. Yea, a Jack pin, finally!

We don’t make the head of the tender line but we are not too far back and don’t have too long a wait. The wait for some passengers is an hour or more.
We are entertained by some dolphins while waiting and Dick gets to see the Amazon Pink Dolphin once. Back on the ship, it is after 5PM and something wet is definitely needed. We head to the bar where Dick gets hold of a "bad beer." While enjoying his drink, he begins to feel ill.

This is bad since we have dinner reservations at Signatures tonight. Fortunately, it does not get too bad and Carolyn’s pharmacy helps keep it under control.

We are treated to another nice sunset tonight.
Fortunatly, by dinner time Dick is feeling better and we enjoy our meal in Signatures. The menu is our favorite by far with a shrimp and avacoda starter, crab soup and lobster and fish entrees. Dick heads to bed after dinner and Carolyn goes to the movie, the newest Harry Potter film.

No comments:

Post a Comment