Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Transamazónica Part II

Day 5 (not including 3 day Santarém detour) - Ruropolis to Parque Nacional do Amazónia

Staying in Ruropolis was actually one of our favorite nights along this route. The small town had a nice feel to it; we received a warm welcome from everyone we met, including a kiss on the boob for Jill from the local crazy woman. That night we walked down to the main plaza and got to watch some court soccer while we ate a good burger from a stand (which even took credit cards!). On the way back to the hotel, we saw a group of high school aged kids who set up their own dance in the park. The sense of community reminded us of the midwest a little bit.

The road was in pretty good shape and we got to Itaituba, the next town 145 kms away, pretty quickly.

(that early morning fog was back, which was horrible for visability, but good for keeping the heat away...at least until a little later in the morning)

(Along the entire route, there have been fazendas, or cattle ranches, when there is little else. This stretch was no exception, we were definitely still in cattle county.)

(We had to take another ferry to get into Itaituba. A couple of the boats at port with us were transporting their precious cattle across the river and onto trucks for slaughter.)

(Itaituba did not impress us too much, but it definitely was a large-ish town where you would be able to find anything you need.)

(We only needed the town for some lunch, gas and water, which we were able to get all in one place.)

We knew that the next town, Jacaréacanga, was about 400 kms away, and we didn't really know what to expect. We traveled along the Tapajos River for awhile.

And then we hit signs for the Amazon National Park.

Then the sky got much, much darker

And we got rained on for awhile

Which was the last thing we wanted after seeing how slick the road can get. Luckily for us, after getting some heavy rain it let up some, so the road conditions did not change too much.

By this point, it was getting to be later in the afternoon, and since we were still in the National Park, for the first time on this stretch, there were no fazendas to be found. We were lucky enough to find a pull off where it looked like constuction crews had parked their trucks. It was even off the road several hundred feet and hidden pretty well. So, stealth camping in the Amazon National Park it was. We tried not to worry too much about the huge animal track we saw on the path leading to our camping spot.

And the spot was great, except for the fact that within minutes of getting there and getting our gear off, we were swarmed by what must have been sweat bees, because they loved our gear, especially Mike's. Fortunately, they didn't sting. The stinging was left for these other vicious gnat-like blood suckers that especially liked Jill.

It was pretty darn hot in the tent at first, but the night ended up being pretty nice, with our only distubance being calls from howler monkeys - closer than I have ever heard - that carried on though most of the early morning.

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