I’m sitting on the back deck of the Navio Santarém, which is swaying gently at port in Belém. We’re on the mosquito coast of Brasil, and the weather is appropriately hot and humid.
An election is scheduled for November 20th, and parties are being thrown everywhere. The port is surrounded by slums. Vultures crowd on rooftops, waiting for tasty garbage to be thrown into the drainage ditch / sewer.
Nevertheless, there is an ongoing party up and down the street. From the ship I can hear music and happy voices.
Our vans have been delayed on the way to Belém (of course) and they’re supposed to be ready for us tomorrow at 11am. Then hopefully we’ll be able to drive south towards smaller (and less intimidating) towns.
When we arrived today, people were swarming over the side and onto the dock even before the ropes had been pulled tight. Families pushed their way onto the dock to greet arriving relatives, and for a while everything was chaos. Then everyone was gone, and the decks were quiet again. The captain has allowed us to stay an extra night on the ship while we wait for the cars, so right now it’s just us and the crew.
The language barrier here is fairly depressing. One of the things I love about travelling is making new friends and having good one-on-one conversations. I can almost manage that in Spanish, but it’s nearly impossible in Portugese. The language is different enough from Spanish to make conversations nearly impossible. If I were to return to Brasil, I would make sure to spend some time learning Portugese first.
As things stand, I want to rush towards Argentina, so that I can talk to people again. I can’t do that, however, as I am supposed to meet Dan in Rio on November 20th. Until then I’ll make a best effort at communications.