QuickPeek: Boat Ride. Border Crossing.

Amazon Journey Day 12

Yesterday night the boat had a really long stop at a small town called Caballo Cocha. It was a strange one and we had a few hours to get off the boat and walk about. It wasn’t much use as there was nothing to do in that town nor was there anything to eat. We were told it will be another 8 hours on the boat to Santa Rosa, the frontier town of Peru and the boat would start at 10 PM. Alright.

At 4 AM, the boat stopped and there was a bit of ruckus, I got out to take a look and noticed we were parked at a swamp and people were getting ogg on smaller boats. One of the sailors told me that this was Santa Rosa and we all get off here. I figured I wasn’t going anywhere at 4 AM and went back to snooze for a while more.

After 5 AM, the cabin got really warm and I decided to hang out in the cooler air and we were asked by a bunch of boatmen for our business. We decided to wait till sunrise and around 6 ish, we talked with our other mates in hammocks to join in too. All of us had to do the run around at the immigration office and we figured it’d be easy if we all went as a bunch.

So there we were 7 tourists, a bunch of bags, a couple of bikes and all cooped up in a small long boat which was precariously rolling in the small waves in the river. We eventually got to Santa Rosa which was a really small place and waited for the immigration office to open. When they did, we all took turns to get exit stamps of Peru and headed back to the boat.

Across the river were the twin towns of Tabatinga (Brasil) and Leticia (Colombia), we decided to get off at Tabatinga as it was supposedly the cheaper town and also that we’d have to take the boat to Manaus from there. Once off the boat, first thing was that I couldn’t understand anything written, everything was in Portugese. People talked funny too, it sounded familiar, but very different indeed.

Here was the interesting thing about this spot. This place is the confluence of 3 different countries, 2 different languages, a land border and a river border, 3 currencies, 2 time zones and generally a shit load of confusion. I am sure the locals are super used to it and not think twice about anything. But to one visiting, the whole thing felt really complex and a bit wobbly, especially when you consider getting here on a week long boat journey.

Anyway, we picked Brasil and that’s where we went. First thing to do was to finf the immigration office and we asked around and managed to figure out that the place we had to find was Policia Federal and after looping around, we found it. I was expecting a 30 day visa and that’s what I got. It was pretty warm in the day and we decided to look for a place to stay, get in on some wifi and relax a couple of days.

This town was pretty expensive and the place we eventually found was pricy for what it was, but it had a spotty but working wifi and we took it. The place was hard for food too and it took us a long walk about to find something we could actually eat. It’s normal for me to take a week or so in a new country to get used to the systems, but on first glance, Brasil seems to be an expensive place.

Once on wifi, I found out about the horrendous Earthquake in Ecuador and turns out all of my friends in the coast are affected one way or another. Dang! Luckily they are all well and are working on recovering their towns and spaces. Its a massive tragedy and my thoughts and heart goes out to all the people on the coast, especially people I know personally and have touched me and helped me along in my journey.

Track Notes

Expenses: SG$ 20.99
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