We  flew into Tabatinga Brazil to get to the boat that we were taking up the Amazon, past Colombia and into Peru. See the geographical statistics and the map for more details on Brazil.    The airport terminal was a small one room building and on the run way was an old jet plane. We wanted to take a picture of the terminal with the name on it but were threatened by the military! If there is a military plane on the run way, no pictures, yeah, like this is a national emergency. One of us caused a ruckus while the rest of us took the picture. The Brazilians didn't know what was going on!

 

Click on this link to view some of the photos I took on the trip on the Amazon from Brazil into Peru!

Off to the boat which was waiting for us in Leticia Colombia.  We flagged down a taxi, about 1970 vintage that was small as a Fiat but the driver got three of us plus our luggage into the car without a trunk. My knees were in my face and I was in the front seat. The main road had pot holes that were about 10 inches deep and when the car hit these it hit bottom. It was wet and muddy and everything we saw was rusted. We hit one hole and I tried to stop from hitting the windshield. I put my hands on the dash and pressed my feet on the floor board. I am six foot tall and weight 200 pounds, well that car couldn't take it! My foot went right through the floor board as it was all rusted out and ended up with my foot on the right wheel as it was turning. I didn't know if I should be concerned about being dragged under the car or to worry about damaging the car. The driver just shrugged his shoulders as I prayed we would get to the boat before the car completely fell apart! Finally saw the little town where the boat was, Leticia, Colombia. Very small but inviting. It was market day and fresh fruit, fish, and breads abound. Shopped and then to the boat.

The boat looked like it was out the movie the "African Queen!" We boarded and off we went up the Amazon for further adventures.  Saw the water lilies whose pads were at least ten feet  across, all types of birds, the pink fresh water dolphins which are very rare, lots of iguana but very few other animals as it was the end of the flood stage and some places the river was still three or four miles across. We also saw giant butterflies that were about six to eight inches across and colored the brightest blue! They would land on our guides hand so we had a great time viewing them!  Our guide is a Brazilian wood carver and he had some of his wears on the ship to sell. He carves beautiful mahogany bowls and vases with native designs on them.  I bought one for about $35.00 and felt lucky as it is a unique piece of carving from a native.

We also caught piranha with nasty little teeth that just kept snapping long after they were caught. We also went hunting the native crocodiles called caiman, (small ones about a foot or so long), not the ten footers! We caught these by using the launches in the middle of the night. If you use a flash light, the caiman see the light and freeze in place. You then can reach over and grab them around their bodies close to the back legs and haul them in the boat. This is difficult as they squirm around a lot! Snap - snap! I was hanging over the front of the boat with the caiman in my hands and I started to slide out of the boat. The guide was no help as he had hurt himself while playing soccer the day before. He said, "Man overboard!" I started to yell, "Help me!" Two sisters in their late sixties grabbed my legs and held on. They pulled and I wiggled around until I got back into the boat, still holding that caiman! The men were all in the back of the boat, real brave! The women looked at me and then we all looked at the back of the boat. I'll fix them I said to the women, I threw the caiman into the back of the boat. Since the floor was aluminum, it couldn't get out of the boat. The men all screamed and sat on the edge of the boat with their feel in the air. They didn't want to talk about this episode but their wives sure did!

We also went hiking into the jungle and saw primitive birds that still have vestiges of fingers on their wings. They use them when climbing around in the tree branches. They fly more like a pheasant and we were told it was very rare to see these birds.

The captain said it was the first time in 20 years that there weren't any bugs or mosquitoes on the trip. About 80 degrees and very pleasant.

We then had an adventure along the river banks as we passed a military base in Colombia.  To find out what happened, you must go to the Columbian link where you will read about our experiences on the:

"Danger - Danger" Columbian Border Crossing Incident !

 



Return to the World Travels of Charles Walter Buntjer


  Charles Walter Buntjer


San Francisco California
Created on: 1994       


Updated on: 2015.03.25