Arriving in Belem late on Friday afternoon, the Goose and I covered 367 miles of mostly good road and only intermittent and light rain. I am safely checked into the Hotel Unidos, a nice middle priced hotel here in Belem.
Belem is a port city here on the Amazon and it certainly lives up to the reputation of a port city. Certain parts of the city look unsafe and a local person just told me to not walk outside the hotel at night since it was unsafe to do so. He suggested taking a taxi when I go out, but I have no idea where to go so I will be staying in tonight, which is what I did last night.
The ride Friday covered 367 miles of mostly good road. The weather cooperated, hot, humid and the occasional rain shower. I covered the distance in about seven hours. The countryside was mostly tropical forests until I got within about fifty miles of Belem. At that point it was obvious that the landside had been cleared and suddenly there were a number of beautiful large ranches, with orchards and large herds of cattle.
However, the city of Belem is a busy city, with all sorts of industry as you enter the city. The center of the city is commercial but the docks tend to dominate the city.
The riverboats depart Belem for Manaus on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The docks were closed today due to it being Sunday, but tomorrow I will visit the dock to attempt to book passage. The riverboats carry local passengers, cargo and make numerous stops. Manaus is up river and the trip takes six day and nights. Hot and humid, on a very crowded riverboat. Most passengers sleep in hammocks (which you have to supply) on the decks, but there are cabins available for those willing to incur the expense. I am!
The Amazon is very wide and I read the boats tend to run in the center of the river. It may be impossible to see much wildlife from the boat. Food is available. Simple and the same thing for lunch and dinner each day. Rice, beans and unidentified meat. Toilets are communal and are described as ¨unpleasant¨. Hot, very humid and with many mosquitos. This is hardly a pleasure cruise.
The trip upstream is about 1400 KMs to Manaus. From there I ride through the Amazon for about 800 KMs to Boa Vista where I cross the border into Venezuela. Then another long ride, perhaps 1100 KMs to Caracas. I would like to fly the Goose from Caracas to Panama City but I do not know if that is possible. I have asked a couple of friends to check for me so hopefully I will know something before I leave Belem. At this time, I am hoping for a Wednesday departure.