Alex Reis de Menezes (firstname.lastname@example.org), an active participant on Horizons Unlimited lives here in Belem and last night I was able to contact him. Alex owns a motorcycle shop here in Belem and had posted on Horizons Unlimited that anyone needing help in Belem should contact him. I sent him an e-mail and by 9:30 P.M., he and his lovely wife were here at the hotel offering their help. We decided that Alex would accompany me to book a riverboat this morning.
At 9:00 A.M., this morning, Alex was here at the hotel and had already contacted a boat office and arranged for us to meet with the captain. With me riding on the back of Alex' Yamaha Tenere 600, we were off to Belem's Terminal Hidraviaria. The captain seemed sure he would have a cabin available, although we are still discussing price. The motorcycle will go in with the other cargo, including some cars. The captain is supposed to come here to the hotel tomorrow to finish our discussion and he expects me to pay him then, with us departing on Wednesday. I am uncomfortable with that!
Later today, I met Edilson Aquiar de Assuncao, a local tourist guide and interpreter and hired him to assist me today in an effort to be ready to depart Wednesday. There were several things I need to do and I needed someone to interpret.
First, we met with the Venezulean Consulate. I had been advised by two riders that I had to get a Venezulean Tourist Card before I showed up at the border crossing expecting to enter Venezuela. Today the Consul assured us that was not the case. He said that a U.S. citizen needed no visa and that the border officials would quickly issue me a tourist card. I hope he is right. After all, I am taking a 1400 KM boat trip and riding through the Amazon another 800 KMs to get to the border. I would hate to be denied entry after all that.
Then we were off to purchase a hammock for the riverboat and rope to help hang the hammock. Yes, I am going to have a cabin, but I want a hammock to sit in during the day. I cannot sit in the cabin all day for six days. Tomorrow, I will purchase other essentials, such as bottled water, sunshield, toilet paper....and I cannot remember what else.
Later this afternoon, Edilson took me for lunch at Estacas Das Docas, a renovated and beautiful area of shops, restaurants and gift shops along the river. Lunch at a great restaurant capped off a good day.
Edilson is a knowledgable and fun guy and if you are going to be in Belem, I recommend his services. He can be reached by phone at (005591) 9111-5956 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
Another nice thing occurred today. I am stayiing at Hotel Unidos, a nice mid priced hotel here in the commercial area of Belem. The owners daughter, Christina, speaks fluent English and has been a help to me. Today I asked her if I could purchase a sheet and towel from their supply here since I am expected to have my own top sheet and towel on the riverboat. Her mother immediately said they would give them to me as a gift. Such great people. If you are spending time in Belem, I recommend Hotel Unidos (0xx91) 3224-0660.
And remember, Alex Reis de Menezes (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a member of the Horizons Unlimited family and can supply your motorcycle needs, including tyres.
Tomorrow, I hope the boat captain shows up here as he promised.