17/08/19 – Day 1
We rushed through our coffee… We need to get there early to ensure a good spot! So there we were, at 12:00pm, 5 hours early for our next epic journey. Except the boat we had been told bout was already gone. Left the previous day at 5pm lol. So we boarded the one there – Henry 4. Due to leave “maybe tomorrow, maybe Monday”. South America never ceases to amaze, and there is never a dull day.
Without a hotel booked and not trusting that this boat wouldn’t also leave with out us, we got on and decided to wait it out on board. It was only us and one other guy. At least we get to chose the best spot in the whole entire ship (we think/hope). So now we wait… We spent the afternoon ringing our friends and family, drinking the entirety of our allotted alcohol and just generally having a good old time together reminiscing about the when we met. It was grand and we fell asleep deeply and easily swaying in the breeze in our hammocks.
18/08/19 – Day 2
Woke up feeling nauseous af. Probably didn’t need the wine as well as the pisco last night. What followed was a slow and uneventful day spent nearly 100% on my phone. Cake for lunch, naps, chaufa for tea, lie downs. I think it must have been the most lazy day of my life to date. There is still no one sharing the upper deck with us, eerie as it’s so huge. The downstairs does seem to be filling up. I wonder what we are missing why everyone is filling up down there first. I guess we will never know. Hope to sleep well tonight with dreams of perhaps leaving the port tomorrow.
19/08/19 – Day 3
So another day has come and gone… and we are still in the port. Ohh noo! There was a bit of excitement when at 5:00pm (our scheduled leaving time) we left the dock, went to the middle of the river. Horayyy! We were finally leaving! We even sent people videos about it haha. But alas, 1 hour later after loading some huge rolls of plastic, we were back right where we began. It’s not all bad, we have plenty of company here on the lower deck (we got moved 1st thing this morning – our old spot is now full of mattresses and a pig now). It’s living up to expectations now, there’s people everywhere and the toilets which were clean enough (save a bit of cat shit) now rival those on the trains in India. Gross. The food is great, we had some AMAZING doughnuts full of caramel tasting stuff for brekkie, juane in a bag for lunch and some delicious chicken (of course) dinner that I don’t remember the name of. All super cheap. All super delicious.
We slept, we ate, we watched youtube, we napped, we had a cuddle, we messaged friends and we repeated. So far so good and I can’t wait to start moving towards the jungle and to get to know some of our neighbours (who don’t seem to know any outer bodily limits as they bump past us in the hammocks constantly!) I have one pair of ear plugs to last the week… wish me luck!
20/08/19 – Day 4
Woke up to a vague sense of disappointment as I looked out the window and saw the familiar sight of huge, dead logs on the shoreline. No, we hadn’t left during the night. No time to be sad though, as it was 8:30am and the breakfast was being served! Goodie I thought, this must be the day if they are starting the meals. Breakfast was a simple but delicious chicken and rice meal which was followed by lounging about, playing crosswords and attempting to nap as the day grew hotter and hotter.
When I awoke I was amazed to see jungle, sand bank and river rolling by. AWESOME! What a view. I just know I am going to enjoy this! Even the toilets were clean! Tom and I, now fresh and reinvigorated headed to the deck for a celebratory beer (only one as they are tiny and expensive from the boat). Still, it was most enjoyable sipping and watching the Amazon roll by. I really felt like we’d made it even though we were nowhere in particular. I can’t wait to get to Iquitos! Although until then, my lazy ass will enjoy this life style.
21/08/19 – Day 5
Had a very special moment today. We west past what must be an extremely remote village living next to the river. Tom raised his hands and waved and towards 3 boys playing on the shore. One in particular waved back. Tom threw up a peace sign. He did it back. Then Tom blew a kiss and the kid did it back. Oh humans, aren’t we all the same!? Such a lovely moment between two strangers who will never meet and never begin to understand each other’s lifestyles, who are so different. All surrounded by the mighty river and beautiful jungle as the boat hums away, bringing us ever closer.
Today has been a blessing. Encouraged by Marbella, our new mate, we scouted out a new place for our hammocks upstairs. After being woken up from 4am – 6am to banging Spanish pop music and Tom having two guests set up bed directly below him… We had to do something. Upstairs is quieter and friendlier. We both have our own window and S-P-A-C-E. It’s improved our moods tremendously. Should’ve done it sooner!
Other than the big move, today has included 3 yummy meals, chatting to sweet strangers, a cool nap, crosswords, music, Lord of the Rings, a preaching to while waiting for the loo, a fake line up for food because a kid banged a spoon on a cup and a few beersies… coz we can. Bring on a good sleep and another day!
22/08/19 – Day 6
Right now I am listening to some extremely loud Peruvian music. It comes from our friends perched at the end of my hammock. I’m enjoying it, but it makes me feel like I’m at a party. A very strange party that is. We have just had tea – chicken and rice and a tiny sliver of cabbage… Well I ate it, Tom is ill in bed. Poor fella, I do feel for him.
The highlight for me today has to have been the sunset. It was epic from my window so I went to the top deck alone to take a moment to enjoy the last of it. Truly beautiful! Other than that it was more of the same I’m afraid. Good to report that I am now over 1/3 of the way through Lord of the Rings which says something about the sorts of days I’m having.
The jungle is getting thicker. It’s stunning, especially when we get close to it and you see mountains raising up behind. I consider myself truly blessed and lucky to be able to visit such a special place.
23/08/19 – Day 7
Woke up at 5am for a very special sunrise with Tom. Although it was overcast, you could see all the pinks, oranges and reds peaking through the clouds. What a sight as we cruised on calm waters with the amazon rainforest either side of us.
Today would have to be categorised as the day of the watermelon. Pretty early on we stopped at a port and everyone rushed to the front of the boat. All came back with watermelons of all shapes and sizes. People were tucking in all day. You would see bunches of watermelons lying around, each with different marks inscribed in the skin to mark ownership. The floor became littered with their seeds.
Tom and I splashed out on some juane for lunch because the boat chef was serving 3x portions of chicken noodle soup for breakfast, lunch and dinner today and we couldn’t face it. I’m now half way through Lord of the Rings and one of my highlights was reading about the battle of Helms Deep/Isenguard while listening to the soundtrack in my headphones. Occasionally looking up to drink in the views of the passing forest. Other highlights include a fresh set of clothes, chilling with Tom in his hammock and of course the sunrise.
24/08/19 – Day 8
Tom was sick again today, and I mean sick sick. I kept having to check on him to make sure he was OK. Sometimes I would find him sleeping with his eyes half open, pale, clammy, restless. Poor man. So I did my best to keep him watered and tried to feed him plenty of treats. I read for probably over 8 hours total today. That’s mental, it’s like a full day of work.
So the day went slowly and with the night came the music. So loud. So repetitive. Oh and did I say LOUD!?!?! After trying and failing to ignore it for a good few hours, I saw they were having a party, perhaps a final night drink? So I thought if you can’t beat em, join em. The worst of Tom’s sickness had passed so we joined them and had a good time until old mate got too drunk and passed out on the plastic coils on the back deck.
That’s when my stomach cramps started. I decided that maybe the barato Iquitos vodka lemon drink wasn’t for me and went to bed. What followed was a night of uncomfortable restless nausea in my hammock punctuated by trips to the bathroom. The only thing that made me chuckle was seeing old mate on the rolls all night. At least some one had put him in the recovery position.
25/08/19 Day 9
I was not better the next day and the morning passed much like the night except now boiling hot and sweaty. It was by the grace of kind strangers and patient Tom that I made the journey from the boat to the hostel after we finally arrived that afternoon. Bless him, I had a face like a smacked ass the whole way. I did smile when we finally reached our room and I got to lie down on a proper bed with proper air con, after a proper shower.
And thus ends my diary of a boat ride. It was intense, boring, magical, horrible, hot, fun, relaxing, long and testing. All that humanity in one room was a lot to deal with. Not sure if I would ever do that again.. but glad I did.