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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Homeward Bound {Am Trip#19}

10/18/2017 Wednesday

MUCUIM (moo-coo-WEEN). That's the word for chigger and I've learned it well. I used American repellent before going to Mato Grosso. Silly me forgot that the mucuim in Brazil can't read English labels and thought the repellent was steak sauce. Looks like they found it rather tasty! Man, am I itching to get rid of them.

We got up, ate breakfast, saw inside the church and parsonage there in Anori (the current pastor is in Manaus) and started walking with our bags hoping to bump into a mototaxi (as in motorcycle taxi). 

Pr. O stopped to show me an açaí grinder (closed), and bananas. Finally we spotted some mototaxis. One of the drivers thought the boat had already left. Since my plane home leaves in some 12 hours, that made me nervous. 

This Expresso doesn't come up the creek to town. A small put-put boat (like a mini-recreio) goes out into the main river to meet and do a mid-river transfer. The man was wrong about the time and we made it. Even had to wait. Downstream tickets were cheaper than upstream. 

Pr. O said vazante (land uncovered when the river recedes) used to be covered with planted corn, etc. before Lula (beloved, but recently scandalized President who started many free-money social programs). 

This is the nicest boat yet. Two 600hp Scania engines and speeds of 50+km/hour (30+miles/hour). Luggage is limited and overweight charged to keep weight down. Interesting tunnels on the prop outlets and the pilot dash in good condition. Nice lunch on fancy plate - beef, not chicken and real Coke. (Most boats gave water, once got what was either cheap orange soda or detergent for washing engine. Probably soda since they care about the paint on the engine.) Saw part of "Wonder Woman" in Chinese. She had a patch over 1 eye and a parrot on her shoulder (pirate).

Pr. O sat somewhere else and talked to a passenger he knew. He kept talking over top of me and I may have muttered something he may have heard. Or he just may have wanted to talk to his friend. I had already seen this part of this river but I did go out to look until the shade was gone. I used earplugs (because of the noise of the engines). I didn't find any pilots that were interested in talking - even about their boats so I stayed off the front.

Pr. O's daughter was waiting for us when we arrived in Manaus. The mucuim were complaining about their food being smelly, so I took a bath and then re-packed my suitcase and clean hammock (and rope). Ate tambaqui (fish) stew, toured Igreja Batista Regular Israel (the church across the street he started). 

My route, as shown on map, is Manaus, Belém, Fortaleza, Recife, Petrolina, Sobradinho. I have to change seats, change planes, change planes and airline, and get my car that is to be waiting for me after being repaired while travelling. 

At the airport, the wife and daughter disappear. I express concern several times but Pr. O says they'll find us. Eventually they show up with a bag. I'd commented that I had tried several times to buy a souvenir and it hadn't worked out. During this leg of the trip every one kept asking either if I spoke Portuguese or if I shouldn't be in the elderly line. I started thinking I'd have to punch them in the nose just to show them how young I was - or put my teeth in and bite them. 

I said good-bye and headed for security. I passed okay, but the x-rayer got this funny look on her face and started running my bag back and forth until it almost glowed green. She called the guard over and he asked what was in the bag. It was then that I uttered the absolute worst phrase you can ever spew from your lips - "I don't know, someone just handed me the bag while I was in line." I quickly tried to explain that it was bought in the gift shop, but to no avail. They had to see it. Was it a model gun or Indian arrow or Jungle ninja throwing knife???   

No, a thousand times worse IT WAS A WOODEN TOUCA-A-A-A-A-N. . . With 2 holes for pens (available separately at additional cost). Yes, it was the avian suicide bomber known as Toucan Blam, believed to be responsible for ruining the paint on hundreds of freshly washed cars. I left the gift bag open in case someone else should be suspicious, but managed to smuggle it the rest of the way home unmolested.

On the BEL-FOR leg a woman got on and sat beside me. She had several purses and looked kinda lost or nervous. She kept looking around and finally asked for water. We spoke briefly as the plane taxied to the end of the runway. The lights were darkened and as the engines revved-up she pleaded sheepishly, "Can I hold onto your hand."  I gave my best fatherly smile and stuck out the hand on that side. She quickly latched on during the take-off. Firmly. After a couple of minutes she relaxed a bit and settled in for the trip. 

Her name is Viviane and she was on her way to a Life Coaching seminar. Her ex-husband was an airline pilot and she had flown often but never got used to it.  I asked about her bracelets and she asked about the wordless bracelet I had on. One was a rosary and she seemed to be religious. She listened with interest as I explained the Gospel using the colors and even commented. I took it off and offered it to her and she seemed genuinely excited to have it. I asked her to review the meaning and we went over it again. (ED: Remember to pray for her.)

The trip was plane, plane, plane, car, & smile. The mechanic was waiting with the car (and a bill) but the air wasn't working. At this point I didn't care and quickly went home to a smiling wife and a hot lunch.

p.s. On 10/20/2017 I received message from Missionary Jaimeson that he could meet with me now. (See Post #14)

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