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Saturday, November 4, 2017

Leaving Barcelos {AM Trip #12}


Got money from the bank. Money comes in by plane a couple times a week.  Don't know what'll be in Santa Isabel, so figured I better get it while I can.  My leg money pouch works well. I notice it's there but it doesn't really bother me. 

Talked to M and to the hotel wife (D. Fatima). Considered trying Joel again, the New Tribes missionary, but didn't want to put a wet smelly shirt in my suitcase. The hotel allowed me to stay in the room past check-out, but I didn't want to use the air.  Lunched a protein bar and paçoca (dried peanut butter). 

The express boat can be anytime after 11pm, but is more likely to be around 1-2am. Tried to rest for trip but too hot. At 2ish went to print maps for Santa Isabel. Should have done it at home. Thought of it . . . 

Asked D. Fatima if she knew the Assembly of God pastor. She gave me his name and rather circuitous directions to his house. Asked M to send WhatsApp message to Jaimeson, a contact in Santa Isabel, my next stop, who works at Amanajé (Presbyterian missions group). I got the name from Marcio Schmiddle at the Belém conference. Wanted to advise of my coming but shows message as unreceived. Either he's travelling or it's an old number. 

Found the pastor's house.  Pastor Salvador (Assembly of God) is also travelling but son-in-law said only a couple of villas around are  without a "work" (100km radius?).

Went back to Hotel. Ended up with a sweaty shirt anyway. Showered, finished packing, turned in key.  Raining near-by and saw a full rainbow that turned into a double. Long ago I saw a triple near Belém.  

Went to see (Jonas, Junior, Junaiah?) at Loja da Neta in front of church to say bye and offer wordless bracelets. Showed and taught him my evangelistic rope trick. Seemed interested in using it. Slowed for a sandwich but price too high. Churrasco (grilled meat sticks) not ready yet. 

Dock was dark so stood at the door of a vulgar, foul-mouthed (but nice) store/bar owner.  Left bags there to go back for churrasco.  Fish was R$10 chicken was R$7. Didn't ask price of roasting turtle

I just hope it wasn't Donatello. I guess it'd be worse if it was Master Splinter there roasting (you know, the rat). I had chicken (I hope). 

Too many drunks were watching game on TV, so I went to sit on a bench. Drunks are kinda like mosquitoes. Once they start buzzing around they're hard to get rid of. Soon there was 1 fewer drunks at bar and one more at my bench. He babbled for awhile. Talked of a 3 month fire underground last year. He said he was Indian. When I asked which tribe he just blinked. Apparently it's a rare tribe that communicates by eye movements. He also said he was illiterate, a fishing guide, a boat pilot and an airplane pilot. I asked 3 times and even checked Google translate. I guess maybe the Portuguese word for 'pilot' sounds like the Indian word for 'liar'. 

I decided he was sober enough to witness to so I gave him a bracelet and shared the gospel. It took awhile because he kept telling about the fire. I had thought that 3 months was how long the fire burned, but no, it's how long it takes him to tell the story. I eventually told him I needed to talk to M (who kept calling) and he left. 

Finally about 1 am the boat came. It had lost about an hour swapping a prop that busted off all the blades when it hit a sandbar.
The recreios are large, slow boats (mine were 15 - 25 km/h{9-15m/h}, usually with 2, 3 or even 4 decks. In ITA I saw one w/ 5 but it was twin hulled and may be called something else. Some also have a large front area for trucks and I heard them called ferryboat (with a PT pronunciation of the EN word). 


Some are modified as tugs

 to push barges w/ freight


 and fuel.
 (sign says no smoking). 

There are lanchas which are smaller planing craft

 - usually inboards or really big outboards, and 
voadeiras which are the aluminum outboards. 


Today's boat is a different category - Expresso. These are long, narrow, shallow, and light with large engines. The ones I rode were around 25 meters, had 2 engines of 600hp ea. And carried around 100 people in two columns of 3 seats. 

The recreio has a few rooms (with and w/o baths) but mostly space for hammocks. Expresso seats are rigid and pretty miserable at night. Big TV's sometimes run films and they usually have air.  

This night was really cold, noisy, uncomfortable - in short, miserable. I tried to cover with a thicker towel I brought. Some people laid in the floor. I only had one seat mate. He took 2 seats to try to get comfortable saying we would swap off. (I tried that in the truck from Manicoré and ended up the peanut butter in the sandwich.) But a little later he sat up and offered me the middle seat. A little later still he moved somewhere else and told me to take the 3 seats. 

I was not looking forward to 24 hrs of this going back home. Many people call them the Stress instead of the Expresso. Backing up a bit, when I got on and was waiting for the boat to leave, a man came to my seat w/ a cell phone in his hand trying to say my name. I thought he wanted to see my ticket. He laughed and said he was from Santa Isabel and checked his messages when the boat stopped in Barcelos. Just as I got on the message M sent with a picture of me showed up on phone. It was Jaimeson,  the Presbyterian who works with Indians in SI. He said there are several missionaries at the station in SI but right now there is room in the guest house. We talked for awhile then he went back to his seat. 

Did I mention it was a long, miserable night? Just wanted to make sure. (Ed: Actually, as I type this up, this was the only bad part I remember of the whole trip. Well, the hot plane in Santarem, but that was only an hour. I guess that means it was a pretty good trip, eh?)

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