15.09.2010 40 °C
Hmmmm... where to begin ....
I´ll start right at the beginning. We caught our flight to Leticia on time, and everything went really smoothly! I have to hand it to Aerorepublica! Great airline!
As soon as we got off the plane, I was yet again hit hard by the heat! So hot, and HUMID!! Arrggghhh. This type of climate really is not for me.
We arraived to find them ushering all tourists to one part of the airport. The part where they ripped you off yet again. They charged us a $17 peso departure tax! I was somewhat fuming, as I had no more pesos left after this.
Anyways, once we got our luggage, we went on the search for the DAS office in the airport to get stamped out of Colombia. All very above board, a kindly man showed us the way, and away we went. Obviouldy we got hassled the whole time, but we haeld our heads hight and got a taxi, ignoring the irritant talking AT us.
Then we took a taxi all the way to Tabatinga, just next door to Leticia, but is in Brazil! We made it to our last country! Woohoo. There we had to stop off at the Policia Federal, to get stamped into Brazil, and where we met a very hot police officer. Arms like I have never seen arms before, and a face so pretty, I had to put my sunglasses on to look at it. He was one of those fortunate people who have amazing tanned smmoth skin and luscious green eyes, that contrast with his skin. So beautiful. Anyways drooling asisde, we then headed off to find accommodation for the night.
The plan was to stay in Tabatinga for the night, and then book our cabin and stay on there until the boat left for Manaus, either on the Fri or sat. My guidebook clearly stated that this was fine to do.
We stayed at Hotel Katrina which to say ants in your pants is pretty darn close. The place was covered in mini ants. Not quite sure how we made it out without being eaten alive.
We popped to the Porto Fluvial de tabatinga to find out about our boat. We hopped on our motor taxis (motorbikes) adnd away we went. Alas, my driver was a very porky fellow, so we could not go raging speeds down the road, but I have to say, I love riding on the bike. Was a little highlight for me.
Once there, it was all very confusing. The place it like a big shelter, with no one around, no signs nothing. We then found out that even though the boat was docked, we could not book it until the next morning, and that we could not look at it, to see what to expect. Inevitably, we had to come back the next day, and book 2 extra nights accommodation the very dumpy town of Tabatinga. NOT HAPPY.
The guidebook also lied about boats leaving of Fridays. Not true. So should you ever wish to get this boat, I suggest you either arrive on the Tuesday or the Friday to prebook your ticket, as boats leave only Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Once back at Antsville, we checked out and seeked better accommodation. And better it was. Slightly more expensive, but this time it had the very necessary air con, and a fridge. Oh and a bathroom and lo with a door on it! Yay.
Lets just say that Tabatinga is a dump and leave it at that. You def do not want to be here any longer than necessary .
So eventually Saturday came, and we left our digs to head to the port, where chaos was already in action.
The police were there lining people up into 2 lines, and and had the sniffer dog out. Its kinda of what one would expect the first arrivals of a concentration camp went through. Bullied around, not knowing what was going on. Plus the police had a very Nazi aura about them. One even looked like one, and when he told us to ´open your bags´, he sounded just like Arnie!
The police were quite a mix. There were several very butch looking ladies, strutting there stuff in very action man like poses, with their guns, there was our Nazi friend, another guy who looked like a character from Miami vice in cycling shorts and sunglasses, and another, we can only call mouth. His mouth was a sort of upside down smile while pouting, and he marched up and down the platform holding his big rifle gun. Obviously very proud of his gun, as its all he has….
One the search was done, and doggy found no druggies in our bags (BIG SURPRISE THERE, I WAS SURE I STASHED A QUARTER IN THERE! NOT.) We then had to que again, for more bag searches. Did this ever stop???
One this was done, and might I add, the bag search was rubbish. No one, the whole time thought to check my handbag. Could´ve been anything in there. So off we went thinking the worst was over. Oh how naïve one is.
Fiona was first of all ushered into a room, and then a butch cycling shorted lady grabbed me too, yelling at me o leave my bags! ´MY BAGS´ I kept saying, to no avail. We were suddenly in a room, with several police women (were they woman, still not entirely sure..) and a girl sobbing in the corner! Dread suddenly filled my face. At first thinking they wanted to see my handbag, they shoved that out of the way and pushed me against the wall, face facing the wall, and told me to straddle! After a good fondle up and down , and jiggling all around, she then pushe both fi and I towards the bathroom. Fi thought they wanted to inspect our bras, however I was wearing a flimsy bikini top, so my dread was filling fast.
They lady then told me to drop em ( my panties that is) and my cries of ´NO´ were feeble and useless. Fi then yelled that she would turn around, so as not to look at my mini me, and the whole thing happened. Quick, but all the same incredibly violating! I kept on saying NO NO NO. Pathetic I know, but when your bits are out on show to a butch man woman in cycling shorts holding a gun, what else could I do. The it was fi´s turn and she yelled for them to sut the door (oh yeah, we had an entire auditorium filled audience for this procedure.
Then she/he with the gun started yelling at me that it was necessary, and she kept pointing at the sobbing girl in the corner. It was all so seedy, so awful, I want to forget this experience.
Once out we then headed for the boat, loaded with our bags, we then had to walk a tightrope thin board to get onto the boat, and then wait 30 mins for our cabin. Arrgg, the heat, everything. What a day. I knew there was a reason I was anxious when I woke us this morning.
The boat trip, can only be described as awful. At least our cabin had air con, that’s all I can say. It was filled with smelly sleazy men, all lying in there hammocks, farting away. Oh how glad I was for our cabin. But 3.5 days on a boat is 3 days too long. The food was pretty awful too, which I can vouch for now, as my tummy is really feeling it today.
The boat docked at 12am, and we then got ripped off for a taxi to what can only be described as a sauna of a room. Its like it attracted heat. So no sleep, stinky and as I write this, still in my pj top, we headed out at 6am to find a drink, food, anything. We hobbled across the road to Hotel Juliana, which I will say is cheaper then our sauna, and has aircon… Fi fainted twice, completely banging up her knee, and has felt rotten all day. What a week!!!!
The worst thing is, we want to forget it, knowing it was going to be awful, we both just want to block it out of our minds, but alas, Fi now has the mother of all grazes on her knee, and cançt walk properly. I´m sort of glad we have our flight to Iguacu tomorrow, although, I just don´t know if we are gonna buckle under the stress of it. But here goes, all the same…