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At sea, returning to the mouth of the Amazon

Jan 4 2012


Jan 4 2012

• Dancing with Stars
• Day at Sea – Meeting of Waters Rio Negro
• “Chorus line”

The ship left Manaus about 6 p.m. last night for our return trip up the Amazon. Almost 1000 miles to the mouth of the Amazon. Soon after leaving Manaus, we passed the meeting of the waters of the Rio Negro (a tributary of the Amazon), and the Amazon. Very interesting site as you see the two rivers flowing beside each other. I have so many pictures of it I’m sure I’ll wonder what I was doing!

Today we are traveling down the Amazon. Had sunny skies on the way in and now have cloudy skies on the way out. It is warm, of course. In this part of the Amazon we can see green forests on each side of the river. About lunch time we passed Santarem, the town we stopped in on the way up. Santarem is much smaller than Manaus, having about 300,000 people in the region or 150,000 in the city. The Amazon is brown – like a muddy brown, the Rio Negro is coffee colored. I love the Amazon and can spend a lot of time outside looking at it. We have many lectures, meals and activities going on so it is hard to fund much time to just sit. Maybe when I get older I will come and just sit!

Breakfast inside as the deck is closed to food due to bugs. My usual of hot cereal and lots of fresh watermelon and coffee. Ate with Diane (Eugene) and talked about her visit to someone’s house in Santarem and how she was able to talk people into letting her into the house. Then to Art class for water colors at 9 a.m. Busy day as usual: lecture on Tropical rain Forests and then one on Searching for El Dorado, the mythical city of gold in the Amazon rain forest. Then to a session on the Enrichment voyages, which is what I’m traveling on.

Some time in the sun. Some time on the computer for journal writing. But not much.

At 6 pm we had a cocktail party for some of us that came via Road Scholar. The door prize was 500 internet minutes that would have been such a goldmine! Alas, neither Joan nor I won. The road scholar coordinators are Rui and Helena, both Portuguese residents. Also Alex and Erin who live in Boston and work in the offices at Road Scholar. They are young and fun.

In addition to formal lectures and classes, there is so much going on from Portuguese to Dance Class to Bridge lessons to Poolside trivia to Yoga to Zumba to writing classes and even lectures by fellow tourists. Something for everyone. I go to as many lectures as possible. The lecturers are university professors and very interesting and knowledgeable. Some are even very funny. Joan and I enjoy happy hour too – time to visit with fellow travelers and catch up on the day’s news.

Barbeque ribs on deck 7 tonight and then “Dancing with the Stars”, a dance contest – entertainment by fellow passengers. Too funny. The judges were entertaining. A couple of our friends danced which made it even more fun. Rita Dove (former U.S. Poet Laureate) and her husband were the dance winners and evidently do competitive ballroom dancing.

I’ve met so many interesting people on this trip. The students are fun. The staff Is fun. There are some engaging waiters. Joan and I particularly have enjoyed Rushan, a waiter from Bombay India. He is 24 and on his fourth trip around the world. He travels with Semester at Sea half the year and lives with his parents half the year. He has the cutest smile and giggle – he makes us laugh. Most passengers have interesting travel stories and lives. People from all over the U.S., a few from other countries. One of our fellow passengers from NYC made the observation that we are like the “chorus line”. We all step out at times to tell our story and then move back into the chorus. Everyone has interesting stories and travels. I’m amazed at the people on the ship. Many solo travelers, many quite old. Some are on their second Enrichment voyage, having traveled the Central America/Panama canal route last Christmas and liking it so well they returned this year. Also ran into quite a few travelers who were Semester-at-Sea participants while in college 20 or 30 years ago. I guess that would be Semester-at-Sea alumni. The kids that attend Semester-at-Sea come from colleges all over the U.S. and some international students. They earn a semesters worth of credits and travel around the world on the M.V. Explorer, our ship. “Lifelong Learners” are welcome also and can either just travel or audit classes with the students. The ship holds 800. Crew is about 300. I listened to a lecture on lifelong learners. If I remember, they like to have about 10% of the ship with lifelong learners on the student voyages. The ship often travels to places I would love to visit including South Africa, China, India and Vietnam and Cambodia. Something for the wish list!

I can't remember which day this was but we were to view the meteor shower from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m if interested. Ian Campbell got the lights turned off for a bit for viewing on deck 8. I went for part of it. Saw few meteors but did see the Southern Cross, Crux, a constellation only visible below 25 degrees latitude. Ian has a laser which he used to point out the stars so it was easy to see the Southern Cross. I overheard one person say it was one of the highlights of their trip. It wasn't very important to me but I'm glad I saw it.

Posted by Linda K 08:25 Archived in Brazil

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