Friday, November 28, 2008


Cuenca really took me by surprise! I had heard many positive things about it but I definately was not prepared for a city of this beauty! And the trip from Guayaquil to Cuenca in itself is worth the trip - the mountain scenery is just amazing. After driving through pure and unspoilt nature for about 2-3 hours suddenly you arrive in a city that can compete with any Italian or Spanish historic city - if not in size then defiantely in beauty. At every corner you will find another church or colonial building, the plazas are full of flowers and trees... and as a contrast to the colonial and typical European architecture you´ll see the indigenas in her colourful skirts with long braids and cute little children with red cheeks on her backs. Many carry their babies and toddlers in a kind of scarf on their back and you´ll only see the little feet dangling out of it - it is very cute! :-)

I am staying with Couchsurfer Patricio in his house really close to the city center. He is from Cuenca originally and knows a lot about the city and the region which is really helpfull as my Footprints South America handbook is a bit disappointing. Unfortunately he had to work today and I am exploring the city alone. But then again Ecuadorians are really friendly and open and I have already some nice people and been invited for a coffee and a chat. People stop you on the street and ask you where you come from, if you enjoy Ecuador, which places you have seen and will visit in the future and they welcome you to their country. Ecuadorians smile a lot and until now I have had the pleasure to meet only pleasant, helpful people - even in the post office, a place usually reserved for unfriendly, bureaucratic staff ;-)

Tomorrow I will continue North to Riobamba to take the Devil´s Nose Train on Sunday morning.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


I arrived from Panam to Guayaquil standby on COPA - this time unfortunately not on an Embraer aircraft but a B737 ,-) My original plan was to stay with Geovanny and his lovely sister but I arrived at 2pm and he had to work until 6pm, at least. Being really, really tired and exhausted from the Murphy trip I therefore decided to go to a hostel to get some rest. In the evening Geovanny picked me up and showed me some typical Ecuadorian food (corviche) and took me to the beautifully restored Las Penas and Malecon 2000.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Murphy`s trip

Murphy's law broadly states that anything that can possibly go wrong, does. Our short trip to Costa Rica turned out to be a prime example for this phenomenon and therefore will make history as the Murphy trip. (Fortunately, Murphy´s law doesn´t say that you can´t have fun while everything goes wrong ;-)!)

We hit the road very early on Friday morning because we had to reach David (the city!) before 2:30pm, as Jose had to get a permission to leave the country (which he had found out only by chance the night before!). Even though it rained heavily we made it to David on time and Jose got his paper. So far everything seemed to be alright and we reached the bordertown of Paso Cano quite relieved and anxious to go to Costa Rica - but here Murphy made his first and maybe best point: we needed a permission to take the car over the border to Costa Rica! This took us about 6 hours! It turned out that David had bought his car before the current data system had been introduced and the data for his car were still in the old system and had not been transferred. The papers had therefore to be filled out manually and the immigration police had to check with Interpol if there were any reports about the car. And everytime we thought it was alright they needed another document, another copy, another set of data... Finally we got the permission and drove over the border to the Costa Rican side and... Funny enough, the Costa Rican immigration officer didn´t want to accent the manual paper and David and Jose had to go back to the Panamanian side, with no success, back to the Costa Rican officer... finally, finally we were allowed to enter the promised land! But - enter Murphy, once again - by now it was already dark and the pass to San Jose was closed. We had to spend the night, not as David suggested in the "Cucaracha Dorada" but the "Hongkong Hotel" in Palmar de Norte.

The next morning we continued out trip over the Cerro de la Muerte which absolutely lived up to its name: still heavy rains, mud slides, fallen trees on the road...

We made it over the Cerro but got lost in San Jose and it took us quite some time to reach our destination, Alajuela. Our host, who had expected us the day before had left to the US and we had to find the house- and dog- and catsitter, David from Georgia, to let us in. Thank God a neighbour helped us to locate David II in an internet cafe. As a little treat to Murphy Nicky got lost on her way back from the internet cafe. The grand finale was definately when Daisy, our hosts little dog, made her business under the living room table when we where out on Sunday.
Anyway, despite Murphy's little treats we had a wonderful time in Costa Rica. It was a pleasure meeting David II and we had lots of laughs, especially on Sunday night when we went to the karakoke night at the local pub.

The way back to Panama was rainy and foggy but we made it over the border without further problems. Nicky left us in Penonome to take the bus to Panama and we went home to El Valle where I spend my last night in David´s beautiful house. Despite the rain and Murphy I had a fantastic time with David and his friends. Thanks for everything, David!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Oh wie schoen ist Panama :-)

After a great breakfast on the Sunday market in Manaus Eric and Silvio took me to the airport. Even though we had only met a couple of days before it was really sad to say goodbye - we've had so much fun mixing languages, singing a Portuguese version of Jingle bells and many Edith Piaf songs in the car. Thank you so much, merci beaucoup! :-)

I had a stand-by ticket on COPA and thank God the flight was only half full and I got a seat right away. Contacting my couchsurfing host, Daniel, was not that easy. I had no coins and the machine selling phone cards was broken. I finally decided to call him via a credit card phone but I only got his voice message. It was already past 9pm and I had neither a guide book on Panama nor the number or address of a hostel. Just when I was starting to worry a bit some ladies gave me some coins, I tried to call him again ' and this time I was lucky. He gave me the directions to his appartment and I made it there without further problems. Daniels girlfriend from Germany came over and we watched 'The Devil wears Prada' together.

On Monday morning Daniel had to work but he managed to take some time off and take me to the Canal museum at Miraflores Locks. On Monday afternoon I met with David, my couchsurfing for the next 4 days and we drove to the beautiful green little city of El Valle de Anton.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Museu do Seringueiro

Me, Igor, Silvio and Eric in a 'seringueiro' hut.

On Sunday Eric suggested to visit the Museu do Seringal Vila ParaĆ­so, a 25 min. boat ride from Ponta Negra and Silvio and Igor joined us. The museum is a re-creation of a rubber plantation from the early 1900s. The reconstructed buildings - the luxurious mansion of the rubber baron, a little store, a church, a rubber tappers shack and a tent like smoke house where the latex where processed - were based on detailed descriptions and maps that were written and drawn by a Portugese author who lived on the plantation while it was operating.

We were the only visitors and our guide Judith who was very enthusiastic as well about the process of rubber production as about the social conditions of this industry gave us a very good insight on what life had been like for the seringueiros (the rubber tappers) and the seringalista (the rubber baron).

At first we visited the luxurious house of the rubber baron - decorated with finest European furniture and materials . Judith pointed out the crystal beer bottles imported from Germany and the crates of French champagne. She also explained to us that the clothes, of European origin, of course, were sent back to Europe for cleaning. A costly and timely procedure - but affordable for the rubber barons who lit their Cuban cigars with dollar bills, as she told us. Even though they lived deep in the Amazon forest, the rubber barons enjoyed a luxurious and decadent lifestyle, letting them forget the hot and humid climate.

The life of the seringueiros, the rubber tappers, on the contrary was very cruel. Even though they were free in theory, they lived as slaves. They had to exchange the rubber they produced for food and tools in the little shop owned by the seringalista. They scarcely would accumulate enough money to travel back to their families and if they did so they were likely to be assaulted and killed on the way.

The work day of the seringueiros began at 2:00am when, wearing a kind of hat with a oil lantern, they started cutting the tree
s and hanging a little tin under each cut. They would tap up to 150 trees each day. After cutting all the trees they would collect the liquid rubber milk from the little tins and fill it in one big bucket. They had to collect the rubber milk before sun came up as the heat would make the milk go solid. After collecting the rubber milk the seringueiro would light a smoking fire in the so called smoke house and pour the liquid rubber milk over the smoke on a wooden stick. The smoke would make the rubber solid and also cause the typical dark grey colour.

Judith showed us the whole process and pointed out the many difficulties and dangers involved. She was so passionate about it, especially about the living conditions of the seringueiros and answered all our questions.

We really enjoyed the visit, especially as the museum is not a typical dusty place full of boring artefacts but a place where you can touch, feel and smell the history of rubber, which actually was the base of the founding of the city of Manaus!

After visiting the rubber museum we stopped for a swim at Playa da Lua, the Moon beach, and later visited the Hotel Tropicana, where the guys had a swim in the pool and I watched the beautiful sundown over the Amazon river.

We rounded up the day with some Acai and Guarana and a German Apfelstrudel in the posh Fran's Cafe. A perfect day!

Manaus - Adventures in the Amazon

The last days in Brazil were really adventurous... On Wednesday morning Matthias and I tried to get a ride back to Manaus. But after about 1-2 hours at the gas station where most truckers stop for breakfast and about half an hour on the street we gave up and decided to take the bus on the same evening. At the bus station we met - by chance - Robert and Christian, two German guys that Matthias had met some weeks before in Ciudad Bolivar, Venezuela. As we arrived in Manaus very early the next morning and I didn`t want to wake up my Couchsurfing host, Igor but neither wanted to wait much longer at the bus station, I decided to share a hostel room with the two of them. A tourist guide at the bus station tried to talk us into going to a certain hostel and to get rid of him, we said that if the hostel we wanted to stay at was full we would go to his place. He organized a taxi for us and we went to the first hostel. Whe we arrived there, there was a guy standing in front of the building saying that the hostel was full but that they usually worked together with the hostel the guy from the bus station had named and we should go there. He also told us that he was a tour guide and could sell us boat tickets, jungle tours whatever. We were all pretty tired and didn`t pay too much attention. But after breakfast it dawned on us that the guy from the bus station probably had called the other guy to tell him that we were going to the other hostel and that he should tell us that us was full and take us to his hostel. Many people later confirmed us that the tourism industry in Manaus really is some kind of mafia. We then took our stuff and moved to another hotel wich was not much better but we wanted to get rid of this mafiosi tour guide. But... the real trouble had not even started!

First we took off with a tourist guide to check out the boats going to Porto Velho. Robert and Christian where trying to go to Bolivia from there and I was thinking that maybe I could take the boat trip with them and then fly back to catch my flight to Panama. Unfortunately the boat leaving Manaus to Porto Velho on Friday was a wreck. The huge cockroaches were playing hide and seek on the deck while we were checking out the cabins. None of us felt like spending 3 days on a boat like this. As they were not sure what to do now we went to the city center and Christian and the guide took off to change some US$ into Brazilian Reals. They didn`t come back for a long time and when they did they told us that all the dollars that Christian and Robert had - about 500 - where forfeited. They had tried to change them into Bolivar in Venezuela and in the process some criminals had changed their real dollars into forfeited ones. Robert seemed pretty pissed off but Christian didn`t care much and agreed to give half of the money to some guy, an acquaintance of our guide, if he managed to change the forfeited bills. We sat down in a kind of restaurant and the guy wne off to try his luck. He was successful with one 100$ bill and Christian decided to stay as long as necessary to change all bills. Robert and I left and decided to check out the film festival in the Theatro Amazonia. We actually thought that we had no chance to get in but then we got in for free, found a free balcony in the amazing theater and enjoyed a wonderful documentary about the pink flamengos on Lake Natron, Namibia. And we met Eric, from Switzerland, and his Brazilian boyfriend, Silvio who invited us for dinner the other day. Eric who knows Manaus quite well also invited us to show us around the next day and we agreed to meet at 10am.
Unfortunately this plan didn`t work out... While we were enjoying the Film Festival at the amazing Theatro Amazonia Chris had gone with the guide and the guy who changed his forfeited 100$ bill to some dodgy part of the town and had gotten into a fight or discussion with the guide. So in the morning Robert got kind of scared because of the forfeited money and the guide knowing all about it and knowing where we stayed so we had to check-out of the hotel. The athmosphere got really tense and I decided to leave. I wanted to meet up with my Couchsurfing friend Igor anyway and - the perfect host he is - of course he took me in. In the afternoon I met up with Eric and Silvio and enjoyed a wonderful Swiss dinner with view from their appartment all over the city, the cathedral and the Rio Negro!
Me and my Couchsurfing host in Manaus, Igor:

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Serra do Tepequem

On Monday Arlisson and Lice's friend Cleo (she is on Couchsurfing, too) took us to the beautifull Serra do Tepequem, an area of mountains, rivers and waterfalls, that has been famous for its diamonds. Many streams and waterfalls have been altered by dynamite explosions during the hightide of diamond digging. Nowadays it is prohibited to dig for diamonds but there are still some 'garimpeiros', diggers, in the area - digging in secret and with less machinery.
Cleo knows the area really well and she organized a local guide, a garimpeiro, of course, and a wonderfull lunch for us.
We visited two waterfalls (its not that easy to climb down there with thongs!), went swimming and tried to find some diamonds. Especially Arlisson was quite motivated to start digging. Unfortunately we didn't find anything. Our guide spottet a very rare yellow frog, but when he tried to take a picture the battery gave up ;-)
On the way back Arlisson let Matthias drive and we had a lot of fun teaching him and Cleo "Achtung Bruecke, Matthias, bremsen!" ('Attention, bridge ahead, slow down') in German. Be it a natural talent for the German language or pure fear but soon they where doing really well ;-)
In the evening we had pizza with Lice's friends and family and it was really sad to think about leaving the next day. I had stayed one night with this wonderfull family when going to Guyana and had enjoyed their company so much that I left Guyana earlier then planned to spend the weekend with them. And then I stayed on untill Wednesday ;-) So many people back home where shoecked when I told them about my plans to Couchsurf in South America (I would be robbed, raped, murdered etc.) - I wish they could stay one night with these great people and see what Brazilian hospitality is like! Our hosts trusted us with their house, their car, their belongings... they prepared breakfast, lunch and dinner for us... they invited us to meet their friends... they did everything to make us feel at home and get to know their country. I can't thank them enough and look forward to 'paying it forward' the next time I host back home!

Boa Vista, Roraima

Its really a pity that the state of Roraima is not very well known as a touristic destination. There is so much to do and compared to other Brazilian cities Boa Vista is very safe, clean and easy to get around.
The Rio Branco is nice for swimming, kayaking or fishing and only a couple of km out of town you can already see amazing wildlife, such as river dolphins or araras.
I can't thank my Couchsurfing hosts, Lice and Arlisson and their friends, enough for showing me the beauty of their state! I will definately be back soon - with more time!

Caracarai - gone fishing!

On the weekend Lice took Matthias and me to Caracarai, where her friends, Tia Maria and Tio Leo have a small weekend house right on the Rio Branco. They picked us as well as a lot of food and drinking water up at a little port and off we went to spend the weekend fishing, swimming and relaxing. They called their place "Sitio Terapia" and it definately is a therapy to stay there. We went fishing in the morning (even I caught some!), had fresh fish for lunch and dinner and slept in hammocks right next to the river.
An indio couple from Guyana are living on the site and are looking after the place when Tia Maria and Tio Leo are not there. Their little daughter Alessandra kept us all entertained - she already knows how to fish, she eats fried fish with head and spines and beats the dog up if he doesn't behave. She was a bit shy at first but then fell in love with Luciano - and the cameras. She always tried to steal them from us to look at the pictures we took from her ;-)

Back in Boa Vista

After a very long and rough bus ride from Georgetown to Lethem at the Brazilian border ( 1 flat tyre at 4am in the middle of the jungle, 2 blocked bridges...) I took a cab back to Boa Vista. I shared it with three garimpeiros (gold or diamant diggers) and they had a lot of fun when at immigration the officer not only gave me a visa but also his private email address :-)

In the afternoon I finally arrived back in Boa Vista - tired, sweaty and very dusty, but my CouchSurfing hosts, Lice, her brother Arlisson and her son Luciano made everything to made me feel welcome and regain my energy. Later in the afternoon another German Couchsurfer, Matthias, arrived from Venezuela and it was time to share travel stories and experiences.
Lice and her family live in a pretty big house and it seems it is the main meeting point for friends and family. There are always many people around, food on the table... its definately the best place for a Couchsurfer! They are also very proud of their beautifull state, Roraima - unfortunately untill now pretty neglected by travellers - and are very enthusiastic about showing their guests around.

Kaieteur National Park

Actually I don't know what to write about Kaieteur - it is so stunningly beautifull, it took my breath away when we first flew over it and it still does when I think of it. It's not the sheer heigh of the waterfall (226m!) but the whole atmosphere of the place.
Our guide, a nice and handsome Amerindian from the local tribe, the Patamona, (in Guyana they call the indigenous people Amerindians to differenciate them from the East Indians, as there are a lot of Guyanese with East Indian background) told us the legend of the Kaieteur falls, or Kaieteur acually, as Kaieteur in the local language means 'Kai falls'. According to the Patamona legend, Kaieteur was named for Kai, a chief, or 'toshao' who acted to save his people by paddling over the falls in an act of self-sacrifice to Makonaima , the great spirit. And, according to the guide, since then peace has reigned in the Patamona region.
Somehow the legend fits in really well with the place as it has a kind of enchanted athmosphere where you wouldn't be surprised to see Kai paddling down the river or seeing his ghost haunt the woods around the falls.
Our plane was a 9-seater islander aircraft (as far as I know?). At first it was a bit scary as compared to all the other aircraft I have flown in before it looked a bit old and rusty and was also quite loud and shaky. But once you got used to it it was really great as it climbed slowly and flew on a lower cruising altitude so you could see the landscape really well. Guyana means 'Land of many waters' and from the plane you could see why - we crossed rivers, lakes, waterfalls... and of course the beautifull virgin rain forest.
Our group consisted of Guyanese people, Trinidadians and also some Guyanese living abroad. I met Janet from Washington and her friend from Georgetown and they where as excited about the beauty of the place as me! I am looking forward to your pictures, Janet and will upload more on facebook, too! :-)
The trip was worth every single dollar and looking back it would have been worth even the initial price of 220USD. I am planning to come back here for sure and next time I will not fly but hike and stay more time in the guest house next to the falls :-) Kaieteur is a place that doesn't let you go easily - maybe its the spirit of Kai, maybe the sound of the waterfall, maybe the cute Amerindian kids that somehow always appeared and disappeared from nowhere... So, I will definately be back!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Georgetown, Guyana

My main reason for going all the way to Guyana were the Kaieteur falls, a huge waterfall in central Guyana on the Potaro river, falling 226m horizontally over a sandstone cliff and than cascading some 30m more down. I either wanted to hike there overland or take a day trip in one of those tiny aircrafts.
So my first places to go where the various tour agencies, some of which I had contacted earlier by mail. Unfortunately none of them offered the overland trip and all of them asked at least 220USD for the day trip by air... I decided to push my luck a bit and try to get the price down. The next trip would be on Thursday and most agencies closed at 4-5pm, so I decided to wait some more and see what would happen...
The weather was really lovely, sunny and hot, and I took my guidebook and started to explore the town. Georgetown seems kind of a colonial museum gone favela on first look. Most buildings are 1-2 storeys only, made of wood and painted in white or light blue, light green... but unfortunately most are in a really bad state and the once tidy gardens laid out by the British are full of litter.
One of the most stunning buildings in Georgetown is the St George`s Angican Cathedral, reportedly the biggest wooden building in the world. Because of the heat I was dressed in shorts and tank top and wasn`t sure if I was allowed to enter when a sweet Guyanese lady waved me to come in. She told me it was fine and even confessed that she was eating her breakfast there in secret because it was nice and cool in there. Somehow we started talking and A let to B... we started out with Obama`s victory (she was the first person I met who was not happy about it, even though she was black, because - as she said, all black men are bullies ;-)), then she told me about her sons, her life, life in Guyana, where to get cheap food in Georgetown... And when I told her I wanted to visit the Catholic Church and the Botanical Garden she offered to take me there. I was really lucky to meet her as she knew everything about the country, historically, politically - everything! And as there are nearly no white people on the street, let alone girls, I was lucky to have her as a kind of protector, it stopped the hassle for a bit. She also took me to the local market to meet some friends of her. She used to work in the Ministry for Foreign affairs when she was younger and seemed to be really well educated. Now she is suffering from some kind of cancer, she looks as if she is pregnant and suffers from severe pains. But she never ever complained about it, neither asked me for money! She even offered me the cellphone her son had given her for emergencies when I told her I wanted to contact a friend. When I suggested to go for lunch she said she was sorry but she couldn`t go as she had no money so I invited her for lunch at `Church`s`, a kind of local KFC that she really seemed to like. She told me she went there every sunday night as a special treat whenever she could afford it.
By 3pm I wanted to meet fellow Couchsurfer and PeaceCorps Volunteer Rhiannon and decided to give the Agencies another chance to go down with their price - but untill now, negative. I started to worry a bit but sticked to the plan to try my luck some more...
At one of the Agencies I met a group of Bavarians on their way to the Kaieteur falls. They had come to Guyana on a luxury yacht and where somewhat shocked to see me there and asked me `how on earth did you get here`? I told them about the bus and they where even more shocked. One of the man said, `but the city is so dangerous at night`. Well, not only at night. It is dangerous at all times because our funny friends from the island have taught the Guyanese people to drive on the wrong side! I really had to take care not to get hit over. For the rest you will hear a lot of funny comments on your legs, behind, whatever (when you are a girl, at least) but also meet many nice people. As there are nearly no tourists around people are just curious and want to know where you`re coming from, what you`re doing there - and what do you think about Obama ;-)
At 5pm I got back to the hostel pretty sad... thinking I had to give up on my plan to see the great falls of Guyana. But then Mrs Nellie from the Guesthouse told me that someone from Wonderland Tours had called for me and was willing to negotiate - finally. We called them back... and guess what, she had one place left in the aircraft and was willing to take me on on a price that would cover the costs. The original price being USD 220 she offered USD 200... and I got her down to USD 160!!! :-)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Going Borderline

After a relaxed and nice day with CouchSurfer Lice, her friends and family (thanks so much for everything!) I took the bus from Boa Vista to Georgetown on Monday afternoon 2pm. They lady from the ticket office in Boa Vista said it was a direct connection, I just had to change the bus in Bomfim, the last Brazilian village before the Guyanese border... so far it seemed all easy and the bus left Boa Vista on time.

In Bomfim we all had to leave the bus and go to the Federal Police station to `check-out` of Brazil. Nobody actually knew what to do then and a little guy with a kind of cowboy outfit and a row of gold teeth loaded our baggage on his pickup. He told us that he had a restaurant on the other side of the river, which is also the frontier, where we could change money, have lunch and wait for the other bus which would leave around 9pm. The guys had to walk but the ladies, 5 of us, where allowed to squeeze into his pick up. At the river we had to unload our baggage from the pick up, get into a small boat and cross the river. On the other side a rasta with a rusty and dusty car offered to take us to the restaurant for 5 Reals each. As nobody knew what to do we accepted. The restaurant turned out to be the central waiting area for everybody going to Georgetown as nothing else was opened at that time. We got hot and sweet coffee, refreshed and then somebody with a van took us to the Guyanese police station to do the check in. By then, a little group had formed: a golddigger from Mato Grosso who made fun of the `alema` all the time, a girl with big boobs (which she showed to me in the bathroom, explaining that she was still breast feeding) and a woman wearing a `Jesus Christ` shirt and carrying a `Mademoiselle - visit our sex shop` shopping bag. As none of us was really sure what to do and where to go we just followed the crowd. The immigration officer seemed to be really strict and was causing a problem because I didn`t have an address to stay in Georgetown. I then just copied one from my guidebook and he was happy. After dinner another van took us to the bus station - airport - main square... you name it. It is a place with a shack (the waiting room for air or bus passengers) and a place selling food and drinks. Here we had to wait another 3-4 hours.. thank God from somewhere there was some reggae music playing and the golddigger entertained us with stories from his complicated love live. At around 9:30pm the check-in process started... everybody had to present his passport and got weighed - the bags and the passengers. (I really gained some weight - but thats a different story!). At 10:30pm we finally took off in an old bus without air condition and without toilet - a huge difference to the comfortable long distance busses in Brazil! And, after a couple of minutes I had to realize that not only in Lethem but all the way to Georgetown the roads would be not paved and full of pot holes! A bumpy night awaited us... Funny enough, our little group got seats next to each other and the golddigger not only provided us with funny stories but also with fried bananas, sweets and mangoes. A couple of times the bus stopped at night but I was too tired to got out. At 6:00 in the morning we got to a river which we had to cross by ferry. Everybody profited from this opportunity to brush the teeth and refresh a bit in the river. There was quite a traffic going on and it took some time untill all vehicles where on the ferry and we could cross over. A couple of miles further on we stopped to have breakfast at a shack in the middle of the jungle. There was even a monkey jumping around trying to steal bread. When later the Jesus Christ Sex Shop Lady got a bit sick the golddigger started joking that the milk in her coffee was monkey milk or that the monkey had.. well, made his business in the coffee ;-) By that time he had also found out about my boyfriend in Rio and started to call me `Carioca Alema`. And Carioca Alema had eaten monkey tapioca, of course... even though we where on the road for more than 12 hrs now I didn`t get borning. The road was stil a dirth track full of pot wholes through the jungle and one time we had to get pulled out of the sand by a truck. Thank God there was one near - otherwise we might still be there!
Around 3pm we finally arrived into Georgetown and I was very lucky, the address I had picked for my immigration form by chance - Rimas Guesthouse - was just one corner from the bus stop and had free rooms :-) So here I am now, exploring cute little Georgetown and aranging some trips for the coming days!
Even though the trip by bus was really long and exhausting and left me and my baggage full of red dust- I would do it again any time. The night sky over Guyana (I have never seen so many stars before), the road through the jungle (saw huge blue butteflies) and the funny company made the trip unforgettable!

Amazon addict

On saturday morning Geovanny and me wanted to take the 6:00 bus from Manaus to Presidente Figueredo, a place further North that is famous for its rivers and waterfalls. I arrived to the bus station on time... but Geovanny who was stil on a more, lets say, Ecuadorian time ;-) didn`t make it. So I took the bus to Figueiredo alone - definately one of the savest busses of all times, as 99% of the passengers where military police on their way to work.
From the bus station in Figueiredo I had to take a motor taxi to the Pousada das Pedras - not quite easy with a 15kg backpag and a quad trauma ;-) Anyway, I survived and was welcomed like a lost family member by Tyrza, the charming owner of the pousada. She urged me to have breakfast first before checking in and introduced me to the other guests, a group of university professors. Soon they invited me to visit some waterfalls with them and as I had no idea if Geovanny would make it to Figueiredo that day I went. It turned out that the lady driving was the wife of one of the tourist guides, Johnny, and we went to the tourist information to say hello.. This turned out to be really usefull because when we got back from the waterfalls and met him again he told me that Geovanny as already waiting for me at the pousada ;-) What a small place ;-)

We took right off to the jungle and had definately one of the best days in Brazil so far. Johnny is from Sao Paulo originally but spend a lot of time with indian guides and knows everything about the jungle. He knows which plants can be used for medical purposes (we tried the `lacre` tree juice on the cuts on my legs - it helped!) and where to find which animal... He showed us how the indians used to make themselves `invisible` on the hunt by covering their body with crushed ants, which cover the human smell and - last but not least - we had a shower in a beautifull waterfull. Besides being a really good guide Johnny is a great and spiritual person and we had a really good time. He is very passionate about establishing eco and adventure tourism in the area and also told us about the problems he had to face - really good insight!
Tyrza and her family from the Pousada das Pedras also made us feel really at home. On the last day it was raining and storming and we spend the day at the pousada together. They invited us for dinner and we watched `Big Mamas house` together. It felt like home :-) They are both so proud to be listed in the Lonely Planet and collect the postcards they get from people who stayed with them from all over the world - they are so sweet! Even though Figueiredo is not very big and well known I would recommend anybody to go there - its a bit off the beaten tracks and you can experience nature as well as Brazilian hospitality unspoilt from the big tourist rush!