The choice to go through the Amazone and cross Brazil to Rio de Janeiro from the north came to me. I wasn’t looking for it. That kinda made it an easy ‘choice’. We’ll see how it goes.
Cuzco – Amazonia
From Cuzco to the jungle in Puerto Maldonado I had to cross another pass (4745 meter). I can tell you that it was tough. Again. And also it was rewarding again, with the full package of spectacular views, pain, sun, hail and winds. The descend was unforgetable. And the more I went down the more I felt the oxygen coming back. Besides that it’s special to see the change in cultures, climate and surroundings in just one day. Also I saw tuns of small creeks and waterfalls turning into big rivers coming down. Pretty cool.
The next day I want to use the immense oxygen that’s available for me. After so many days in the mountains you can really feel your body taking up more oxygen. That day I cycle for 230 km’s to Puerto Maldonado. The height has made my body a machine. Well, at least for a day.
Must say, couldn’t walk no more when I arrived. I guess it’s just a one time experiment. Fun, for ones. And of course, the primary reasons. Showed all cycling women my masculanity and that I’m man enough to reproduce (I didn’t pee by the side of the road to mark my cycling territory by the way). No serious, a one time thing just to see how far I could take it. It’s just normal distances now, because if you go too fast you miss too much.
The boat & the hammock
Reached Brazil :)! Via Rio Branco to Puerto Velho I take the 9 day boat through the Amazon to Manaus and Belem. About 3000 km I think. To give you an idea, the Amazon river gets so wide, you can only see water on both horizons.
I got to the boat 2 days early to get a good spot, get’s crowded you know. I met some guys and we hung out before departure. And just before we took of one of them got caught with 32 kilograms of cocain. That guy, Jao is his name, was just 19 years old. Lots of drug trafficking here so I’ve heard and people weren’t really impressed. Well then, let’s start boating I guess. Sleeping on the boat you do in a hammock. And on the boat you get to know Brazilians. You chat, wobble, read, listen to music and eat. Every now and then you think about life to kill some time and that’s just about it. I talked a lot about the project I’m cycling for, Estrela da Favela.
Belém – Maranhão
Arrival in Belém at a port that is considered to be dangerous. “Don’t go out there my gringo friend!” That, and the fact that it didn’t really feel right, I decided to stay on the boat and spend another night in my hammock with my mosquito friends. That same night there are several gun shots just about 200 meters away from me. A warm welcome..
Time for cycling! It was hot and there were way too many mosquito’s but it was so good to be back on the road again. And cycling in Brazil, especially in this part (I think) is awesome. People along the way are interested, give you good vibe and help you out when they can. Spending a night with a family, offered food, great talks and many big Brazilian smiles when cycling by. The environment: green.
Somewhere along the way I came across a cycling group. They are also doing an Olympic route. Different than mine but fun to hang out with these Polish and Lithuanian cyclists. My guess is that I’ll be seeing them around for the next 6 weeks or so. Cool.
It’s really good to be back amongst Brazilians. Especially cycling in the north of this immense country. States like Maranhão and Ceará, are known for their people, kindness and open character. Like the nature in Peru, it’s the people here that give me the energy to keep on cycling. In São Luis, capital of Maranhão state, where I am now, they even help me to get some media-coverage for the project I’m cycling for. I find it really embarrassing to see and hear myself on camera but hey, it’s for a good cause :). Aside from that I’m doing social media updates and updating this website. Hence, this article. Check out the two links below with picture updates from Ecuador and Peru. Some cool pics in there, especially if you consider cycling there at some point.
The plan? Keep on cycling along the coast to Rio the Janeiro and try to get more and more attention for Estrela da Favela. Aside from that I hope to get some contributions for this great project.