Day 15? – Boca Da Valeria (Fri 24th)
I think I will call this the day of the crickets. The boat was inundated with grasshoppers and crickets. They stashed themselves away in crevices and chirped. Was this the plague of locusts coming to eat everything? Fortunately, not.
Once again, we ate breakfast as we pulled up at the village of Boca Da Valeria. It is a tiny Indian village of just 75 inhabitants and they were shortly going to be invaded. It was supposed to be an authentic Indian village. It was more like a tourist show put on for naïve tourists – a bit tacky and plastic. They wanted our money.
Carnival time. They were out in canoes to greet us. Dolphins jump in the waters around us. Long-billed terns dived into the muddy depths, cormorants stuck their heads out of the water.
Native Indians in fancy dress – supposedly tradition costume, came to greet us holding sloths, lizards, caiman and parrots, wanting photos and charging a dollar a pop!
It was supposed to be a traditional little fishing village! More like a tacky show put on for tourists. They were doing what they thought the tourists wanted and trying to make money.
One guy (dressed up in elaborate costume complete with bow, posed for photos. He charged a dollar for a photo and said that it beat the hell out of toiling in the jungle all day.
The village was all on stilts. The mode of travel was canoe! Fishing nets were draped. Hens and ducks sheltered under the houses. Dogs lay in the dust comatose.
The stilted houses were gaily painted in a shabby chic. The church had lines of flags. The school looked rather Dickensian and was not looking to break any international records.
The authentic Indians, in their not so authentic costumes, had all manner of mass-produced wares to sell us.
It was quite a show they put on for us, pushing their gaily painted and costumed kids forward for us to take snaps of (most of the costumes seemed to come out of tourist stores).
One young lady was dressed up in the most elaborate costume of feathers and headdress (complete with green plastic panther) and was doing a roaring trade.
I was feeling conflicted. They had their sloths, toucans, caiman, lizards, parrots and insects on display for us to photograph. I was certainly interested in the Amazonian fauna but really did not want to promote this abuse of animals. Having said that, none of the animals were caged or tied up, they all looked in good condition and the people seemed to be treating them well. But none the less – they should have been in the jungle where they belonged. They weren’t pets – they were means of extracting money from tourists – that’s all.
We ambled through the village in the 35-degree heat and headed down to the shore to try photographing dolphins – not an easy task.
We walked back and took a canoe ride out into the waterways. We were promised monkeys, turtles and giant water-lilies. Needless to say, we saw none of them. We did see a bit of wildlife, more stilted houses and a lot of green vegetation. The breeze was refreshing and it was a very pleasant trip though.
When we started overheating, we went back to the ship and had a cold beer!
In the evening there was a magician. He got Liz up on stage and did a lot of weird stuff that nobody could fathom out. He had Liz one side of the stage and called another guy up on the other. He asked Liz to write her name on a piece of paper, folded it and put it in her hand. She had to clasp the slip really tightly. Then he went across to the other side of the stage and asked the other guy to do the same. Then he walked back to the middle – not going within twenty feet of Liz – and asked them to open their hands and look at the paper. They each had the signature of the other!!!
There was a lot more strange stuff with things floating, lighting up and unbelievable card tricks. All very boggling.
The magic of Brazil!!
Another great day – even if a little theatrical and extremely inauthentic.
How privileged we are to travel the world!