Finally, On The Amazon… Boating
PART 1: Belem to Gurupa
Eleven months. That’s how long it’s taken to get here – not including the months and months before entering Brazil.
From house-sitting in the South of Brazil, to the tree-houses of Goias, down to coastal Sao Paulo, into the favelas of Rio and her Carnival, through multiple illnesses in Bahia, and the first look at Amazon forests in Belem. It’s been long and it’s been stressful, but I’m finally stepping aboard the “Cisne Branco” in Belem to float on something named Amazon: the greatest river on Earth.
There have been plenty of times where I wanted to give up. Today, I’m glad that I haven’t – yet.
The Amazon basin accounts for 20% of all fresh water discharge into the ocean, worldwide, with more water flowing out of this giant catchment area each year than the next seven largest rivers combined. I read in Lonely Planet that the average width of the river is 2km and that the width at the river mouth is the distance from London to Paris.
The sheer scale of the place makes me a little giggly and giddy with awe.
One of the primary objectives you all set me here in Brazil was to publish 12 articles about environmental issues and projects. There have been times during the last year when I thought, “how am I ever going to find a dozen newsworthy stories… And then get them published? Surely it’s all been seen and said before…”
However, now that I’m closer and have spoken with people near the Amazon, the question has changed to “how am I ever going to choose between all of these catastrophes and counter-efforts.”
It will take three days by boat just to get from Belem to Santarem, about halfway to Manaus… I still won’t quite be in the state of Amazonas, but I do feel like we’re now getting closer to the heart of the project over here. To get up close and personal with The Amazon rainforest and share what I find in print.
I see and hear of endless problems, which generally seem to stem from government mismanagement of resources or blatant corruption, lack of infrastructure, and a lack of education. But there are also hundreds of tiny projects dotted across the country trying to combat the effects of those great systematic flaws.
Because the problems are of a far greater scale than the efforts to repair, it often seems like a ‘David and Goliath’ state of affairs and fills me with despair. When thinking this way, I feel so heavy with the thought of, “Why even bother trying when millions of other people are still gonna mess the place up anyway? What difference can one person make?”
Then again, it was David who triumphed over Goliath with nothing but a small stone, a sling, and a big set of kahunas, as I recall.
So, I suppose, the key is to “grow a pair” and get on with it.
PART 2: Coming Soon – Including all the #HotTips for slow boat river-boating on the Amazon River should be dropping here tomorrow or the next day. [Watch PART 2 Vid Now]
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