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Parintins, Brazil Trip Journal

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March 14, Parintins, Brazil

At 8am, the time we were due to dock in Parintins, the Captain announced we would be arriving around 10am. During the night, there was a delay by a couple hours in boarding the Amazon River pilots. The pilots were coming on another ship, an oil tanker, which they would leave and board the Prinsendam. Due to very heavy river traffic, the tanker was delayed by over two hours, thus delaying our arrival into Parintins.

Parintins is a large jungle town with a population of approximately 50,000. There are not a lot of things to see – other than the well-preserved colonial architecture. Visiting on a Sunday means no traffic, as very few cars are around. But, it also means not many stores and shops were open.

Parintins is best known for the Festa do Boi Bumba. The traditional date is in June, and thousands of visitors flock to town. Many of them stay on boats, as there are not enough hotel rooms available to accommodate everyone.

Today, there was a Boi Bumba show at the downtown center. It was very well attended by the ship’s passengers and other visitors to Parintins.

The Boi Bumba is a ritualistic dance that symbolizes the kidnapping, death and rebirth of a legendary ox. The ox represents the agricultural cycles. There are two competing groups in a Boi Bumba festival – red Garantido and blue Caprichoso. The costumes are vibrant and elaborate. In addition to the two groups, there are also mythological beasts. The teams are judged based on music, dancing and the costumes.

Over the years, the Festa do Boi Bumba has grown in such glamour and spectacle that some people say it rivals the Carnival in Rio.

The current in the Amazon is strong and can easily push a small boat down the river. Since Parintins was a tender port, the crew had their hands full trying to shuttle people from the ship to the shore. It was a slow, rough and hot ride both ways. The tenders had to be steered so they were going against the tides. There wasn’t much air movement in the tenders and with temperatures in the mid-90’s and humidity about the same, it was not the most pleasant ride.

Last week, prior to entering the Amazon River, we had been told water restrictions would go into effect, but that the goal was to have as little disruption to services, as possible. The crew and passengers have obviously done a great job. The only thing we’ve noticed is that if we hang our towels, meaning we are going to use them again, the cabin stewards do not take them. We turned laundry and dry cleaning in and received it back within the same time period as always.

Tomorrow is our last day on the Amazon. We will disembark our pilots at Macapa and travel 77 miles where the Amazon goes from being a river to an estuary.

On Tuesday, we’re back on the open seas of the Atlantic Ocean as we head to Devil’s Island.

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About the Author

John Moen is a cartographer who along with his wife are the orignal founders of worldatlas.com. He and his wife, Chris Woolwine-Moen, produced thousands of award-winning maps that are used all over the world and content that aids students, teachers, travelers and parents with their geography and map questions. Today, it's one of the most popular educational sites on the web.

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This page was last updated on July 12, 2016.