December 23-25, 2006
When the sun came up on the way to Apoera, I was surprised to see that the drunks, along with everyone else on the boat, actually were being quiet. Then I found out the reason why: one of the drunken teens passed out on the roof of the boat and rolled off in the middle of the night, and the captain didn't find out until this morning. Nobody said much else, but his chances of surviving didn't seem good. The somber crowd slowly disembarked the boat after explaining what had happened to the police.
Germain walked us through the village to his uncle's house. We met the residents, who seemed happy to have us camp there. The three of us set up our tents under the house. After being there a few minutes, the news had spread that the guy who fell off our boat was found alive by another boat that came up the river this morning. He had somehow managed to hold onto a tree in his underpants and shout loud enough for the ship to hear him. Suddenly, the festivities were back on again.
Apoera is much more modern than the villages I have visited elsewhere in South America. It has cobblestoned roads, running water, electricity, and even a cell phone tower. Still, the modern conveniences often meant loud noise all day long. Several houses constantly blasted music so I could always hear at least two different songs at once. Even worse were the fireworks. Kids and adults alike competed all day and night in trying to blow up larges pieces of the Earth in the name of Christmas. Don't get me wrong, I actually like loud music and fireworks, just not 24 hours a day, everywhere I go. The noise only becomes an issue when I can't escape from it.
There wasn't much to do around town, so we spent most of our time meeting the locals, checking out the Christmas parties, and going to a soccer game in the neighboring village of Washabo. We also met a guy named Kurt who runs the local snake exporting business. He has anywhere from ten to one hundred snakes at his house at any given time, waiting to be driven to Paramaribo for sale. We stopped by and checked out his green tree snakes, among others. They were quite beautiful, but proved to be dangerous when one of them started constricting Kurt's arm.
The photo album for this entry is here.