May 3, 2006
We woke up at sunrise today, but it wasn't ridiculously early. Everyone went to bed shortly after dark, and the nights last 13 hours this time of year, so despite being woken up several times throughout the night, we got enough sleep. Jan slept in the hammock next to the one that was designated for me, right next to the engine. He informed me that somebody else took my hammock, and everyone was so close to one another that whenever anyone moved, a chain reaction of bumping was caused, similar to that of a Newton's Cradle.
After Craig and I put away our sleeping gear, a large amount of space was free at the front of the ship. Luckily for us, several chairs were stacked amongst the pile of stuff behind us, so the four gringos were able to have a comfortable ride in the sun all day.
We started talking to more and more people on the ship throughout the day. Most of them were on their way home after shopping sprees in Asunción and Concepción. In each group of people, at least one person spoke decent Spanish and was able to translate to Guarani for the rest of them, so communication wasn't an issue. At one point, a cop got on and started firing questions at us. He was just curious, though, and he got off at the next stop. Everyone was wondering if we were missionaries. I guess they don't get too many tourists here. Either that or they thought Craig looked like Jesús.
Most of the places we stopped at today were cement processing plants. Once again, everyone from the towns seemed to gather 'round to watch the ship being unloaded. A lot of the bigger items like the refrigerator, tobacco bundles, and motorcycles were removed from the ship today. The motorcycles created a particular irony as they were driven away on a donkey-powered cart.
As we continued up the river, we started to see a lot more wildlife. We regularly passed large colonies of various birds and also spotted the occasional cayman. Some kids reeled in a few fish at one of the stops.
The food was the same today as yesterday: Meat mixed with rice. It was rather bland but filling. Also scattered throughout the ship were vendors selling fruits and vegetables. I couldn't figure out if they rode up and down the river selling their stuff every week, or if they happened to be on their way home and decided to make some money along the way. I started eating delicious, juicy pears to try to prevent scurvy, which I have heard is common on ships.
Once again, things died down on the ship shortly after sunset. The front of the ship was a much better location to sleep than on the side. The only problem was that every time we stopped, a boat employee would pull the rope used to anchor the ship right past my head and get me wet and dirty. We said goodbye to Jan and Yvonne in the middle of the night as they got off near the border with Brazil. We also had to offload all of our chairs, so tomorrow we will have to sit on the deck all day.
The photo album for this entry is here.