The Search for Shakira Continues

November 6, 2006
Day 404

For our last moments in Peru, Craig, Charlie, and I had breakfast at a restaurant across from our hotel. The owner had a pet macaw, apparently as a ploy to attract more customers. After the macaw finished its yucca, the owner talked me into getting it to fly onto my shoulder for a photo. That seemed like a great idea, but as soon as it landed on me, it started biting my hair and clawing my skin, which was quite painful. Craig was waiting with the camera for the macaw to pose for a shot like you see in pirate movies, but instead of looking forward, it decided that a human ear would make a much better breakfast than a piece of yucca. The searing pain went right through me as its beak latched on and wouldn't let go. Still screaming in pain, I ran over to the owner and got him to take his pet back. When I reached up to feel my ear, I thought part of it would be missing, Mike Tyson-style, but luckily it was all there and was only sore for a few hours afterward. The owner was laughing so hard, I'm pretty sure he trained the bird to bite all tourists as a sick form of entertainment.

After breakfast we took a boat to Leticia, Colombia on the other side of the river. It's a nice little place with lots of motorcycles, but not nearly as loud as a lot of the other cities I've been to lately. On the other side of the city is Tabatinga, Brazil, which is where we need to go to get on a boat to Manaus, Brazil, which leaves in two days. The problem is that Craig and I both need visas to enter Brazil. I tried for a week to get one from Buenos Aires, but to no avail because of their strict rules regarding tickets into and out of the country. Today's problem is that it's a holiday of some sort, so the Brazilian Consulate is closed. We'll have to try tomorrow.

This afternoon we took a ride out to the airport in Leticia where the immigration office is to get an entry stamp on our passports. I don't know if the Brazilian officials will care whether I'm officially in Colombia, but I'd rather not risk it. If I don't have a visa in two days to catch the boat, the next boat doesn't leave for five days, and I don't want to sit here that long.

We also ran into an Italian guy who Craig met in Iquitos. Assuming all goes well with the visas, I think he'll be on the same boat as us, so there will be at least four tourists to make the journey through the Brazilian Amazon.

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