Day 9 – Thursday January 13 – Macapa, Brazil

I was awake at about 6:00AM this morning. Looking out our veranda window, I could see that we were well onto the Amazon. There were many small boats plying the river in both directions. Boat travel is the primary means of transportation along the length of the river. There are thousands of tributaries, many larger than most rivers we are familiar with, and few bridges. Water transportation is not only practical, but necessary.

We were scheduled for port at around 6:30AM and Janet, Carl, Kay and I had a city tour to Macapa which was scheduled to depart at 8:30 AM. We actually docked in Porto Santana. A 40 minute bus ride to the city was required. In order to save time, Kay and I ordered room service for breakfast. As usual the delivery was on time, the presentation perfect and the food excellent.

 

    

We boarded the bus without incident and endured the very bumpy ride into Macapa. The best part about a Grand Voyage with Holland America is the opportunity to visit places normal cruises do not visit. The worst part about a Grand Voyage is the opportunity to visit places normal cruises do not visit! What this means is many of the ports we visit are not accustomed to hosting large groups of tourists and do not have the infrastructure or resources to accommodate tourist in the manner we are normally accustomed to. This is not necessarily bad; it is just something you must be aware of. On this excursion the local guide spoke no English. Another guide had been flown in from Belem to serve as interpreter. Unfortunately her mastery of the English language was less than perfect. The guides tried very hard to accommodate the group and answer questions, but no written material was available in languages other than Portuguese. Nevertheless, the visit to Mecapa was interesting and informative.

Macapá (Tupi-Guarani: “Good Thing” or “Maïtc Pia”, Portuguese pronunciation: [makaˈpa]) is the capital of the state of Amapá in Brazil, on the Amazon River. With a population of 366,484 people in 2009, mining is central to its economy. It exports tin iron, gold, and manganese, as well as lumber, oil, animal pelts, and fish. Manufactures include rubber products and food. Founded in 1688 by military men in the vicinity of a fortress protecting access to the mouth of the Amazon, Macapá grew very slowly until it became the capital of Amapá, which was created (as a federal territory) in 1943. The old fortress is now a regional museum

The city lies exactly on the Equator, at 0° N, and hosts a monument to this, known as Marco Zero (“Zero Mark”). Next to it there are both a sambadrome and a football stadium (the Zerão), proud to be the only one in the world where each half of the field is located in opposite hemispheres.

 

    

Kay at Marco Zero, with one foot in the northern hemisphere and one in the southern hemisphere!

 

    

An egg balanced on the equatorial divider. This is a feat which we can perform only during the spring and fall equinox at home, but can be done at the equator anytime. This is a very visual reminder that we are at the equator.

 

    

 

Photos of ruins of Fortaleza de Sao Jose de Macapa which was built in the mid 18th century to defend the Amazon against French invasions that were being launched from neighboring Guiana. Control of the mighty river meant control of just about everything north of it, so its defense was serious business.

 

Jewelry on display for sale at the local market.

 

    

A carving by a local artist. I wanted to bring this home but Kay insisted that we really did not have anywhere to display it in the manner such a work deserved….

Tonight after dinner, (I had pan seared yellow fin tuna, one of my all time favorite meals) we again watched a movie Eat, Pray, Love with Julia Roberts. We really were not very impressed with this film. Afterwards we caught the late show for entertainment which featured comedian Brad Upton. This show we did enjoy. Upton gave us a full hour of laughs. When we returned to our cabin we found another gift from HAL; this time we each received a very nice travel bag stuffed with necessities such as aspirin, sun screen, insect spray, lip balm, band aids, sewing kit, etc.; a very nice and useful gift indeed. Tomorrow we arrive in Santarem, Brazil where some of our group will be hiking in the Trapojos National Forrest and others are taking the city tour. We will be in port until 8:00PM Friday evening. Since we all will be returning late in the afternoon, we have reservations in the Pinnacle Restaurant onboard instead of dining in the formal Dining Room. I am looking forward to their famous bone in rib eye. I haven’t eaten much beef since sailing; it’s too hard to pass up the great seafood and fish. I will let you know how it was tomorrow….

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3 Responses to Day 9 – Thursday January 13 – Macapa, Brazil

  1. Mrs. Sickles says:

    I am a middle school teacher in Michigan, and my mom is actually on this cruise with you. She gave us the website to your blog, and my students and I have been following you since day 1. Thank you for all of the wonderful pictures and awesome narration. This has been a really great opportunity for us, and we think this is much more fun than book work!

    Mrs. Sickles and students

    • Wendell says:

      Thank you Mrs. Sickles and students.
      I am glad you are enjoying the posts, I am certainly enjoying doing them. I normally am unable to respond to post on the blog, but I will be happy to answer questions and respond by email if you post to the blog.
      May I ask who your mother is? Perhaps I can say hello.

  2. peggy lee says:

    Kay-what a neat feat to be in two hemispheres at the same time. !

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