Stories from Brazil (written by Shelley)

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Wednesday, November 20, 2002

We weren't expected to arrive into Salvador, Brazil until late morning, which was nice. As there was no need to rise at 6 am to watch us sail into port, Brian and I slept in a little. Although I knew I would have a little work to do this morning, I wasn't expecting the two-page email ("com") I got from SAS corporate that morning! Many students had last minute money cables from their parents that I needed to disburse as well as a few late tuition refunds. Despite the fact that it is our 9th port, I still feel like we are never quite fully "prepared" for the port when we arrive! Generally, we are always trying to pack our daypacks, get our passports, exchange currency, finish a few last minute work items, figure out where we are going and with whom, etc! Today was no different. However, today, we were also trying to start packing for our Amazon trip, which left at 5:30 am the next morning! With the welcome reception we were heading to later tonight, we knew we would have little sleep as it was! In addition, we had a trip leader meeting we had to attend with the travel agency from Brazil…this didn't end up starting until around 1pm. We both breathed a sign of relief as we finally disembarked the ship around 2 pm…a late start as usual! We had the usual discomforts of not knowing where we were, not knowing whom to trust, not speaking the language and not knowing which way to go. After talking to a few students who had already been off the ship for a while, we figured out how to get to a bank to exchange our money into Reals. Once we got there, we realized they wouldn't convert US currency into Reals, only traveler's checks. What a pain. Thank goodness we had a $100 traveler's check on us or we would have had to begin the search for a money exchange! After spending a good hour getting to a bank and converting money, we decided to find the "elevator". A large portion of the city lies upon a ridge that overlooks the sea, so the easiest way to get to the main part of the city is by taking the elevator to the top (or a cable car). We took the elevator to the top and walked around for a while. While the lower section of the city is much more modern and lacks the beauty that one might expect from Brazil, the upper section of the city is beautiful. The Spanish Colonial was evident as soon as we stepped of the elevator. The open community areas and cobblestone streets lead you through the colorful stone buildings and churches. We were starving by this point as we has only snacked on the ship, so we got directions from a few students as well as a nearby tourist information booth as to some good restaurants in town. We saw a few students sitting at some outside tables at a local restaurant that had been recommended to us, so we decided to join them. Thankfully, they had some menus in English! As the spoken language in Brazil is Portuguese (similar, but also very different from Spanish), most Brazilians speak little, if any, English. We managed to place our order and enjoy a few beers before our food arrived. After having an excellent late lunch and hanging out with the students for a while, we headed back to the ship for the welcome reception. On the way there, we stopped at a payphone so I could call Cori who was heading into the hospital for some surgery in a few days. Boy, it was so great to hear her voice!

We had heard really great things about the Brazilian welcome reception. Although the price was not cheap, most everyone we knew had purchased tickets for the event. Nearly 250 of us piled onto buses around 7 pm and headed to an open aired reception area where the event was held. As we entered the outdoor reception, a group of 15-20 men (early 20's) were performing capoeira - a traditional Brazilian form of martial arts. It is a very interesting performance to watch - almost a mix between martial arts (no contact however) and gymnastics/dance, as weird as that may sound! After this performance, we moved around the corner to where they performed another cultural dance, while serving drinks and appetizers. The food was served buffet style and the beer/wine just kept coming, so everyone was having a good time. Although the welcome reception didn't officially end until midnight or so, they started taking people back to the ship at 9:30 pm. At this point in time, the "cultural" dance and music seemed to have been overtaken by some "thrash" band, so Brian and I decided to head out around 10 pm, especially considering it was going to be a short night as it was!

Thursday, November 21, 2002

All the early morning trips gathered in the Harbour Grill…we were there around 5 am! We transferred to the airport and had a very painless check-in, which was refreshing! Our three-hour flight to Brasilia (on Varig Airlines) left Salvador at 7:20 am. We then had a two-hour layover in Brasilia (capitol city) before flying to Manaus. When we arrived in Manaus we were immediately greeted by our Amazon guides…Max and Walter (Ronaldo and Francisco on Brian's riverboat). At this point in time we broke up into groups of 25…Brian and I both were leaders on different riverboats. It only took us about 20 minutes to drive from the airport to our riverboats where we embarked on our Amazon adventure. Boarding the riverboat reminded me of our Lake Powell trip every year! A "welcome crew", dressed in cultural attire, was there to welcome us to the boat and give us Brazilian necklaces to wear. At my direction, Brian was very happy to take a picture with these attractive women. The riverboats were two levels. The main level was fairly open with a kitchen area and a few restrooms in the back of the boat (with just enough room for a toilet). There were sinks around the corner with a single mirror. Upstairs was a wide-open deck (with a shower faucet, which was used from time to time!) and a covered area where they hung all of our hammocks. Yep…we were to sleep in hammocks the next two nights!

We entered into the Rio Negro river…within minutes we were at the "Meeting of the Waters", where the black rivers of the Rio Negro meet the brown waters of the Solimoes (also just known as the Amazon river) to form the Amazon river proper. This was an incredible site! The waters are literally black on one side and brown on the other! At the "meeting" of the rivers, they don't blend together…they stay separated like oil and water. The waters of the Rio Negro are slower and warmer than the Amazon River, which allow them to stay separate from each other. Our first stop up the Amazon River was to a community called Terra Nova where we observed the lifestyle of the villagers. Our guides walked us around the village showing us rubber trees and other vegetation. There were some adorable kids playing with an odd animal, which we later found to be a sloth. This animal was completely foreign to us. It looked almost like a miniature wooly mammoth! The kids let us all hold the sloth, which was quite weird. The animal would cling to you (as they had quite long nails) and then as you tried to pass it to another person would seem to hold on for dear life. Our next stop up the Amazon was to a little market area. Everyone was disappointed that we didn't have any time to shop for souvenirs, but instead, our guides walked us down a path that led to a beautiful little pond area with giant water lilies. On both of these stops, we saw Brian's group and in the market area we even saw boats #1 and #2 led by Jessica Meeks (I led boat #3 and Brian led boat #4).

At this point in time, we continued back up the Amazon towards the Rio Negro River. This is where we spent most of our time during the trip, as the mosquitoes are nearly non-existent in the more acid waters of the Rio Negro. As sunset approached, we all filed onto smaller motor powered canoes. We were on our way to catch alligators - or at least watch our guides supposedly catch alligators with their bare hands. As our canoes maneuvered down smaller channels of the Amazon, we watched the beautiful sunset over the Amazon rainforest. Just spectacular! Through the darkness, our guide, Max, began shining his flashlights towards the riverbank. As the light crossed the eyes of an alligator, the reflection would reveal their locations in the darkness. It was so neat seeing all of their eyes staring back at you. As soon as Max would see a few alligators in one area, our canoe would approach the riverbank. Max would get on the very front end of the canoe looking for one and then jump in the water to try and grab it by its neck. Although alligators grow up to about 6 feet in that area, most of the ones he was attempting to catch were much smaller. Finally, after a few attempts, Max caught a baby alligator and brought it onto the canoe for us to observe. The alligator was about 1 ½ feet long. Max spent a lot of time explaining the features and habitat of the alligator and even passed the alligator around so we could all touch it (you just had to make sure you had a good grip around the neck so it wouldn't bite you!). It is surprising how soft and sensitive the skin on the bottom of the gator is. In fact, at one point, Max flipped the gator onto its back and started to slowly rub its stomach. Within about 15 seconds, the gator was literally sleeping!!! Max even removed his grip and the gator remained untouched in a completely relaxed state - it was so wild! Max also showed us how to open the gators mouth. All you had to do was tap on the top of the long nose and the jaws would slowly release and the mouth would open. We really loved our alligator experience - besides actually holding a baby alligator for the first time, we also really felt like we learned something!

As we were all fairly exhausted from the early morning travel, we all pretty much ate dinner and retired before 10 pm. The air was a very comfortable temperature tonight, which made sleeping all that much easier. No one took long to get used to the hammocks either. It was definitely a peaceful first night in the Amazon!

Friday, November 22, 2002

Our guides woke us all up at 7 am this morning. It was to be our busiest day on our Amazon trip, so we needed a fairly early start. We ate breakfast and then headed out around 8:15 for our first jungle trek of the trip. One of the students on my boat, Kelly, had a sprained ankle from a previous injury, but decided to make the trek anyway (due to the persuasion by Walter, one of our guides). As our group of 25 trekked through the jungle, our guides would stop to teach us about the flora and fauna of the region as well as survival techniques. About 1/3 the way through, Kelly was starting to have problems with her ankle due to the incline of the trail. There were about four of us that stayed back with Kelly, including our guide, Walter, and a medical student who was there in case of any medical emergencies. Eventually, our small group of five got separated from the rest of the group led by Max. Walter thought he knew which way we should be heading but after a while of not knowing where in the heck we were, I believe he realized we were lost. He had also been carrying Kelly on his back most of this time. We all stopped for a moment while Walter belted out these calls through the jungle to gain the attention of the other group leader. I don't believe any of us ever got too nervous; rather, the situation proved to be pretty comical (looking back on it of course!). Nonetheless, we were "rescued" and led to the waterfall we were originally in route to. Unfortunately, we seemed to miss a lot due to our delay. We missed 2/3 of the nature "talks" and we also missed the free time at the waterfall. Many students actually got in the water with their swimsuits and relaxed for a while. Well, by the time we got there, it was pretty much time to turn around and head back. What a disappointment. Then came the next saga! Half of the students seemed to head back with Max before others of us noticed. The funny thing was it seemed to be all of the guys! So…about ten of us (all female except our token male, John Bodnar) finally started heading back on the trail with Walter. At one point I think Walter realized we were all lost again (I hadn't really noticed, but I guess there were a few different trails), plus he had been carrying Kelly again, so we were really running behind at this point. He had us all wait in this open area and then disappeared. We figured he had gone to find the other guides, but none of knew for sure where in the heck he went! At this point in time, I was really tired of being lost and really thinking Kelly should have not come on the jungle trek with her bad ankle. Nonetheless, after about 20 minutes of sitting around, we were AGAIN "rescued".

By the time our group got back to our boat, the others had been relaxing for quite a while. We all felt so tired, dirty and hungry that we couldn't figure out what to take care of first! Many of us showered (although, I have to admit, it was quite weird showering on the top of a riverboat in front of the entire group, even if you were in your bathing suit!) and grabbed some lunch. After an hour or so, both Brian and my boat arrived at a small village. We were all excited to find out that not only would we be touring through the village and interacting with the people, we would be playing soccer against the local team!! We spent the first half an hour at the village just walking around and observing. The village was absolutely beautiful! The village was set atop a steep cliff that rose quickly from the edge of the river. We walked up a rocky path along the cliff. While there were occasionally some crude steps and railings, it was quite a precipitous walk. Once you reached the top of the cliff the village was laid out in front of us. The small bamboo and stone houses sat amongst the trees and they all formed a perimeter around what was the "village square", the soccer field. The field was a lush green open area that had been carefully carved out of the jungle. Wooden goals were at either end of the field and the buildings and jungle formed almost a perfect rectangle around the field. We were given a few minutes to walk around the village before the big game was to begin. The houses were fairly simple stone houses with either corrugated tin or bamboo leaf roofs. The "power plant" was and old gas powered generator that was attached to a basic system of power lines. They would turn the generator on from 6:00-9:00 every night.

We then heard the soccer game was soon to start. We were all psyched and ready to play! As we approached the field, we were all just astounded at how beautiful it was. The field was extremely well maintained and centered right in the middle of the village. There were so many people from the village sitting or standing around the field waiting for the game to begin. The village people were so cheerful and seemed to really be enjoying themselves. We later found out that this was the first time an event like this had occurred in this village - the first time they had seen Americans play their local team! There were children running all around (many of whom had very little clothing on) and many of the students who were not playing soccer were kicking the ball around with the kids or twirling them around. The local team was young, maybe early twenties, very fit and even decked out in their uniforms ready to humiliate us! :) We all gathered together and Brian and I did a quick game of paper/scissors/rock to determine which boat would play in the first half. I let Brian win…ha ha…so his group played first. Not more than five minutes into the first half a torrential downpour occurred. I cannot even begin to describe how soaked we all were within just a few minutes! Puddles of water were forming everywhere! Surprisingly, everyone stuck it out though. Even the game continued! Everyone was having a great time playing in the water puddles and running and sliding through the watered down grass. It was also hysterical to watch the soccer game at this point as no one could stop when they wanted to! Despite my interest in watching Brian play in the game, I was having so much fun kicking the ball around with the little boys or playing piggyback with the little girls, that I almost forgot our turn to play was quickly arriving. At one point in time, the rain seemed to slow, but soon after my team entered the game to play the second half, it started pouring again. I have never ever seen it rain so much anywhere!!! I didn't even bother to remember the score after the game was done…they basically kicked our butts! At least in Kenya, I felt we gave the Maasai a run for their money, but in this game, we just got beat…and bad! Brian's group did much better than ours though. Despite the valiant efforts by our defense, our goalie needed some work! ha :) After the game was over, many of us took some pictures of the Brazilian team with some of our own players. Our guides had five official jerseys to give as prizes for the five MVP's of the game, which were selected by the four of them. They gave the awards to three guys and two girls…and I was one of them! I was so surprised. Brian had an awesome game though too! After the soccer match, we all said our goodbyes and thank you's and headed back to our boats. If we weren't exhausted earlier, we definitely were now! And soaked of course!

Later that night, we found a nearby beach for a luau cookout. The funny thing is that we could not go to the original beach the luau was planned to be at because they were setting up/filming Survivor Amazon! Go figure!! It was pretty cool knowing that we were this close to the filming and knowing that we were experiencing so much of what the competitors on the show would be experiencing. Unfortunately, we weren't eligible to win the million though…bummer! :) Nonetheless, we managed to find a suitable beach and the cookout was awesome! Both of our groups were together again, so there were over 50 of us on the beach. We had incredible food and a huge campfire going as well. I think most everyone stayed out on the beach for several hours, but again, people were in bed fairly early.

Saturday, November 23, 2002

I woke up around 5:45 am this morning with my stomach just churning. I couldn't figure out why I felt so crappy, but I might as well get up and get a head start on the rest of the group. As I was brushing my teeth, I actually had to lean over the trashcan as I had a quick urge to get sick. I couldn't figure out if I ate something bad the previous night or if I was having a bad reaction to some non-bottled water I may have accidentally drank. Or maybe I was just getting sick. Anyway…I decided to skip breakfast this morning since it wasn't looking appetizing and just nourish myself with a Cliff bar and some Gatorade. Soon after I headed back to my hammock to relax. The group was heading out piranha fishing a little before 8 am. I had decided that I was not feeling up for the morning activities and would just stay on the boat, yet at the last minute I decided to go. Who could pass up piranha fishing in the Amazon?! Soon after we arrived at our fishing location, the guides were passing around raw beef to put on the end of the wooden poles. Most everyone was able to fish at once, which was nice. We started out slow; not catching a single thing, but then had better luck after we changed locations. I tried my hand at piranha fishing for a while, but was still feeling pretty ill. In the end, I didn't have much luck, but three of the students on our canoe caught three piranhas each! Come to find out, Brian even caught one! Our guide, Walter, would take the piranha in his hand and use the hook to open the mouth so you could see the incredible jaw full of razor sharp teeth. I was really surprised at how small they were! They were typically the size of your hand and until you opened their jaw, you would never imagine them to be the vicious fish they are known to be!

We arrived back at the boat a little after 9 am. The next activity was to be another jungle trek, however, this time, everyone was going to be "tested" on their survival skills they learned the previous day. By this point in time, I knew I needed to lie down, so I didn't participate in the jungle trek. There were probably about five of us who stayed behind. I was able to get a short nap in, but I was really wishing it had been longer. The group returned a little after 11 am and then they took us to another beach area (again, we had to find a different location than planned due to Survivor filming). Since I knew Brian's group would be joining us at the beach, I decided to get off the boat. Some students relaxed in the sun, others got in the water (which was not a problem in this area) and a bunch of the students started a soccer game on the beach. I so badly wanted to play in the soccer game, but just wasn't up for it. I relaxed on the beach and then went in the water just before Brian's group got there. We had about another half an hour and then had to get to lunch. Our lunch was at a remote jungle lodge. Although the food was good on the trip, it was starting to become very repetitive. Even at the lodge, the same food was offered. As I was STILL feeling crappy, I chose to avoid lunch, but Brian seemed to like it. After lunch, Brian and I walked around the lodge. There were beautiful parrots all over the place and they even had this really tall tree house where you could see for miles. Our Amazon adventure was coming to a close, which was a real bummer. We had really been having a great time and our groups had turned out to be a lot of fun. Nonetheless, we boarded our boats for the last time and heading out for our five-hour trip back to Manaus. Everyone seemed to get in a good solid nap during this time in addition to playing cards, reading and watching Max make all sorts of crafts (horns, hats, fans, etc.) out of leaves (similar to palm tree leaves). Around 5 pm, Max gathered us together to tell us more about the Amazon, give out awards to the students who had the most fish caught and thank us for a great trip.

Then at about 7 pm we arrived in Manaus and got on buses to take us into town. Our night had only just begun at this point. Our flight back to Salvador left tonight, but not until around 2 am. We were first taken to a local club for a dance presentation based on the "Boi Bumba" dance of the region. The dancers (a cast of about ten male and female performers) were incredible to watch - their moves were so intense and so powerful. They wore very skimpy (modified) traditional native attire (the women had coconuts over their breasts) and when they really got into their dance, you could see everything that their g-strings didn't cover (ok, only on the women of course!). Nonetheless, it was a very entertaining and well-performed dance! After our performance, we got back on the buses and made our way to Jack 'n Blues music bar. NOTE: This was definitely NOT the wisest choice they could have made at this point in time! Up until this point, there had been no alcohol on the trip. So we couldn't believe they would take the students to a bar on the last night just two and a half hours before we were to get all 50 of us through a foreign airport and onto an airplane leaving at 2 in the morning! On top of this, we had a student celebrating his 21st birthday and another student who had turned 22 the day before! The alcohol was so cheap that nearly everyone had a field day (a "personal" keg was just $5)! By this point, I had a temperature and was NOT looking forward to the hours to come! The bar was pretty cool - it was outdoors and had a band playing about an hour after we arrived. At about 11:15 pm, with still a little over an hour to go, I headed back to the bus to lie down. I was surprised at the handful of students who were doing the same thing. Everyone was instructed to be back on the buses at 12:30 am to head to the airport. I woke up just before 12:30 and walked outside towards the bar. As expected, there were a ton of drunken students wandering around and I could already start feeling myself lose it. Brian was trying to get several students out of the bathrooms so I dealt with all of the students aimlessly walking around or heading out of the bar. We finally managed to get everyone accounted for and made our way to the airport. Of course, on the way, Brian and I had our own entertainment on our individual buses. On my bus, the students had the radio cranked and were dancing in the main aisle. On Brian's bus, one of his students decided to bare his ass to the group and make some money giving other students the opportunity to shoot him in the ass with their newly purchased blow darts. Talk about drunken entertainment! (The next day, this student was quite sore, which gave us a good laugh!) Now, this is really just the beginning of our long night. Within minutes of getting into the airport, many of the students disappeared on us…either heading to the bathroom (to puke) or heading to the stack bar. Don't get me wrong, many students were paying attention and had been really great, but the other half that were drunk and doing their own thing were really making the experience pretty miserable. Granted, if I didn't have a fever and wasn't feeling sick, I really think I could have handled this scenario better. But at this point, I was seconds away from just losing it. Brian saw my tears start forming and came over to me. If it wasn't for his desperate plea to hang in there and help him get everyone to the gate, I don't think I would have made it. We tried to split our groups and I had some sober students help me count heads, but this wasn't working. So, I just whatever students were paying attention down the hall towards security and Brian stayed behind to yank the students from the snack bar who had ordered pizzas and help with the sick students in the bathrooms. Brian had also had it at this point and was being very frank with the remaining students about getting to the gate. The other frustration was with the guides. Up until this point, they were really great. BUT, they had decided to party it up with the students, so at this point, they were being of NO help. The other frustrating thing is that the owner of the Brazilian tour group was also at the airport with us (she was on our first flight) and was not being very helpful either. It wasn't until I expressed our frustration with the scheduling of the bar stop that she started to help with the chaos. Then she decides to lecture the students about representing Semester at Sea and behaving in a respectable fashion. Since she was the Field Office Director on a previous voyage, she kept saying she was part of the SAS family. Brian and I were just so irritated with her and her lack of judgment in planning the night's events, especially since she had experience working with the students. Brian and I were not directly angry at the students for getting drunk at the students, we were angry that the program basically set the students up to fail, in a respect.

Sunday, November 24, 2002

After getting the students onto the plane and double-checking that we really did have all 50 of us there, we finally sat down in our seats and breathed a quick sigh of relief. Within a few minutes of takeoff, everyone had either fallen asleep or in most cases, passed out. It was ironic that we happen to be sitting in the same row, just across the aisle, from the recent 21 year old. Brian and the girl next to him both held barf bags wide open. He looked like he could lose it at any point. Soon after the fasten seatbelt sign came off, Brian managed to get the guy back to the bathrooms. Brian put the toilet seat up, directed the guy in the bathroom and waited for a few minutes. When Brian came back to the seats without him, I was pretty curious as to what was going on. I guess when Brian checked on him; he was passed out in the bathroom (clothes on and leaning over the sink). As one of the flight attendants knew a little English, Brian was able to tell the flight attendant that the guy was sick and ask if he could leave him there for a while. Brian said he would be back to check on him, but the attendant said they would take care of him and that it was not a problem. After 15-20 minutes, Brian went back to check on him. A few minutes later, Brian came back to the seats chuckling to himself. The flight attendant had taped an "out of order" sign on the student's shirt! Brian and I were both amused and the flight attendant's humor!! In retrospect, I wish we had taken a picture (as I was told it really was a sight!), but at the time, we were amused, but still very frustrated.

We arrived back to Brasilia around 7 am. As we had a four-hour layover at the airport, most of the group, including us, had purchased an optional bus tour of the capitol city. By the time we got to Brasilia, Brian and I were absolutely exhausted. As several of the students had decided to skip the tour, Brian and I decided to opt out of it as well to stay at the airport and make sure the sick students were ok. Plus, we really just didn't want to go at this point. About 2/3 of the group headed out for the tour. Brian and I were so relieved to be able to sit in the airport for several hours and not have to do anything! Nearly everyone who remained at the airport found a spot on the floor and crashed anyways. Right before we boarded the plane for our final flight to Salvador, everyone returned from the tour. Sounded like we didn't miss anything. Another flaw of the trip - as the students were so tired and hung over from the late night and the long flight, it seemed nearly everyone slept through the entire tour, which frustrated the tour guide. Again, not really the student's fault.

FINALLY, we returned to the ship. It was early afternoon at this point and as we had really not slept at all, it took all I had not to lay down for a VERY long nap! We did relax for a while and then both decided that since we had really only had ½ a day in Salvador so far and we still had some souvenir shopping to do, we would head back into town. On our walk back to the elevator to take us to the main part of town, we stopped by a pay phone so I could call Jill and also call Cori to make sure her surgery went well and she was feeling good. We found a great spot for dinner, which was just off the town square. They had live entertainment on the outside patio…there must have been over twenty people dancing on the sidewalk to the music. We sat down and ordered some food and drinks. As we noticed the first day in Brazil, there is an obvious communication barrier as few people speak English. Luckily, the menus had English translations, so we at least knew what we were ordering. However, we still had some big surprises when the food arrived. First of all, I had ordered a hamburger and then pointed to the Portuguese word for "cheese" that was listed on the lasagna menu item. Thinking the waiter understood that I wanted cheese ON my burger, I was eagerly looking forward to my dinner selection. When the food finally came out (it must have taken an hour!), we must have had four to five dishes in front of us. In addition to the side dishes that seemed to come with Brian's order, we also had my burger (which was to thin burger patties, with no bun AND no cheese) and fries along with another unidentified plate. After a few minutes, we realized the waiter had misunderstood my request for cheese and brought us the lasagna dish (which looked nothing like our version of lasagna!). We couldn't believe all of the food that was in front of us. The waiter must have thought we were crazy!! ;) We tried to get down as much food as we can, but it honestly, wasn't very good. Although I had started to feel much better at this point, I was still trying to take it easy with the food and beer. Brian decided to order one more beer and pointed to ONE beer in our "bucket of beers" the waiter had previously brought us. Again, big misunderstanding. Although Brian only wanted one more beer, we had another bucket of beers in front of us. Ugh. We just had to laugh. We ended up bumping into several students we knew at the restaurant, so we had them help us finish the drinks. As dinner had taken so long, we were really starting to run out of time as it was nearing 7 pm ("On ship time" was 8 pm). We stopped to make a call to his parents and then tried my parents, but the line was busy. Just before we arrived at the ship, I reached tried calling my parents again. Dad was there, but mom wasn't. :( As 8pm was approaching within minutes, I told Brian to head back to the ship. I however, was about 10 minutes late, and yes, I did get "dock time" for being late. ;(

All in all, Brazil was an incredible port that we thoroughly enjoyed! While there were at least a half dozen other trips we could have taken, we were extremely glad we headed to the Amazon to experience one of nature's greatest spectacles. Although, hopefully we'll be back to Brazil sometime soon so we can experience more of Salvador and all the other beautiful sites of Brazil!