Boca Da Valeria, Brazil
January 18, 2008
Boca da Valaria is a remote village at the confluence of the Rio da Valeria and the Amazon. Approximately 75 people live in this village, surrounded by the great rain forest of the Amazon Basin. Life here is a startling contrast to life in Brazil's modern Amazonian cities of Santarem and Manaus. Many handmade gifts were for sale. However, like the previous port, we were unable to purchase any because of the restrictions of articles that could be brought aboard.
This village is typical of the Amazon Basin where people carry out their lives. It's one of the thousands of tiny, isolated villages where river dwellers scratch out a modest but adequate living utilizing the resources of the rainforest and the river. It boasts a dozen or so modest wooden homes, a tiny school and about 75 permanent residents.
We anchor in the river and travel by shuttle down the Rio da Valeria river (right photo above) to the small village. The native boats are anchored on shore along the way. They are used largely for local fishing but some are powered by small outboard motors for travel to adjoining villages up and down the rivers.
The natives are not English speaking as Portugese and a derivation of a French dialect is their language. However, they were very friendly. Some of the goods they had for sale were beautiful, but again, we couldn't purchase anything.
As we walked off the dock I spotted a little girl dressed in red. She is in the center of the upper left photo.
She was dressed in her best finery. When I first saw her and took her photo at a distance (telephoto) she seemed to portray an attitude of "you owe me" because my parents made me dress up.
It had been raining and the street was very muddy. In fact, the mud that stained my white tennis shoes remains to this day. Above are some of the modest wooden homes we passed along the way. The structure on the left photo above with the white and brown lattice work is their local bar. I guess every city or village has to have one.
We don't know what the final purpose for the clay tile building will be. It was the only building not constructed of wood. The blue building is their school. It was hard to imagine that in 2 months the waters of the Amazon would be up to the underside of the floor of the stilt supported structure.
Obviously, the kiosks are not intended for longevity as few cruise ships make their way up the Amazon and make a stop here.
Almost everything used for building comes from the rainforest except for the metal roofs and the clay walls of the one building. We did note that blue plastic tarps we commonplace.
The little kids had some stuffed creatures for sale. Before we went ashore Lynn took some wrapped peppermint candies with him -- about 2 pounds. After he took the photo of the two kids he gave them each a candy and the mother standing behind them grinned with pleasure.
There were a lot of people posing with the chief and his family. As is the custom, he was given a dollar for posing and he had quite a wad of money.
Lynn took the above photo and gave each of the kids a couple of candies. When he stepped back he was tapped on the shoulder and another kid stuck his hand out. Of course Lynn gave him a candy as well. Like a flock of birds he was suddenly surrounded by a dozen or more kids with their hands out. Lynn gave the whole bag of candy to the eldest girl and motioned for her to distribute them, which she did. The chief just grinned.
As we were waiting for the shuttle to return and take us back to the ship we spotted a tree with large spread out roots. We later learned that this is normal for trees in the Amazon as their roots don't penetrate the ground for support as we are accustomed to seeing. Rather, they support and attain their nutrients from the top of the ground.
Finally, it became time for us to leave. We didn't notice on our visit to the village but there was grazing land with cattle alongside the adjoining river. We now begin our journey to Parintins.
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