The Harbour of the town of Manacapuru, Amazon Rainforest. Part Two.
The harbour area is a bustling community of shops, offices, workshops and people’s homes, perched on top of misshapen wooden decking. Sometimes the connection between one area of the decking to the other is a single, bouncy plank of wood. Locals balance on this small bridge without a second thought, they just stroll across. Visitors, looking into the murky waters below, tremble.
All day ferries, boats and canoes, jostle for a place to stop and tie up. People loaded with supplies, children with lunch boxes and satchels, travellers with back packs and office and shop workers eager to get going, can be seen disembarking or, in the evenings, trudging back up the gang planks.
The smartly dressed children clutching their lunch boxes and bags are taken into town for several days of schooling. They are the lucky ones, whose parents see the importance of education. Most children get only a few years of basic education.
Counters overlooking the wooden decks are elbowed by young people competing for potential passengers for the ferries. Willing to give travel advice and tickets between intense conversations with their colleagues.
Harbour shops are varied, either barely making a living or a delightful Aladdin’s cave, filled with stacks of dried food and bottles of water or soft drinks; gaudy coloured, plastic household goods and shiny, metal pots; hammocks and flip-flops and ice….. in blocks or cubes for fridge boxes…with no, or little, electricity in the forest, its the only way to keep food fresh for a few days. Shopkeepers sit outside their shops daring you to disturb them, but if you do they couldn’t be nicer.
Fresh fish from the rivers are on sale here too, but most of the produce from people’s small plantations or local rivers will be hauled up to town, where people will sit on street corners to sell their goods.
Beautifully made canoes can be bought at the harbour complete with hand carved oars. They are taken straight from the decking and pulled onto a canoe or boat for delivery.
Also vying for attention are the little cafes. Places where a coffee or cold drink can be had. Somewhere to slump before the boat trip out.
I like the harbour. I like the hustle and bustle and anticipation of travel and I like the sense of community amongst the people who live and work there.
Due to a viral infection my sense of smell is not strong, apparently a good thing I have been told, when by the harbour. This enables me to sit without hindrance and enjoy a coffee and relax and people watch……a favourite pastime.