On January 15th our port of call was Parintins, Brazil, (pop 115,000).
We knew it was going to be a tender port, but we were surprised when Kimberly, our Cruise Director, came on the intercom and said that this tender port was without a doubt going to be the most challenging tender port so far. Uh oh. She said it was not suitable for people with wheelchairs and scooters or with mobility issues. She mentioned deep swells and a floating dock. After I took a dose of seasick medicine, we headed out. It was a long ride to the floating dock where the tender boat driver had to watch out for floating logs, trees and debris in the water.
We arrived at the floating dock which turned out to be another boat docked by the pier. We transferred from our tender boat to the floating boat with a low ceiling and stepped onto the pier. This was all done safely by the great Holland America crew who had many hands reaching out to assist. Actually it wasn’t nearly as bad as we expected.
It was another hot day as we walked around the town. We noticed that motorbikes and pedicabs were everywhere and we had to be very careful crossing streets.
The pedicabs were interesting to watch as many had no steering wheel so the driver would just lean in whatever direction he wanted to turn.
We visited the Catholic church built in 1981 with a 130 foot bell tower. We have noticed the churches in the Amazon are very simple and plain, though very pretty.
We spent quite a bit of time trying to find Bill a Brazil souvenir shirt. There were many little shops but instead of having Brazil souvenirs, they had shirts that said NYC or American sports teams. Seemed to be more geared to local shoppers rather than tourists. There was a definite language barrier since we did not find anyone who spoke or understood English. We found this during all of our ports of call along the Amazon River. I am sure it is different in larger metropolitan areas of Brazil. We tried using Google Translate with some degree of success.
We finally gave up and as we made our way back to the tender boats we found some little souvenir stands near the pier. Bill found a shirt and hat. Success at last!
This time instead of one of the ship’s tender boats, we had to take a local ferry boat back to the ship. The ferry boat had brought in a floating barge they placed next to our ship. We transferred from the ferry boat to the floating barge to our gangway. Another experience but easy transition.
We have one final port of call left in Brazil. And guess what. It is another tender port.
Next: Santarem, Brazil