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The Travel Journal of Jacqui and Lars

 

Brazil - 18 March, 2002

 

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Location Latitude Longitude Elevation

Travel Distance

Start Jerry's Lodge, Rio Mamori, Amazon rain forest S0341.772' W05948.593' 33 m
-  Visit to the old rubber tapper . . . 20 km (by dinghy)
Jerry's Lodge, Rio Mamori, Amazon rain forest S0341.772' W05948.593' 33 m 70 km (by small river boat)
-  Overland to Rio Araca . . . 40 km (by mini-van)
-  The Meeting of the Waters . . . 17 km (by speed boat)
Finish Hotel Rio Branco, Manaus S0308.372' W06001.217' 30 m 15 km (by taxi)

Leg 3 Total:

8,190 km

Leg 2 Total:

12,140 km

Leg 1 Total:

9,010 km

Galapagos:

771 km

Grand Total:

30,310 km

 

Weather: Partly cloudy, sunny and very hot.

 

 

Today we will leave Jerry's Lodge and head back to Manaus.  But first we go and visit the old rubber tapper.  Rubber at one time made the Amazon very wealthy, but the boom ended long ago.  There are, however, still a few older people who still tap for rubber and make rubber products.  This trade is slowly dying out, so we are fortunate that we can still see this practice in action.

 

Brazil02_AmazonJungle4_02_Rubber_C505_Web.jpg (96982 bytes)

We head off in the dinghies and head up river to the tapper's home.  Once there we are taken around the wild rubber trees that dot the land around his home.  You can see that they have been tapped for many years with all the scars from previous taps.  We are shown how it is down and how the cans are attached to the tree to collect the sap (latex).

 

The cans are collected the next day and the sap poured through a sieve to take out the impurities.  A fire is started, made out of certain types of wood and other materials to give just the right temperature and smoke to turn the latex into rubber.  The old man makes certain types of products - boots, tobacco pouches, ammunition pouches and other items.  He has molds that he used to form the rubber shape.  You dip the mold in the latex, getting a consistent coat with no bubbles.  Then you rotate it over the smoke and heat until it is dry.  This is repeated about ten times and you are done.  The mold is hung out in the sun for a few days and then the final rubber product is removed.

 

Brazil02_AmazonJungle4_04_Rubber_Jac_C507_Web.jpg (53260 bytes)

We take a turn at making one of the tobacco pouches - we do not do too badly.  The biggest problem is dealing with all the smoke.  We decide to buy one of the pouches from the man - it is good to try to keep this trade alive for as long as possible.  The guide does not think any of his children are interested in carrying on in his footsteps.

 

Brazil02_AmazonJungle4_07_Return_Waters_C510_Web.jpg (58065 bytes)

Then back to the camp, where we back our bags, take down our hammocks and get ready to leave.  We have a quick lunch and then the boat arrives to take us back the way we came.  We trace our route back up the river, where we meet the mini-vans that take is across to Rio Araca.  From there we hop in a boat that takes us across to Manaus.  But this time we get the boat to stop at the Meeting of the Waters so we can get a closer look. Once on the Manaus side we take taxis back to the hotel.

 

Our truck is waiting for us at the hotel, so as we check into our hotel we get what bags we need from the truck.  It is good to see Al again.  After settling down in our room, we head out to drop off our laundry, check our email and have some dinner.  We return to the hotel early to re-pack our bags and sort out our stuff.

 

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