Honeymoon day 7

Today was our first day with no port stop as we are starting to head out of the amazon river and into the sea now.

Not so much happened today. We got up and did a Pilates class and a great breakfast again.

After breakfast we had a lovely couples massage in the Seaborne spa and then we had complementary access to the exclusive spa serene area which is a quiet beautiful area with all places to relax, shame I didn’t have my camera.

We went to a cooking demonstration hosted by the ships executive chef and they made crab cakes with a spicy sauce and for dessert creme brulee.

At lunchtime there was a big clothes and luxury goods sale on board! The staff told us there was a email to them from head office saying to knock 50% off everything on board as they will replace all stock when the ship gets to Fort Lauderdale.

It was a shopping frenzy in a make shift market made up of tables in the club bar. It shows even rich people love a good bargain πŸ™‚ 50% off was really good and I bought a quality polo shirt for $20 and Sanna some designer D&G glasses for just $67.

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Then I got down to some reading on deck and I was handed a fruit juice cocktail that matched my new polo shirt I just bought in the sale.

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In the afternoon we did a ‘Kineses’ class in the gym and then I forced myself to do a 30 minute run around the outside deck.
Sanna’a a bit tired and a bit sniffly so we had a short dinner and when we got back to the room it had been ‘honey mooned’ for us like this.

And we had this bottle of wine for us as a present, is it a good one?

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Honeymoon day 6 – Alter Do Chao

Day 6 of pur honeymoon, the first rule of the day is to start with a good breakfast, the trouble with the outside brekkie area at the rear of the ship is its buffet ans you eat too much πŸ™‚

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We have been doing 1 to 2 classes at the gym each morning before breakfast. Today we did Yoga and then a ab’s intense workout and our ab muscles are aching loads now.

Our cruise route had us going to a different location but due to a holy catholic holiday which (90% of Brazil is Catholic) which Seaborne wasn’t aware of at the last minute a new stop was found Alter Do Chao.

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All aboard the tender boat to the shore. hey use the ships modern lifeboats as the tender boats.

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Here we are going ashore together.

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It was a unplanned stop but one of the nicest stops so far in Brazil. It turned out to be a small holiday town on the river with some sandy beaches. A place where the Brazilians go in their summer, its winter time here now.

There are bars on the beach but as the amazon water level rises by up to 8 metres (but normally 5 meters) in winter the water comes right up to the bars.

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The bars out on the sand bar go right under water each winter and stay under water all winter until the summer comes and they move back out there tables chairs and everything to turn it back into bars and restaurants.

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The roof made of local materials in a traditional way. Notice the not so traditional tent and exercise bike on the top floor.

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Look at the size of this fruit nearly twice the size of a football, don’t know what it is, do you?

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This was a local school class or group of some kind doing a lesson of some sorts in the water.

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Local boys hand fishing with just some line and bait.

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We met a local in his 20’s who spoke excellent English and we got talking for 15 minutes about his small town. He was very excited to tell us he just bought a kit from Australia called a ‘Aqua bike’ that converts a push bike to go on water. He wants to test the first 1 and hire them out to the Brazilian summer crowds when they come.

On the way back to the ship we noticed the marina section was open at the back for water sports.

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This is the marina at the bottom and back of the ship. They have paddle boats, kayacks, donuts, water skiing and banana boat to use.

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There is a sea pool too and with the floating platform going up and down a lot in the waves it was good fun.

We went of the banana boat with 5 of us and we were too good at the balance and the boat driver couldn’t flip us over.

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Dinner tonight was ‘Old English’ theme and I had pea & ham soup and lankershire hotpot and roast beef dinner which was good comfort food.

Honeymoon day 5 – Santarem, Brazil

We are still on the amazon in Brazil and visiting another port, today Santarem. First thing we bumped into the ships captain who is from Norway and has a very captains accent and is very friendly.

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This is a beautiful model of another boat we would like to go on one day πŸ™‚

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This is a quick snap of the port, lovely sky and over 30Β° again but a little less humid it felt today.

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We took a bus ride to the city center to ‘Fisherman’s square’. This funny looking bar on the busses wheels caught my eye. I tried asking the driver what it is but he didn’t speak a word of English and it was too hard to explain, any ideas anyone?

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How about this for a old bus, look at the drivers seat, all made of plastic wires, let’s the air flow go past I guess. Need it as no busses seem to have air con here, they don’t seem to have coaches like we know them here.

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The bumpy road to the town center.

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Taxis (car taxis) are few and far between. It seems that these bike taxis are the popular norm. Customers just put on a helmet and away you go.

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This is the main shopping street in town. The streets are very dirty, all the gutters are very deep and most have broken metal grate covers which are a trip hazard everywhere.

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About a quarter of the shops have air con which I’m surprised about. They are a blessing. I didn’t mind looking for shoes with Sanna because of the air con in most of those shops. Looking at prices (mostly clothes and shoes we looked at) most things are about half the price of in Australia but the quality isn’t as high.

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One designer looking shop (with ice cold air on I remember) turned out to be all clothing made by coca cola! I never knew coca cola made clothing, shorts, tops, dresses, everything was made by them.

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At the bus stop to go back to the docks we got talking to a 16 year old boy who was a local and spoke excellent English. We had a good chat comparing lifestyles and culture differences. He had a dream to travel the world when he was older. He seemed very switched on, I’m sure he will find a way.

Back at the ship on the lower outside deck I went for a walk and found lots of half alive insects, including this whopper of a grass hopper.

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My ship pass to get on and off the ship, isn’t my photo a good one πŸ™‚

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Here we are off to dinner doesn’t my wife look beautiful x x

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The sunset off the bow was beautiful today, I used the HDR camera app on my phone and it came out beautiful.

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This spa is at the front tip of the ship. A lovely sky tonight.

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This is taken from the spa in the last photo looking up to the front suites which are the largest suites on the ship and above the ships bridge.

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This is the club tonight which had a magician performing.

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At the end of today we came back to the cabin to find this creature living in our sink πŸ™‚ must have been the room maid.

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Honey moon day 4 – Parintins

We had a quieter day today as we had longer night the previous night. We visited the small town on the amazon called Parintins. It was a stinking hot day of 33 degrees and really high humidity.

We had to take tenders (small boats) to land as the water was too shallow to dock. This photo is looking back to the ship from the land. The water looks almost brown and milk chocolaty. It does look impressive sitting in the river amazon like that.

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Then we got to land where as I said it was stinking hot. All the vegetation from the forests up stream has washed down to collect against the pontoon.

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You can’t see from the photo of course but it was so hot that once we got to land we only ventured a few 100 metres and not having a map we just thought we can’t be bothered. It was so hot we just couldn’t think properally. So we left back to the ship, a very short visit.

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In the afternoon I did a run around the deck and then we both did a Pilate class and then a stretching class which both were good but the Pilates was harder.

That evening the chefs did Brazilian food buffet with all local food and dishes. We sat outside on the Colonnade restaurant at the back of the ship, the return at looks beautiful at night.

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There was a lovely reflection of the moon across the water of the amazon.

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This is a local fish from the amazon, caught and cooked up.

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My cameras not good in low light so it doesn’t look amazing, but everything from the Brazilian local food menu was excellent.

The Brazilian dessert was amazing, local bananas cooked in caramel sauce with a bit of rum in a pan with a scoop on vanilla ice cream and dusted with coconut flakes. It was the best dessert we’ve had on board so far, we both thought it tasted amazing.
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Honeymoon day 3 – Meeting of the waters

Day 3 and we booked a boat tour to see the ‘meeting of the amazon waters’. This is where the river Rio Negro and the Rio Solim’fes merge together to form the mighty Amazon river.

This is similar to the boat we were on but ours was 2 levels only. This boat was filled up with supplies of food and a delivery of new motorcycles.

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A floating petrol station to service all the boats.

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Here we have got to the meeting point of the two waters which are distinctly different colours. One is a light brown colour which has a low ph and lots of sediment in it. The other is a dark amber colour which looks black next to the other one and has a higher ph.

They flow side by side for many miles, depending on the seasons and so the rate of flow of the river, they don’t mix for up to 40 miles at most. The reason they don’t mix is because of the different pH levels.

There are different fish that live in each water type and some fish that swim and live between both of them.

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Here are the meeting of the waters up close.

These are amazonion Indians living in stilt houses. As they are living so close to the city of Manaus they have recently got power connection. Most other house just have a TV or radio connected to a car battery which they charge up in town once a week.

These grasses grow close to the banks and they harvest them to fees they cattle. As the water level goes up ans down by up to 8 meters through the seasons the grasses grow long and short.

Large islands of grass sometimes gets detached and float down the river.

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Giant water lilies which I didn’t know if you lift them up have lots of spikes on the bottom to stop the fish from eating them.

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Dead stuffed Red bellied Paranas

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On our way back to our temporary home the Sourjorn.

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That evening was the sale away party at 5pm with a band by the pool and everyone leaning over the edge to see us pull away.

Oh I almost forgot we did a bridge tour which I thought was really interesting.

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Here Sanna is listening to the band drinking a cocktail as we sailed away from Manaus.

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That evening was a formal night with a speech from the captain ans the senior officers followed by a live show of all the hit songs from Broadway shows, it was a late night.

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Hi to Damien and Rich who I now who are following my blog πŸ™‚

Some photos of the ship

The Seaborn Sojourn our honeymoon home for the next 2 weeks is one of the smallest modern (built 3 years ago) cruise ships in the world and is known as a 6 star ship. I guess they have to put it above the 5 star level you find on land some how.

It has the highest staff to guest ratio in the world and you feel that with every turn of a corridor a staff member greets you (a lot personally by name I don’t know how they remember them all) and asks how your day is. They are not pesky they do it just right, after a couple of days you realise whatever you ask is not too much.

For example If you say I want a bit of chocolate the staff will go off and get some for you there and then.

Here are a few happy snaps I took of the inside. Here is one of the main spiral stairways going to all levels.

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Here is looking down.

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This is the entrance to the spa and gym. This is what most of the corridors look like.

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This is the main pool and if you look you can see me in the spa.

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This is a long corridor which shows about 3/4 the length of the ship.

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And this is the ‘Grand salon’ where all the live shows are held each night.

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Were still getting used to everything being included, you can ask for beer,wine, whiskies whatever you want.

Day 2 of honeymoon (day 1 of the cruise)

Day 1 was spent in the amazon port town of Manaus where we found the ship, right in the center of the amazon jungle.Β  It was built on the money from big rubber production making and other rubber items for western countries. That was years ago but the rubber tree seeds were stolen and planted elsewhere and this bankrupted Manaus which went from a rich city in the jungle to a bankrupt one. A lot of the buildings were very grand but fell into disrepair due to the bankruptcy.

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One building still in excellent condition is the Manaus opera house as this is owned andΒ  maintained by the government, and so the peoples tax. Everything around it appears in 3rd world condition almost but this building is a gem in the rough.

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The streets are very rough and pot holed in dis-repair. There is a smell of dirtyness and bad food smells all around wafting with the very hot air. It makes you want to breath through your nose instead of your mouth as the air feels so dirty.

Here are some Brazilians all crowded around a TV in a shop watching football, they love the football alright.

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We weren’t expecting to see a English C&A store in the middle of the Amazon. They had amazing aircon. Was good to be out of the 30Β° high humidity heat.

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Banana street delivery lady.

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This is the place to buy all your drugs by the looks of it πŸ™‚

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In the evening back on board the ship we had dinner outside on the top level by the pool. We didn’t feel safe enough to walk about the streets of Manaus at night. Shame we couldn’t eat out in the city bit the risk of dodgy food a safety stopped us.

The meal we had on the ship was great. Overall all the food we’ve had on the ship so far has been top restaurant quality.

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Finding our ship

We found the beautiful cruise ship which is our home for nearly 2 weeks in amongst the dirtyness and smellyness of the amazon jungle port of Manaus.

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Just before boarding I took this cool panoramic photo from the dockside.

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After check in where they took photos of us and issued us ship ID cards and insisted sighting our Yellow fever vaccination cards, we were free to go to our cabin.

The cabin is very large for a ship cabin and very nicely furnished. The house keep lady had a bottle of champagne chilled waiting for us, its a shame Sanna and I don’t really like champagne.

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The bathroom has twin sinks for him and her, a bath and a shower which is good
The house keep lady brought a choice of soaps to choose from and fresh local fruit.

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The walk in closet which makes the main room clean of clothes everywhere.

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Another view of the cabin or ‘suite’ as they call it looking back to the door.

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You can tell the finishings, fabrics and sheeting are all of the highest quality. Its absolute quiet as well. Overall the best cabin I’ve ever seen on a cruise ship for me and most like a hotel room I’ve seen.

Photoshop touch on the plane

I’m on the plane at the moment, flying be tween Panama City and Manaus in the Amazon. Instead of watching movies Γ¬ thought I’d have a go at Adobe Photoshop Touch which came pre-installed on my new tablet (Samsung Galaxy Note). I’ve been through all theΒ  tutorials now which took just over an hour and I’m amazed how much of photographs features are built into it compared to the full Photoshop CS on the computer.

I decided to have a experiment with photo of my car at the car wash last week. Here’s the original photo,

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And here is the version I created. I used cropping, then masking then saturation,Β  motion blur, small lens flare top left and the edge tilt technique, all learnt from the tutorial.Β  Pretty good for all on a tablet.

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In flight meal – worst ever

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This has to be the worst in flight meal we’ve ever got on a flight. This was served to us on the Copa Airlines flight from Panama to Manaus in the jungle.

The meat in the burger might have been dog or something, it might have been as we’ve seen so many street dogs in Manaus. I bet your next plane food will be better.