Friday 27 February 2009


Wednesday 25 February 2009

Recc. books

Cruiseships in Santarem

Know the Amazon through a Bird Eye

On a twin-engine plane you’ll fly over the Tapajos River to reach the view of your vessel docked at Santarem Port followed by the meeting of the waters. Looking down to the town you will spot Richard Hennington pier and a yellow house with blue windows. That is my home!

Flying over the line formed by the Tapajos and Amazon Rivers you reach the floodplain East of Santarem called Maica, where scientists like Spruce, Wallace and Bates explored and families of Confederados settled in the 17th Century. You will spot Taperinha, Rhome's home(confederado known for having built the first steam boat and car in South America)and an archeological site where Ann Roosevelt carried some of her studies about Amazonian aborigenes.

The Amazon Floodplain represents only about 5% of the Amazon Basin and is one of the most scenic ecosystems in the region. The boats you’ll see below carry your cruise mates. Please, take some shots and email me and them.

Westward you will see below Diamantino and Piquiatuba where The Wickhams lived with other Confederado families and previously the major settlement of the Tapajos Indians.

You fly over some soya bean fields that surround Bosque Sta Lucia owned by the Alexanders to view the Tapajos National Forest (600.000he) and Belterra, the second city founded by Henry Ford in 1935.

Northwestward you fly across the sea-like Tapajos River to reach the view of the village of Boim, where Sephardic Jewish families settled in 1860’s and Henry Wickham loaded M/S Amazonas with 70.000 rubber tree seeds in March 1876, the first certificated act of bio-piracy.

On your way back to Santarem you will fly over the right bank of the Tapajos River to spot some Igapo Forest and the village of Alter-do- Chão, known as Caribbean Amazon.
Ten minutes later you land at Santarem airport to be served a cold beer.

Book this and other trips via

Tuesday 24 February 2009

On the River by Gil Serique

Chapter something

(Piranhas, Sting ray and Candiru)

If you ask anyone here what water animal we fear most sting rays will be your answer. You will never find a boat named after the flat fish.

The common and rare species in various genera of sting rays in the Amazon Basin are related to species from the Pacific Ocean, keeping on the surface the idea that the Amazon River was flowing into the mentioned ocean.

The culprit of this relatively new relation with the Atlantic was the Andes.

Books mention Candiru, a needle-shaped fish to be so curious that gets into any orifice humans have. Scientific literature says the same with different words.

I never saw or heard from a confident source such embarrassing and painful story. They name boats and the only floating Police Station is after Candiru as well.

It is a message to drug smugglers that never bother breaking the bottle to read it.

On the River by Gil Serique

"A dream-like, sometimes haunting reflection on the inextricable tie between life, death, and boats in the Amazon Valley. A boat for a boy on the Great River is the same as a car for a boy in the United States -- it is a whisper of limitless possibility, a thrilling promise of better things. The romance of the river is essentially the romance of the road -- new beginnings beckon around every bend and up each new tributary. Gil Serique's memoir of life on a river of boats reminds us that, for all our differences, we are all the same."
Blurb by JOe Jackson author of The Thief at the End of the World

On the River by Gil Serique

Chapter VI
My only near death experience was on a boat. It happened when a friend
from New York and I went to visit Canela Island on the coast of Belem.
I had thrilled before with the arrival of some 10.000 Scarlet Ibis
that nest and shelter there and I was excited to contemplate it again.
The original plan was to do the 50 miles of open sea in two and a half
hours, observe the spectacular avifauna, photograph and only return to
Belem on the next day.
Limited options made us choose B/M Garoto(boy) a miniscule fishing
boat with a crew formed by three young married men.
We got on board and left we had loaded her with some packs of
biscuits, water and wherever you can find in a small village that you
can still feel alone as a tourist.

I can't remember any incident that may have taken place between the
moment we unanchored and the arrival at Canela.
The bird show had been spectacular with big flocks of Scarlet Ibis
flying over head dropping the curtain.
Before setting camp we did not disagree much about the value of a cold
beer in a nice bar and other pirate things and Bill decided to ask:
-Do you think we can return to Belem in time?
- I was born one thousand kilometers from the Atlantic where tides
have no meaning, let me check with the crew.
I said to Bill leaving the decision in the other six hands that
answered positive without showing any sign of hesitation.

Probably we would have had enough water to reach the coast if the
journey had not been spiced by the mightiest torment B/M Garoto had
ever faced.
It was too late to puke Bill's words and the crew's decision.
B/M Garoto's propeller had been lost and her anchor literally floated
on the scary waves.
This time was God's time to decide and He had not much time to ponder.
Holding tight and working on my balance I spit my last joke.
- Bill, changing plans again! We are not going to a bar, we gonna fucking die!
He agreed without smiling and I noticed one member of our crew crying
in despair while assisting his other friend severely vomiting of
Without much to do on the helm, the captain was at the water pump like
punching his worst enemy's face on the ground.
The bonanza took a light year to come and it came with a fantastic
Atlantic phytoplankton show bringing into my mind a cloud of fireflies
in the floodplain.
Extremely exhausted and without much to do in deep dark waters we
played plan A and felt asleep.

On the River by Gil Serique

Chapter IV
I set foot on a cruise ship when I was a teenager. I was taken by
Flavio, my older brother who bequeathed my father's name who was in
the tour business for four years already.
From outside I had been curious to watch them. Cruise ships were a
major trigger of my imagination after birds.
She was quite luxurious and reminded me the hotel my brother was
working for which almost made me think she was frigid.
Everything a large cruise ship has today but an internet café she had.
My English was good enough to get along and a crew member took me on a
tour. I was taken into restaurants, casinos, closed shops, pool bars,
fitness center you name.
Either the restaurant or the library was named after an anonymous to
me. Decks were numbered up to eleven. At the sun deck I was told she
was some six hundred feet long, 85 feet of breadth and carried more
than 600 passengers.
I ended up left by my host in a small room equipped with
paraphernalia of electronics where I was introduced to his shipmate.
A can of beer held on his left hand made me think he had an
interesting position on the ship. I wanted to have a similar job.
Little windows gave eye access to a theater where I could see my
brother at stage presenting Sebastião Tapajos and Maestro Izoca to an
enthusiastic audience made of American and Europeans tourists. I was
very proud of my brother who was very proud of his two talented
friends. Our brief visitors freaked with the show when I freaked
behind the spotlights.

On the River by Gil Serique

Chapter III
When I was big enough to run, my family moved to Santarem for good so
we could attend to school. Boats anchored on the Tapajos River became
my favorite playground.
We swam over and had them as base for our jumps, as an obstacle to
play tag and as a good site to observe shows of fish. The captain
arriving on a canoe or yelling from the beach was a sign to call it a
day. But it was only a sign!
We swim then to moving boats and held to worn tires hanging on their
sides. Our bodies so much appreciate splashing water bumping against
them, don't they?
The captain gets rid of us with a cable or piece of stick. That is
what we made he think he did. We slide down holding to the stern next.
Different sort of water pressure your body feels. - watch the
With a poor combination of moves you reach the top of the boat. You
are the king!
You yell with excitement and jump. Your body and brain burning with
adrenaline splash against the water and makes you learn how good is to
be part of the shoal.
. You come out of the water like you had been there too long.
- Air!!!
Now you can call it a day.

On the River by Gil Serique

Chapter II

As an infant born in the Amazon Basin my obvious favorite toy was
paper boats. Making, loading and carefully placing them on run outs of
Amazon storms made my heart bit faster and threw my imagination beyond
the wall.
Being raised in a region that holds 80% of all navigable fresh water
in the planet, highest rain precipitation, huge bio mass and a
diversity of hardwood species without parallel explain it. Add to that
our very limited access to machine-made toys.
Boys with skills to build boats of wood with a little motor were
admired by all.
A rumor about someone making a new wooden-boat travelled for free in
my childhood.
We did not need a bottle of champagne to make the first floating a big
event, we had the rain water to swim and dive making the party a
Happiness and my mother's beats on our way back home keep it quite
vivid in my own mind.
The palm tree family represented by some 100 species is unquestioned
of great importance in our culture and lives.
We use palm trees as source of food, on the making of quite ingenious
instruments, traps, weapons, baskets, boat roof and above all our
homes and hammocks. There is one species named Buruti that means the
gift of the gods.
Several of the best little boats was made of part of palm trees. They
floated long distances in fast run outs caused by heavy Amazon rain
I have an extra reason to list up paper boats as favorites. I was born
in a little village up the Tapajos River called Surucua where some
other fifty families shared with us a paradisiacal life and an
isolation that would be only break by an 8-hour boat trip to Santarem.
I traveled bellied in my mother and did many trips to Santarem as a child.
Boats always had a significant importance in my life. There was always
one ready for evacuating a person in need of; Rescued my siblings from
Santarem and my daddy from his frequents trips to villages and cities
bringing toys and joys into my child's heart.
Frankly, the cabocos that could identify boats by their engine breath
had almost as much prestige as good fisherman or hunter at Surucua.
Childhood's end!

On the River by Gil Serique

Rubber boom, English, Jews

M/S Amazonas has got her name in History for a trip she may not wanted to do, but it was not up to her. Linking your name to the first act of bio piracy makes people say bad words about you.

Captain Murray, Wickhams never cared and they had a little help from their friends. The third passenger was a little boy the Wickham's had adopted here, he was never told the tale. No details!

The year was 1876, they had arrived some four years before. Month and day can be got by playing with the same digits.

Rubber was the reason for the greatest economic boom the World would ever come to experience. Several wars were going on and automobiles and bikes were pop.

The sap that oozed from a sacred tree was in big increasing need and high priced. Iron, steel and rubber made a Triunvirate.

It was one of the reasons my grand-father and his family moved from Morocco and The Wickham from England.

Sails can not be set without Rubber Barons underwear!

The ship had been loaded with whisky, wine, vodka, champagne and pieces of distinct puzzles from Europe that shaped homes, buildings and the atmosphere in Manaus and Belem.

Passengers on and off the vessels were businessmen, musicians, prostitutes and pimps; their luggage: Cigarettes & Alcohol.

During the journey the captain's party was interrupted by a storm. It is safer on land.

Another party is on!

My grand-parents decided to settle in a site where rubber barons LOLs could not be heard and rubber trees can grow.

Wickham's picked Santarem. It is easier to ship bird feathers to supply his father's hat shop in London and staffed wildlife stuff was profitable too. Mrs. Wickham can work as a teacher to septic tanks. Her father was a Londoner publisher; reading was her cup of tea and she knew a lot of shit.

The party was louder and louder and screams of slaves being slashed, raping women, Indians and cabocos cries of pain and anger were part of it.

Wickham's illustration of rubber tree worth more than Van Gogh, Dali and Da Vinci's combined.

Hooker, Darwin's china and notorious director of Kew Gardens did not notice Henry had drawn the seed pod to oval, but he had learned from Spruce the number of seeds in one and he wanted to have 70.000 of them.

At this point the Wickham had a small graveyard where they sometimes pray for family members that had succumbed.

Violet may have thought about hanging out again at Regent Square and make a party at Buckingham Palace

God saves the Queen!

Another Chapter

On the River by Gil Serique

"A dream-like, sometimes haunting reflection on the inextricable tie between
life, death, and boats in the Amazon Valley. A boat for a boy on the Great
River is the same as a car for a boy in the United States -- it is a whisper
of limitless possibility, a thrilling promise of better things. The romance
of the river is essentially the romance of the road -- new beginnings beckon
around every bend and up each new tributary. Gil Serique's memoir of life on
a river of boats reminds us that, for all our differences, we are all the
Joe Jackson

Chapter I
B/M Triunfo

The bell tolls twice and rear gear is set at dusk. It rings once more and separates a sequence of three crescent sets of bleings.

Farewell atmosphere is broken by hooking hammocks, knot shows, "-How is the weather?" and "– What did I forget?"

During the day time they were visitors and customers under the moonshine they are passengers again.

With the city lights fading out behind, Mars is spotted; stars turn into constellations like your thoughts into plans. Now in your hammock, meditations are interrupted by a nap, dreams begin to shape, nightmares too.

Captain studies the Milk Way and pin points some stars and planets that his burnt eyes still can spot to his only crew who answers, without giving too much attention to a shooting star that falls.

-Do you believe in Cobra Grande and other monsters?

- Sure! Don't you? The sailor was responded.

Without expressing he had shared his superior's thoughts he asks in more need of an answer.

Do you believe in Demons and E.Ts?

The third time the captain was going to respond positive to his second question was interrupted by a paper ball tossed into his miniscule cabin. He bends to get it with precision to see it was colored purple like on the apple he had given to a long-time wished- prey now part of the pack of passengers.

- The fish bit the bait. He murmured.

Without giving any chance to the sailor say "Please Don´t" the master single-pats him on the shoulder and disappears into many bodies suspended in a familiar labyrinth of hammocks.

- I knew all this existed and there is got to be a lot more out there.

The sailor says like he had any companionship left with in a fearful frame.

Moving like an inquisitive otter the captain spots a red hammock with the help of his weak torch. He crawls by postponing his destination and at the stern notices the stars are being obscured by black clouds slashed by bright lightning bolts.

With myths into reality, the sailor holds the cricking helm like he does his bow and arrow at aim.

He shares the imminent reality with a new comer to both be terrified with the Apocalypse now.

Like in a wasp attack, he avoids the multitude of hammocks to find the sea man smelling his dead pray.

Without any persuading attempt the terrified passenger grabs and drags the captain to his original position like a herd of peccaries under chase.

The engine noise mixes with cries, prayers and the sharp and fast noise of the water pump working together with the sailor as one.

The captain had gone well in the last three huge waves. The howling winds blowing from behind unbalances the boat that drops in a vacuum. Desperate words and cries crashes against splashing water as the pump silences little by little.

I feel my fainted-like body being carried effortless up stairs. Dogs bark when I am being carefully placed in a hammock. At dawn break roosters don't bother me metallic noise and joyful morning greetings with the scent of fresh hot coffee do.


Monday 23 February 2009

Fly over Santarem

With 300. 00 inhabitants Santarem offers an amazing possibility of learning about the Amazon flying over on a small plane.
In one hour one can see with bird view the Jewish community of Boim, Belterra found by Ford Company, the Amazing Tapajos National Forest, Piquiatuba(area where most American Confederado settled) and the floodplain, the most scenic place in the Amazon basin.. The meeting of the Waters takes part when you fly over the city.

Groups can vary between 6 and nine passengers.

For more information write to my email:

Saturday 21 February 2009

Earth through the eyes of the Star Man

Friday 20 February 2009

CALENDAR 2009 January Only

Thursday 19 February 2009

New Post Card


Tuesday 17 February 2009

New book is warming up

The cans & can'ts of life

Wednesday 4 February 2009

BunGa Saga 9