The ship arrived off the shore of the small town of Parintins situated on the southern bank of the Amazon just after breakfast. From November to January the town becomes an island and can only be reached by river. We anchored midstream making for a 20 minute tender boat ride to the town pier.
Parintins is not a common tourist destination, attracting few cruise ships, however, thousands flock here at the end of June for the famous annual Parintins Folklore Festival, the second largest festival in Brazil, with only Rio being larger. It is called the Festival do Boi Bumba and it celebrates a local legend of the resurrection of a bull.
Our choice here was to explore the town, take an organised tour of the area or watch a performance of the ‘do Boi Bumba’, we opted for the latter as this is what the place is famous for. We ignored the opportunity to go ashore during the morning as the show did not begin until 2.30pm. We preferred to stay on board, play table tennis and read our books. We were on the first Tender exclusive to those watching the show and managed to get front row seats during the performance.
It was a marvellous show, it far surpassed my expectations and was worth every penny we paid. The colour of the spectacle and the energy of the dancers was beyond anything we have ever seen before and we have seen a lot of cultural performances during our travels. The performers clad in fantastical costumes blurred our retinas with movement and colour, the music was pure Amazonian rhythm. I couldn’t help grinning rather stupidly throughout, I enjoyed it so much. When invited to join the dancers, I along with many others leapt at the chance, swaying, bouncing and clapping to a hypnotic tune that grabbed the primitive within us.
Needless to say I bought a CD of the music, it no doubt will form the backing music to the video I produce for the family of this cruise. Lucas will appreciate that.
On leaving the show we were surprised to discover that there had been a storm, so enraptured by the performance we had been completely unaware of the atmospheric mayhem taking place. Treading carefully to avoid deep pools of rainwater we finished our trip into Parintins by purchasing a painting from one of the many stalls located in the street outside.
Whilst on our customary walk around the decks before the evening show began in the ship’s theatre, hunting for strange looking insects attracted from the passing forest by the lights of the ship, we were treated to more aerial fireworks. Lightning flickered across the night sky, briefly illuminating angry looking clouds, this could be an interesting night we thought.