From the park, we headed our for another long day of driving. The bus is still sputtering and I think the issue is now the the distributor itself. When I watch the timing mark with a light, the advance seems to go backwards before forward. And, it’s inconsistent. I’ve lubricated it, but nothing changes. I’ll try to pick up a ‘real’ VW distributor while still in Brazil and ditch the 009 if I can. At full throttle, it’s fine.
We made it to São Luis in the pouring rain and headed straight for the ferry terminal. São Luis seems okay based on what we’ve read, but others have told us to avoid it. We didn’t have any major reason to visit, so the ferry across the Baia de São Marcos was the plan.
There was a huge line of cars and most of them had tickets. It took us a while to figure out the system, but the system is… you can’t buy tickets. So, we waited in the ‘no ticket’ line. And, waited.
We missed the next two ferrys, but made some friends in line. The 3rd ferry arrived about 4 hours later and we were the last one allowed on.
The ferry knocks 250 km off your route if you are going to Belem. We recommend buying a ticket in advance (somewhere) or getting there early!
After the boat, we headed to Alcântara for a peaceful night’s sleep.
The Portuguese, French and Dutch all took turns wiping out the indigenous population here in the 17th century. Then, duked it out among themselves. This town boomed during the cotton and sugar rushes and became a big slave-trading center to support the industry. Later, when Brazil outlawed slavery, the town collapsed when all the barons left with all the cash.
Today, it’s pretty much just fishing and tourism. It’s an interesting place with crumbling colonial architecture and old mansions being overtaken by the jungle. One of the major landmarks here is it’s well-preserved whipping post. Prominently located in it’s original location – in front of the Catholic church.