The hammock dilemma


Cosy bedfellows: Close quarter living aboard the Oliveira

Normally cold weather or a self-inflicted headache are the cause of my most excruciating dilemma: Get out of bed for a much needed wee or stay and hope tiredness manages to postpone my swelling bladder’s inevitable victory until a more convenient time.

But on this particular occasion, as groinal anguish once again snapped me out of dreamland I was neither hungover, nor cold. “Haha,” I thought, “You will take no pleasure from today’s triumph bladder”.

But upon trying to move I quickly realised that my ecstasy was sadly premature. For as I lay in my hammock on the final leg of our journey up the Amazon, completing the toilet run appeared near impossible.

From a hammock to my right, a knee was burrowing into my back. At my feet end someone else’s size 11s were marching all over my cloth home, forcing me to sleep in a curled up ‘S’ position.

Directly below lay Sophie and beside her a large Brazilian lady who was diligently practising for the World fidgeting championships.


Just hanging around…

Suspended five foot from the ground I was barely able to move let alone execute an escape maneouvre. Everyone else was asleep. My bladder laughed with pleasure.

I tried to drift off, but my discomfort merely got worse and after 45 minutes I could take it no more.

Despite my best efforts, my delicate dismount in the dark managed to wake up seven people.

The commando style crawl I then had to carry out under other hammocks and over bags, fruit and dogs managed to wake several more. Still, moments later, after annoying even more people on my return to bed I at least felt much better.


Pick your spot!

In the warm Brazilian light of day the overpopulation of our sleeping quarters became clear. I counted 120 people crammed into an area of about 6 metres by 12 metres on the second floor of our boat.


Yoga on the top deck

Still the camaraderie on board was good and as I set about trying to get to grips with the basics of Spanish Sophie attracted a crowd on the top deck by joining an American girl who was doing some yoga.

The river was markedly narrower here than when we began our journey from its mouth in Belem over a month ago.

On our final night, before hoisting myself into bed, I make a conscious effort to restrict my liquid intake and it seemed to work. From my suspended viewing point I was treated to one last beautiful sunset over the Amazon.


My final sunset over the Amazon


About travellingtoothbrushes

We are a couple of journalists with restless toothbrushes. Our teeth scrubbers seem unable to leap out of their respective washbags to take up a permanent residency on the bathroom shelf. So, we've decided to let them live the way they want to and take them on a trip around South America...
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2 Responses to The hammock dilemma

  1. Anonymous says:

    Seems just like a typical cross-Channel ferry – but without the hammocks.

  2. TC (again) says:

    Sorry for appearing secretive, but I forgot to add my name – so for anonymous read Tony Collins

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