Retracing my steps to Belem: French Guiana and Macapa in Brazil (9th October to 11th October)

French Guiana

I left Paramaribo at 5am in order to catch an early ferry to French Guiana (there are 4 ferries a day so no major panic but I was hoping to get a morning one) The border crossing out of Suriname to French Guiana was so easy, I mean crazy easy this is the kind of border crossing the need all over the world. They do the usual passport checks / stamps but don’t give a damn about a motorbike as it is for personal use so no customs, super cool.  I continued directly onto Cayenne as it was only about 200kms away and it was only 11am when I landed in St Laurent so no need to spend the night. Cayenne was uneventful I had a good mean and spent the afternoon in the pool at the hotel.

The next morning I took the road, again quite early to St George to catch a ferry to Brazil. The road was empty and misty and not at all hot and I had a great ride.  I was also well rewarded with a sighting of two young ring tail Coatis’ playing in the road. I slammed on breaks and they continued to play so I quickly took my camera out but that is when they noticed me and decided they were camera shy and ran off into the bushes, damn

 young ring tail coati just like the two I saw

 there are tons of framed dead spiders in Cayenne and I was very tempted to buy one but knew it could get broken on the trip or even if I posted it. the shop was sadly closed so this the only picture I could get.

Brazil

At St George I did the passport thing at the police station, quick and easy and then went to find a ferry. The actual official ferry was not there and I was told by the cops that it is very expensive but not a problem to put my bike on a small boat i.e. it is quite legal. At the doc a few boatmen approached me and told me it would cost Eur50 to take my bike across to Brazil. I tried to argue the price down but they were not having it. So I agreed and we started loading the bike OMG, it was far far easier to get an empty 250 onto a canoe in Myanmar than get my 650 onto this boat. Eventually I just stood back and let the experts handle gadget onto the boat… I think they have done this before. I did feel bad though as one of the lads cut his leg open on the bike, it was not very bad or deep and stopped bleeding quickly but I still felt bad for the chap.

getting the bike on the boat

 getting the bike off the boat

The trip only took 10 minutes, I couldn’t believe it. When we crossed with the group t book 40 minutes on a large sand barge, but this speedy little boat only took 10. When they dropped me on the shore amongst the fishing boats I actually got suspicious that they had dropped me on an island somewhere since I was so sure the trip should have been longer. However they convinced me that this was just the very far side of Oiapoque. The bad thing is that now the boat owner said I also needed to pay Eur 10 x 2 to the 2 lads who helped with the bike. I argued with him but 3 fishermen had helped off load the bike and when he started speaking to them in an animated way I was wondering if he was saying I won’t pay and got a bit nervous about the situation since it was just me and 6 of them and a load of fishing boats. So I quickly paid the lads and headed off, and this fun boat trip turned out to be a very expensive endeavour L

Again I completed the very easy passport control at the police station and then headed to a couple of hotels whose addresses I’d noted down only to find they were full. I tried 6 places in total but it was Friday and some big cycling event was taking place that weekend (well that is what I think people were explaining) eventually I went back to the first place and explained the situation to the very nice owner who agreed that I could camp on his lawn. He even refused to charge me anything and then apologised for the bathroom that I needed to use which was in the laundry, but it was great very nice and clean. Wow talk about fantastic hospitality. I spent the afternoon just relaxing in a hammock reading my book totally chilled. I considered riding the 288kms to Calcoene but since it is a dirt road and it was already 1:30pm I decided to play it safe and stay and head to Calcoene in the morning. I had a lovely night camping at Chácara do Paraíso and can highly recommend this place, a real oasis with lovely chalets, fantastic restaurant and a swimming pool.

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