Manaus Travel Blog› entry 1 of 1 › view all entries
June 25th, 2007 – by: samsmith_ndt
I went to see the medic on board to see if I could get any pills to help me sleep (I've been having trouble with my malarone) - she said she could help me, but would contact a doctor on land first to authorise the issue. I go back to the office. 2 hours later, a panicking office monkey tells me to grab my stuff, as I am going to see a doctor and it's an emergency. Turns out, somewhere along the line, they had become confused and had decided that I had malaria, and so must be treated post-haste. I take a boat to Manaus, get picked up immediately after a 1 hour wait at the quay.
They drop me at a hotel - "we'll pick you up at 5pm", is what we manage to mime and point to each other I am collected at 5:30pm sharp, then spend an hour driving through manaus doing various errands to make preparations for the driver's weekend. From the evidence, it looks like he is 'at home' to the Marquis de Sade this weekend. We get to the doctor's surgery. I am dragged inside by a company agent, am show the television, and pointed to a seat. I sit down, he drags me into the doctor's office. I am told to remove my clothes, and am prodded, tapped and listened to. Well, at least my internal organs got a fair trial.
I show them the malarone toblets I have been taking. The doctor does not know what these are. I try to explain I am suffering side-effects. They point at the pills and say "no", loudly and in unison, and confiscate them. Who can argue with this kind of expertise? They say they want to take blood and urine samples. I swear at them profusely. They can't understand me, so I also tell them that I have a cat called Tigger who is grey and fat and likes to hide in boxes.
I manage to get the agent to call his boss, who speaks english. I explain the confusion to him, he explains to the agent. The agent then tries to take me out and get me drunk. I am tired, fed up and want to go to bed. After 3 hours of tedious drinking and being shown how to make obscene gestures to women in brazilian, they relent and take me back to the hotel. I am woken by a phonecall to my room at 8am the next day. "the agents are here to take you to the doctors." Again? I rush downstairs grabbing whatever clothing I can lay my hands on. I find an empty lobby. "the agents have left now." Will they be back? Did they leave a message? The desk clerk's english suddenly deserts her. She babbles at me in portuguese until I slope off to my room for some more kip.
So, I had a nice weekend in Manaus. I went out, ate in the plazas and for a brief while was recruited by a troupe of drummers and jugglers. They were from Chile, Peru, Argentina and Nicauragua. All good folk; I did not do much apart from hang out with them as they toured the bars, and chatted in broken english and my appalling portugues. I can pretty much say "I like..." and "I don't like.." We also borrowed a guitar from someone and had a little sing-song in the park.
It's a nice town - not as polished as some parts of Rio or Sau Paulo, but not as threatening either. I did not feel bothered at any time, nor stranded like I have done before, unsure whether it is safe to walk out of sight of the hotel.
Seemingly by chance, I met the company agent this morning in the hotel lobby. We went to the doctor. They ignored me again. The doctor wrote a note - a prescription for sleeping pills i thought - saying that I was sleeping fine, and thus, no problem. That I had no malarone for 2 days, that i was sleeping in a nice hotel room sedated by a few beers (ok, I got merrily trollied every night...who wouldn't?), might have had an effect on this! I asked if I was allowed the same medication to help me sleep on the barge. They looked at me like I had just declared myself archangel of the underworld, returned to the land of the living to collect all unpure souls for satan's annual fancy-dress do.
I am now gladly returned to the barge (I never though I would say that), we are laying pipe and I am back on the malarone. My only concern is over what I could expect if I actually needed medical treatment out here...it seems a translator is a bit much to ask, so who knows what random treatments I can expect?
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