We are back on the air again, after a considerable amount of time waiting for the local telecomms company to sort out our phone line. It’s still not back to normal, but it will have to do. I know, I know – “But what about the river levels?” I hear you ask. Okay, well we’re approaching the peak water level now, which will occur on June 22nd. Although it’s higher than last year, it is not going to get anywhere near record-breaking levels. At present it’s sitting at around 28.6 metres (the Port Authority website is down at the moment – perhaps they’re having the same problem we had), and will probably rise to about 28.7 or thereabouts. Anyway, it’s high enough to make the those parts of the Amazon not normally reachable, reachable. We have about two months to make good use of this, so we have trips planned to Careiro do Castanho, Naice’s parents’ house via Anveres, and to Novo Airao. I’ll let you know how we get on.

I notice there seem to have been a number of visitors coming to us from China while we’ve been off the air, so hello to you and thanks for coming. I would write “hello” in Chinese, but don’t know where to begin – perhaps someone can help?

A lot has happened since my last post, so this will be a (relatively) long one. I would break it into smaller individual posts, but then someone will complain that they missed some of them. So you’ll just have to wade your way through it.

First of all, we’ve now been here a year, incredible though it may seem. We’ve had our ups and downs, but all in all we’re in pretty good shape. Financially, this month will be the first month we will break even on our costs, so we’re happy about that. Emotionally, I suppose I’m still struggling to adapt, but I’m definitely getting there. And anyway, when I’m having my doubts I only have to look out over the forest to feel good about the whole thing again. The house is in good shape, the dogs are fine, we’re in good health, we still have some money in the bank, the phone’s working again; the house, car, bike, boat and furniture are all paid for, and there’s food on the table. Can’t be bad, can it?

The challenge at present is to decide what direction we’re taking: opportunities have begun presenting themselves, and most of them are mutually exclusive. We’ll let you know what develops.

So what’s been happening? Well, we bought a mobile beer cooler (see earlier post), and I’ve passed my test to ride it. We’ve had lots of people staying at the guesthouse, and are fairly well booked up through to 6th July. The guesthouse website has been updated, and we’ve started charging in Brazilian Reais instead of the declining Greenback. We’ve had two wonderful guesthouse reviews written up on Trip Adviser, which is really nice. We’ve finished a third bedroom for ourselves downstairs, and I’ve been reasonably successfully wiring and/or re-wiring various bits and pieces (this 110v stuff is easy!). We’ve finally managed to stop the rain leaking into our office. Our beautiful Brasileira tree (I think it’s called a Brasileira) has been attacked by some sort of mite. I broke our Sky box, so now we have no TV. I also scraped the car, and a friend of ours reversed into it on the same day. This was after one of the brake discs cracked. Fun fun fun. We’ve managed to get Skype working with a landline call forwarding option now, so if you want to phone us for free you can (e-mail me if you want the details). Naice is starting two new courses this month – tourism and logistics management – and I’m well on with the soon-to-be-bestseller ‘The Wisdom of Oz’. Someone has put me forward for teaching Portuguese, which is at the very least amusing (well, probably not for the student), if not terrifying. We’ve had a couple of Golden Tegus (pic) visit the garden, as well as a rash of Sauim de Colera monkeys (pic). The horn and voltmeter on the boat have stopped working, but I’m sure I’ll get it sorted out soon (anyone know how to wire a voltmeter?), and I had to replace the prop after I pranged it on some iron rails. Tsk.

We had an old friend of mine visit us from Boa Vista, which was great fun and naturally led to much drinking and singing and what-have-you. Although he’s now gone back, there may be a joint project for us coming along, and I’m looking into this at the moment.

And I think that’s about it. To those of you awaiting an e-mail, our apologies. We figured we should do the blog first and then tackle the backlog. We will be catching everything up over the next week. We miss all of you back in Ireland. Yes, even you. So take it easy and enjoy your woefully inadequate summer, and remember we’re ready for your visit whenever you can come.

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