Mark is here. I knew everything would be much better when he got here and I was so right; finally there is someone else here to talk about problems to, share experiences with and more importantly to make decisions with. Sometimes it is hard to make a call on even the simplest thing. However now we have two minds working on it, two minds making judgment calls about emails to shipping agents and two minds meeting people and pressing the flesh; we are definitely a strong team. There are other people as well though who are working just as hard; lots of people are trying everything to get us moving. Anton de Piro in England and Peter Hofmann at the shipping agent in Crawley. All the people at Cambridge Judge who keep the website running and the blogs spellchecked (well at least mine). And finally there is the famous Mike Collis and Patti Vasquez. Mark has met my two saviours today for the first time, (Mad) Mike Collis first, who told him lots of historical facts about the raft race and naughty secrets from other Amazon adventurers. Mark instantly understood why I have so much respect for this guy and could also see how genuine he is. Patti he met at the hotel as she came around to pass on information from Emerson, and who then, to Mark's amazement, sat and worked for us for three hours solid making calls and speaking in that language that I am slowly starting to get to grips with beyond the sayings that I learnt at school, ¿donde esta la biblioteca?
As Mark looked on at Patti (who works for the local government and has managed to get several high-ranking individuals including the secretary of the regional president to make calls on our behalf) as she talked loudly into the phone and sent emails from my laptop I explained that it has been like this all the time. There is so much support for our attempt here and there is no underlying gain for them at all; in Lima people are being paid to help us, here they are not, and that really annoys me in a lot of ways. I asked today for the regional flag for the boat as I feel that it would be a much greater compliment to the area than just flying the Peruvian flag.
So now what is the plan? Well we are both here and with a bit of luck the boat will be joining us in a week as well. We are both hoping to get started by the 10th at the latest, but hopefully sooner, as this way we will still have a chance of completing the row before our flights home. Otherwise we will have a whole new set of tough decisions to make, which neither of us wants to make. In the meantime though we still need to prepare; provisions need to be acquired and a plan of action for when the boat finally arrives must be formulated, so that we are working to our strengths and making the most of every second. And of course we need to look after each other as well. Mark has been a very uplifting influence on me and now I need to make sure I have the same effect on him.
Already we are starting to feel comfortable with each other, relaxed enough to be honest and frank. It's hot here so we both sleep naked (not together) and we will of course see each other naked on the boat. We are going to be cooped up in the smallest space for weeks so it is inevitable that we will cop an eyeful at some stage. And whatever questions you are thinking in your head there is one golden rule ... what happens in the Amazon stays in the Amazon ... or on Twitter, or on film later ...