Sunset, Baia do GuajaráAs I tease the reader at book’s start:

“Belém, a decaying colonial city at the mouth of the monstrous Amazon River, the capital of Pará, and one of Brazil’s oldest ports. I like places that time has passed by, for no better reason than I identify with them.” [To Belém & Back, p.6]

After much anticipation and some hardship, the arrival was hard to beat:

“It is difficult to exaggerate my stunned delight upon reading the roadside sign, ‘Welcome to Belém, the City of Mango Trees,’ for we had made it at long last, without breakdown or mishap.  Months of planning had preceded this moment, along with a growing sense of impending peril, if not catastrophe, yet all of that seemed to fade away in the here and now, as rain washes away dust.” [p.139] 

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“I had already heard of about Belém’s abundant colonial charms, its dilapidated rubber-boom era structures, its intriguing mix of tropical and equatorial, of sweet and salty ennui, its regal place at the tail waters of the humid, damp, and life-stunned Amazon, a major port and gateway to and from the immense jungle of our imagination.” [p.141]

About Ben

Ben Batchelder has traveled some of the world's most remote roads. Nothing in his background, from a degree in Visual & Environmental Studies at Harvard to an MBA from Wharton, adequately prepared him for the experiences. Yet he persists, for through such journeys life unfolds. Having published four books that map the inner and exterior geographies of meaningful travel, he is a mountain man in Minas Gerais, Brazil who comes down to the sea at Miami Beach, Florida. His second travel yarn, To Belém & Back, received a starred review from Publishers Weekly. For more, visit

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