Keith Irwin

Novo Repartimento

Apr 22, 2014

Brazil, Hitchhiking, Travel, Latin America 2014


This is part of my story of hitchhiking from New York to Buenos Aires and back, which I did in 2014. I may publish the entire tale in a book someday. Until then, you can read it for free here. To see other parts, check out Latin America 2014. 

April 22

A photo of two parrots in a tree

The next day I woke to my alarm and packed up. I was out the door by six as promised. It was still dark when I reached the flooded part of town. I stopped at a roadside stand and got a cup of coffee and bola cake for breakfast. The bola was filling and I was in a good mood. 

It was good weather for travelling. I got a ride with a trucker for much of the way. He was experienced with the muddy Transamazônica. 

“I was talking to a guy the other day,” he told me. “It was his first time on the Transamazônica. He was frustrated that the trip was taking so long. He just didn't know what to expect. This isn't an ordinary road. Lots of trucks break from the large potholes. And many get stuck in the mud. I’ve been doing this for years so I know how to go about it.” 

We passed a broken down truck. “See, there’s one! The people who live out here have to pay a lot for their goods because the truck maintainance is so expensive.”

A photo of some cars driving up a muddy hill outside a town
A photo of a river during a ferry crossing
Crossing the Xingu River

I saw one truck struglling to get up a hill, but its wheels just spun in the mud. A half dozen trucks were waiting in line behind him to try their luck with the hill. My driver hesitated, and seemed like he was going to get in line. But then, he accelerated past them all and charged up the hill, hugging the drier edges of the path. 

I crossed the Xingu river via a ferry in the early afternoon. I got a lot of rides on this day and made great progress, though our vehicles usually couldn't go very fast on the rough terrain. I slept that night in the outskirts of Novo Repartimento. In an internet café I emailed my family that I was starting to get tired of this big jungle. 


Altamira Firehouse Marabá