What can you get for 40 quid these days? A pair of jeans? A night out? A weekly travelcard?
Well, in Brazil it buys you a three-day ‘cruise’ along the Amazon from Belem (on the Atlantic coast) to Santarem (deep in the heart of the jungle). However, the catch is you have to sleep in a hammock (on a crowded deck where people hang theirs above and below you), eat the same food every meal (fried chicken, rice, beans and some salad if you are lucky) and wake-up to the smell of onions from the cargo deck below.
As we got further away from Belem (and modern civilisation) the houses became more shack-like and further apart. However, no matter how small the village there was always a church and even a dance club in one place.
As the boat stopped in port vendors would rush on selling their wares including model houses (one vendor dropped his into the river and had to swim after it), dried shrimps, Amazonian fruits, ice cream and local handicrafts.
In more remote areas rowing boats would literally hook onto our boat and pull themselves level, before the kids jumped aboard to sell yet more goods. Some boats stayed attached for several hours just to hitch a lift to the next town.