Ernesto and Alberto float down the river towards the Brazilian border, a difficult journey because the mosquitos are so bad and they have trouble steering the raft toward the bank when they want to land. Eventually, both men fall asleep on the boat, which floats into the bank during the night. Ernesto feels a “morbid fatigue and an uneasy exhaustion” at the prospect of traveling onwards with this impractical vessel, but he tells himself that whatever happens, he will be able to deal with it.
Ernesto experiences a rare moment of self-doubt, wondering not only if their improvised boat will make it to Brazil but if he has the strength and energy to carry on with his larger but equally precarious journey. However, he is able to persuade himself to overcome this doubt—he’s acquired a lot more mental fortitude during this trip than he had at the outset.