20 Mar 2013
What a day! Manaus is a fascinating city of about 2 million people halfway down the Amazon.
Rubber barons became fabulously rich here for about 25 years starting 1879. Then the British took over because they could sell so much cheaper with trees from seeds they had smuggled from here.
There is no highway system here and most people cannot afford to fly. They board cheap ferries for 5 – 10 day trips up or down the Amazon. They sleep on hammocks virtually on top of and next to others. Yuk.
However, today, Manaus is a big a duty free zone with billions of dollars worth of products entering Manaus annually.
I found a guide on the Internet, and hired him for a tour of this part of the Amazon.
The Meeting of the Waters occurs in Manaus where the Rio Negro and Amazon merge. They keep their respective colors for six miles.
The reason – Rio Negro is colder (10 degrees), slower (5 mph), and heavier.
We visited a floating village that reminded me a bit of similar fishing villages in Vietnam.
After lunch at a floating restaurant we went piranha fishing. Using the same gear, in the same place, and at the same time, somehow Allyn caught three and I caught nada.
Check out those teeth.
Traveling slowly up tiny canals was so beautiful. I mean we are in The Amazon.
We saw giant water lilies.
We came across a three-toed sloth hanging upside down just like we have been told in school.
We even saw a new mother sloth with her baby.
Our guide pointed out the iguana which took me about 20 minutes to see. (He was far away, and high, and blended in.) Great photo Allyn.
Even a couple monkeys showed up to greet us.
19 Mar 2013
Tooting around in a pedicab is the best and driest way to tour Parintins. They are all over and used as regular taxis unlike most cities where they are mainly used by tourists.
Some fellow passengers have been moaning about the rain the last couple of days. I wonder what they expected in a rain forest.
The town was quite interesting and different than what I have seen before. I don’t think there are a lot of zoning ordinances here. Some houses seem just like private small residences and then the neighbor has an open area selling whatever he chooses.
Even the art is different. So much is three dimensional relief type art.
17 Mar 2013
Today we started our six-day visit down The Amazon River.
Everybody who cares knows it is in the world’s biggest rain forest, supplies 1/3 of the oxygen in the world, has countless species, and is the largest river measured by volume.
Brazilian scientists have proven it is the longest river in the world. Egyptian scientists say the Nile is the largest. I would have been disappointed if either side came down the other way.
Not one bridge crosses the Amazon. It is over 4,000 miles long. I would hate to have to drive around it to visit a friend on the other side.
13 Mar 2013
Salvador was the world’s biggest slave port. 2.4 million slaves entered here; about 20% of the world’s total. Still 70% of its residents are Afro-Brazilian.
I like to blend in with the locals.
Slaves could not hurt one another, as they were considered property. Capoeira, a dance they put together, allowed them to vent frustrations towards each other -- without ever touching. (See Allyn above).
Carnival here is gigantic, but for the locals, not the rich tourists.
11 Mar 2013
Did I have a sign on my forehead? At the last port a man selects me from many people boarding the ship, introduces himself as an H. Stern (the jewelry store) rep, and offers a free car, driver, and guide while visiting Rio. The only catch is we have to visit their store. We do not have to purchase anything and there will be no high pressure. “Sounds like a deal”, I said.
They kept their part of the bargain. We had two full “free” days of touring. Allyn bought a beautiful necklace. The stone is a deep purple Brazilian Amethyst.
Among many other places, we visited Copacabana Beach.
We visited three synagogues.
We even visited an old car show.