Trip Start Feb 06, 2007
330Trip End Jan 14, 2008
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Goodness me, this is a noisy place. Partying stopped somewhere around 4.30am then the morning traffic started at 5. And our hotel isn't even in the disco part of town. Music plays everywhere, from street bands to coffee carts.
Sao Joaquim market is a short bus ride away, but was very disappointing. With no justification, we had anticipated a market like Belen in Iquitos. This one was merely a fruit, veg and stuff market, like many other market we have seen. No monkey paws or decapitated turtles (not that we wanted to see precisely these again).
By now we have accumulated a pile of stuff we don't want to throw away, and oddments for our grandchildren. Postal costs here are moderate, for every kilo over 2kg the charge is only 18R ($12), so we bought a set of pottery masks for ourselves and some locally made souvenirs for family members (we hope they are locally made, and not mass-produced in China), packed it all up and sent it
Pete found an antique shop, coveted the glistening Harley motor bike (not for sale) then found an antique mechanical movement of ballerinas combined with a music player. A magnificent one-off piece he would have liked for our collection. Alas, $10,000.
We have 'done' our last museum. The Museo Afro-Brasileiro cost 5R and was very disappointing. It was a small collection, most of the pottery repaired. There is a set of papers in English that sort-of explain some of it, but there was little on the exhibits themselves. Museo do Indío in Manaus was far better for the same cost.
Local dark-skinned ladies, dressed in traditional costume of brilliantly-coloured dress with a huge hoop under the skirt, wandered about, no doubt wanting money for a photo. 4.5 million Africans were brought to Brazil as slaves from the earliest Portuguese invasion times until the late 1800s, and their descendants have kept many traditions alive. These are brought together in a Folclorico performance by a group that has performed all round the world. 5 drummers and 3 female singers played and sang while groups of performers danced incredibly energetically. One man came in with a bowl of fire on his head and bowls in each hand, and managed not to set himself on fire. Six men danced with sticks and knives, clashing knives and sending showers of sparks to the floor. Wow ! It was an amazing spectacle.
The night was not over. Outside, a drum band, many of the drummers being boys not much more than 9 or 10 years, put on a very professional performance (free). They nearly deafened us with their rhythm that never missed a beat.