The "Mother of the Gods"

Trip Start Mar 18, 2011
Trip End Apr 13, 2011

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Flag of Brazil  , State of Amazonas,
Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Big city but not very charming.  The Portuguese settled it and gave it its name which means "Mother of the Gods"...kind of an ugly mother in my estimation. The area approaching the city has lots of favelas.  George heard that the color of the building indicates what type of drug is sold there.

There is a lot of traffic and the streets are narrow and crowded.  The whole area looks old and worn, quite possibly from the huge amounts of rainfall they receive.  Many buildings are shells but the architecture  is old and European and if they were fixed up and painted, they would probably be beautiful.  We never did get in to the modern section of Manaus which I am not even sure exists.

The city was hot, and humid and  we were caught in a tropical downpour on the first day.  Fortunately we were carrying an umbrella with us.    While walking earlier we saw something neither of us had ever encountered before.  On the sidewalk just ahead of where we were walking a stark naked woman was lying on the sidewalk.  She was sprawled with her legs spread and not moving.  We didn't know what to do…we just turned around and walked back.  Brazilians were also looking and talking about it. We eventually returned to the area and saw the woman again.  She now had clothes on but was still lying on the sidewalk, not moving.  We never learned what had happened to her or whether she was alive or dead.

We walked up to the where the Government Justice building was….and then across to the Placa where the National Opera house sits.  The surrounding placa held a church and many colorful and quaint old buildings.  We later learned that a woman from our ship was taking pictures of the Opera House and had her camera stolen from her.  One of the men on our tour also mentioned that someone attempted to steal a gold chain from around his neck.  The ship's crew made a point of telling us to be careful and not to carry wallets, jewelry, etc with us.  We did take our cameras out the first day….but thereafter, we just took the small instamatic with us.

We then walked to the local Carrefour and purchased coffee, 3 bottles of wine and two bottles of dark beer.  (the dark beer was sweet and we later poured it out). The wine turned out to be of mediocre quality but that was all that was available to us.

Thursday morning we headed out again.  This time we saw the Cathedral which is immediately outside of the dock area.  We walked past the custom’s house and headed to the Central Market where we saw crafts, the fruit and vegetable market, and a huge and busy fish market. This was actually pretty interesting.  The streets and alleys were filled with kiosks selling just about anything a non-tourist might want to buy.  We also managed to purchase a bottle of Brazilian red wine which was recommended to us by a local. It was so awful we poured out the entire contents!

Many on the ship took a variety of the excursions that were offered.  Since this was our second time in Manaus, we opted out of the piranha fishing, the crocodile hunting, walking in the rainforest, seeing rubber trees growing, etc.  Therefore, Manaus was actually not a great travel destination this time around.

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