Massive city in the middle of the jungle?!

Trip Start Jan 19, 2006
Trip End Jan 19, 2007

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Flag of Brazil  ,
Thursday, July 27, 2006

Yesterday arrive in Manaus about 10am having driven through lots more jungle. The city is huge especially considering it is literally a port town in the middle of the Amazon. Quite sad really.

We drive around and the first thing that hits me is the number of shops there are and the mixture of colonial and new architecture. Our hotel (10th July) is right next to the Opera house which is a magnificent building, unlike our hotel which is a bit of a sprawling mess. After emptying the truck of all our stuff we have a needed shower and head for a wander and find out about shows at the theatre and then look around some shops (has been a while!). We try and find a laundry to no avail (definite gap in the market). Further towards the river there are hundreds of kiosks selling everything from underwear to fruit juices and is fascinating people watching. Look in a few churches that are all full of worshippers (seems v religious here) and then towards the port. The port is fascinating with hundreds of boats taking people either to the coast and Belem or further inland. The rest of our group are going further inland in a couple of days time. Boats look ok and have hammocks slung but then we some boats about to leave and there are hundreds of people on each tier. Then wander to the fresh fish market where there are piranhas and some great looking fish for sale - sadly we wont be cooking for a while now though.

After several more showers to relieve the heat and humidity we head out for dinner to Bufalo. This was recommended in the book and is a Churrascaria which is basically a barbecue and a man´s dream. We decide to treat ourselves (25 Reals each or 12.5 US$). It was heaven! The salad bar was enough for me with a choice of olives, sundried tomatoes, sushi, 8 types of lettuce, 8 types of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. These are things you long for after 6 months of travelling! This is all before the meat which was good too coming around on skewers and carved onto your plate. Surprisingly enough we overate but it was fab.

Bump into some of the group in a local bar on the square by the theatre where we recount our meal and make them jealous (think it was the 8 types of lettuce that did it).

Today we do some internet and wandering before getting the local bus (713) to Careiro Ferry Terminal to do a boat trip to the confluence of the rivers. This natural phenomenon is caused by the confluence of the Negro River"s dark water and the Solimões River"s muddy brown water that join together to form the Amazonas River. For 6 km, the waters of both rivers run side by side, without mixing. This phenomenon is caused by the great difference in water temperatures and current speeds. The Negro River (22ºC) flows at approximately 2km/h, while the Solimões River (28ºC) flows at 4 to 6 km/h. We were going to get the cheap car ferry but instead hire a boat that takes us to the middle where we can distinctly see the two different colour waters and then they join. I am sure I also see some dolphins that live here too. Get the bush back which we actually find more interesting than the river trip as you see so much of the city including the slums areas which are huge.

Later on meet with the group for our farewell meal. Everyone decides to go to Bufalo again and as it was so good and not that expensive compared to some other restaurants here we go back and fortunately the waiters pretend not to recognise us. Dave makes me take a photo of the fire where they cook all the skewered meat and I get accosted by the waiters to have several photos with them for some reason especially since its our camera and I dont really want photos of them all, but hey!

Stuffed again we head back to the square and I have a few capirinhas (cachasa - firewater with limes and sugar. pretty strong stuff) and Dave´s on Skol beer (seems a bit odd to be drinking that here but its the cheapest!).
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